I like using Microsoft’s Hyperlapse Pro application in Windows to make cycling or driving videos a bit easier to absorb. I’ve used it a number of times in Windows 10 without issue. Recently when trying to load a new video, the application would say “Opening Video” and just stay like that indefinitely. Slowing eating all the RAM your computer has to offer.
Initially I though this was because I was loading an hour+ video, so I tried with a 15min version of the same video, but got the same issue. Some googling shows a number of known issues, the suggested resolution is to open Windows Media Player and accept the licences proffered.
However my computer didn’t appear to have WMP installed. So I assumed this was a Windows 7 specific issue. Further searching didn’t reveal anything concrete, so I found a way to install WMP on Windows 10. After this I opened it, accepted the licences and Hyperlapse worked perfectly! I don’t understand what Hyperlapse was doing before hand, and why they don’t have a popup telling you what to do, but that’s the way it is.
Open Windows Media Player and accept licences.
If WMP is not installed, do the following:
Start Menu > Settings > Apps > Apps & Features > optional Features > Add a feature > Windows Media Player
Open Windows Media Player and accept licences.
The Hyperlapse algorithms do a great job of smoothing out moving videos, giving a nice panning motion. Example:
I haven’t had a bedside lamp for a while. I just never bothered. So, on seeing a competition on Hackaday for Circuit Sculptures, and having a sudden surge of inspiration, I decided to give it a go.
My final entry can be found on Hackaday.io here, and in tandem I uploaded all the files to Github here. There’s a brief demo video below, and full gallery at the end.
I only decided to do something a few weeks after the competition had started, so I decided to go fast, make easy decisions and not worry about efficiency, or cost too much. LEDs were the obvious choice for light source, but LEDs are bright and directional, not ideal for a lamp. And so I got it into my head to make a lampshade out of PCBs.
With the number of board fabs offering $5 deals on various PCB sizes and numbers, I figured I’d be able to work something out that wouldn’t be too expensive. I went through a number of iterations on various shapes and sizes before settling on a stacked dodecagon design. The layers would be slightly angled, to allow light to reflect off and hopefully out.
Performing some size optimization to fit into Seeed Studio’s 100x100mm cheap design limitation, I ended up with 8 panels per board. I need 12 panels per layer, and size wise I was hoping for 8 layers. This is 96 panels. Seeed gives you 10 boards, so for one order I’d get 80 panels. Knowing I’d need two orders then, I decided to experiment a bit.
I’d already settled on a white silkscreen, to help reflecting light from within the shade outwards, but for the second design I opted to have no silkscreen, in the hopes of some of the light getting through the boards.
For the outside, after I mentioned this and the design limitations to my wife, she was kind enough to generate several different pattern options, making use of the copper and white silk screen combos. Having recently watched the excellent Technology Connection’s video on olden times touch lamps, I liked the idea of being able to touch the lampshade to turn it on. This would require a conductive surface.
With that out of the way I turned to the electronics. I was going for quick and easy above all else, so settled on a small Arduino type controller. Doing some calculations, I realised I probably wanted a max total LED draw of around 10W. But the circuit sculpture nature of the design means cooling is difficult, so I heavily overspecced some LEDs and LED drivers.
I had a 19V power supply lying around, so worked from there. Although I later realized that the micro I’d chosen had a built in 16->5V regulator, so I could have taken advantage of that.
With the PCBs and electronics on order, I did some rough calcs for how much brass wire I’d need and went straight to McMaster Carr. Thereafter I spent as little time as possible designing some 3D printed jigs to make assembly easier. With mixed results.
Some quick prototyping when the electronics arrived had the lights and my ‘touch’ sensing working. Then it was just waiting for it all to arrive.
Assembly was grueling. For a number a reasons. I started off with the lamp shade rings. These went together fairly easily, and my printed jig made it super easy to solder this and ensure I got the right shape. Trying to attach all 8 levels of the shade together however was difficult. I was using 3mm brass wire, as I figured I’d need something sturdy. This is true, but it makes soldering to it difficult, as it takes a while to heat it up enough to get a decent structural bond. You may notice in my final photos that I got a bit of a slant to my shade as well. This is because I had no tools/jigs to help me keep the rods perpendicular to my lamp rings while soldering. TODO: Reduce use of 3mm brass rods.
Next was the LED rings. I had to do 4 rings of 6 LEDs each. Hexagons, easy enough. I’d 3D printed a jig to help with this assembly. But I got a bit ahead of myself, not spending enough time to center the LEDs on each surface, which made my jig useless, and made connecting the LEDs to each other nightmarish. I had lots of cruddy solder joints and shorts which kept me busy for hours trying to debug. I ended up having to excise one of the rings once everything was all already assembled, completely rework it, and then place it back. Not fun. TODO: Make a better jig
This is definitely not the typical interpretation of a circuit sculpture, and it’s a bit disappointing that the main visible electronics are the Arduino, and a regulator, both of which are soldered in a very non-aesthetically pleasing manner. The LED rings which actually look pretty impressive, if not neat, are hidden away behind the lampshade. That being said, the lampshade was supposed to be pretty. TODO: Plan component layout before soldering.
