Using Piklab with Tiny PIC Bootloader

Piklab already has programming interfaces for various programmers, including the Tiny Bootloader. To configure it you must go to "Settings > Configure Programmers... > Tiny Bootloader" and then set your serial port and it's specific settings. In my case, since I use a USB <->Serial TTL Cable (see my previous post on how to make a Low Cost (1,85€) USB to RS232 LVTTL Serial Cable), I configure it with the following data:
  • Port Selection: /dev/ttyUSB0
  • Specific > Port Speed: 19200
  • Specific > Timeout: 300
  • Specific > No of Retries: 5
Get the flash player here:

After inserting all the correct configurations for your serial connection, Click "Apply" and you're ready to go. To program you just have to go to "Programmer > Program". Do not forget to click the Reset button of your development board to reset the PIC and initiate bootloader when you want to program it.

Easy, right? Yes, but it doesn't always work. :( I had it working when I used Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal and some version of Piklab that I can't remember now but since I upgraded to Oneiric Ocelot and a new version of Piklab, the Tiny Bootloader programming interface stopped working. However, there is another easy way to use Tiny Bootloader with Piklab.

CNC Controller Board

In this post I'll make a short description of the CNC controller boards that I'm making available for you to download and use to control your own CNC. I'm posting 3 version of the same board, but only the first one has been really tested and has been working inside my CNC Control Box for a long time now (see my previous post Homemade CNC:TheMaker1). I'm 99% sure that the other boards will work too because they only have minor changes. I'll explain them to you in a few moments.

All the boards are made in Kicad. The design of the boards is based on the CNC3AX designs, but it uses other components that I had available at the moment that I made the board for my CNC. I advise you that I just wanted to get my CNC running, so I didn't make any careful selection of the most appropriate components and I didn't make the math to calculate the best values for the resistors. I just made it with the components that I had laying around. The boards design can be split in three parts:
  1. Isolation - it has Vishay's 6N137 optocouplers to isolate the parallel port from the rest of the circuit;
  2. Drivers - the ST Microelectronics' L297 drive the motors in unipolar mode (if you prefer bipolar you can change the schematics and boards at your will);
  3. Power Interface - a bunch of Vishay's IRL510 N-channel FETs working as switches controlled by the L297 Drivers.

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Hi! In the following lines I'll present a project that has taken a very long time to complete: my homemade CNC machine. From the first tests and tryouts with various materials to the actual machine 2 years have passed. More important stuff always made me delay the development of the CNC. However, I estimate that the total amount of time was 3 weeks. I think CNCs are a big challenge for anyone since it involves a lot of mechanical, electronics and computer engineering (although we can bypass the computer engineering part by using available software). It was a challenge for me, with lots of frustration along the way because of my lack of skill to make the parts with the few tools I had, but now I can happily say "Mission Accomplished!":D.

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Hi! Some time ago I made a post about My Home Lab where I showed a small CNC that I built. In the same post I said that someday I would post some details on the software toolchain and that's exactly what I'm going to do in this post.

The process of using a CNC to make 3D parts follows three simple steps:
    1. Design the parts.
To design the parts I use HeeksCAD. HeeksCAD is a free, open source, CAD application written by Dan Heeks.

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A wild Android phone appears... Huawei Ideos X3

So, last week I was in the lab doing some computer vision programming when my PhD supervisor came in and dropped a Huawei U8510 Ideos X3/Blaze in my table. "I found this on the way. It was on the road being run over by cars. I think you can get some parts from this", he said. At the first moment I thought that yes, I could get some stuff from it, but they would be fairly hard to interface. It had no battery, no back cover, and some scratches in the screen. However, I decided to plug it to the mini USB cable and see if it still worked. Voilá! Ideos logo showing up on the screen and Android booting up!

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It turned on but then the android pattern lock showed up, leaving me locked out. I started searching for a way of bypassing the lock, but no luck. Had to go for a hard reset. Some more searching in Google and finally I found how to root it. When turning the phone on, pressing the power and volume up for a few seconds would bring the boot menu and then it was just a matter of choosing the factory reset option. After a few more seconds I was messing around with the clean Android 2.3.3.