Solar USB Charger (DIY)

Monday, July 31st, 2017

Commercial solar USB chargers are expensive.  From the local sporting goods store, a small USB battery with a solar charging augmenting and trickle charging, it was 49.99 US Dollars!  So I decided to go about it my own way.  In this tutorial, I built a 1.44Watt(and earlier a 2.8Watt) compact solar charging with iPhone compatible USB output for less than 25 Dollars.  This might not be a “compete tutorial”, as it is supposed to be inspirational in the DIY fashion, also feel free to ask questions in the comments below if you have questions.

To those who may find it useful, here a tutorial for a regulated, stable, and fairly safe solar charger, with things you may find around your house, or if your fortunate a local fry electronics(RIP Radio Shack).  This is useful for both beach goers and outdoors people in general, and mine works quite well for me.  Just know, that sharp objects and electricity is in use, and I am not liable for any damage to you cause to your property, or yourself or others.  Proceed at your own risk.  That being said, I hope it works well for you!

Parts List

  1. Project enclosure(Free!)
    • Ive built two of them, one of them was in a DVD case, and the smaller one was in a CD case.
  2. Buck Boost Converter aka:  DC-DC converter(Free to 7.99)
    • I found my buck boost converter module in a Car(12vdc) to Lightning Connector(5vdc).  These can be found at most stores, or even around the house.
  3. Solar Pannel(~15.99)
    • Any panel/ combinations of panels could potentialy work, however you are probably going to want to get >7 volts DC @ .2 Ampere.(A good resource for using multiple panels) You also want to test it out, one of my DC-DC converter only worked at 9vdc+ and the other worked as low as 6vdc, so a little bit of testing is required.
      • For one model of the project I used two 4.5vdc@.2223ma to get 9vdc at .223ma(2 Watts)
      • for this revision of the project I used one 7.2vdc@.2ma (1.4 Watts)
  4. Diodes!(.99 and less!)  When dealing with Solar, these do wonders from preventing current back flow.
    • I recommend the 1N4001 or the 1N4148

Tools:

  1. Soldering Iron/Solder
  2. Hammer
  3. Hot Glue& Hot Glue gun(Electrical tape works well too)
  4. Pliers(Helpful for prying connectors apart)
  5. Scissors(useful for striping wires)
  6. Multimeter/Voltmeter

All of the Parts, and some extra perhaps helpful tools:

image-3

The Build:

  1. After locating the parts, And guessing and checking the DC-DC power supply, the build is fairly simple.  The OPSEPP solar panel that I got from Frys had a protruding back.image-2
  2. Remove the 2.1mm barrel plug and expose the strip back the insulation. With the exposed copper twist each lead like a twist tie, but keep them separate! — electrical shorts are a bad.image
  3. So instead of removing the plastic from the back, I measured and outlined and cut a hole in the plastic of the CD case.  WATCH OUT, the plastic used is thin and brittle, use some sort of tape to prevent cracking outside the desired region.image-6Lesson learned.  You can use a drill bit, screwdriver and hammer or a knife.  Be as safe as you feel you need to be.  I am not liable for any injury to you or your property.
  4. Remove the outer plastic from the automobile DC-DC converter and mount with tape(temporary mounting) the module to the inside of the case.  DVD cases have more room to be forgiving so this may not be necessary, but for the CD case model it is for it to fit.  Avoid cutting any wires on the inside of the case. mount The solar panel and image-1
  5. Connect the Diode, and Power to the Boost converter. The Center middle pin of the automobile is the positive whereas the outer side contacts are ground.GraphicSolarUSB
  6. Exchanging connectors–Varies if your charger includes a standard USB output or a specific kind.
  7. Initial Testing!– Before Hot/Super glueing everything in place, you may want to test it
  8. Hot glue and Enjoy!

 

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Straight Key: Morse code keyer

Monday, March 20th, 2017

This is just me showing off.  Bored on evening, I decided to construct a morse code key for my best friend Girlfriend.  I used parts and tooling that I had around my “lab”.  Its dead simple and used as a desk ornament though is capable of operation as a J-38 Style Key.

Parts list.

One aluminum slightly rigid stip.

Block of wood.

Two bolts flat head.  One nut for the bolts

Hacksaw and drill


Instructions

Pattern out a piece of wood .25 inch thick or so.  put a hole in the aluminum strip.  Drill bots into it, in a linear parallel fashion.  Mount on board.

See attached photos.  Any questions just ask. This was built out of junk in an afternoon so not sure what else I can say about it.  For actual use solder leads and a 3.5mm male jack to the bolts for use with something like the 10 dollar 40 meter band kits.

