Monday, December 27, 2021

CDL Microcontroller Monday - 2021-12-27


In a lot of ways I'm glad to see 2021 leave and I'm hoping 2022 is better. We'll see but I still have many projects to work on and here are a few.


I recently picked up a Jetson Nano and a camera so I can begin to learn about AI and ML. I have a AI project on Edge Impulse and I'm hoping to learn as much as I can. So far I've followed their guide and I think I've compiled the whole edge-impulse-linux package. But I was reading up on another web page and got completely lost in the terminology. This isn't going to be simple. I did find some good news. It appears that the EPS32 has been added to TensorFlow lite (Announcing TensorFlow Lite Micro ESP32). I'm hoping I can turn the inexpensive ESP32 camera into a cheap presence sensor that won't be triggered by my dogs.

This interesting article on a USB microphone based on a Pi-Pico take the AI/ML to an interesting step further (AI on the USB microphone for the wake word). Another link for TinyML-Audio-for-everyone. This is used to detect a fire alarm but it could be the base for a tea kettle whistle. That interests me. But the point is learning how to use the AI/ML to build something useful and that will get you experience with AI/ML.

Smart Home

Tonight (Dec 27th) I'll keep things simple and just attempt to reprogram the Sonoff ZigBee bridge with Tasmota firmware. I'd like to add this to my demo board and my home so I can add various sensors such as temperature, humidity, motion and light. I've also found an interesting XBee 24 thermostat (RCS TZ20. I've played with these before and they claim compatibility with ZigBee but I have my doubts. Either way I know how to make them work so I can add them to the Demo board and make them work with a faux-HVAC system. So I might add them to the 2022 TCF presentation


My old Ubiquiti ER-LITE has been my working FW for the last few years and I've found it to be flexible and reliable. But it's time to replace it as I need a router that can handle more bandwidth (>1Gbps). So I've picked up a SuperMicro X10SLH-N6-ST031 1U server. I'll load it up with enough memory and a 120G SSD and then use Pfsense as the FW software. I've read a lot of good things about pfsense and a few bad things. But I think it can provide the needed flexibility and power I tend to need. The learning begin sometime next week.

Vintage Computers

For 2022 I have a number of vintage computer projects to work on. I think the first will be my Sardis Technology ST2900. It's a 6809 computer that could run Level I OS-9 or 6809 Flex. I don't have Flex but I do still have the OS-9 disks and I can boot the ST2900 up with NitrOS9. This would be a pretty cool start of the year.

Odds and Ends

I still have a lot of things I have in the back of my mind. Such as a WiFi capacitive touch sensitive switch. I'd like to have that with a dimmer capability. I've already mentioned the ESP32 cameras above. And I have a number of LED 'Bus displays'. These displays would typically have the route information for the bus. I've taken one apart and while not the easiest reverse engineering project it's still quite doable. I might swap out the 8031 for a AVR 89C chip or maybe a PIC32 or ESP32. I'll need to see how complicated the charlie-plexing of the display is. It would be an interesting display for the CDL.

Monday, December 13, 2021

More Smart Home

Tonight (12/13), I'll again be bringing my Smart Home Demo Board to CDL. I'm still fighting with getting Ethernet 0 to lease an IP address (and fall back if it doesn't). Also the Bluetooth serial is driving me crazy! The raspi-config doesn't turn it off. It just enables the 'serial' port (which is Bluetooth). I'm now trying to decide if I can use the Bluetooth port as a serial port. I'll also bring the Sonoff ZigBee to WiFi bridge in hopes of installing the Tasmota firmware. And if I can find the dremel I might be able to cut some crude traces into a spare copper board for my EPS32 touch sensors. I have some on order but I'm interesting in how hard it is to make my won also. I do know about using chemical etch but I'm playing around with the dremel for quick and dirty prototyping. Just a learning experience. Let's face it it's almost as quick to order ready made or DIY a proto board and have it made by a PCB maker. Still good to know the levels of difficulty.

Friday, December 10, 2021

VCF and 2021 Festivus, Yea!

Today the members of VCF will be at InfoAge in Wall Township, NJ (home to the VCF Museum and the Computer Deconstruction Lab) celebrating Festivus! It's our annual event. We'll spend the day eating, drinking, talk vintage computers, repairing them and playing computer games and talking the entire weekend away. I can't wait. :-)

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Frist Post!

Yup, this is the CDL's (Computer Deconstruction Lab) first port (spelled wrong on purpose). We'll post blog entries of what's going on at CDL.

CDL Microcontroller Monday - 2021-12-27

2021/2022 In a lot of ways I'm glad to see 2021 leave and I'm hoping 2022 is better. We'll see but I still have many pr...