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34Instructables925,756Views335CommentsFairfax, VAJoined June 21st, 2012
Jack of All Trades, Master of One: Being Me!

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  • IoT Motion Controlled Servos

    That's a fairly strange question, but I suppose the advantage is learning new technologies and improving your understanding of things (and it's fun). Disadvantage is that it is hard, will take time, and there's a decent amount of parts to buy. Also, some of the 3rd party code (like the Leap Motion SDK) is no longer available, so you'd have to find a replacement..

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  • RV Awning Tension Adjustment

    I would imagine so. Being a new fabric, it should be tighter than what you replaced. The old one was likely sagging down and pulling the arms down with it. However, I'd think you would have at least some tension unless you messed up the spring when you were replacing the fabric. Be careful if you mess with that at all - it can shoot out the side of the awning at you and cause serious damage!

    I had the same problem as well. It sometimes helped to slightly pull down on the awning roll manually to release tension on the mechanism before the switch would flip. Often, I had to hang on to the awning with one hand and hit the switch with something to get it to go. Never fixed that issue... Good luck!

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  • Direct Reading of LCD Using General Purpose IO

    A very interesting concept indeed. Without a logic analyzer to see the signals, using delayed LEDs to see what segments are what is about the next best thing, but I imagine the decoding process is going to be the same at that point. One point - I'm only using an analog input as a comparator for a single COM line for timing and synchronizing. All of the other data lines are digital inputs. Yes, the LCD lines are analog, but the swing is plenty big enough to trigger the digital inputs of the MCU.Are you positive about that ratio of COM to data lines? 2 to 37 seems insane. I can't imagine why they didn't use more COM lines to reduce the number of data lines, unless they couldn't get the screen to refresh fast enough. Still, that's 39 lines to produce 74 total segments. In my scale, there a...

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    A very interesting concept indeed. Without a logic analyzer to see the signals, using delayed LEDs to see what segments are what is about the next best thing, but I imagine the decoding process is going to be the same at that point. One point - I'm only using an analog input as a comparator for a single COM line for timing and synchronizing. All of the other data lines are digital inputs. Yes, the LCD lines are analog, but the swing is plenty big enough to trigger the digital inputs of the MCU.Are you positive about that ratio of COM to data lines? 2 to 37 seems insane. I can't imagine why they didn't use more COM lines to reduce the number of data lines, unless they couldn't get the screen to refresh fast enough. Still, that's 39 lines to produce 74 total segments. In my scale, there are 4 COM and 12 data, so 16 lines produce 48 segments. 2 more COM lines would allow my scale to control 72 segments with only 18 total wires; however, it would reduce the screen refresh rate by 50%, unless they also increased the COM frequency (hopefully that make sense... the more segments you multiplex, the longer it takes to get through all of them).Do note, using the LEDs to visually see the segments might not work because the frequency of the screen. Those COM lines are changing numerous times per second, so control of the data lines is also switching back and forth. Thus, in real time, those data lines are like schrodinger's cat - off and on at the same time.

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  • Direct Reading of LCD Using General Purpose IO

    Hello. If you did happen to have the datasheet for the LCD, it should tell you what the COM lines are as well as which control lines map to which segments. That should make it all a lot easier, but actually reading the the segments would be identical to what I did here. There is no firmware to be available for the screen unless you mean that of whatever is driving the screen, which could be used to decipher the segments, but parsing that would likely be just as daunting as my described method.Raspberry Pi is running an operating system (usually a derivative of Linux) and is thus very abstracted from the hardware. Because of this, you will have some difficulty getting the pin timing to work. A program on the Pi (even written in the ultra slow python) might not have a problem collecting d...

