Micro Electronics

Sneak Peak at LEACS V2

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Sneak Peak at LEACS V2

LEACS is a Laboratory Environmental Aquarium Control System designed to replicate temperature, sunrise and moonlight of a specific location.

This version uses the new Gertduino and Solid State relays to handle the continual clicking on and off of the heating/cooling for greater accuracy.


DCC Controller with Bluetooth 4 Low Energy and iPhone App

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screen568x568I’ve been putting together a DCC Model Train controller (http://agmodelengineering.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/dcc-encoding/ and https://garygfletcher.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/dcc-model-railway-encoder/) for a while and we’re there! A nice box an LCD and to make the control of the model trains and their functions (lights, sound, steam etc) I added a BLE adaptor and developed an iPhone app to control it.

This project would have been incredibly difficult if it wasn’t for the help of various members and it’s amazing the leverage, ideas and knowledge base we have at RLab.

The specialist kit like the electronics bench, power supplied and scopes made this happen and it was super fun and great to have built almost an entire product at the space!


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Back in September we hosted our very own Hackathon at the Horniman Museum and Gardens with the task of building a temperature and lighting control system called LEACS (Laboratory Environmental Aquarium Control System) that would replicate Sunlight, Moonlight and temperature from Fiji in the hope the environmental conditions would induce the spawning of corals in captivity to get a greater understanding of the biology and work towards the conservation of these threatened coral environments.

It’s basically a Ocean Simulator for aquariums.

Well since the hackathon we’ve learnt a lot and with all systems they grow, develop and mature that’s led us to LEACS V2 and us adopting the GertDuino board as part of the solution.

We’ll post some details of the hardware shortly but we’ve also been working on a website to that’s in the beta stage at the moment but we hope to share project updates and the current environmental data we are using.

So please have a look at www.LEACS.net and bookmark it to stay up to date.


In addition we’ve also developed an iPhone app we hope to expand out to share project updates and check on environmental data when your board! You can download it here.


DCC Train Controller

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I’ve been busy making a DCC train controller at RLab. The controller uses a H Bridge and Arduino to encode messages down the train tracks so that multiple trains can run in different directions without having to worry about the polarity.

Little bit of work at the amazing Bio Imaging facility at the University Of Essex

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This week I visited the Coral Reef Research Unit at the University if Essex and bumped into an old friend Philipe who runs the amazing well kitted out bio-imaging department.

That led to some chats about lasers, live wells and prisms and some good old R&D 🙂

It’s nice to be a part of cutting edge science and I can’t wait to see some of the results that these vessels will allow live imaging of coral development in.





Arduino Course

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This weekend I gave a course on the popular micro electronic educational platform Arduino to members of Reading Hackspace.

The event was well subscribed and I look forward to a follow up event soon.




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Reading Hackspace is hosting a Robot Workshop on the 3rd of November (http://rlabrobotics.eventbrite.co.uk/), so rather than go empty handed I’ve been building my own.

About this time last year I done a huge amount of work on stereo vision and hope to plug that back into this guy.