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 popular 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 guitar  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.

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PropBerry – Propeller & Raspberry Pi combo

July 31, 2012

For PropBerry, I was thinking using a Parallax Propeller* (or just Prop) as a super i/o co-processor for the RPi where the Prop would be used to offload the real-time I/O and let the RPi handle the higher program features. After talking about this combo on the Parallax forums, the Props VGA video capabilities were mentioned which got me thinking about using the PropBerry as a VGA serial terminal console and shelve the i/o co-processor idea for now.

The Parallax community is great and they’ve released a lot of good stuff. One of the things I remember (from about 2009) was Vincent Briel’s PockeTerm terminal software for the Prop. Using this on a Propeller Demo Board gives us a VGA video output and PS/2 keyboard for user input. A serial interface connects the Propeller demo board to the Raspberry Pi.

Now we got our bits together lets see if we can make them work 🙂

* The Parallax P8X32A Propeller chip (or just Prop) is a cool chip. It is a multi-core architecture parallel microcontroller with eight 32-bit RISC CPU cores (cogs) which share a common hub of 32K-RAM


A tale of two boards

May 24, 2011

Lately I’ve been keeping my eye on two recent developments from Xmos and Parallax.

The Xmos staff are developing a Stamp (40-pin DIP package PCB) like board for their XS1-L1-TQFP48.

Mean while Parallax to support their Semiconductor spin off have brought a new Quick Start board of their popular Propeller P8X32A multicore microcontroller.


An update to “List of Homebrew Video Games Consoles”

January 31, 2011

I’ve neglected my list of homebrew video game consoles, so here’s a update:

  • www.xcores.orgMy friend Yvo’s site related to the awesome Xmos chip.
  • mikronauts.comPropCade is a self-contained and affordable Propeller platform for emulating old computers (Z80, 6809, etc) and old game consoles.
  • www.retrode.orgNot a console as such but a handy way feeding games to your SNES or Mega Drive / Genesis emulator from your original cartridges.
  • www.4dsystems.com.auPoGa, a Portable Game Development console looking a lot like a SNES controller.
  • www.chameleon-dev.comChameleon PIC 16-Bit and the Chameleon AVR 8-Bit are yet another Propeller based systems this time with the addition of a standard Microchip PIC or Atmel AVR microcontroller.
  • www.fpgaarcade.comA site dedicate to recreating gaming hardware from the past in modern programmable FPGA devices.
  • www.lucidscience.comA beautifully documented insight to designing and building your own classic console
  • www.microvga.coma design offering a low-cost Microcontroller to VGA interface
  • www.ladyada.netA new system from LadyAda offering a 320×240 TFT color display with resistive touch screen.
  • rossum.posterous.comRBox: A diy 32 bit game console for the price of a latte
  • www.linusakesson.net linusakesson “craft”

the original list is still here:


Maker Faire @ Newcastle 2010

March 19, 2010

We had a great time at this years Maker Faire in Newcastle over the weekend of 13th and 14th March 2010.

My kids, who are almost teenagers, were dragging their heels as we left our parked car, totally sure they weren’t going to have a good time as we walked towards the Centre of Life.

Walking up the foot bridge to mezzanine level of the maker faire, you could hear the crackling of the musical tesla coil, then as you reached the mezzanine level you were hit by a wall of sound from the various gadgets and things beeping and booping, the musically exhibits being played and of course the Tesla coil. Their faces slowly changed as they realised there was fun stuff here and after a couple of nervous minutes getting their bearings off they went and for the rest of the day it was like trying to herd cats. 😀

I don’t think I saw a single kid, young or old who wasn’t enjoying themselves.

I was finally able to meet up, put a face to a name, with Baggers, Coley, TonyF and Leon from the Parallax and Xmos forums. Leon was being provocative in wearing his Xmos t-shirt whilst on the Parallax Propeller stand with Baggers and Coley. Coley got his own back by having on display a Xmos XC-1 board with a “powered by propeller” label stuck over the Xmos chip. Good nature ribbing 🙂

I had a great chat with John Honniball about his UK101’s he was displaying (I wish I had one for my collection of retro computers 😉 ) and his Arduino music synthesiser.

We met up with Jim and Kat from Sonodrome who were showing off their PSOC (pocket oscillator) and Tubby amps. On Sunday Jim help Sid build his own PSOC. He took it to school for a show and tell and his teacher and class loved it. His teacher was especially impressed that Haydn had soldered it all himself (with a little help).

Abs, not to be left out, spent the afternoon building a mignonette handheld LED game at the Maker table with a little help from me.

Leon has posted some pictures from the faire:

http://www.leonheller.com/Maker%20Faire%202010/

http://www.leonheller.com/MakerFaire%202010%20(2)/

Jim and Kat from sonodrome have also posted some pictures:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sonodrome/sets/72157623644925608/

and Jonathan Street has a nice write up here:

http://jonathanstreet.com/blog/newcastle-maker-faire-2010