Tag Archives: arduino

What Raspberry Pi’s launch day tells us

Raspberry Pi, the $25 / $35 Linux ARM computer, launched yesterday, with 10k units through 2 distributors. The distributors were crushed within minutes, their websites down for hours. There is now just sign up forms to express your interest.

This did not surprise me. For months RP has been a topic of conversations in my tech circles. The statement is typically how many units you’d buy, not whether or not you’d buy one. The moment I can buy 3, I will. I’m hoping, but not entirely optimistic, that I can do that this year.

At $35 this is still $30 less than an ethernet connected arduino, which is impressive. It also makes me wonder if they are adding enough to their unit cost to actually cover the people it takes to make getting these units out to the public possible. Even at double the price, they would have more demand then they knew what to do with.

But I think a more important thing can be said from this, how mainstream the hacker/maker world has become. RP is a DIY platform, and lots of people want it. If they can ever get their supply chain to meet demand they will sell more units than iPhones. Just think about that for a minute. And every one of these running Linux, though every one of these doing something slightly different.

I hope the RP foundation fully embraces the Arduino model, their closest comparator, and make the hardware fully open as well. The community around RP will only be fully unleashed when everyone can manufacture these boards. Given the RP foundation’s goals, this should align very well. A version of these with GPIO would be incredible, because the closest thing is the Beagle Bone, which comes in at $90.

Arduino RGB Testing

Last night I managed to get some more time on the Arduino, getting a basic color rotate working. Youtube video below:

I’m now trying to figure out a reasonable algorithm for generating colors that would simulate the rayleigh scattering that you get at sunset. I think this is going to involve a lot of trial and error to just get something that looks cool. I also need a couple of good turnable pots for dialing in colors. I think I’m going to have to check out The Shack and see what they have.

Things I still need to figure out:

  • The right way to split the 12V in for both the Arduino power and the light power
  • I think I need to add a push button to change modes, and have been thinking about doing color flashes as an indicator of which mode you are in
  • Even with the bias, Green goes bright really quick. I think I need to do some low value analog tests for brightness and calibrate accordingly.
  • The LED strips get a bit hotter than I expected, which I don’t think will be an issue, but is interesting

Overall I’m having a lot of fun with this, and get excited to get an hour or two on it when I get home at nights.


The July MHVLUG meeting (aka Arduino-palooza) is something I’m really looking forward to, if nothing other than it has finally added the extra excuse to kick me into gear to start doing something with the Arduino and RGB led light strips I got last year. The burst of energy at the beginning of squidwrench got me back dusting off my electronics knowledge last year, but after fixing a few things with the new soldering iron, the energy ran out. I put things down, and there they sat.

I’ve got three projects in front of me using Arduino now. The first is this RGB color lamp, which is going to support “dial a color” as well as sunrise and sunset programs. This weekend I managed to figure out enough of the transistor circuit, that the rest is pretty much just programming, and building the right case. I should have that done by the meeting on July 6th.

There are two projects after that. The first is a doorbell project, which I still need to explore the possibilities. Once I know I’m not crazy there I’ll share details. The last is tapping the electronics on my stationary bike at home so that I can get the distance data out of it. That’s probably the most advanced, but something I can work towards.

If you are in the greater Poughkeepsie area on July 6th, you should stop by the Adriannce library auditorium and check out all the really cool Arduino projects people are working on. It should be a blast.

Celebrating Female Engineers

Wired magazine has not been know for women on their covers, and when they are, they were somewhat problematic. At least this month, things are different, and they chose a really spectacular female engineer for their cover.

Limor is the creator of Adafruit Industries, and online store / community for DIY open source electronics. She and her team specifically work on simplifying the electronic designs so they are more approachable by the average person with a soldering iron. She’s been one of the big proponents and drivers of the current Arduino craze, which is vastly expanding the ranks of the people that can make basic interactive electronics.

I love the callback to Rosie the Riveter, for those gentle readers outside the US.