Monday, April 29, 2013

Destroyed the SD card socket in my Raspberry Pi.

Micro SD adapter mounted in the Raspberry Pi

When it rains,  it poors! For the first week, I have been chasing a bug on the Raspberry Pi. Where keystrokes from the USB keyboard are missing or are duplicated continously .  This bug is caused by low or no power on your USB hub. Since I have a 2 amp powered hub, I have tried changing devices looking for something that was shorted or power hungry that could be causing it.  The problem was intermittent, so I would have to wait for it to occur to try and solve it. Today it happened, so I replaced the keyboard (yet again) and started wiggling wires. I pulled too hard and yanked it from its case while the sd card was installed. The Raspberry Pi came out of the case ripping the Sd card mounts clips off.  It will no longer hold an sd card. Without an sd card it would not boot!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Arduino Bot is hot... Wait, no.. IT'S ON FIRE!!

For 3 nights I stayed up till 3am trying to figure out the insane wiring on this thing and trying to get everything correct. Finally completed it today, typed in some sample code and get ready to test it.  I flip the switch,  The lights come on, a good sign... Then they all go out.  A couple seconds to see if anything is going to happen and....  Nothing.  Damn,  now I have to trouble-shoot and do more research. But wait,  what is that I smell?  Plastic burning?  Yep I smell plastic!  Now I see smoke coming from the wiring/mounting holes.  The power is off so what the heck?  I see more and more smoke coming from the motor compartment and can't get to it because I tightened all the cover screws!  A race to get the cover off and remove the batteries before the whole thing goes up.

Arduino Mega 2560 + Raspberry Pi experimental platform

First experiment with a mobile platform using the Raspberry Pi and the Arduino mega 2560.  The kit comes from and is a very basic starter kit with the mega 2560, motor driver board and the sensor shield as well as most of the car parts themselves. I purchased them from for about $80 each.  Not bad when the Mega alone sells for $60+ bucks.

Raspberry Pi Installed!


Ran into a few problems before even getting into the programming.  I have been reading several books on python while waiting for a delivery of arduino and parts to build a robot.  Anyhow every time I have tried to enter code or update the system, strange things have been happening.  The first keyboard I kept missing keys or getting certain keys stuck in the buffer. so I replaced the keyboard and it seemed to correct the problem.  For the last 2 days I kept trying to download software to install hardware or update the Raspberry Pi itself. My internet connection kept crapping out after 3-4% of a file. (could not keep an internet connection for more than a few minutes)

The journey begins... Into the Raspberry Pi hole!

I am a 45-year-old father of one with very little experience in programming and even less experience in electronics. My programming experience is limited to C64 and Timex Sinclair 1000 basic when both machines were new and state-of-the-art during my teen years.
Fast forward 25 years and my son wants a Raspberry Pi computer. Helping him set it up and things just start sparking and growing in my mind. The more I explore this device, the more I imagine what it could be used for. Now I own my own RPI setup and have started to explore it as a complete and utter novice.
I understand the device was designed to introduce children into the world of micro-controllers, but I can see it has much more potential. As an older adult, I think it is harder to teach ourselves and to grasp the ideas behind new technologies. But this little device and the community that supports it make it a very powerful learning platform. So I decided to document some of my adventures into the world of this tiny micro controller and see what I can create and unlock. Hopefully you will be able get something out of my experience and insights.
With grand ideas of web-connected robots and RPI controlled CNC or 3d printers to fabricate parts for prototypes, this will prove to be an exciting learning experience for "this old dog".
Well, here we go. Enjoy the ride!