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Re: [smartsockets] Re: Driving the smartsockets- 6 digit clock, scrolling message

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  • Brett Paulin
    Greetings Vince, ... thats a good way of putting it.. I was going to write a reply on your WVO/Car bit, but we d probably better not clag up the smartsockets
    Message 1 of 29 , Sep 28, 2009
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      Greetings Vince,

      > I see, the higher level is easier for us to work with/understand,
      > while the more narrowly defined (and complex to us) code suits the micro better.

      thats a good way of putting it..

      I was going to write a reply on your WVO/Car bit, but we'd probably better not clag up the smartsockets mailing list with off-topic chat for too long. :) If you would like to talk more about that, email me at yahoogroups [at] technomagic.com.au

      I have started discussing some ideas for a SS driver with Chris.. I'm leaning towards a software library for an established open-source platform (Arduino), Chris sounds like he likes the idea of rolling it from scratch.. :) Lets see where that goes.

      Feel free to weigh in with some ideas about what you think would be good attributes (apart from easy to use :) ) and we'll see what condenses out of the vapor,\

      regards

      Brett
    • fixitsan2
      ... Ouch, oh yea of little faith. You sound like my ex wife ! ... Arduino libraries hold little interest for me I m afraid, because I am starting to think that
      Message 2 of 29 , Sep 28, 2009
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        --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, Brett Paulin <yahoogroups@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi Chris,
        >
        > > I recently tried to sell my assembled pile of 'electric car [...] but it looks like the car is staying with me because it didn't sell.
        >
        > Hmm, no offence, but I'm not surprised.. .. ouch you must be a masochist ! :)

        Ouch, oh yea of little faith. You sound like my ex wife !


        >
        > In fact you could take the Smartsockets code, make a board to drive 14segment LED displays (since not everyone will want to use nixies, and the ease of driving the displays with the serial data and transition effects would make LEDs look cool too). and I think it could be quite popular for a number of applications with the arduino library available for users.

        Arduino libraries hold little interest for me I'm afraid, because I am starting to think that it may be possible to produce a high performance master Smartsocket with an integrated USB interface which could be located in position 1, driving the remaining sockets.

        The problem now is that I was contacted this afternoon by a university offering me a last chance to apply for a PhD course in "Electrokinetic Strategies in Microfluidic Devices for Waterborne Pathogen Detection" which if I accept, and with a title like that, I suspect is going to absorb my time for these Smartsocket projects for a good while.

        Unless I get my butt into gear and start now......We'll see !

        Chris
      • v_f_d
        ... In Chris defense, I must confess some interest when I looked at his eBay listing. Of course the fact his project is all the way over in the UK makes it
        Message 3 of 29 , Sep 28, 2009
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          "fixitsan2" <fixitsan@...> wrote:
          > >
          > > > I recently tried to sell my assembled pile of 'electric car [...] but it looks like the car is staying with me because it didn't sell.
          > >
          > >Brett Paulin <yahoogroups@> wrote:
          > >
          > > Hmm, no offence, but I'm not surprised.. .. ouch you must be a masochist ! :)
          > >
          > "fixitsan2" <fixitsan@...> wrote:
          >
          > Ouch, oh yea of little faith. You sound like my ex wife !
          >

          In Chris' defense, I must confess some interest when I looked at his eBay listing. Of course the fact his "project" is all the way over in the UK makes it fairly easy for me to resist. Looks like Chris thinks along some of the smae lines as me- materials that may be less than optimum might still be used, especially if the "price is right". ;)

          Chris, I do hope you can manage to build the device you envision before tackling that class. As you say with a name like that, you will probably be pretty busy for quite a while.

          Best regards,
          Vince
        • Brett Paulin
          ... Aw, I m sorry.. I didnt mean to upset you :) My plan for an EV has Lithium Batteries, An Advanced DC, Warp9 or Kostov Motor at around 200-250v and a Zilla
          Message 4 of 29 , Sep 28, 2009
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            > > > I recently tried to sell my assembled pile of 'electric car [...] but it looks like the car is staying with me because it didn't sell.
            > > Hmm, no offence, but I'm not surprised.. .. ouch you must be a masochist ! :)
            > Ouch, oh yea of little faith. You sound like my ex wife !

