RLab at Elephant and Castle Mini Maker Faire

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I had a super time this weekend with Barnaby, Ryan, Richard, Tom and the Thames Valley RepRap Group representing Reading Hackspace and some of the great projects we’ve done there, the event had a more than amazing turnout and so many interesting stands. I will be sure to attend other future events and highly recommend them!


Ciseco Delivers Again – Reef Temperature Loggers

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Just before Christmas I gave Ciseco a spec of a product that would be incredibly beneficial for an expedition setting off to Chagos in the British Indian Ocean Territory this February and in record time with there office move and a whole suit of new products launching as well as EVE they sent me pictures today of the first prototype temperature data loggers. More to follow on this, but its a great spec product significantly cheaper than anything else out there..

Now I just have to figure out how to waterproof it to 30 meters!

Ciseco – everything micro electronic at the right price!/

Camera Board PCB Design

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I just got an email from Ciseco who are collaborating with us on our mesh camera network after we fell in love with their XRF radios!

That email included the PCB design just sent off for fabrication! The final finished hardware is on its way!

As if things weren’t exciting enough!

Thank you Ciseco!

My RF Woes Are OVER!

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Ok so after about 3 and a half weeks solid of looking at many many ways of trying to solve the issue of how to send 250kb files reliably and quickly over Xbee including API modes, different bauds, differing topologies, writing my own packet checking routines I by chance saw another radio by Ciseco and ordered a couple up it says they work out of the box – so I thought I’d put it to the test I knew the software worked it was pack loss that was the issue so I just plugged them in one to a camera the other to the central node… I turned them on…

And they worked perfectly… huh? Perfectly so I took the camera downstairs got my wife to jump around and sure enough through 3 walls it was working perfectly! mmm outside… perfectly – I was amazed and overwhelmed! It seems they have hardware ack and nak packet checking meaning you don’t have to do a thing and they work right out of the box… after spending weeks on these I cannot recommend them enough!

Thank you Ciseco for saving the day and the project (again)!!!

And here we go – my first couple of Xino boards made up!

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ImageSo here we are Xino boards made up, didn’t take long, was fun and worked first time… now I’m made up because they are cheap but very very functional perfect!

How one new company can save a project – Ciseco

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We’ve been prototyping for the Instant Wild project for a while now but buying official Arduino boards and equipment were expensive and really a lot more complex than we needed. It was time to take advantage of open source hardware and so I found Ciseco’s Xino boards. They are bare bone Uno boards basically consisting of an ATMega 328, regulators and what’s more they also had an XBee break out board that fits straight on which is perfect for our project!

But the best part of the whole thing is that it cost about a tenner! That’s about £15-20 shaved off the overall cost of each camera right there – amazing!

Another thing caught my eye was the Ciseco RF Radios, of which I ordered 2 (it seems they may well have the cheapest RF Ardunio solution around with a full kit only costing £22?!).

I am currently having a nightmare trying to get the Xbees working fast enough without dropping packets of my JPEGs and I’ve been through API mode and even attempting an XModem implementation (they work incredibly well with smaller data, I think the 250k is pushing it)… and too many long nights and an equal amount of sleepless nights… I have my fingers crossed as I hadn’t even thought of trying a different radio until just now!

Now to assemble this lot! But check this out h

Marine Intant Wild – Power Solution

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ImageSo with the cameras being deployed in the ocean with 2 x 50watt solar panels and 2 x 90 amp hour batteries the solution has to be mindful of power consumption, that means turning it off at night for the cameras down below, but for the upstairs satellite solution we want to be checking and sending images at intervals of perhaps 2 hours.

Now with Raspberry Pi you can turn the Pi off in software – but you cant turn it back on again without unplugging the powersource and turning it back on again to boot.

The clever guys at Ciseco came up with a Pi Watchdog solution for us which uses a Humble Pi with a AT Mega 325 and mosfet which will communicate with the Raspberry Pi over I2C to manage the power state.

Spinkle a new EVE board from Ciseco to that and we add a real time clock and a temperature sensor quickly and easily allowing us to time stamp our images accurately and turn the solution off if it gets too hot in the waterproof enclosure!

Amazing solution with off the shelf Ciseco products which are incredibly affordable, if your into anything Raspberry Pi or micro electronic there website is a must look!