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    Hello. If you did happen to have the datasheet for the LCD, it should tell you what the COM lines are as well as which control lines map to which segments. That should make it all a lot easier, but actually reading the the segments would be identical to what I did here. There is no firmware to be available for the screen unless you mean that of whatever is driving the screen, which could be used to decipher the segments, but parsing that would likely be just as daunting as my described method.Raspberry Pi is running an operating system (usually a derivative of Linux) and is thus very abstracted from the hardware. Because of this, you will have some difficulty getting the pin timing to work. A program on the Pi (even written in the ultra slow python) might not have a problem collecting data at the slower speeds of the screen (~ 8 ms per COM line in my case), but it will be difficult to sample the data at precise regular intervals. Without a hardware interrupt from the COM lines, you will have no way to know when to sample the lines. Using sleep or delay calls will be wildly unreliable. This is easily done on a regular microcontroller with interrupts.In my opinion, you would really need an external circuit like mine to read the LCD data, which can then package that data however you like and transmit it to the PI using UART or I2C upon request from the Pi.

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  • Buick Instrument Panel Cluster Repair

    Hi, the entire fix can be done in an hour or less, given you have the correct tools at hand, and are used to doing similar work (disassembly, soldering, reassembly).

    Hi, I'm sorry for my late reply. I'm afraid I don't know what is causing your issues. It sounds like you might have a lose connection if indicators and/or lights turn on and off while driving, but it's difficult to say what or where. With regard to the warning indicators, sometimes they must be reset by holding a button in the fuse panel. I wish you good luck!

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  • Direct Reading of LCD Using General Purpose IO

    Yes, with a Logic Analyzer or O-Scope, it would take a LOT of guess and check! What all are you powering from 60Hz, the device with the LCD screen, the circuit / scope to read the data/pins, or both? My LCD COM lines had a 32ms period (31.25 Hz). The scale had an internal DC voltage regulator for the screen and circuitry, but was powered from an AC wall plug. 60Hz noise would definitely interfere with those signals. Are you sure you aren't introducing that noise by monitoring the pins? What are you using to monitor the pins? Do the LCD and your scope share a common ground line (they should)?

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  • Blogger Categorical Post Tabs

    I'm glad it worked for you; happy blogging!

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  • Buick Instrument Panel Cluster Repair

    Thanks for the additional tips!

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  • RV Awning Tension Adjustment

    Hi, I'm sorry I can't help you with that issue. I made this guide because you should never mess with the springs directly unless you really know what you're doing. You can damage the mechanisms, or worse, really hurt yourself if the spring or parts shoot out of the channel. You will have to find someone who can help you in person; it's not always an easy fix.

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  • Buick Instrument Panel Cluster Repair

    Hi, sorry for the late reply... The power rating (watts) is what the resistor can safely dissipate as heat without melting. Here's some equations:P = I * VI = V / RP = V^2 / RP = Power, V = Voltage, I = Current, R = ResistanceWe're using 150 Ohm resistors (4 in parallel, so the equivalent resistance is 37.5 ohms). If there was 12V across the resistance, that's 0.96 Watts, but I highly doubt this is the case (and given that my Buick continued to work for years after this fix backs up that assumption). More likely, the signals are at most 5V DC, hence, there might be 0.167 Watts dissipated in each resistor, so 0.25 W (1/4) is sufficient. I could have powered the IPC to double check, but I'm confident in that rating.Also, I believe the resistors that were originally on the board were only ...

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    Hi, sorry for the late reply... The power rating (watts) is what the resistor can safely dissipate as heat without melting. Here's some equations:P = I * VI = V / RP = V^2 / RP = Power, V = Voltage, I = Current, R = ResistanceWe're using 150 Ohm resistors (4 in parallel, so the equivalent resistance is 37.5 ohms). If there was 12V across the resistance, that's 0.96 Watts, but I highly doubt this is the case (and given that my Buick continued to work for years after this fix backs up that assumption). More likely, the signals are at most 5V DC, hence, there might be 0.167 Watts dissipated in each resistor, so 0.25 W (1/4) is sufficient. I could have powered the IPC to double check, but I'm confident in that rating.Also, I believe the resistors that were originally on the board were only 1/4 Watt, (you can tell by how fat they are), so there's that to boost my confidence.

    Hey, glad to hear it!

