Son of R-Kade update

October 31, 2015

After five or so prototypes, I’ve finally arrived at a mini cabinet shape I’m happy with. The last few prototypes were made to experiment with the optimum viewing angle for the display, but I think I’ve got that right now.

R-Kade Proto5_4buttons

R-Kade Prototypes
Full size arcade joystick and buttons are a little too big for the mini cabinet so I’ve decided to go with a mini joystick and 16mm push buttons.

One of the design features I’m going for, is to have swappable control plates. I’ve mocked up a couple of control plates with various button combinations as well as a control plate with full size arcade joysticks and buttons.

R-Kade Control Plates
The next step is to cut the cabinet design from 6mm plywood and see how that looks.

Son of R-Kade

September 29, 2015

Sequels are always an interesting proposition. Some are as good or better than the original, for me the film Aliens is a great example of this. Some sequels take things in a different direction, again I’ll use Aliens as an example for this: action vs. horror. But in reality most sequels are just pants :-)

So when the Raspberry Pi foundation announced their 7″ Touch LCD Screen, I knew I wanted to make a sequel to my Raspberry Pi powered bar top arcade cabinet: R-Kade.

I designed R-Kade for the Raspberry Pi way back in December 2012 after wanting to build an Arcade Cabinet but never having the space for a full size cab and the Pi’s small size offered me a chance to make something on a smaller scale. It was built it in early 2013 and took it to the Maker Faire UK in Newcastle in April of that year. It’s been to every Maker Faire UK since, Edinburgh Mini Maker Fire twice, eDay three times and numerous other maker events. I finally got around to updating its wiring earlier this year by designing and making “ArcadeIO”, an joystick and button input interface HAT-like board. Whilst it is built like a tank and has taken almost every abuse the eager punters have thrown at it, it was always a big and cumbersome thing to carry to events. So with new 7″ LCD in hand here goes…

opening sequence:

Son of R-Kade



p.s. Here’s hoping its not as bad as Phantom Menace (oh wait a minute that was that a prequel)

New ESP8266 with Bluetooth and 500K RAM?

August 31, 2015

This is a little late but I spotted this tweet from Espressif and a post on CNX about a new variation of the ESP8266 going into beta testing. The company announced the new chip which will support both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).

There’s not much more information other than it features a new 32-bit core, the Tensilica diamond 108 instead of the 106 and has 500KB of RAM.

Bumper box of new PCB’s

July 30, 2015

A bumper box of 10 new (yes 10 designs) PCB’s arrived this week.

In it were 5 new (and updated) add-on boards for the Raspberry PC and 5 new boards for the Guitar Effect pedal designs I’ve been working on.

Here’s a photo of the PCB’s.

For the Raspberry Pi, we have a new revision for our popular PIIO ULNB803/GVS board which now features 2 stepper motor connectors for the popularĀ 5v 28YBJ-48 stepper motor. A new revision for the PIAC with new screw terminals. A brand new Digi-IO which is a real world interfacing board with RS485, two relays and some level shifter for inputs. Another brand new PIIO design called “RasPellar” which is a IO co-processor board using the Parallax 32-bit 8-core Propeller CPU and a new HAT sized prototyping board that can be used by it’s self or with RasPeller.

For the guitar effects we have two designs for a “modular electronic effects pedal” or MEEP to its friend. The MEEP board design gives you access to the audio In and Out jack sockets, 9V power and Vb (4.5V) as well as the foot switch and features a true bypass while the effects are added via a smaller daughter board. So if you get sick of using one guitarĀ  effect you can simply swap it out with a new effects daughter board for a lot less than buying a new pedal. MEEP BB3 (base board – 3 pots) has three Potentiometers (pots) and MEEP BB4 (base board – 4 pots) has 4 pots. To go with the MEEP base boards there is a prototyping board, MEEP Screamer a clone of the awesome Ibanez Tube Screamer pedal and MEEP Fuzzy yet another clone of the just as awesome Arbiter Fuzz Face.

New Pinout diagram for the Raspberry Pi B+ and 2

June 29, 2015

I’ve been a big fan of pighixxx infograph work since he released his ABC (Arduino Basic Connections) cards a few years back. His original Raspberry Pi pin-out sheet found a permanent home in the Pi notes folder, now he’s updated it for the Pi B+ and Pi 2. You can find it here:

List of Guitar Effect Pedals sites

May 29, 2015

I’ve recently been researching guitar effects pedals for a new project, so if you’ve never heard of Big Muff Pi, Arbiter Fuzz Face, Ibanez Tube Screamer or Pro Co Rat, check out the sites below to learn some more:

Big Muff Pi circuit versions

Technology of the Tube Screamer

Various effects projects

Great pedal site

French DIY pedals

Fuzz pedals

More pedal ideas


Vero (Stripboard) and tagboard effect layouts

Perf and PCB effects layouts

Good range of PCB’s

More DIY pedal designs

Lots of BOSS schematics

Great Forum

stompboxology vintage newsletter

Parts & Kits

Maker Faire UK 2015

April 27, 2015

Maker Faire UK 2015 is over for another year :-(

But it was another great weekend of meeting fellow makers and creatives from around the UK and the world.

With my fellow local makers, I was on the Maker Space stand with various great projects on display. Ed’s 1D Pong, my R-Kade, Jon’s Over Eng’d, Iain, Tommy and Alistair’s Christmas window (I know we’re into April), Glen’s 3D Printer and EggBot, Chris B’s LED cubes, Chris D’ custom retro console, Rosie with her sewing.

Hightlights of the weekend for me where:

Meeting up [again :-)] with Aaron from Oomlout was there again.

Likewise meeting up with Mitch Altman of TV-B-Gone fame and co-founder of Noisebridge was there again.

low cost pick n place machine from

mini cnc from

LinkIT one from MediaTek and Seeed

and meeting a great number of other makers from the UK, Europe and rest of the world was great was well.

The Saturday night meet up in the Union Rooms for food and beer was a great night out. Lots and lots of people showed up and a few didn’t get back home until the very early hours on Sunday morning :-)


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