            Aw, I'm sorry.. I didnt mean to upset you :)

            My plan for an EV has Lithium Batteries, An Advanced DC, Warp9 or Kostov Motor at around 200-250v and a Zilla or OpenSource Motor controller (Im keeping an eye on the new Silicon Carbide FETs starting to appear ! Theyre going to make some big waves in the ESC World ;) )

            Admittedly thats about $10k worth of gear, but Im thinking daily driver, so I want it to move along snappily. Still, mine is still vapour, yours has at least been started, so despite my sniffing at your vintage gear, you're in front at the moment ! :)

            > Arduino libraries hold little interest for me I'm afraid, because I am starting to think that it may be possible to produce a high performance master Smartsocket with an integrated USB interface which could be located in position 1, driving the remaining sockets.

            Well, that would work too, but I'm not up for designing a new PCB for anything at the moment, got enough projects on the go already, so I like the "software for existing hardware" idea. :) Especially seeing as how that hardware is cheap, open source, has all the bits (USB, serial, Dev Environment etc) needed..

            If you want we could do both.. The tedious part is working out all the command strings for the S.S to look funky, so, if you feel like being creative there, I can wrap them in some C/Wiring code and do the library bit. Unless youre hoping to make a saleable product ? in which case I wouldnt expect you would give away the hard bit for someone to make a free one from :)

            Just for interest, These are my SS's which are hooked up to my PC displaying text with some random effects applied periodically - Heres a Pic, but the SS were in the middle of a random effect transition - hence the gibberish on the display. http://www.technomagic-storage.com/temp/The%20Interface/The%20Interface%201%20dark%20angle.jpg


            > The problem now is that I was contacted this afternoon by a university offering me a last chance to apply for a PhD course in "Electrokinetic Strategies in Microfluidic Devices for Waterborne Pathogen Detection"

            Wow, thats a mouthful alright. An electric water disease detector ? Sounds like the sort of thing a water treatment plant would use. With a title like that, it certainly sounds time consuming ! :) reminds me of "Reflections on the Anomalous Chronological Properties of Plattnerite" ;)

            regards

            Brett
          • fixitsan2
            ... Hi Brett, I understand where you re coming from regards using existing technology platforms, but I always seem to get let down one way or another by their
            Message 5 of 29 , Sep 28, 2009
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              --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, Brett Paulin <yahoogroups@...> wrote:
              >

              Hi Brett, I understand where you're coming from regards using existing technology platforms, but I always seem to get let down one way or another by their limitations ! Perhaps I just need to leaern how to compromise ?

              > If you want we could do both.. The tedious part is working out all the command strings for the S.S to look funky, so, if you feel like being creative there, I can wrap them in some C/Wiring code and do the library bit. Unless youre hoping to make a saleable product ? in which case I wouldnt expect you would give away the hard bit for someone to make a free one from :)
              >
              > Brett

              That's a very kind offer Brett, to which I have no objections if you wish to go down that route. There are far too few SS projects on the go.

              But rather than work out a script which *I* think is good I would sooner give users the opportunity to create their own, and that creates a deliciously appealing problem of how best to create a scripting language which is both powerful and yet one which remains very easy to use !
            • v_f_d
              ... Hey guys, How are you doing? Well, I ve run across a feature that might be nice to add- name/number caller ID. I have found a few references to the task
              Message 6 of 29 , Oct 18, 2009
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                Brett Paulin <yahoogroups@...> wrote:
                >
                > I have started discussing some ideas for a SS driver with Chris..
                >
                > Feel free to weigh in with some ideas about what you think would be good attributes (apart from easy to use :) ) and we'll see what condenses out of the vapor,\
                >

                Hey guys,

                How are you doing?
                Well, I've run across a feature that might be nice to add- name/number caller ID.

                I have found a few references to the task being accomplished with just a PIC or AVR, though the actual implementaion is a bit elusive. It seems most of the old caller ID chips are now obsolete. I could try to hunt through a few old CID boxes, but finding something really useful might be difficult. I can buy the MT8870, but I think it would only decode the calling number. The CMX602B Calling Line Identifier looks good, but I'm not finding it. MC145447P is available and looks pretty good. So is the XR-2211 1200 baud FSK decoder, though it may require more external components/be more difficult to use?
                See: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NEONIXIE-L/message/37015

                Ultimatley, Chris Burtis used a "socket modem" to obtain the ID info from: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NEONIXIE-L/message/39576?o=0&var=1&l=1

                I have a few modems laying around in old Toshiba laptops, that might be used towards this purpose? I may even have a spare for a Dell, I'd have to dig a little.

                What do you think? I might not implement the CID with B-7971s, but rather maybe Chris' IV-17 smartsockets.