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  • RV Awning Tension Adjustment

    Fantastic! I'm glad it worked for you.

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  • Buick Instrument Panel Cluster Repair

    Sorry to hear that... I'm not sure if the IPC has anything to do with the reverse light function, but I bet it does since that's just switch triggered from your gear selector. Double check the IPC connections, and that the front and back panels of the IPC are completely pressed together. If you're sure the bulbs aren't burned out, and all of the other lights are working, it's likely a loose connection somewhere.

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  • Kurt E. Clothier commented on Kurt E. Clothier's instructable Truck Bed Utility Rack1 year ago
    Truck Bed Utility Rack

    Thanks! And yes, that was my intention. We traveled in an RV, and I stored the bundle of conduit on the RV roof with our kayaks.

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  • Kurt E. Clothier commented on Kurt E. Clothier's instructable Truck Bed Utility Rack1 year ago
    Truck Bed Utility Rack

    It looks great - awesome work! Make sure to check on the clamps every so often, they will vibrate loose over time. I put a few self-tapping screws through the ones in the up-right posts to keep them from sliding down.

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  • Kurt E. Clothier commented on Kurt E. Clothier's instructable United States Photo Map1 year ago
    United States Photo Map

    scammy websites - it happens.Try this link: http://www.getpaint.net/index.htmlIf all of your downloads are getting redirected to iTunes, you likely have some malware to get rid of. Although, iTunes is kind of like malware.

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  • Kurt E. Clothier commented on Kurt E. Clothier's instructable United States Photo Map1 year ago
    United States Photo Map

    Well, for that the individual photo resolutions wouldn't be as important as the map itself is (unless you are printing a REALLY big picture!).Paint.net defaults to 96 pixels per inch, so an 8.5 x 11 picture would need to be at least 816 x 1056 pixels. However, I would recommend at least doubling that resolution such that it is scaled down when you go to print it. What's more important is that aspect ratio - it needs to be set for whatever print size or else the print will be squeezed or stretched to fit the print size (picture printers are not always good at adding blank space to prevent this from happening).But like I said, those numbers are for the entire map as a whole. The pictures of any given state won't need to be near that high of resolution. I think you'll find that the default...

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    Well, for that the individual photo resolutions wouldn't be as important as the map itself is (unless you are printing a REALLY big picture!).Paint.net defaults to 96 pixels per inch, so an 8.5 x 11 picture would need to be at least 816 x 1056 pixels. However, I would recommend at least doubling that resolution such that it is scaled down when you go to print it. What's more important is that aspect ratio - it needs to be set for whatever print size or else the print will be squeezed or stretched to fit the print size (picture printers are not always good at adding blank space to prevent this from happening).But like I said, those numbers are for the entire map as a whole. The pictures of any given state won't need to be near that high of resolution. I think you'll find that the default resolutions for any modern smart phone or digital camera are plenty big for most any purpose. I typically resize my own pictures at home after I upload them to the computer to save on storage space. When will I need to print a billboard sized picture?

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  • Kurt E. Clothier commented on Kurt E. Clothier's instructable United States Photo Map1 year ago
    United States Photo Map

    Well, there are two ways to do it that I can think of.1) You can repeat steps 9 - 14 for the images you want to put in a single state - place each image in its own layer [CTRL + SHIFT + v]. (You might only want to select a portion of the image with the selection tools and paste that since you will be limited on space.) Then move and adjust them individually on the map. You can resize them from here too by dragging the corners of the highlighted image area. I recommend holding [SHIFT] while you drag a corner which will maintain the aspect ratio (width : height) as you drag the corner. When you are happy with the arrangement of the images, merge them all into one layer before moving on to Step 15. (On the "layers" tool box, the fourth button from the left is the "merge"...

