Presenting the Single ESC Key USB Keyboard!

The single ESC key USB keyboard.

The single ESC key USB keyboard.

After building the “awesomely impractical” giant three-key keyboard, I decided it was time to build something a bit more practical—presenting the single ESC key USB keyboard! This keyboard has exactly one function which is to provide an optimal ESCing experience regardless of whatever keyboard you normally use. In exchange for giving up a USB port, you get a dedicated tactile, clicky Cherry MX blue ESC key.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Presenting the Single ESC Key USB Keyboard!

The November 2017 Opposition to Fort Collins Municipal Broadband

Below the fold are 14 images that sum up the nonsense we fought ($901,000 vs our $15,000) in Fort Collins to get muni broadband in 2017. Very disingenuous opposition hoping to spread profound misinformation.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The November 2017 Opposition to Fort Collins Municipal Broadband

Building a Giant USB Three Key Mechanical Keyboard

The giant three key USB keyboard with an aluminum frame.

The completed giant USB three key mechanical keyboard.

After seeing this giant mechanical keyboard at Adafruit, I decided I had to build my own. Adafruit made theirs out of wood and used one of their Python-compatible microcontroller boards. I wanted a sloped top on my keyboard. I also wanted to check out what was new with Microchip’s USB device stack. I decided to build my keyboard out of aluminum and use a PIC18 microcontroller.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Building a Giant USB Three Key Mechanical Keyboard

An Arrow $29 FPGA Board and the 48-Segment RGB LED Bar Graph

The 48-segment RGB LED board connected to the Arrow/Trenz MAX1000 FPGA board.

The 48-segment RGB LED board connected to the Arrow/Trenz MAX1000 FPGA board.

The 48-segment RGB LED bar graph is back. In previous posts, I wrote about using a Teensy 3.2 board and a Digilent Arty board to drive the bar graph. This time I’m driving the bar graph with a $29 Arrow / Trenz Electronics MAX1000 FPGA board. This board has a small Intel / Altera MAX10 FPGA and a few peripherals on it and is more than capable of driving the bar graph too.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on An Arrow $29 FPGA Board and the 48-Segment RGB LED Bar Graph

February 6th Comments to Loveland City Council

These are the public comments I made to Loveland City Council on February 6 before the vote on the first reading of four ordinances concerning the building of a municipal broadband network in their city. Click through to read my comments.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on February 6th Comments to Loveland City Council

PIC18 Four-Channel DMX Relay Controller

PIC18F1320-based, four-channel DMX Relay Controller

A four-channel DMX relay controller based on a PIC18F1320.

Halloween was right around the corner and I needed a timer with a bunch of relays to trigger some store-bought props and a fog machine periodically. (Mental note: read fog machine specs carefully—not all come with timer remotes.) My first thought was an Arduino and cheap relay board. Second thought was to build something with a micro and some relays. Third thought was that if I’m going to build something, might as well add DMX and package it up into a neat enclosure. Hence, the four channel DMX-controlled relay project was born.

Continue reading

Posted in CNC Milling, DMX Protocol, Fusion 360, Microchip, PIC18 | Comments Off on PIC18 Four-Channel DMX Relay Controller

Driving a 48-Segment RGB LED Bar Graph with a Teensy 3.2

A Teensy 3.2 driving a SparkFun 48-segment RGB LED bar graph display using the hardware built in a previous post.

A Teensy 3.2 driving a SparkFun 48-segment RGB LED bar graph display using the hardware built in a previous post.

In my post Driving a SparkFun 48-Segment RGB LED Bar Graph, I stated that the hardware built there could be used to drive the LED bar graph with any combination of hardware and software that could drive one of the common 32×32 or 32×16 RGB LED matrices. Today I’m back to prove that point. In this post, I ditch the FPGA and drive the 48-segment RGB LED bar graph using a Teensy 3.2 board and the Pixelmatix SmartMatrix 3 library.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Driving a 48-Segment RGB LED Bar Graph with a Teensy 3.2

My Net Neutrality Comments for Proceeding 17-108

I finished writing my comments to the FCC on net neutrality and Title II classification. In summary, I fully support maintaining the existing Title II classification and using that classification to enforce the existing net neutrality rules. Click through to read my full comments in all their gory detail.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on My Net Neutrality Comments for Proceeding 17-108

Creating Custom 3D Printed LED Bar Graphs

Three different bar graphs built using Matlab, Eagle, Fusion 360, and 3D printing.

Three different bar graphs built using Matlab, Eagle, Fusion 360, and 3D printing.

While building my zombie containment unit, I decided I wanted some LED displays or bar graphs to complement the containment status video running on the smaller secondary video monitor. Some other containment units used LED air pressure gauges from eBay. I wanted to achieve a similar look, but I also wanted my gauge to be software controllable so I could change the number of segments lit in response to events in the playback of the two videos. I decided it was time to build my own LED bar graphs.

Continue reading

Posted in 3D Printing, Fusion 360, Matlab | Comments Off on Creating Custom 3D Printed LED Bar Graphs

Hacking Allen Bradley Cluster Pilot Lights

01-title-picture-v2

LED and driver boards used to turn bulky, current-hungry Allen Bradley incandescent cluster pilot lights into something more hacker friendly.

I was recently working on a project and wanted to incorporate one of Allen Bradley’s four-position, four-color cluster pilot lights into the project. A quick search of eBay found several lights with the lens colors I wanted but not at the voltage I wanted. Furthermore, the lights were all incandescent and illuminating just a single segment would pull almost 200mA at 6V. That’s a bit more current and voltage than I could supply from a 3.3V microcontroller or FPGA pin. I went ahead and ordered a few complete lights that had the colored lenses I wanted and hoped I could find some way to replace the incandescent bulbs with current-sipping LEDs.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Hacking Allen Bradley Cluster Pilot Lights