Photos:

 

 

SDRCar

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

///// SDR CAR /////
CardinalSoft
Version 0
Testing
//////////////////

Bill of Materials:
RTL-SDR
Raspberry Pi(A/B/B+/2/3) Associated Monitor or Network Access to preform install
Antenna Adapter or Standalone Antenna
12v to 5v 2Amp DC converter
Micro USB Cord
1x STSP
1x Push Button Switch
2x Raspberry Pi Header attachment clip things
Box to put it all in
3.5mm(Male) to 3.5mm(Male) connector(Car AUX) or headphones(make sure to see step 5 if using headphones)
Description:
An initial version of a Software defined radio scanner for mobile use of an automobiles 12v system or be Portable in a battery operated box.

At some point I will put together an automated system to do all of these things. Once I find a setup that I like.

Currently the scanner needs to be programmed before departure and the Pi will run headless. And can be run off a 5v 3000ma battery for quite some time.

An under clock is recommended if possible. 700 MHz to save battery life. In addition Bluetooth and WiFi are also recommended to be disabled to improve boot time.
Software Steps:
Step 1.

Install RTL_FM

here is the install guide I used:
http://osmocom.org/projects/sdr/wiki/rtl-sdr

Alternatively, “sudo apt-get install rtl_sdr” will also work but is not recommended as it is an older version and will not work for standalone operation for some unknown reason

In addition, once the binaries are compiled in the src directory, copy it to your home folder

cp rtl_fm /home/pi/rtl_fm

*the reason for doing this is that, wherever cmake installs the binary, rc.local can’t find it. By putting it into the Home directory, the program becomes accessible at startup. If anyone has another way please let me know*

Step 2.

Install Sox

on the Raspberry Pi, type:
“sudo apt-get install sox”

Step 3.

In the Scripts directory locate the two files:
localscan.sh
pwrcontrol.py
copy to the User Directory.

cp localscan.sh /home/pi/localscan.sh
cp pwrcontrol.sh /home/pi/pwrcontrol.py

add Universal read write execute to scripts *security risk todo find better*

cd /home/pi/
chmod 755 localscan.sh
chmod 755 pwrcontrol.py
chmod 755 rtl_fm

in the rc.local file, add two lines just after “fi” and before “exit 0”

sudo python /home/pi/pwrcontrol.py
sh localscan.sh

Step 5.
Editing Scanner Area:
Using your favorite text editor, open localscan.sh
Guide of Arguments:
Under RTL-FM:
-m FM = Narrow band FM (12 KHz)
-p 51 = Dongle Error Rate, cheap ones are around 50. Use RTL-Test to find.
-g 40 = Gain. When using different bands (UHF/VHF-Hi/VHF-low) its recommended to use a fixed gain constant, found using RTL-Test. I recommend 70% to 80% of the maximum

-l 50 = Squelch Relative to Gain(*) Important(!) for scanning to work properly a proper squelch value needs to be set. Usually Above the Gain value. Some testing is needed to find a proper value and it changes from dongle to dongle.

-t 0 = Delay before moving to next frequency. By default the RTL-FM software will wait a few ms before hopping to the next frequency. For Type II trunked NFM systems, by setting this to 0 I’ve found it is much better at following a conversation.

-f 146.52M = Frequency in MHz. Add as many as you’d like(Limit 1000 Frequencies)

-s 24k = Sample rate at 24K/2 = 12 KHz wide channel.

-F 0 = High Quality Decoding. Makes Type II systems more understandable, and other frequencies sound better.

Under Play(Sox):
While you can also use FFMPEG to playback the audio, Sox uses far less resources and has far better control of the output.

-r 24k = Must match the output of RTL-FM

highpass 300 = Blocks PL tones and audio frequencies under 300Hz

lowpass 3000 = Blocks any audio over 3000 Hz

the above range of audio used in telephones, and results in clearer decodes and less noise than the full 5KHz allowed.

gain +18 = Audio Gain, Ive set it higher in the raspberry pi, as the Pi’s built in headphone jack is not the greatest in output, this value will and should be adjusted if headphone operation is desired. Or a variable resistor in series with the headphone lead.
———————————————
The Hardware part will be updated as time goes on, and as I get closer to the final revision of hardware

This is currently a work in progress. The current hardware revision is for handheld operation.
Credits
https://www.element14.com/community/docs/DOC-78055/l/adding-a-shutdown-button-to-the-raspberry-pi-b : Power On/Off Script

http://osmocom.org/projects/sdr/wiki/rtl-sdr : RTLSDR Library

http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?coid=1 : Frequency Database
———————————————