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    Well, there are two ways to do it that I can think of.1) You can repeat steps 9 - 14 for the images you want to put in a single state - place each image in its own layer [CTRL + SHIFT + v]. (You might only want to select a portion of the image with the selection tools and paste that since you will be limited on space.) Then move and adjust them individually on the map. You can resize them from here too by dragging the corners of the highlighted image area. I recommend holding [SHIFT] while you drag a corner which will maintain the aspect ratio (width : height) as you drag the corner. When you are happy with the arrangement of the images, merge them all into one layer before moving on to Step 15. (On the "layers" tool box, the fourth button from the left is the "merge" button which will merge the current layer with whatever layer is below it.) 2) Pause after Step 8 above. You can expand the canvas of one image [CTRL + SHIFT + r] to increase the image width of height. Then paste the other image(s) you want to use into new layers of the first image. Move them all around and resize them as you like. Merge all of these image layers into one, and then continue with this merged image into step 9.I actually did method 2 in the example picture I gave you because it's a bit faster, but for the best layout I would recommend method 1 because you can see how each image will fit into the state boundary. I also highly recommended you make a copy of the .pdn map file so you have a backup. Then you can play around with method 1 without worrying about ruining whatever you've already done. Similarly, make copies of any image files you are altering so you don't accidentally save changes to them and mess up the original image.I don't really have time to demonstrate this as a proper instructable at the moment, so hopefully you can get it from what I've said here!

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  • Kurt E. Clothier commented on Kurt E. Clothier's instructable United States Photo Map1 year ago
    United States Photo Map

    That would be really fun, and you would definitely need to split up a states like CA that have so many teams.You can definitely do that - it's all just image manipulation. It all depends on how you'd want to split the state, like having two pictures stacked, then outline the both of them. This doesn't look particularly good, but I just did it as a quick example:

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  • Zener Diode Shunt Regulator

    If I understand what you're asking, you are saying that VCC would be charging a super cap, so the current through R1 is in the opposite direction of my schematic.Like my circuit, there will always be current flowing through R1, but in your circuit it would often be very minimal. Similarly, there will always be current flowing through the Diode, even when it's value is not reached - it's called leakage current, and you'd have to consult a datasheet for an actual value, but I've seen it range from pico to micro amps.As for actually charging the cap, the diode would serve no purpose. Capacitors will store as much potential as they can (and explode if you go above their rated value). If the cap has 2V, and you attach it to a 3.3V line, it will immediately draw current until it is also 3.3V....

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    If I understand what you're asking, you are saying that VCC would be charging a super cap, so the current through R1 is in the opposite direction of my schematic.Like my circuit, there will always be current flowing through R1, but in your circuit it would often be very minimal. Similarly, there will always be current flowing through the Diode, even when it's value is not reached - it's called leakage current, and you'd have to consult a datasheet for an actual value, but I've seen it range from pico to micro amps.As for actually charging the cap, the diode would serve no purpose. Capacitors will store as much potential as they can (and explode if you go above their rated value). If the cap has 2V, and you attach it to a 3.3V line, it will immediately draw current until it is also 3.3V. You can calculate how long this takes if you know the voltage differential (3.3 -2), the capacity (Farads), line/load resistance, and possibly the maximum discharge rate of your source VCC.If you then connect the cap to a 5V source, it will draw more current until it reaches 5V. It will NOT go above 5V, because that is all the potential available to it. However, the circuit I have shown is for providing a zero-current reference or regulating source voltages, and it is a good trick when your source could vary between an acceptable potential and something a bit too high (like 4 rechargeable batteries at 1.2V each vs 4 alkaline batteries at 1.5V each.). This circuit is not meant for charging purposes of any kind.Lastly, connecting a 2V source to a 3.3V zener diode would have essentially no effect, except for the tiny leakage current I talked about earlier.

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  • Buick Instrument Panel Cluster Repair

    Electrical issues can be confusing...It might help to know the year and model car you have, and more importantly, the brand and product number of the installed stereo.The stereo absolutely MUST be grounded. That doesn't mean you have to ground the metal stereo chassis to the car chassis, but there MUST be a ground connection to the car chassis somewhere. Sometimes it's in a separate harness with accessory and and constant 12V, sometimes it's in the harness with the speaker wires.The stereo wire colors are not a standard. You cannot just go by those alone. Most reputable brands stick to similar things, but not always - it's a bit of a mess. Consult the manual on what the wires actually do, and if you used the receiver harness already in the car, those colors usually are standard (and fou...

