August 30, 2020
I’ve been a long time fan of the Arduino Nano and before those the Arduino Mini boards. I really like the compact Nano footprint and prefer it to the standard Arduino Due style. When I ran of computing processing power I would swap the Nano’s for the STM32 blue pill boards. So I thought I had a good choice of modules to choose from. But this has changed recently and another module footprint has entered my projects orbit.
The Adafruit Feather modules have been around for a few years and a recent project requirement saw me using their nRF52840 Express module for a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) based design. I liked what I saw but couldn’t find a decent prototyping solution, so I designed this prototyping / breadboard to help with getting my Feather module projects started.
The FeatherWing prototyping / breadboard has headers for a Feather module, as well as space for a 400-hole breadboard. Additionally it has PCB positions for 3x tactile switches, 3x LED’s and a FTDI style serial pin-header. Finally, all the Feather module signals are broken out to a double row header located next to the breadboard.
As always, I’ll put them up to my Tindie shop
September 17, 2013
eDay2 was a great success. Many thanks to all those Makerspace members who came along on Saturday (7th September) to Gateshead Central Library and helped out during the day or just showed up to give moral support.
We had at least 5 3D printers on display, numerous Arduino projects, Makey Makey, Bare Conductive painting and Raspberry Pi stuff.
The day was well attended with around 250 people coming along to see what it was about. Around 50-60 teachers, students and parents attended the Raspberry Pi workshops.
More details at the Makerspace blog:
August 29, 2013
Last year Makerspace helped organised a special technology and digital skills event called eDay with Gateshead libraries which introduced the general public to new technologies such 3D Printers, Raspberry Pi’s, Arduinos, Lego Mindstorms etc.
eDay was a first for UK public libraries (and possibly the world). It was really well received with lots of other public libraries looking to emulate the event.
Here are some write-ups of the day:
This year eDay2 will be on Saturday 7th September 2103 and will take place as part of the British Science Festival.
It’s a free event but you’ll need a ticket to come along, details are here:
They’ll be Raspberry Pi workshops in the morning and afternoon. These will be delivered by Dr Alun Moon from Northumbria University, assisted by my good self.
As well as Makerspace, Vector76 will there again and this time they’ll be bringing their awesome Oculus Rift! There’ll be lots of other groups helping out so expect to find lots of other digital stuff going on during the day.
* 3D Printing,
* Raspberry Pi and Ardunio show and tell from Makerspace Newcastle
* Simple Maker activities
* Retro Gaming
* Makey Makey
Raspberry Pi Workshops
You can expect much of the same
Teachers and Adult Workshops
Workshops for age 8+
14:00pm – 14:40pm
July 19, 2012
Last night saw the Maker Space in Newcastle celebrate a whole year of hosting its regular and free open sessions.
The Open Sessions happen every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month as well as a all day weekend workshop on the last Saturday of the month.
To celebrate we had the usual snacks but my wonderful wife baked us a lovely Raspberry Pie, actually a Raspberry sponge cake as we eat the pie at home the night before 🙂
On the night we had a couple of 3D printers making stuff, the Spaces MakerBot (on loan from Jay) and Will’s new RepRap. There was a great discussion about how to use both Ardunio’s and Raspberry Pi’s for a garden monitoring project.
In all a great night and here’s to celebrating again next year
May 28, 2012
Wow, May’s been a busy, busy month for me. My day time job has taken me off to foreign climates for most of it, while what little time I’ve had home has been spent messing around with the Raspberry Pi.
Returning to the end of the April, a number of us from the Maker Space were asked to given a short talk at the Super Monday group. I haven’t done any public speaking since my University days, so I was very nervous about it.
- Cay Green give us a great talk on the history of 3D Printing and how hobbyists are lowering the entry cost
- Ed Bisdee gave a talk, in his usual energetic style, about how easy the Arduino is get electronic projects up and running
- I give a talk about the hardware hackability of the Raspberry Pi and
- Nigel Hope introduced us the BeagleBone, a powerful and opensource development board.
All in all it was a very enjoyable evening. Videos from the night are here:
and Stuart Holmes wrote a nice review of the talks:
October 28, 2011
The Ardunio PLC design I designed is nothing without software to drive it.
My initially thoughts was to hardcod the process logic using C programming code. This would involve reading from the AVR’s I/O pins with digitalRead() and writing back using digitalWrite(). Process Logic in-between the “in” and “out” instructions would be written using if’s, else’s and switch C statements to perform the desired logic task. After spending some time in the Raspberry-Pi forums, I realised this approach while fine for myself and other C programmers but it would not be suitable for beginners.
So, I’ve begun looking at ways to make a full PLC programming environment for the Arduino PLC.
A developer will write their PLC statements using a PC based environment such as free automation tools from and Beremiz and CoDeSys. Once the plc program is complete, it can download the control program to a IEC-61131 run time such as LDmicro, executing on the Arduino PLC hardware.
Some useful sites:
September 19, 2011
At last the Arduino team have announced an official 32-bit ARM board.
The specs look pretty standard for a ARM Cortex-M3 but they’re nice specs none the less.
The uC is a SAM3U processor from Atmel with the following specs:
- Speed: 96MHz
- Program Memory: 256Kb Flash
- Data Memory: 52Kb SRAM
- Digital I/O: 5 SPI buses, 2 I2C interfaces, 5 UARTS
- Analog I/O: 16ch 12-bit Analog Inputs.
Not sure of the PCB package size but it looks like a 100 or 144 pin TQFP.
I’m not sure if the SAM3U uC is 5V tolerant, which could be a problem for some 5V only shields.
On the whole the 32-bit Arduino looks like a winner, now lets hope the 32-bit Arduino software is as good as the hardware.
July 21, 2011
Last night (20th July 2011) saw the first drop in session for the Newcastle Maker Space.
A big thanks goes to Alistair and Brian for allowing us to use their office space at the Star and Shadow (and the tea and biscuits).
For those who couldn’t attend, we had about 10 or so makers turn up which is a good start considering it wasn’t advertised.
After a quick round of introductions, we got talking on what we would all like to get from a maker space. From the friendly discussions I think people want:
- * A friendly drop in club to chat with others, seek advice on those troubling tech problems, show and tells etc.
- * a workspace with space and access to equipment to work on their projects
- * workshops to learn or help others
While the maker space finds its feet so to speak, we’ve palnning on drop in sessions every 1st and 3rd Wednesday’s of the month. Check the Maker Space web site and discussion group for more details.
November 28, 2010
I picked up a Big Trak programmable vehicle from a car boot sale a few years ago where it promptly got lost in my to be used in a cool project (aka junk) pile. The recent Dorkbot @ Newcastle project session saw me dig it out of my attic with the goal of swapping out the original controller board an replacing it with an Arduino.
To make this work I needed a motor controller circuit to drive the wheels of the Big Trak. There are a number of Arduino motor controller shields I could have used but I already had a couple of ST L6203 H-Bridge Driver chips left over from a previous project so I put together a quick dual motor controller design using these.
A pdf of the initial schmatic design is here