Tuesday, 12 February 2013

HackADay: Better PWM on the Raspberry Pi

Its no big secret that I love making Robots. This normally means I want to be able to control several electric motors at once, which inevitably means I need several computer controlled motor speed controllers.
Normally these would be driven from a PWM (pulse wide modulated) pin on the controller. On a Microchip PIC there are normally three, even more on an Arduino, but the poor old Pi only has one, which makes it as good as useless for many robot projects.
You can get buy by waggling one of the output pins up and down, which is called bit banging apparently, but that uses vast amounts of CPU time, and makes programming other routines far more difficult.
The two guys who contributed to the project mentioned here have been experimenting with all kinds of black magic to do with the direct memory access, it seems clever enough but to be honest I an not familiar enough with the Pi yet to give a valued comment.
My current robot project started before the Pi was available, so it uses an 877 PIC, but for my next I will at least give this idea a quick glance first :)
More details from http://hackaday.com/2013/02/10/better-pwm-on-the-raspberry-pi/
[Via Hackaday]

HackADay: Giant resistor-shaped Ohmmeter

This is absolute genius, an ohmmeter that displays the value of a resistor as a series of color codes on a giant resistor. I am not quite sure why yo can't just read the value from the resistor itself, but I think this is just such a cool gadget :-)
I would love to say that I will make myself one, but I know that will never happen, however I think it would make a superb gift for the electronics nerd in your life.
See http://hackedfrompieces.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/widerstand-ist-zwecklos/ for full details and a video clip.
[Via Hack a day]