Thursday, 14 May 2015

FirePick Delta News - beta testing begins soon

The FirePick Delta (an open source microfactory project) is shipping their Beta hardware!(May 2015)

The FirePick Delta is primarily a pick-and-place robot for assembling circuitboards.  However, it can support many different functions.  The point is to allow hobbyists and small businesses to use a robot to do things that are normally very inefficient and/or not feasible in a small workshop (such as pick-and-place of components, which is using a robot to install tiny electronics onto circuitboards.)

I will be one of the Beta Testers, responsible for assembling the hardware and setting up the software toolchain in order to test things out.  I will be responsible for helping with documentation as well (proper clear documentation).

In the meantime, visit the instagram page from Tin Whiskers to see the hardware all coming together!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

The Cactus Micro - $11 Arduino-compatible with ESP2866 wi-fi integrated

I recently purchased the Cactus Micro (made by - it is available on Tindie as well as through this eBay seller.

I have been quite impressed with this item, especially for $11.  It is an Arduino Micro (same driver as Arduino Leonardo or Lilypad USB) and integrates an ESP8266 wi-fi module on pins 11 and 12 for software serial.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

The LED Checker is pretty dang handy

I recently purchased an LED Checker through  It's a tiny little PCB tool for quickly checking and testing surface mount LEDs.  It was a steal for under $10.

There are traces and pads for just about any size and configuration of LED so you can not only check the polarity but also test for function and brightness.  Surface mount LEDs can be a pain because the polarity markings are not easily visible, and the orientation marking is often on the bottom of the unit.

Speaking of polarity markings on the bottom of SMT LEDs - see that big square pad on the lower right?  Coat it with solder, and it becomes a mirror, for easily inspecting the bottoms of LEDs for those markings!

For under $10 my only regret is that I didn't have one years ago.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Flying with Fat Shark FPV Goggles - First Impressions

Recently I got the chance to fly with some Fat Shark Attitude V2 goggles with head tracker and a matching Pan/Tilt/Roll camera mount.  Here's what I thought about the experience.  Maybe it will help you decide whether it is worth it.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

FPV Flying Gone Roughly

I detailed my setup for FPV (First Person View) RC flying in a recent entry.   I also posted a video of some pretty good flying.

But just in case that makes it look like I actually know what I'm doing, here's evidence that I've never really done this before.  Not all FPV flights go well.  Not all bad flights are disasters, either.  This flight was one that was almost a disaster.

Here's an animated gif-illustrated story of my latest flight.  It was a very cold morning but it appeared to be calm and I was all packed up, so I headed out.

Once I was at the field it was a lot windier than I thought.  I flew anyway.  I barely know what I'm doing.

Monday, 13 October 2014

FPV Video

A short while ago I taught myself how to fly an RC airplane and rigged it up with an FPV (First Person View) video setup, so I can watch from the plane's point of view while I fly.

Here is a youtube video (with the really boring bits edited out) of my first flight using a recorder for the video feed.  The whole flight was on one battery.

Check out my Guide on How To Build and Fly an FPV RC Airplane!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

An FPV RC Setup, or The Guide I Wished I Had

I decided to get into RC aircraft with FPV (first person view) and did it the hard way by learning it all myself.  This is the guide I wished I had when I had started.

I was never interested in RC flying because as far as I was concerned, the plane is the one having all the fun.  FPV changes that by putting a little camera on the plane and letting you fly from the plane's point of view.  Now I can be the one having the fun, and so can you!