Todo:
Automated Install
Automated Setup
Car Power Control

x86 Emulator Reaches the Appstore, and other updates

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Link to download PowerDOS from the iTunes App Store:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/power-dos/id941637818?mt=8  

Not my release, just here to inform the emulation crowd regarding of iDOS 4.  A 3rd party developer has repackaged and released the source code for DOSPAD.  It is in violation of GPL, as the developer did not also release the source code for the slightly modified binary, but I think it is ok to let that slide, due to the possibility of getting your Apple Developer account suspended.  All functions work, iExplorer, iFunbox, or similar transfer utility is necessary to achieve file transfer to the DOS filesystem(Think iDOS 2.0.1).I can verify it works on iOS 7 and should work on iOS 8.  It also supports the higher screen resolution of the 5S and 6+.  MSDOS compatibility is the same, as it is based on dosbox .74.

Secondly, I am posting to say, I am still alive.  Also for those who know me from the NDS Homebrew scene, I have one more work that I plan to release, to say farewell to the scene(probably).  Also, I am thinking of resuming work on the Vynal Project and other related projects(iGB, iZX, iNES emulators).  Perhaps a late spring/early summer release of a new version of iGB would be enjoyable.

That is all.

A Word of Warning (updated)

Monday, April 28th, 2014

My former site where I host most of my projects has been removed, without contact or legitimate reasoning.  The staff of x10 hosting, has not even replied to my numerous emails regarding a read-only FTP download to my site to retrieve my files.  They have seized the domain and all control over the login and FTP.  Control has been transferred to an “Atlantic Coast Fantasy Football League” , to why they would need the URL gb4iphone.x10.mx is beyond me as well.  They have not replied to numerous emails regarding the matter as well. To all those seeking a reliable, webhost, avoid x10 Hosting and their affiliates.Image

As of Today, all work on Vynal, iGB Emu, FreeWifi4myi Teathering, and other projects hosted via x10 Hosting have been officially discontinued and support will not be offered, due to not having recent backups of the files locally.  All open source software hosted via Source forge will remain, but no longer receive active updates.  New projects will be hosted here, if any.  x10 Hosting has had a very un-professional, childish act of surrendering the site to the highest bidder and refusing to at least return my files and work.

EDIT:  I understand that my projects were hosted under the x10 free hosting.  Free being free, and I should have expected the downtime.   Projects listed in this page have all but been discontinued, except for iGBEmu, which I do hope to return at some point(it is still dormant until further notice)

Introducing Vynal

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

I am pleased to show my latest creation Vynal! It started as a portal to host html5 experiments may hopefully expand into a useable platform for users and developers to locate and host non-jailbreak tweaks and  It has been in development since June 2013 and supports all iDevices, regardless of the firmware! Vynal is like an alternative to Cydia, and a less buggy HTML5 App Market.  The selling point is that it does not involve jailbreaking. Vynal is capable of installing (somewhat limited) themes, Apps and more(will not disclose at this moment as it is not ready for public release). There will be a code that apps/themes will have to abide by (no adware) and all apps/themes will have to be tested by a trusted third party or me. The specifications for app install will be available on this site soon. Extensions will also be present, although limited by OS/Webkit, I will create and host (hopefully)open source frameworks and SDK’s for this new distribution outlet, durring the first few months of public trial, all media on the store will be free, although in the coming months, I may implement a store in which apps/tweaks/themes can be purchased for currency. I re-begin work on multiple emulators for consoles  that will run on iOS with BASE64 upload on any non-jail broken devices(over iOS 4.3.x + on emulators because of the Nitro JS engine). I am also willing to host almost any app, as long as it is to vinyl’s guidelines and is less than  50 Megabytes per app, as server space is limited, but this may change in the future. I have already began porting emulators: Gameboy, NES , MSX,ZX Spectrum 48k emulators and many more comming soon!

To The Developers:

Please visit http://gb4iphone.x10.mx/dev/devcenter.html to locate the latest submission guidelines. Also for the sake of saving space, certain libraries will be hosted on a permanent location on the server to prevent duplicates, please keep this in mind when developing apps, and server-side storage is not available for apps specific users, use Offline-Cache Manifest instead, If I do switch servers this may change but as of the time of posting, this is the official implemented guidelines. The included libraries are iWebkit 5.04, jquery-min-1.4.2,nds-web-lib.js ,node.js, and a few more. I hope this branches out into something larger, making un-official tweaks and apps available to iOS users.