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    Electrical issues can be confusing...It might help to know the year and model car you have, and more importantly, the brand and product number of the installed stereo.The stereo absolutely MUST be grounded. That doesn't mean you have to ground the metal stereo chassis to the car chassis, but there MUST be a ground connection to the car chassis somewhere. Sometimes it's in a separate harness with accessory and and constant 12V, sometimes it's in the harness with the speaker wires.The stereo wire colors are not a standard. You cannot just go by those alone. Most reputable brands stick to similar things, but not always - it's a bit of a mess. Consult the manual on what the wires actually do, and if you used the receiver harness already in the car, those colors usually are standard (and found on the internet).How did you connect the stereo wires to the car wire harness? Solder? Crimp tubes? Twist them together and tape over them (I've seen people do this enough to warrant me asking...)? The antenna connection is usually just a plug/jack (like a bigger headphone jack).As for the power, typically, it is a red wire that is "switched power" so it is only on when your key is on (also called accessory power). This is what actually powers the stereo. The constant power is typically a yellow wire, and it is wired to a constant (fused) power source and keeps your radio from losing its settings (time, favorite stations, etc - although, the auto industry is decades behind when it comes to this technology). You should take a volt meter and measure these power source.Have the dash lights always turned on a while after you start the car? That's common in a lot of cars, but I want to make sure it isn't a new thing.Without me able to physically inspect things, there isn't much else I can do for you. If can double check the stereo manual for connections, but that's about it. It might be time to take it into a car audio shop (that does installations) for help. If it really is some other external power issue, it needs to be taken care of by a professional.

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  • Buick Instrument Panel Cluster Repair

    Well, this doesn't have anything to do with the instrument panel cluster, but I have done a bit of work with stereos and other auto wiring harnesses.Who installed the stereo? How do you know it is wired correctly?Stereos typically need three power connections: Always On 12V (essentially, straight from the battery with an inline fuse), Accessory (12V Only when key is on), and Ground (to the car chassis). There is absolutely no reason any sort of "power surges" or "redirects" would take place if it is wired correctly, unless you also installed a high power amplifier or something else that the alternator cannot generate enough current to keep running. Given that your radio works with the headlights (which will draw significantly more power than the radio does), I doubt ...

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    Well, this doesn't have anything to do with the instrument panel cluster, but I have done a bit of work with stereos and other auto wiring harnesses.Who installed the stereo? How do you know it is wired correctly?Stereos typically need three power connections: Always On 12V (essentially, straight from the battery with an inline fuse), Accessory (12V Only when key is on), and Ground (to the car chassis). There is absolutely no reason any sort of "power surges" or "redirects" would take place if it is wired correctly, unless you also installed a high power amplifier or something else that the alternator cannot generate enough current to keep running. Given that your radio works with the headlights (which will draw significantly more power than the radio does), I doubt that is happening.In the harness that connects the stereo to your speakers and accessories, there is also typically a wire that goes to your dash lights. This is for the illumination of the stereo display to change with your dash light brightness. In my opinion, this wire is not connected to the right thing, so when your dash lights kick on, the stereo is shutting off as a safety precaution. Sometimes electronic devices have a component that act like a circuit breaker and trips when too much current passes (called an MCB). They will automatically reset after so often (so you don't have to do it manually like the breaker panel in a home).In my opinion, either the stereo is installed incorrectly, or you have some other short in a wiring harness. I once had a cluster of wires overheat and fuse together, but this completely drained my battery overnight.

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  • Team Valor Light Up Badge for Pokemon GO

    Awesome little project, and thanks for the shout out! For anyone interested, here's the inspiration for the Hot-Glue-LED combo: https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Large-LED-Lit-...Also, team Mystic, represent!

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