The forgotten release: MSP

February 14, 2016

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 it's short for "Mass String Processor" which developed in 2007 to clean up blocks of text after copy-paste operations. actually i'm using online services when i need this kind of text maintenance but my opinion it's duplicate line removal feature still worths it to keep in personal software arsenal.


  

New assignment to Air Freshener

January 02, 2016

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 Few weeks ago i moved to a new place which is bigger than my previous lair. we're decided to install an alarm system and story started from there. actually i got nothing to steal even if a burglar break into my house he probably pity me and lay down some money on the table before leaving with full of tears.

 An average alarm system starting from approx $350~400 in here. that's serious funds if we convert it to local currency. did a quick math with cons & pros and decided to build my own by using an arduino ethernet shield

 First attempt
 After the release of wifi enabled ESP8266 dev boards, ethernet modules even arduino itself getting obsolete. before anybody say "overkill" to arduino+ethernet bundle for this scale of project, i would like to mention it's laying around since two years. anyway, i found an automatic air spray box and installed the pir sensor and arduino board on it which is took two hours. then created a simple sketch based on arduino's ethernet client samples and my growl like desktop notification software "judith" handled the rest of job. i assigned turret sound effects from the game portal just for fun and written a timer code to wake the whole apartment if got room activity after 00:00am.

 False alarms
 Well, that was done in total 3 hours but not effective as i predicted. so next day i updated the sketch by adding an extra error correction feature. pir sensor should triggered at least 25ms in new version. that's worked but still got false alarms from nothing. researched almost everything, spent whole business day to figure out the problem and noticed the inactivity while wifi router rebooting. internet service provider's modem also supports 5ghz wifi which is causes signal interference like cell phones. i used a longer cable and put a distance between router and device and problem solved. at least for next 3 days.

 Corrections & upgrades
 Everything looks good but still got minor lags between movement and notification at pc, in third version i removed all delays from sketch and used time based events. in the most recent code temperature and light sensor data sending in 3 seconds of interval and pir sensor activity pushing to server immediately. also prevent double notifications, i put 300ms delay to each motion event. you can check out the final version in devzone section.

 if i purchase it, probably will costs me about $50~ but currently just taken my two business days. and i can tell it's definitely worth it based on last one week of usage. at least i can aware about who in which room while i'm working on my pc.

 by the way will mention about the backend software in next entry with a "crash-free" version of it.

  

Making of: Yarn Lantern

December 24, 2015

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 Making things not always about inventing something new. it's also about price, actually price tag of similar product motivates more rather than it's unique or not.

 I'm usually purchasing electronics & home appliance from ebay or china based markets due to it's price. few weeks ago i was looking for a simple chandelier. interested with one in a local store but price was extremely high for a non-essential need.

 so, i taken a closer look then go out with 50m straw rope and wood glue instead of original product. few years ago i was seen a youtube video about how to make it and my attempt was quite succeeded based on my guests feedback.

 original product = $80
 handmade version = $9.5
 

 if interested with how to do it, posted an instructables entry about that.


  

100 lux in pocket: Power LED

October 28, 2015

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 in year 2015 maybe we don't have flying cars but got smd leds anyway. i don't know why but people calling it "power led" in turkey and they're almost everywhere. it's cheap, lasts longer and draws lower electricity profile than traditional light bulbs.

 long time ago i modded a garage door remote by implementing eight white leds on it. they're drawing 1.5v each and powered by an 12v A23 battery

 past year i purchased two smd led modules from dealextreme just for upper rounding a shopping cart. after the received package, did an experiment and replaced the white leds on my keychain with this ones. i was guessing battery only lasts about 1 or 2 months with barely use.

 surprise! battery still alive since 1.5 years but somehow half of leds are died. today i'm replaced the module and battery then taken few photos.

 summary: A23 battery+SMD led = brightest & smallest light source ever.


  

Expensive and useless: powerline adapters

July 18, 2015

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 while we're playing counter-strike on winxp machines in about 10 years ago, this powerline things appear in every news article. they was saying "this is the future, companies will sell internet with electricity" etc. but that didn't happen.