                Thanks,
                Vince
              • Brett Paulin
                Hi Vince, I m working on some Arduino Code for controlling John Taylor s I2C SmartNixies at the moment. That will probably keep me busy for the spare time
                Message 7 of 29 , Oct 18, 2009
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                  Hi Vince,

                  I'm working on some Arduino Code for controlling John Taylor's I2C SmartNixies at the moment. That will probably keep me busy for the spare time this week, then I'll look at expanding it to handle alphanumerics and serial (instead of I2C) output to drive the SmartSockets. Probably a week or three away though.

                  Caller-ID sounds like fun, however I'm down here in Australia, which might have different caller-id data than you use.

                  I'm quite experienced with modem circuitry, I know the MT8870 and the XR2211 chips from work on them many a year ago when I used to build custom modems for people (woo, 1200 baud !, although I never used the XR2211 I used to use the AM7910 "World Chip" for most of them.

                  From what I can see caller id is usually based on decoding FSK pulses between 1st and 2nd rings, which means a telephone line interface and isolation circuit, ring detector, the frequency decoder and associated analog circuitry. Likely quite a bit of fiddling about to get all that analog circuitry running smooth.. it might be easier to buy a commerical unit and try and suck the display data out of it somehow

                  Bit of a waste with alphanumeric display capability though. better would be have a PC with modem do the caller-id reception, then you could look it up in the incoming number in a contact book, and feed the matching name out to the smart sockets. If you dont want to be tethered to a PC, you could use a Bluetooth Serial Port between the PC and the display. Then you can easily update the PC program to feed whatever you want to the display. Weather, RSS News, Caller ID, anything. If youre going to use IV17's though, then plain number display is obviously required.

                  Heres my B7971's sitting above the computer screen, although in this photo they are in mid-transition which makes them look a little wacky :)
                  http://www.technomagic.com.au/interface/The%20Interface%201%20dark%20angle.jpg

                  regards

                  Brett
                • v_f_d
                  ... True, I have to make sure I use a chip capable of the correct decoding. Of course all the data sheets make them sound like the best thing since sliced
                  Message 8 of 29 , Oct 18, 2009
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                    Brett Paulin <yahoogroups@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Hi Vince,
                    >
                    > I'm working on some Arduino Code for controlling John Taylor's I2C SmartNixies at the moment...
                    >
                    > Caller-ID sounds like fun, however I'm down here in Australia, which might have different caller-id data than you use.
                    >
                    True, I have to make sure I use a chip capable of the correct decoding. Of course all the data sheets make them sound like the best thing since sliced bread and easy to use.

                    > I'm quite experienced with modem circuitry,...
                    >
                    > From what I can see caller id is usually based on decoding FSK pulses between 1st and 2nd rings,... it might be easier to buy a commerical unit and try and suck the display data out of it somehow.
                    >
                    I'll have to take a look at some of the various laptop modems I have laying around. I also have a currently unused name/number CID unit that could be a donor.

                    > Bit of a waste with alphanumeric display capability though...
                    >
                    (?)
                    Though I used Chris Burtis' wonderful IN-18 (number-only) project as an example, I think his technique [modem/RTC-TCXO/AVR could be used to drive the smartsockets probably even more easily than the 8-bit shift registers he used. I would consider just building his version, as it is a very nice unit, and he even did some cool scrolling and random-looking digit drop-outs. I am expecting some IN-18s to hopefully show up soon. Though if using the B-7971s or IV-17 VFDs, the caller's name could be displayed too.

                    > Heres my B7971's sitting above the computer screen, although in this photo they are in mid-transition which makes them look a little wacky :)
                    > http://www.technomagic.com.au/interface/The%20Interface%201%20dark%20angle.jpg
                    >
                    Yes, I had seen that pic of your desk. I think I'm seeing IN-18s on the left, with IN-12s just to the right, and then the B-7971s. Nice nixie glow going on there. I also see that Charger as wallpaper. I do have to ask though, just how many monitors does a person really need? ;)
                  • Brett Paulin
                    ... The chips themselves usually arent tricky, its the line interfaces and duplexors that tend to be fiddly, although in your case, the modem doesnt need to
                    Message 9 of 29 , Oct 19, 2009
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                      > True, I have to make sure I use a chip capable of the correct decoding. Of course all the data sheets make them sound like the best thing since sliced bread and easy to use.