I had originally intended to have the contacts on the lamp shade be a type of touch sensor to turn the LEDs on and off. Unfortunately, although I put vias on the boards, and all of the boards are soldered together, I failed to connect the vias to the solder bridges. I probably could create additional solder bridges on the outer surface, but instead I opted to just make the frame of the lamp the touch sensor. TODO: Update lampshade PCBs to connect all surfaces.
Another problem is that the lights are suspended almost a foot above the electronics. All that is supporting them are three 1mm brass rods that absolutely mustn’t touch each other. Let’s just say that the lights tend to sway a bit when the lamp is bumped. Very visually appealing, and I haven’t had any shorts yet, but something sturdier is needed. TODO: Improve mounting of LEDs in shade.
Those are the main issues I encountered. It was a lot of fun. As impressive as I’ve always found the Circuit Sculptures in the past, trying to do one yourself definitely gives you a new appreciation for how much work goes into getting one that looks neat.
I took a number of videos as I was building up the different components. When I have some time I’ll try compile them.
We wanted to automate some testing. We had a Nidec Shimpo FG-3008 force gauge that we wanted to capture data from, but no obvious way to get it. Nidec Shimpo do offer their EDMS software that can log and graph data over time, but it can’t be automated.
The force gauge has two connectors, a USB-B port that is used for charging the force gauge and another port that has a serial out (only for connection to a printer) and some output pins that react relative to a set pin.
When connected via USB, the force gauge shows up as a COM port. The EDMS software obviously connects using this port. Connecting a terminal to the port doesn’t show any data streaming, implying a query needs to be sent to the force gauge to trigger a reading.
We eventually figured out that when you send a ‘?’ (0x3f) to the force gauge, it replies with the current force reading in plain text, of length dependent on the number of characters in the measured value, the last character always being a carriage return (0x0d).
Testing with Realterm
With this information, data capture can be easily automated with Python.
ser = ser_obj = serial.Serial("COM4", baudrate=9600, parity=serial.PARITY_NONE, stopbits=serial.STOPBITS_ONE, bytesize=serial.EIGHTBITS, timeout=2)
We purchased a second hand car a few years ago. When we got it, it came with one key, and no keyless entry remote. Some 2008 Hyundai Tucson’s came with a keyless entry remote, but there was no way for me to determine if our car had the necessary hardware. If it did, I could simply purchase a new key and get it re-programmed. However queries with Hyundai only resulted in new-car sales pitches, and I wasn’t going to risk wasting $100 to buy a key and get it re-programmed with no guarantee.
Instead, I installed a garage-remote receiver in my car. The car has central-locking which is triggered by using the key in the door. Using a remote controlled relay, one can send the same signal to the central locking system as the key switch does. I used an old receiver I had lying around, similar to this. There are many different remote control kits available that can be used here. The important things to check are that they will operate off 12 VDC and how much current the receiver uses when idle.
The ETACS (Electronic Time and Alarm Control System) in the Hyundai Tucson draws up to 4mA black current. That is, when the car is off. Ideally you want a receiver with a similar, or lower current draw. My receiver draws about 10mA. Not ideal, but I did the math and determined that as long as we drove the car once every two weeks, we shouldn’t come anywhere near to flattening the battery (less than 2 Ah per week).
The switches in the door keylocks simply short the signal line to ground to trigger locking/unlocking. I chose to use the passenger/assistant door key switch. If you use the driver door key switch, you may have to push the unlock button twice to get it to open, as when unlocking with the key, once has to twist the key twice.
All the connections you need are by the ETACS, and the ETACS also has space around it (in my manual transmission in any case) to mount the receiver.
The ETACS is located below the gear lever. To access it, one has to remove several sections of fascia. You can see how to do that looking at the photos in the below gallery:
Once all the screws are undone, you can remove the last section by pulling it away from the center console. There are hooks, but no clips, so it should come out fairly easily.
The ETACS has three connectors going into it. They are all clipped in place. The below image shows the important pins, as viewed from behind, the connector (direction from which the wires go in), when plugged in.
While your battery is still connected, check the voltage on each of the pins. Battery+ should read around 12.5V, while all the other ones should measure near 0V. Check for continuity between the Ground, Signal Ground and a grounded part of the vehicle. Then you can try locking and unlocking the car, by shorting the signal ground line and the applicable lock/unlock signal.
Once you’ve tested that these function correctly you should disconnect the battery from the car, and then you can unplug the ETACS to connect the necessary wires.
If you have the tools to solder or crimp the connections in, I definitely advise that. I used dual-row screw terminals, although I acknowledge they’re not the best option for auto use. Connect the Battery+ and ground lines to the power connection on your receiver, preferably including an inline fuse.
My receiver has two switches. Both of them are normally open, and when activated will connect two terminals. As such on the one switch I hooked up the lock and signal ground lines, and on the second switch I connected the unlock and signal ground lines.
Once connected, make sure everything is insulated, and connect it back up. Connect your battery again to test out your remote. If it works correctly, find a way to mount your receiver, using foam where applicable to prevent rattling. Add insulation to any of the wires which may rub against sharp edges.