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 recently i subscribed to a fiber internet package (oh yes, 25mbps baby) and wasting this available bandwith with a cheap wifi dongle. ofcourse can't see more than 2~3mb/s and it's resetting itself after few hours of hardcore activity such as torrents & video streaming etc.

 instead of falling-back to ethernet cables, researched for more modern solution to save time and get more portability like wifi. and hit to powerline aka homeplug devices. then started to looking for buy one of them. after a minor research, found Belkin AV500 starter kit from ebay. i though it was a good choice based on price/performance. waited 2 weeks of shipping and plugged-in it to wall. but still can't see more than 5mb/s. i said "okay maybe it needs a firmware upgrade" you know usually interrupting a firmware upgrade causes device malfunction. anyway, downloaded the required tools and successfuly upgraded one of them. erm, one of not. i packaged the devices and returned to seller like nothing happen biggrin.gif

 Next month was seen an extremely cheap adapter at a supermarket. It's Aztech HL106E two beer cost, almost free. box label was saying 85mbps, can't resist and purchased again two of them.

 85mbps eh? fuck i can't see more than 500kb/s this time. then started to research again. my dear google says this one was a primitive model of this technology which uses homeplug protocol 1.0 i saying "was" because also returned them even 20km gas costs me more than their price.

 anyway, same day while returning to home i stop by near electrician shop and purchased 50 meters long cat5 cable, drilled the walls and extended one line to tv one line to my workroom. and yes, i can see upto 14mb/s today.

 yay! powerline adapters really saved my time.


  

A story about home automation

June 01, 2015

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 relay circuits are "hello word" projects of electronic prototyping. Long time ago, when got my first computer i created one of them and controlled the desktop peripherals via pc software. this kind of desktop automation can really save your life if you have ADHD or something. first prototype was driven via parallel port and a visual basic application was controlling directly the motherboard resources w/o any kernel driver or something.

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 at the beginning, i realized the this kind of setup causing the electromagnetic interference due to mechanical relays. and eventually causing BSOD. someday i decided to create another relay box from scratch by using PIC16F877 so relay box will be declare the it's independence, as the result we won't need to worry about bsod's. i was controlling it via comport and bundled another PIC controller to reset the circuit in spesific time period. with this setup device can continue to work even if microcontroller frozen or stuck which caused by EMI

 Second attempt was in 2009, i met with the arduino in this year and created same relay box by using uno board and one relay module which purchased from ebay. i was hoping this kind of "ready to use" components will be completely robust and stable instead of my handmade boards.

 But it's not!
 I still messed with EMI problems and headed to another rubbish idea. this time, provided power to +12v relays by using set of +5v small relays which connected to arduino. and one of them was bridged with a bigger relay called contactor which designed to handle heavy electical loads. as the result, i was solved the emi problem by using three level of isolated circuits but wasted 9 relays just for 3 power outlet.

 Modernization
 Here's the starting point of this entry. the second version (black box on the picture) still working without any problem but it's getting obsolete. making too much noise, drawing unnecessary power etc.

 few weeks ago researched the solid state relay modules and decided to create a final version which will lasts about another 10 year. ssr relays are working like mosfets so they're completely emi-free. i purchased a relay module and another arduino board and just connected them together within one hour. then i found the enough time to focus the box design and it's firmware.

 as the result, final version costs me about $35~40 plus two weeks. now it's completely silent, stable and powered directly from usb which cannot draw more than +5v ~ 500 milliamps.

 Assignment
 another software controlling that box to turn on desktop peripherals upon pc boot and turning off them when user away from computer to save energy. actually that's not a big deal but this kind of small details really increasing the life quality and returns as motivation which required for development of more bigger things.

 If interested, it's source code available in devzone section.

  

Refurbishing the obsolete hardware

March 08, 2015

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 I'm using vaio vgn-p13gh since 4 years. as a windows guy, it's very useful for me while working on field. Problem is it's getting obsolete (even sony no more manufacturing electronics today) you need to be fast when you're on mobile.

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 most netbooks uses 1.8 inch hdd including this one. i decided to replace it with a ssd but seems it's not so easy as i thought.
 Choosing the parts
 It's hard to find 1.8 ssd in market. also it will not be cheap even if i found it. Compact flash cards are fast enough as a ssd. they're widely using in professional photography. kingston 266x was my decision due to it's speed and price.

we need a 1.8 zif adapter for that, i found my cure at the dealextreme when i received the package at two months later, even i was forgot that purchase. poor me.