To get the 1st beta release of Vynal please check here on 8, August 2013.

woow there, enable images-Vynal Screencapture here.  Vynal screenshot1Vynal screengrab 1

The 300 Megabyte Movie

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

Films are a great form of entertainment suitable for all, however due to limitations on memory and NAND, makes it extremely difficult to bring them along for flights or on the train. Due to apple devices not having external memory(sd), there is an astounding lack of room on the device. The OS on a CDMA iPhone takes up a massive 1GB partition leaving 6.4GB for user storage. This is far too little, as the average iTunes Standard Definition film is 1GB to 3GB with HD films taking up even more space. As an attempt to solve this problem I began experimenting, using ffmpeg, and found what I have found to be good quality and a good starting point for video compression. With the new VLC app making an entrance I also tried other video codecs such as xvid and dvix but the compression size was not enough and It did not support the native Video app in iOS.

For Converting, I used ffmpegX for Snow Lepord, you can use the standard ffmpeg on win32/linux. Once installed with all the libraries, open the ffmpegXprofile at the bottom in the resources folder, these are the settings I use, you are free to change as you wish to increase or decrease the film quality saving space.

Resources:

  • ffmpgX
  • ffmpgX profile for conversion
  • FFMPEG Video encoder details: h.264 video 640×480@780Kbps,19.75 FPS
  • FFMPEG Audio encoder details: Apple ACC audio @ 44100 Hz, 80Kbps Stereo

Results using the settings shown:

1hr 54min video =416megabytes

1h 30 min video= 364megabytes

iGB Emulator: Mobile Controls

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

What stumped me for the longest time was how to implement a fast and working control system on mobile devices. Most Javascript games do not work on mobile devices as they do not have a keyboard that is present 24/7 and not get in the way of the game or app. Most implementations I have seen involve spoofing a keyboard using some clever JS to fake keyboard input. I tried this for the iGB Emulator and noticed a substantial drop in frame rate. Then I decided to go back to basics using something like this, “<input id=”gb_OnKeyDown_Event(e)” type=Button” value”SELECT” onfocus=”this.blur();” onclick=gbPin15&=0xF7/> ” and It works, the current demo is available online at http://gb4iphone.x10.mx/applist.html and the current stable release will be available on the source forge within a week. I have left out Base64 Game loading for the moment because it was too buggy and caused Mobile Safari to crash. I have currently only tested it on iOS 5.1.1 on an iPhone and iPad.

Image

Source is avalible here:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/igbemu/

Update: On iOS 6.1.2, iPhone 4 the emulator frame rate has increased and is sitting around 30-40 FPS, also I have noticed the bug with the keyboard not reseting after the buttons were being pressed, fix will be arriving shortly. Also new features for iOS including uploading your own games locally using a 3rd Party browser with file upload, and Base64 uploading for Mobile Safari users.

iGB Emulator updates

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Well it has been Almost a year since I started the iGB project. It has been a greg experience to learn about the iPhone and JavaScript. During the past few months I have developed basic implementations of game loading through BASE64 and a windows/Mac converter so you can load games directly onto the device. But I have encountered some problems, I cannot develop a controller that works with this emulator, each causing unplayable lag from 20-30fps down to .5-1 frame per second. So if anyone knows any good implementations on iOS can you please post in the comments, open source/ free would be best. My current mobile site is here, it is an older, more stable revision but it works as a tech demo to show proof of progress, the source for this emulator is available on sourceforge.

20130104-185643.jpg

20130104-185655.jpg

Aemula Oldies S Mod Tutorial

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Yes this is a half complete tutorial for getting your own DOS games on a nonjailbroken iphone, made so easy so anybody can complete it! A huge thanks to the developer of aemula and Menneisyss for his work to get custom games on aemula.

Windoze:

1) get Aemula Oldies for iPhone/iPad

2)open aemula and run Commander keen 4(the game)

3)get winimage

4)get iExplore

5)get idoshacker&dd.zip

6)edit stdhdr.ima in winimage and adding the game files, keep in mind you only have 1,312,768 Bytes to work with. once your

7)save the disk image and exit.

8)drag and drop stdhdr.ima on to WinImage2iDOS.bat wait for a Tmpfile.tmp to apear in the directory and idosboot.dump should have 1.44mb

9)rename idosboot.dump to keen4.im1

10)in iExplore go to the path “(idevicename)/applications/aemulaoldies/library/;/”

11)replace keen4.im1 on iexplorer with the one you created on your computer.

12)reboot aemula.

Mac/linux Version comming soon with pictures and possibly a video!