                      The chips themselves usually arent tricky, its the line interfaces and duplexors that tend to be fiddly, although in your case, the modem doesnt need to transmit and receive simulataneously, so you dont need the bandpass filters and duplexing op-amps that conventional modems need. In fact you arent even actually answering the phone, so you dont need to sink the "sieze current" and might get away with just a line isolation transformer and simple op-amp on the interface side.

                      > > Bit of a waste with alphanumeric display capability though...
                      > (?)

                      Ah, I thought you were using B7971s on SmartSockets, not In18's.

                      > I would consider just building his version, as it is a very nice unit, and he even did some cool
                      > scrolling and random-looking digit > drop-outs. I am expecting some IN-18s to hopefully show up soon.

                      Are In18's hard to get at the moment ? I used to get mine from Tubehobby, but they seem to have dissapeared at the moment.

                      > > http://www.technomagic.com.au/interface/The%20Interface%201%20dark%20angle.jpg
                      >
                      > Yes, I had seen that pic of your desk. I think I'm seeing IN-18s on the left, with IN-12s just to the right, and then the B-7971s.

                      Yes, Theres some In-4's and IN-16s (? I think.. I forget the number, the baby version of the In12) on the other side of the room as well, plus several VFD's and a half built "Super-B7971" behind the door - a 6 foot high B7971's with the segments made out of those plasma-tubes you see inside computers. I was going to make a large smart-sockets driven display for a company, but it was going to work out at around $200/chr so I only ever half made one of them.

                      > I do have to ask though, just how many monitors does a person really need? ;)

                      That depends on how many computers you have. :) There are 5 in this room. 1 older Linux Raid file and mail/chat server for the whole house.. a "test machine" that I fiddle with different operating systems on and also use that monitor for working on clients machines in for repair, currently running a testing Mandriva 2009 Linux, The main central machine which I do most of the work on running Mandriva Linux 2008, a dual screen Win-Xp machine on the right two screens for games and win-only apps, and the laptop which dual boots. The bottom right monitor doesnt actually get used much, its mainly holding up the right side LCD at a comfy height and acting as a post-it-note board :)

                      I did take a picture of them once all running different "Matrix" screen savers but that was years ago when they were all CRT's. I'll have to make a new one sometime. :)
                    • v_f_d
                      Hi Brett, Sounds like you re having lots of fun going on there. Just to be clear, I am wanting to do a B-7971 smartsockets project. I was using the IN-18
                      Message 10 of 29 , Oct 19, 2009
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                        Hi Brett,

                        Sounds like you're having lots of fun going on there.

                        Just to be clear, I am wanting to do a B-7971 smartsockets project. I was using the IN-18 caller ID (number only) as an example, though part of the circuitry would likely adapt well.

                        I do however have some IN-18s on the way. I say "hopefully" since I was one of many who had bought from the seller "Sisimbr" on eBay, and after a month and the excuse that they are "tied up in customs", I have filed for a PayPal refund (which in turn should show up any day). See: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NEONIXIE-L/message/43810?var=1&l=1

                        I did buy more from a seller that is considered to be reputable, so we'll see. Since Sisimbr isn't listing any more, a few other sellers have popped up, but they are considerably higher.

                        I would consider buying a few more and just building Chris Burtis' CID as "number only". It is a sweet looking project and would be very handy for me to see who's calling from anywhere in the room (at least to the point that I would either recognize the number or not).

                        The other thought is that a name/number CID could be built with the IV-17 VFD tubes and smartsockets (though I'm not sure if Chris has actually finished up everything on them?).

                        I would almost buy one of the "Bright Id'er" units to either just use as is, but preferably tie it to a nixie or VFD display. At almost $100.00, it would be a bit expensive to use as a starting point. However, with 16-segment LEDs it might adapt fairly easily to the IV-17 VFDs. Though there could be some, I'm thinking there aren't any digits that would use just one of the two top or bottom segments, so in that case the B7971s could likley be interfaced. However it would require 16 tubes, and that would be a little too big. So, probably yet another project apart from the originally desired B-7971 build.