 Installing OS
 Here is the tricky part, cf cards are usually appear as portable/removable drive in operating systems. and windows7 refuses install itself to a removable drive.

There are a lot of firmware tools on web which can convert cf cards to fixed drives. instead of that, i tried to forcibly install win7 via an alternative way and succeeded with that. a guy created an alternative installer for windows which can directly extract the .wim packages to target drive. he's not included the depencies in zip archive but complete toolset is available in here.

 Results
 after the spending $25 plus three hours, got 3x more faster disk access and the annoying mechanical disk sounds are gone. due to nature of cf cards, writing speeds are low but that's acceptable.


  

VR Experiences #2: DIY Rift

December 01, 2014

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 Since i last mentioned about oculus rift at past year, hundreds of commercial & non-commercial oculus clone appeared on web. all big companies rushed into market but there is no any stable consumer product exists yet.

 After I tried a friend's Oculus DK1, decided to purchase it when available. my expectation was a consumer product within next few months or low price used units in ebay at least. because higher price tags doubles the cost due to customs regulations. (xx percent fee)
 
 Anyway, waited a while and decided to build my own kit. Purchased the components at recent summer based on the Rod Furlan's instructions and builded it within 3 weeks including two failed attempts. and i finally catch the original rift experience.
 
 Current unit completely built with same components of DK1, except head tracking thing. i'm not going to play half-life in 540x480 resolution instead of 23" 1080p monitor. so it's not necessary. instead of accelerometer, i installed a magnetometer to it. it's more easy to read single polar bearing rather than complex accelerometer calculations. body kit built with acrylic glass material (the accident, remember?) and bunch of silicon glue. surprisingly it's still under 500gr and tough as hell. i accidentaly dropped it multiple times and not even scratch exists (yet) also integrated a playstation eye webcam for future use, will mention about that in next entries.
 
 Result is $160 cost and 3 weeks of development, enough to watch 3D movies and run tech demos for now. currently still working with software part on my spare times. more updates will be available soon.

  

Air quality sensor upgrade

November 16, 2014

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DSC_0022.jpg

 previously mentioned about an arduino sketch which can gather data from various sensors and push them to my home automation & personal assistant software called "Judith"

 Today i implemented one LDR and BMP180 barometric pressure sensor. LDR's are really old technology, even was exists inside of automatic night lamps at my childhood. i suppose they're just reacting too dark or lighter environment but surprisingly i found this one very sensitive. it can detect light changes step by step while sun goes down at the evenings. currently judith controlling hallway and my rooms light switch based on her own day & night calculations. i will use this data as correction value for cloudly days which light will be needed at a rainy day.

 Bosch's bmp180 barometer unit is really small even exists in motorola xoom tablet. you can calculate approx. altitude from pressure value but i can't get the point why a tablet bundled with a barometer. probably a marketing trick to make it more expensive. By the way, it can also measure temperature but when compared to ds1820b and DHT11 it's value 3 celsius lower than others. probably surrounding metal case causes that. also pressure resolution not too high as described in other diy sites. anyway can be used in weather alert applications at least.

 it's arduino compatible library available in here


  

New face to boot screen

October 25, 2014

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DSC_0002.jpg

 Few weeks ago i decided to upgrade my pc's ram modules, this upgrade was also requires bios update due to a bug of mainboard's (foxconn G41MXE) firmware. anyway downloaded the latest bios, replaced the hardware and spent few more minutes then changed the manufacturer's ugly oem logo. my plan was extraction of image file from bios dump and replace it with another picture which is fits byte to byte.

 before that, surprisingly found a tool which can already do this process automatically within few minutes. if interested it's available in here: AMISuite.zip

 i'm not sure its torrent alive now but at past year (2013) ami bios source code was leaked online from a taiwan based manufacturer's ftp server. also it's available in here. the code is completely ready to compile and well-documented. a great research material for students & modders. you cannot launch your own computer brand like tv show halt and catch fire but free to try non-commercial experiments with it.



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