Tech Marinade
Uncovering Hidden Innovation in DIY Electronics
Raspberry Pi Founder Eben Upton Announces New Pi Model
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 7.14.2014 News

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This might be the best Monday in a while! Eben Upton, Raspberry Pi Founder, announced the Raspberry Pi Model B+ today in a blog post. Granted,  this is not a fully new model (one worthy of a new letter), but rather a refinement of the already excellent model B.

The model B+ addresses some of the shortcomings of the previous model. For example, the Pi now supports 4 USB connections instead of two meaning you have more room for peripherals in addition to a mouse and keyboard. The whole package is much tighter as well, with neat, rounded corners, mounting holes, and significantly less port overhang. The electrical properties of the device have been remastered for up to 1 Watt of power savings, better audio, and more robust circuitry.

Why not throw in a couple more GPIO pins while they’re at it? Well, they did.

After all of those upgrades, you would think the bad news would be the price tag. That’s not the case: The model B+ will ship for the same low price of $35!

Recommendation? The B+ is practically the new Model B, so pick one up if you need a new Pi or don’t have one already. The model B will continue to ship as long as there is “industrial demand”.

 

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Add Temperature Sensing to Your Raspberry Pi
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 7.10.2014 News

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We were recently tipped off about a new temperature sensor board for the Raspberry Pi.

The Raspberry Pi Temperature Controller by Robogaia Industries uses a thermocouple, which you can see as the green cord in the image above, to sense temperature around the board. It also includes two motor drivers that can be used in conjunction with temperature sensing. The Pi’s IO pins are pulled through for easy access, as well.

The Kickstarter was successful, so you can pre-order one from the kickstarter page for $49 or purchase a partially assembled version for less.

Get it here!

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Introducing Tech Marinade Guides
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 4.4.2014 Editorial

As a new component of the Tech Marinade experience, we are now introducing informational guides to complement our tech news articles.

Over the next few weeks, we are working to roll out information pages that document every tool and technology available for electronics prototyping to production. Guides will include information on prototyping boards, oscilloscopes, software packages, enclosures, and any other number of items we think you might want to learn about. Think of it as a massive Maker encyclopedia. We hope that this consolidated informational guide will help introduce you to technology that can help you with your projects and make better decisions about the tools you need.

The final format is still undergoing work and there is a lot of content to add. We might open it up to editing in the future, but we feel we need to get the databases primed. It’s an open-ended experience.

Our very first entry is for the Raspberry Pi. Check out the page and tell us what you think!

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Tutorial Roundup #7
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 12.14.2013 Features

This week we dive into a couple home automation tutorials using controlled outlets. Both interact with the outlets using different methods. Try out whichever you like best! Or both!

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On the surface this tutorial is about setting up a home automation system. The goal of the project is to be able to wirelessly control multiple outlets throughout your home. Simple concept, but awesome execution.

See, in this tutorial, you also get to reverse-engineer a wireless protocol and implement a Dickson charge pump. It’s a three-in-one deal.

On the flip-side, this tutorial also requires some competency in oscilloscope usage and C/C++ programming. Tutorial author CalcProgrammer1 explains the project in a generic manner to fit any type of microcontroller setup, but an Arduino Uno would work fine. In fact, using an Arduino would probably be the simplest method because the built-in Serial Monitor in the IDE can roughly replace writing your own command-line software.

In Step 3, it is a little unclear what is meant by “build a switch/case or cascading if/else statement with one of these blocks for each button, using outlet number and switch state as your if/else conditions.” Checking the attached code, it looks like PC program sends two values: the outlet choice and the state, on or off. The switch/case or if/else statements are separated by outlet number and command. Each variation (3 outlets times 2 states in the case of the tutorial’s example) has a unique command broadcast wirelessly.

The example code uses interrupts to acquire the command from the PC, but you could just as easily use a busy-waiting loop.

Overall, this is not a beginner’s tutorial, but it can be very educational.

Read it here.

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The Beast: One Board To Rule Them All
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 11.12.2013 Hacks

“The Beast” is the result of an ambitious summer project by Swiss embedded systems engineer Mathieu Stephen. According to his blog he was given two months during the summer to create a piece of hardware for his father that could fulfill a number of connectivity and sensor control requirements. Mathieu, who goes by the alias “limpkin”, has a history of developing unique embedded devices such as The Whistled, an indoor solar energy harvester, and even a project for Logitech. Instead of using an Arduino or any other pre-fab microcontroller unit, he opted for a homemade approach for The Beast.

Sexy close-up of The Beast. source: limpkin's blog

Sexy close-up of The Beast. source: limpkin’s blog

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