Friday, July 26, 2013

DP FreePCB Build: XT IDE Disk Controller Part One

A few times a week Dangerous Prototypes does a give away for a free PCB. They have extra PCBs from prototyping that they offer up for grabs so you can try your hand at it. If you complete the build, then you can get another coupon. A few months ago I redeemed my free PCB coupon for the XT IDE Controller. It took some time to get the PCB and to order all of the needed parts, but finally everything was ready for assembly. I have to say this project was anything but cooperative but I finally finished the build. I decided to use a syringe of solder paste and re-flow it, which can be tricky without a stencil. Hence the uncooperative part.

The board with solder paste, awaiting parts.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

MSGEQ7, SFE, and LED Matrix Links

I have been wanting to play with the MSGEQ7 that Sparkfun sells. The MSGEQ7 is a graphic equalizer display filter that splits the audio into 7 bands and outputs via an analog signal. So in my last order, I decided to toss in the SFE shield with the MSGEQ7. This shield is all ready to go and it can analyze right and left audio channels. I am using it with a Arduino Leonardo.

Now I just need a way to display the output. What better way than using 2 LED Matrix Links?! You find them in our Tindie shop and they make it really easy to drive 8x8 LED Matrix displays. The kit comes with everything you need, just add your Arduino\Compatible micro and you are ready to go.

After an evening of coding I came up with a way to display the Left and Right channels, one per display. I started with the example from this site: and I was then able to code the rest to take the analog data and display it.

Here is a quick video on how it turned out.

The only thing left is to have the option of transposing it so it displays horizontally. This still needs to be done using the setRow function. If you use the setColumn otherwise, it will update too slow.

Code is on Github:

Sunday, July 14, 2013


We're dreaming of sunshine over here (it's cloudy and misty on our peninsula), so to give us some glimmer - we're having our SUMMER SO BRIGHT SALE! Make your summer a little brighter with our LED Matrix Links!

Click the image to check it out! Or jump ahead to see it in action...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

LED Matrix Display: Final Completed Pictures

Wow, I cannot believe that it's been over two months now since my wedding. It all happened so fast, as most people will say. We had a great time, and even though we had some mishaps (a vendor was a no-show), everything else came together for the most part. Remember the LED Matrix Display? Well I wanted to share some photos of how it turned out. My best friend and also best man, Warren, was able to help build an enclosure for the LED Matrix display before the wedding.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sparkfun ISP Pogo Adapter

Each Friday, Sparkfun uploads a new video showcasing some of their recent products. One of June 28th's new products was an ISP adapter that uses Pogo pins. This is great for programming multiple boards or if you just want to load the boot loader without soldering headers.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Another Toaster Reflow Oven Part One

As Friedcircuits grows, the need to produce more at once increases. Before making the OLED backpacks I was hand soldering each product. During the development and fundraiser stages, I figured it would be a good idea to look into a better way to manufacture them. After researching and talking to a few people, I decided to go with a custom-built reflow oven. Well, really, it’s a converted toaster oven, just modified to suit my needs. I used resources from across the Web that I’d like to bring together in one post as well as my experience.