New PCBs

Today two sets of PCBs arrived from OSH Park. Firstly a breakout board for Kingbright 14 segment LEDs. These are great for very high brightness text display. Secondly a small breakout board for the Maestro A2035-H GPS receiver. This is a capable GPS powered by the SiRFStar IV chipset. It supports NMEA or SPI and can update at 5Hz, which makes it an interesting GPS for sport tracking. I plan on using it for tracking go-karts around an outdoor track.

dogm ST7565 display modules

I wrote previously that I would review a graphic LCD made by dogm, which was provided by the company so I could update my ST7565 library. These can be bought from Mouser for reasonable prices. There are a variety of different screens and various coloured stick on LED backlights, including an RGB one. Below you can see the sample GLCD on a breadboard. It is much smaller than the other ST7565 modules I have, the whole module is 55mm by 45mm and the display area is approximately 50mm by 30mm.

Forcing SSL browsing in Apache

The Apache vhost configuration snippet below will force any non-SSL requests for a website to be rewritten to an HTTPS site instead. This is useful to ensure that clients cannot accidentally browse an insecure site, but they don’t have to remember or bookmark a particular URL. I use it for, click the link to see it in action. ServerName ServerAlias ServerAlias RewriteEngine On RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !on RewriteRule ^/(.

Measuring PIC Vdd with no external components using the FVR

I have written a simple tutorial explaining how to use the PIC fixed voltage reference (FVR) in order to calculate Vdd, using no external components.

It got a bit long for a blog post so can be found here: Measuring PIC Vdd with no external components using the FVR.

Hand SMD assembly and frying pan reflow

People often ask how I assemble SMD boards, the video below is sped up to 20x and demonstrates the process. It takes a few minutes to dab some solder paste on each pad, then parts are placed using anti-magnetic tweezers. Finally the whole lot is carefully put into a frying pan and heated quickly over a gas hob. Don’t share the frying pan with anything else - you don’t want to be mixing solder and your sausages!


Even more bugs that should have died in 2005..!

This time it is Gentoo bug 77873.

Perhaps there are a glut of bored open source developers who have time to devote to bugs that really aren’t very important 😄.

Morse code spooks

After some recent discussions with two friends Rich & Dave I have been playing with WebSDR, decoding all sorts of transmissions using MultiPSK. I have never been particularly interested in amateur or “ham” radio but receiving and decoding signals from around the world is a fun way to pass a cold evening.

There is lots to find: weather information, humorous IRC style chat, worldwide operators trying to reach as far as possible and even digitally coded pictures.

More dead bugs

Another new year, another bug from the past. The last one was from 2007 but this beats it by over a year.

I haven’t used KDE or Konqueror for a few years now, but I hope the resolution of KDE bug 120138 brings happiness to someone.

Neat prototyping boards

Today I received some prototyping boards from Mike at White Wing Logic.  These are a little like stripboard/veroboard on steroids, they have footprints for a number of different surface mount parts and connectors with breakout pads.  I have used breadboard or custom PCBs solely for a few years but increasingly packages are only available in surface mount.

Where bugs go to die

I was surprised today to receive an email about a bug. In itself this isn’t uncommon, but I didn’t remember the bug very well. The bug in question is Wireshark bug #1850. I was using tshark for a work project and lacked the skills to fix it myself. Why was it a surprise? I reported it on 2007-09-17 14:01 PDT. Even allowing for Pacific Daylight Time that’s a rather long time ago.