Yesterday was definitely a day of exploration. After testing the slit scan rig during the day (more of that in tomorrow’s post), I drove down to Birmingham, through torrential rain, to the circuit-bending session that I mentioned recently.
It was a long way to go but I enjoyed it, and learned a few useful techniques. Antonio persevered with his toy classroom, with its jaunty little tune and farewell phrase “A B C you later!” and another guy worked away at a Furby, inserting long wires that he could combine from a distance to get some scrambled noises.
And the result of my efforts? I dismantled the percussion beats toy, but despite trying to connect various parts at random to stumble over unusual effects, I didn’t discover any. I turned my attention to the digger and eventually managed to dismantle it to reveal the electronics inside. I wired up an alternative power source to avoid the corroded contacts in the battery bay so that it finally worked, but, like the percussion beats toy, I wasn’t able to do anything interesting with it.
Still, I enjoyed the session. Shame it’s a long way to go. Apparently there may be a similar group starting in the Stoke-on-Trent area, so I may pursue other options closer to home, but I’ll keep in touch with these guys in Birmingham because they run regular sessions as well as hold Processing and Arduino evenings.
For the first time in my life I went to a car boot sale yesterday. But that’s not the significant part. I went with the specific purpose of buying electronic toys to take to my first circuit-bending session. With hindsight, I should perhaps have concentrated on toys that make noise, but in a fairly aimless wander, I bought a digger truck, a steering wheel controller for driving games, and, almost as an afterthought, a percussion-themed touch pad.
I have no idea what, if anything, I could achieve with them, but then I don’t suppose anyone does when they start.
While I was busy at #spacearduino in London, there was much greater geekery going on, at the Maker Faire over in the California. In principle, I like the idea of adapting cars, whether with Lego panels or just general stuff, though I can’t imagine ever doing anything similar to my own car. I can imagine, however, trying to make some artbots, so I had a look round the web and found this collection from 2008. It turns out (though I shouldn’t be surprised) that there’s a lot of these things around.
The breakout board for the touchscreen connector arrived in the post today, but on reading through the project instructions more thoroughly, I’ve come across terms not mentioned in the parts list, such as a “a four-core strip of ribbon cable would come in handy” and “you can solder…” It also talks of some, but not all, touchscreens shipping with a shim attached, which is required to grip the connector cable.
I knew I wasn’t fully taking in the instructions for the project because the cold had muddled my head, but I hadn’t realised just how much. I’ve ordered some ribbon cable, and taken the opportunity to buy a USB A to B cable, to link the Arduino board to my laptop – a requirement I should have spotted a while ago!
I’ve yet to investigate whether my touchscreen has this scrim – I hope I can make it work without resorting to soldering.
The package of parts for the touchscreen project arrived today. Well, I say package – it was just the touchscreen itself and a connector, but I’d failed to appreciate that I need not just the connector but also a breakout board to connect the connector to the rest of the project.
Perhaps it’s just as well. My head’s full of a cold just now, and who knows how much more confusion I could have caused myself while unable to concentrate properly. I’ve found a supplier for the breakout board, so will have to wait a few more days for it to arrive before I can try it out.