Many of us don’t have a formal background to build off when taking on new hacks, we have had to teach ourselves complex concepts and learn by doing (or more commonly, by failing). To help new hackers get off the ground a bit easier, [PhilosopherFar3847] created a fantastic starter’s resource on electronics, The Electroagenda Summary of Electronics.
[PhilosipherFar3847] created Electroagenda with the goal of helping amateurs, students, and professionals alike better understand electronics. The Summary of Electronics, one of the more recent additions to the website, is split across 26 sections each breaking down a different electrical concept into easy-to-understand facts with no math or unfamiliar jargon. The summary covers a broad range of electronics, from simple passive components and their uses, up to the basic operating concepts of a microcontroller.
While this resource on its own will not be enough to get a fledgling hacker started making cool circuits, it does provide a very important skill; knowing how to ask the right questions. This base of knowledge provides enough context and keywords to better articulate a challenge and Google-fu a bit more effectively.
Are you the aforementioned fledgling hacker, looking to learn more? check out these nifty logic gates you can plug into each other to build a basic circuit.
As the name implies, the OSEP STEM board is an embedded project board primarily aimed at education. You use jumper wires to connect components and a visual block coding language to make it go.
I have fond memories of kits from companies like Radio Shack that had dozens of parts on a board, with spring terminals to connect them with jumper wires. Advertised with clickbait titles like “200 in 1”, you’d get a book showing how to wire the parts to make a radio, or an alarm, or a light blinker, or whatever.
The STEM Kit 1 is sort of a modern arduino-powered version of these kits. The board hosts a stand-alone Arduino UNO clone (included with the kit) and also has a host of things you might want to hook to it. Things like the speakers and stepper motors have drivers on board so you can easily drive them from the arduino. You get a bunch of jumper wires to make the connections, too. Most things that need to be connected to something permanently (like ground) are prewired on the PCB. The other connections use a single pin. You can see this arrangement with the three rotary pots which have a single pin next to the label (“POT1”, etc.).
I’m a sucker for a sale, so when I saw a local store had OSEPP’s STEM board for about $30, I had to pick one up. The suggested price for these boards is $150, but most of the time I see them listed for about $100. At the deeply discounted price I couldn’t resist checking it out.
So does an embedded many-in-one project kit like this one live up to that legacy? I spent some time with the board. Bottom line, if you can find a deal on the price I think it’s worth it. At full price, perhaps not. Join me after the break as I walk through what the OSEPP has to offer.
Continue reading “Review: OSEPP STEM Kit 1, A Beginner’s All-in-One Board Found In The Discount Aisle”
Successfully connecting things without physical wires has a profound effect on the maker brain. Machines talking to each other without any cables is as amazing today as it was a decade ago. When Bluetooth came out, it was a breakthrough since it offered a wireless way to connect cellphones to a PC. But Bluetooth is a complicated, high-bandwidth power hog, and it didn’t make sense for battery-powered devices with less demanding throughput requirements to pay the energy price. Enter Bluetooth LE (BLE), with power requirements modest enough to enable a multitude of applications including low power sensor nodes and beacons.
Over the years, a number of gadgets with BLE have popped up such as the LightBlue Bean, BLE Beacons as well as quadcopters like the FlexBot that rely on BLE for communication. Android or iOS apps are the predominant method of talking to these wonderful gadgets though there are alternatives.
This is the first in a two part series on building with BLE devices. First, I’ll survey some BLE devices and how to get started with BLE from the Linux command line. Later, we will go into describing the process of making a NodeJS cross-platform app that will leverage the BLE capabilities and connect it to the Internet.
Lets get started.
Continue reading “Beginning BLE Experiments And Making Everything Better”