The Raspberry Pi has come a long way since its humble origins, adding faster processors and better interfaces with each new generation. Now, the Raspberry Pi 5 has a lovely new PCIe port right on board, and [Jeff Geerling] has gone right ahead and slammed in an NVMe SSD as a boot drive.
[Jeff] explains that to use an NVMe to boot, you first have to modify /boot/config.txt to enable PCIe and modify the Raspberry Pi’s boot order. Once the bootloader is appropriately configured, you can boot straight off an SSD with Raspberry Pi OS installed. To get the operating system on to an NVMe drive, he recommends cloning an existing boot volume from a microSD install.
One of the primary reasons you might want to do this is speed. NVMe drives are generally a significant cut above even the best microSD cards, both in speed and reliability. [Jeff] also notes that you can use an NVMe SSD through a PCIe switch on the Pi 5 if you so desire, but you can’t currently boot with this configuration.
It’s a great feature to have on the Pi 5, and it follows on from the earlier implementation on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Booting The Raspberry Pi 5 With An NVMe SSD”
A coin flip is considered by many to be the perfect 50/50 random event, even though — being an event subject to Newtonian physics — the results are in fact anything but random. But that’s okay, because what we really want when we flip a coin is an unpredictable but fair outcome. But what if that’s not actually what happens?
There’s new research claiming that coin tosses demonstrate a slight but measurable bias toward landing on the same side they started. At least, this is true of coin flips done in a particular (but common) way. Coins flipped with the thumb and caught in the hand land with the same side facing up 50.8 percent of the time.
The new research builds on earlier work proposing that because of human anatomy, when a human flips a coin with their thumb, the motion introduces a slight off-axis tilt that biases the results. Some people do it less (biasing the results less) and some do it more, but while the impact is small it is measurable. As long as the coin is caught in the hand, anyway. Allowing the coin to fall on surfaces introduces outside variables.
Therefore, one can gain a slight advantage in coin flips by looking at which side is facing up, and calling that same side. Remember that the flipping method used must be that of flipping the coin with the thumb, and catching it with the hand. The type of coin does not matter.
Does this mean a coin flip isn’t fair? Not really. Just allow the coin to fall on a surface instead of catching it in the hand, or simply conceal which side is “up” when the coin is called. It’s one more thing that invites us all to ask just how random is random, anyway?
Getting the finishing details on a Halloween costume completed is the key to impressing friends and strangers alike on the trick-or-treat rounds. Especially when it comes to things like props, these details can push a good Halloween costume to great with the right touches. [Jonathan]’s friend’s daughter will be well ahead of the game thanks to these additions to a toy guitar which is part of her costume this year.
The toy guitar as it was when it arrived had the capability to play a few lackluster sound effects. The goal here was to get it to play a much more impressive set of songs instead, and to make a couple upgrades along the way as well. To that end, [Jonathan] started by dismantling the toy and investigating the PCBs for potential reuse. He decided to keep the buttons in the neck of the guitar despite their non-standard wiring configuration, but toss out the main board in favor of an ESP32. The ESP32 is tasked with reading the buttons, playing a corresponding song loaded on an SD card, and handling the digital to analog conversion when sending it out to be played on the speaker.
The project doesn’t stop there, though. [Jonathan] also did some custom mixing for the songs to account for the lack of stereo sound and a working volume knob, plus he used the ESP32’s wireless capabilities to set the guitar up as a local file server so that songs can be sent to and from the device without any wires. He also released the source code on the project’s GitHub page for anyone looking to use any parts of this project. Don’t forget there’s a Halloween contest going on right now, so be sure to submit the final version of projects like these there!
Continue reading “Upgraded Toy Guitar Plays Music”
These days, you can get all kinds of cheap power supply modules off a variety of online vendors. A lot of examples from brands like Juntek and Drok often have pretty poor interfaces though, with a couple of tactile buttons and a simple 7-segment display. [rin67630] decided to whip up a better controller with a much more informative display.
The controller is designed to work with programmable buck converter modules like the DPS3806, Buck3603, and BST900. It’s based on a TTGO ESP32 with an integrated color TFT LCD. It displays voltage at the input and output, the same for current, along with current setpoints. It also allows for control of a fan and charge cycles if so desired, and it has the ability to fetch time from an NTP server for proper scheduling. There’s also a web interface complete with graphs for really diving down into the nitty-gritty. Future plans include adding an MPPT solar charging capability.
