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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PIC16F1459 USB Stack Light Controller

    PIC16F1459-based USB industrial stack light controller. Looks pretty but will it work?

PIC16F1459-based USB industrial stack light controller. Looks pretty but will it work?

After using the PIC16F1459 to build numerous USB HID input devices including a giant keyboard, a tiny keyboard, and a big red button, it was time to see if the PIC16F1459 could be used to control outputs too. Sticking with the industrial theme, I chose to build a USB controller for a, um, stack of industrial stack lights.

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Homebrew DMX-Controlled RGB LED Light

Assembled homebrew DMX-controlled RGB LED light fixture.

This project is a small DMX-512 controlled, color-changing RGB LED light. The light can be controlled via the DMX512 protocol or it can run a number of built-in programs depending on how the software is configured. The light incorporates an advanced 16-bit PIC24 microcontroller with PWM capabilities, a 3D printed enclosure, a laser cut acrylic lid, a custom switching power supply, and a MEMS oscillator. The light measures roughly 2.25″ square by 1.25″ high. This light is the evolution of my RGB LED light designs that span back over a decade.

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Piggybacking USB onto an Industrial Push Button

The completed USB-connected big red button.

The completed USB-connected big red button.

In this project, I mount the electronics from my single-key USB keyboard project to the back of an industrial mushroom push button switch. The finished big red button now activates my screensaver with a single overly-large button press. The biggest issues in this project were where to mount the USB electronics and how to connect the USB cable between the button and my computer.

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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.

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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.

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