A Controller for a Dalibor Farny R|Z568M Nixie Tube

power-data-works

The Nixie tube connected to the socket / driver board and the socket / driver board connected to the upside down power / controller board.

The first in this series of posts described building a socket and driver board for a Dalibor Farny R|Z568M Nixie tube and driving the tube using a power supply and Particle Photon from another Nixie project. This post covers building a power supply and controller board that mounts underneath the socket and driver board to power the Nixie tube and control the displayed digits.

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A Socket for a Dalibor Farny R|Z568M Nixie Tube

I recently ordered one of Dalibor Farny’s R|Z568M Nixie tubes. I wanted to get the tube powered up and displaying digits so I designed a small circuit board to act as a socket and switch the anode and digit cathodes on and off. This board will connect later to another board containing a 170 volt power supply and a microcontroller via some headers. Read on to find out more about the design of the socket and switch board.

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Reverse Engineering the iColor Flex Protocol

Hanging a bunch of iColor Flex LMX string lights on the house for Halloween.

Hanging a bunch of iColor Flex LMX string lights on the house for Halloween. These are quite visible even though it’s still daylight out!

Back in the early 2000’s–at least a decade before there were Neopixels or WS2812b LEDs–Color Kinetics introduced flexible color changing LED string lights. Each string contained fifty RGB color changing nodes. Each node contained an RGB LED and a custom ASIC. The nodes were strung along at either 4″ or 12″ spacing along a three conductor cable. The cable connected back to a power data supply that powered the nodes and translated the light level data from either DMX-512 or Ethernet UDP packets into the proprietary protocol used by the nodes. Today we’re going to reverse engineer that proprietary protocol.

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PIC16F1459 USB Volume Knob

The completed USB volume knob project. It uses an off-the-shelf knob and a PIC16F1459 microcontroller. The enclosure is 3D printed.

The completed USB volume knob. The 3D printed enclosure houses a custom board design, a PIC16F1459 microcontroller, and an optical encoder. The knob itself is an aluminum off-the-shelf component from TE Connectivity.

The PIC16F1459 is proving to be quite the versatile part when it comes to building USB devices. Previously, I’ve used it to upgrade my giant keyboard, various flavors of one-key keyboards, a USB-controlled industrial stack light, and an annoying CAPS LOCK warning buzzer.  In this project, I’m going to use the PIC16F1459 to build a USB volume knob that works similarly to the volume keys on some USB keyboards. Read on to find out more about the design of the USB volume knob.

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Updates to the Annoying CAPS LOCK Warning Buzzer

Some minor updates to the annoying caps lock warning buzzer.

Some new additions to the annoying caps lock warning buzzer (circled in green).

In my first post on the Annoying CAPS LOCK Warning Buzzer, I concluded with a list of future improvements to make to the project. Those updates are now implemented and the Annoying CAPS LOCK Warning Buzzer is more robust than ever. Read on to find out more about the improvements.

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Fort Collins Connexion FTTH Construction – Part Two

The business end of a horizontal drilling machine's drill head.

The business end of a horizontal drilling machine’s drill head.

In part one of this series of posts, we covered the broadband launch, the start of construction in my neighborhood, the vaults and flowerpots, utility locates and dig ins, and conduit. In part two, we’re going to look at putting the conduit in the ground using horizontal directional drilling and then we’ll continue to document everything as construction moves forward. Read on to hear more about the process as the build in my neighborhood continues.

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The Annoying CAPS LOCK Warning Buzzer

The only way to make CAPS LOCK even more annoying was to make it audible! Now never type a password in all upper case, join 500 lines together in vi, or turn a harmless forum post into an ANGRY SCREED without warning again! This project uses a PIC16F1459 to monitor the USB output report containing the CAPS LOCK status from the connected PC. When CAPS LOCK is enabled, the PIC turns on an annoying warning buzzer. Read on to build your own.

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Fort Collins Connexion FTTH Construction – Part One

Splice vault. Bicycle not included. Notice the fancy Fort Collins Connexion and City of Fort Collins logos?

Splice vault. Bicycle not included. Notice the fancy Fort Collins Connexion and City of Fort Collins logos?

This post if the first in a series of post that describe the installation of the Fort Collins Connexion municipal broadband service. I’ll append new information to the bottom of the post whenever something happens on my street. When the post gets too long, I’ll start a new post. Work has been going on in the northwest corner of my neighborhood since the end of July. It’s only in the last week that activity has started happening on my street. Read on to hear more about the process.

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Control the Bicycle Traffic Signal with a Particle Photon

Control the bicycle traffic signal over Wi-Fi using a Particle Photon.

Control the bicycle traffic signal over Wi-Fi using a Particle Photon.

In the first post in this series, we built a miniature LED bicycle traffic signal using 3D printing, laser cutting, a sticker, and an Adafruit Neopixel Jewel. In this post, we’ll look at bringing the signal to life using a Particle Photon. We’ll start with basic code to blink the traffic signal green, yellow, and red then add code to control the color over the web using the Particle Cloud or locally using an iPad and the Art-Net protocol.

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Build a Mini LED Bicycle Traffic Signal

Completed bicycle traffic signal cycling through traditional traffic light colors.

Completed bicycle traffic signal cycling through traditional traffic light colors. This is the older, narrower version of the hood.

This is the first in a series of posts describing how to build a Wi-Fi enabled bicycle traffic signal. In this first part, we’ll go over the required parts, using a 3D printing and laser cutting service to build the needed mechanical components, and assembling the traffic signal. In the second and third posts, we’ll connect the bicycle traffic signal to a Particle Photon and Adafruit Feather M0 Wi-Fi respectively to enable the traffic signal to be controlled via Wi-Fi. In the final post, we’ll build our own control electronics, add a small base to house the new electronics, and expand the signal to three lights.

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