The LCD Jeeplug

Getting a LCD display working with a Jeenode is easiest done using a LCD plug – but it took me much longer to get it working than I had expected.

And it all turned out to be a stupid mistake on my side :


If you can see the small potentiometer (on the top right hand side of the main chip) – it’s really difficult to turn, and it controls the contrast. It turned out that it had not moved when I put a screwdriver in and turned it…

At the start I did not solder the correct 3 bridges on the card either….so lessons learnt and so on.

Setting up

I am currently experimenting with setting up – a twitter clone service on our servers, and so far I have learnt 2 major lessons :

– Does not work on osx server (fine on a bog standard osx machine)

– The standard setup needs you to execute a sql query to give any user admin rights

insert into profile_role (profile_id, role) VALUES (1, ‘administrator’);

Barbecue Lodge – I want one

As we are looking at doing some buildingwork on the house I have looked for outbuildings on the web – and came across these barbecue lodges – which may just fit into our garden….

Used in the Arctic by reindeer herders for hundreds of years, these arctic barbecue huts are ideal for any weather – chilly summer evenings or snowy winter days.

Perfect for year-round use, these stunning bbq huts (called Kota in Finland and Grillhouse in America) come in a variety of sizes, the Hare (perfect for cosy romantic gatherings or dinner parties) the Fox which is an excellent lodge for all the family to enjoy, (sleeps three and seats 15 people), to the Reindeer which can comfortably seat 28 for larger functions or wilder parties!


(Click for larger)

[From Traditional Barbecue Lodges made in the UK]

Mango, open source M2M

I’ve just come across Mango – a piece of software that may be of interest to me in my house monitoring experiment:

Mango, open source M2M

Welcome to the home of Mango, the world’s most popular open source Machine-to-Machine (M2M) software (also known as Industrial Control, SCADA, HMI, or domotics). Mango is browser-based, Ajax-enabled M2M software that enables users to access and control electronic sensors, devices, and machines over multiple protocols simultaneously. Easy to download and install on many platforms, Mango provides an interface with which diverse data sources can be created and configured while providing downstream management of user access, alerts, data logging, and automation.


[From Mango, open source M2M]

I got some new headphones/earphones

For years I’ve used a set of ER6 earphones from Etymotic, and overall been reasonably satisfied.

On the negative side it’s very hard to get a good enough fit to get decent bass from the earphones.

On the positive side the mechanical noise reduction (by getting them inserted properly into the ear) is fantastic, your fellow passengers on the train or plane can’t hear what you are listening too – nor are you disturbed by them.

So this time around I went for the new Etymotic HF2 – with a twist, as I now have the option to get a set of custom earbuds made in Guildford (!) to get a perfect fit. But the earbuds cost the same as the HF2’s – turning them into a set of very expensive earphones indeed.

I almost forgot to mention that this includes a microphone for use with the iPhone…

So far I’m pleased, but its only day 2.



New lightsensor (for Arduno etc)

This is a particularily interesting lightsensor – as is reacts to the same range of light as the human eye – and additionally uses a I2C bus that makes interfacing it to a Arduino or a Jeeduino. Indeed the Jeeduino is getting a “shield” that works with this sensor:

The TSL2561 is a light-to-digital converter that transform light intensity to a digital signal output capable of direct I2C interface. The device combines one broadband photodiode (visible plus infrared) and one infrared-responding photodiode on a single CMOS integrated circuit capable of providing a near-photopic response over an effective 20-bit dynamic range (16-bit resolution). Two integrating ADCs convert the photodiode currents to a digital output that represents the irradiance measured on each channel. This digital output can be input to a microprocessor where illuminance (ambient light level) in lux is derived using an empirical formula to approximate the human eye response. The TSL2561 device supports a traditional level style interrupt that remains asserted until the firmware clears it.

[From Advanced Light Sensing Products | TAOS ]


You have to love these guys – I have a powergorilla – with the extra solargorilla for a sunny day (!) – and i can’t fault it. It keeps me watching movies for hours on a plane while powering my laptop, while recharging my iPhone.

So their next product is:

Dead car battery? We’ve got the power…

Introducing the startmonkey – the world’s smallest “jump start” system for car batteries.

In 2009, the RAC were called out a whopping 177,916 times to jumpstart cars! A flat battery was the number 1 reason they were called out for breakdown assistance during last year.

The startmonkey can restart a standard 12 volt car battery between 8 and 10 times on a full charge thanks to its High Energy Dynamic Polymer Battery and it’s packed with high-tech features to give you total peace of mind. The startmonkey has 2 output channels: 1) a 12volt, 120Amp car jump start and 2) a 12volt, 100 watt max, 8Amp DC output for charging your portable gadgets.

startmonkey is easy to use. For the average car with a flat battery, firstly ensure the engine battery is 12 volts (if 5 or 24 volts – DO NOT USE with startmonkey). Check the battery capacity level in the startmonkey and then simply attach the jump leads (red to red, black to black) to your car battery and the startmonkey will automatically start delivering 120 amps of continuous power. Leave the startmonkey for 5-8 seconds, then turn the ignition on your car and your car will start.


(Click for larger)

[From Powertraveller : Buy : startmonkey]