If you’ve ever wanted a cheap power supply module with really low-level control and rich data display, this could be just what you need. Meanwhile, you’ve got your own neat power supply in the works, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.
Getting your RV or trailer parked nice and level is key to getting a good night’s sleep. Traditional methods involve bubble levels and trial and error, but [MJCulross] wanted something better. Enter the Teensy RV Leveling Helper.
The device uses an accelerometer to detect the pitch and roll angles of the RV. It then displays these on a small screen, and performs calculations on how much the RV must be raised at each corner to bring it level. The RV’s width and wheelbase can be entered via a simple touchscreen interface to ensure the calculations are correct. There’s also a trailer mode which calculates three-point leveling figures for the wheels and the hitch, as opposed to the four-wheeled RV mode.
The result is that the correct leveling blocks can be selected first time when parking up the RV or trailer. It’s a lot less tedious than the usual method of parking, leveling, checking, and then leveling again.
We don’t see a lot of camper hacks around here, but we’ve noticed a new trend towards lightweight cycle campers in recent years. If you’ve found your own nifty hacks for your home on the open road, don’t hesitate to let us know!
[crispernaki]’s opening comments to this VCR head scroll wheel project lament that overall technical details aren’t “complex, ground-breaking, or even exciting.” Since when does that matter? The point is that not only did the thing finally, eventually get built, it gets daily use and it sparks joy in its owner.
This feel-good story is one of procrastination, laziness, and one aha! moment, and it’s roughly twelve years in the making. Inspired by an Instructable from long ago, [crispernaki] ran straight to the thrift store to get a VCR and take it apart.
The original plan was to just reuse the VCR head’s PCB and hide it in an enclosure, and then figure out way to block and unblock the path between an IR emitter/receiver pair. After many disemboweled mice and fruitless attempt, the project was once again shelved.
But then, [crispernaki] remembered the magnetic rotary encoder demo board that was just sitting around, along with various microcontrollers and Altoids tins. And it all quickly came together with a Teensy 2.0 and some bits and bobs, including a magnet glued on the shaft of the VCR head. A chip on the demo board does all the heavy lifting, and of course, the Teensy does the work of emulating an HID.
Continue reading “Keebin’ With Kristina: The One With The Foot Keyboard”
[Ben Eadie (VE6SFX)] is at it again with the foil tape, and this time he’s whipped up a stealthy mobile sunroof antenna for the amateur radio operator with the on-the-go lifestyle.
You may recall [Ben]’s recent duck tape antenna for the 70-cm ham band, an ultra-lightweight design that lends itself to easy packing for portable operation. The conductors in that antenna were made from copper foil tape, a material that’s perfect for all sorts of specialized applications, like the slot antenna that he builds in the video below. In the ham world, slot antennas are most frequently seen cut into the main reflector of a direct satellite dish, often in hopes of avoiding the homeowner association’s antenna police. Even in the weird world of RF, it’s a strange beast because it relies on the absence of material in a large planar (or planar-ish) conductive surface.
Rather than grabbing an angle grinder to make a slot in the roof of his car, [Ben] created a “virtual” slot with copper tape on the inside of his car’s sunroof. His design called for a 39″ (0.99-m) slot, so he laid out a U-shaped slot to fit the window and outlined it with copper foil tape. His method was a little complex; he applied the copper tape to a transparent transfer film first, then stuck the whole thing to the underside of the glass in one go. It didn’t quite go as planned, but as he learned in the duck tape antenna, the copper tape makes it easy to repair mistakes. A BNC connector with pigtails is attached across the slot about 4″ (10 cm) up from the end of one of the short legs of the slot; yes, this looks like a dead short, but such are the oddities of radio.
Is it a great antenna? By the numbers on [Ben]’s NanoVNA, not really. But any antenna that gets you heard is a good antenna, and this one was more than capable in that regard. We’ll have to keep this in mind for impromptu antennas and for those times when secrecy is a good idea.
Continue reading “A Quick And Stealthy Mobile Slot Antenna From Copper Tape”