                        I may have a few more B7971s on the way (never count them before they're actually here). In that case, I would have enough to do a larger display similar to yours. With 10 tubes the name/number CID *could* be implemented in real giant fashion, showing the complete number, and maybe scrolling if the name contained more than 10 characters. It would still be pretty big and I'd have to decide if that would be cool or a little over-the-top. Of course, a little over-the-top is usually cool! ;)

                        Even though I have several old laptops laying around and in the closet not being used, I do really want to end up with a stand-alone device, not tethered to a computer. Just plug it up to a USB cable to enter in the programming (maybe even with the programming adapter that unplugs afterwards), then let it run on it's own. I like the look of this Arduino board, and it is available with a 7805 regulator that would supply all the low votage circuit needs: http://www.wulfden.org/TheShoppe/freeduino/rbbb.shtml

                        I'd even consider moving up to this bad boy if I thought it would be better: http://www.wulfden.org/TheShoppe/freeduino/sanguino.shtml

                        Thanks for all your help. I'm sure with assistance from you, Chris, and other members, I will eventually have something really cool. There's no huge hurry as I too have other things that are more pressing at the moment.

                        BTW, it sure would be nice if we had a way to go back and edit our postings for spelling corrections and to add something. I suppose that just isn't the way this works, being a "message board" sort of thing rather than the "forum" format I'm more familiar with. I'll just have to try to polish up my replies a bit better before I send them. ;)

                        Best regards,
                        Vince
                      • fixitsan2
                        ... Hi Vince, for your and others information the IV-17 sockets are working. I have 4 tubes attached to each controller, multiplexed via a couple of octal
                        Message 11 of 29 , Oct 20, 2009
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                          --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, "v_f_d" <v_f_d@...> wrote:

                          > Thanks for all your help. I'm sure with assistance from you, Chris, and other members, I will eventually have something really cool. >
                          > Best regards,
                          > Vince
                          >


                          Hi Vince, for your and others information the IV-17 sockets are working. I have 4 tubes attached to each controller, multiplexed via a couple of octal drivers and transistors.

                          I have most of the transitions in place, and just need to work on the fonts and custom UDC characters. The snag with the UDC's is that using one controller with a limited amount of eeprom space limits the number of UDC's you can write to the group of 4 tubes to be about the same as for just 1 tube, but I'm seeing this as an acceptable compromise for now.

                          I also need to write the font bit patterns, and some background animations (which are not present on the B7971 or ZM1350 version, but may come later)

                          I'm also at the planning/chip selection stage regarding the smartsockets driver. I have found a nice PIC, the 18F26J50, which has USB, I2C, serial ports, a real tiime clock, and 64kB of memory, and with that I plan to make a deivice which appears as a flash memory stick to your pc, where you copy scripts and word lists to it, and it can drive smartsockets, and John Taylor's Smart Nixie boards, as well as probably having a shift regsiter output too. Hopefully, a 'one chip does all' solution. I expect I will only start with basic smartsocket controls and an implementation of the real time clock/alarm, adding the other features via firmware upgrades as and when I get the time to work on them.


                          PS my spelling is lousy at times too, don't worry , it's content over quality as far as I'm concerned !

                          Chris
                        • fixitsan2
                          ... Before anyone feels the need to correct me... ... I did of course mean quality of content over quality of spelling ! Having finished looking at PICs I
                          Message 12 of 29 , Oct 20, 2009
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                            --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, "fixitsan2" <fixitsan@...> wrote:
                            >
                            >

                            Before anyone feels the need to correct me...

                            >PS my spelling is lousy at times too, don't worry , it's content over >quality as far as I'm concerned !

                            I did of course mean quality of content over quality of spelling !

                            Having finished looking at PICs I think the 18F46J50 is going to be my favoured choice for the Smartsocket controller, given that it looks to have two I2C/SPI channels together with two EUARTS which means it could also drive an I2C sensor/memory device, as well as receive data from a TTL serial source (Perhaps read SMS messages from a mobile phone, or get email headers via ethernet ?)

                            Chris
                          • v_f_d
                            ... Thanks Chris. It was only after making the rookie mistake of deleting my previous post so I could edit it and re-submit a couple of times that it
                            Message 13 of 29 , Oct 20, 2009
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                              --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, "fixitsan2" <fixitsan@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > I did of course mean quality of content over quality of spelling !
                              >
                              Thanks Chris. It was only after making the "rookie" mistake of deleting my previous post so I could edit it and re-submit a couple of times that it occurred to me that though just the most current version would be posted on the message board, everyone receiving e-mails would have three instead of one. Sorry, didn't mean to clog up everyone's inbox!

                              > Having finished looking at PICs I think the 18F46J50 is going to be my favoured choice for the Smartsocket controller,...
                              >
                              Thanks for the updates on both the IV-17 smartsockets and master driver plans. Sounds good to me!

                              Vince
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