Project Update + Amazing Mechanism + Need an RTOS? - Embedded.com

Project Update + Amazing Mechanism + Need an RTOS?

Well, things are currently bouncing along in Max's World (where the colors are brighter, the butterflies are bigger, the birds sing sweeter, and the beer is plentiful and cold). For example, do you recall this video showing the prototype for the spectrum analyzer board for my Bodacious Acoustic Diagnostic Astoundingly Superior Spectromatic (BADASS) Display?

Well, a couple of weeks ago, my chum Duane Benson took my original circuit and created a jolly tasty Arduino shield for me as shown below (Duane is going to offer these boards on his SteelPuppet.com website).

The weekend before last, I populated this little beauty and verified that it worked as planned; then, this weekend that's just past, I installed the little scamp into my BADASS Display. As you can see in this video, it all functions amazingly well.

Actually, I'm really rather proud of this, because I use the same display function to create all of the effects shown in the video, and this function contains only 10 lines of code. Now that we’ve got the base level working, there are all sorts of visual effects I want to play with, but we can return to those in a future column.

Meanwhile, our Capriciously Cunning Chronograph Competition is starting to pick up steam. In addition to Duane, Ivan, and myself, Embedded.com and EETimes.com community member Elizabeth Simon says she is going to make one. Also, I heard from my chum Steve Manley in the UK that he's ordered the parts to build his own incarnation of this tasty timepiece.

As an aside, someone suggested that I use the same sound card for the BADASS Display to give my clock a music display capability. Duane did send me a spare card, so this may well be a possibility.

Actually, Ivan has been making a lot of progress while I've been distracted by my BADASS display. He's set up some sort of scheduling mechanism that allows him to request actions to take place at certain times without having to use delays. This is making me wonder whether I should implement a really simple real-time operating system (RTOS) in my chronograph.

The only downside to this cunning plan is that I don’t have a clue what I'm doing. Fortunately, one of the sessions I'm hosting at ESC Boston next week (May 6 and 7) is the RTOS Smackdown, so I'm hoping to pick up some useful RTOS-related tips and tricks there.

But wait, there's more, because progress is also being made on my Inamorata Prognostication Engine project. The last time we talked about this little rascal, I'd just created a prototyping jig and populated the control panels with my antique meters and knobs and switches as shown below.

Well, just this morning, I heard from my master carpenter chum, who we'll call Bob (because that's his name), that he'd finished the cabinet for the Ultra-Macho Prognostication Engine, which sits on top of the main Inamorata Prognostication Engine.

I raced down to pick this up and bring it back to my office this lunchtime. You can see how it looks in the images below. The main cabinet is from an antique radio circa 1929. Bob's addition — including the four hand-carved rosettes — is the box sitting on top. I have to say that this has come out way better than I ever expected; it really looks as though these two cabinets were created together.

Last, but not least, Bruce, who sits in the office next to mine, just sent me this link to website that boasts a rather amazing mechanism as shown below.

The website takes a little while to load, but it's worth the wait; once the site has loaded, scroll down a little way until you reach the video. Ooh! I would so like one of these little beauties here in my office, but I've promised myself that I'm not going to start any more projects until I've finished the ones I'm currently working on. How about you? Are you working on anything interesting that you'd care to share with the rest of us?

20 thoughts on “Project Update + Amazing Mechanism + Need an RTOS?

  1. “To emulate the SAMTLSFABRIKEN equipment you could re-purpose your comptometer. Looks sort of familiar. nnAnd I will swear that the little wheel at the top right hand side looks just like a typewriter ribbon spool.”

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  2. “I've moved the BADASS Display into the bay outside my office (to clear the decks for action on my other projects at home) — people keep on standing around looking at it and listening to the music — several have said that they'd like to borrow it for par

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  3. “Max, the cabinet looks really great, your so luck to have someone that can do that kind of work for you.nnThanks for the mention re: the Capriciously Cunning Chronograph Competition. Yes I ordered the parts, and directly from Adafruit in an attempt to s

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  4. “Other Projects Iu2019m working on or thinking about:nAs you may remember from when we met in November, I have a 16×12 panel I built last year made up of WS8201 pixels that works rather well with 2 of the MSGEQ7 chips. My panel is nowhere near as ornate

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  5. “Re the cabinet — I routed out the front panel for the display and control panels and for the NeoPixels. My chum Bob made the surrounding cabinet, and another chum Phil did the staining because that's what he does professionally.”

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  6. “If you do use your lathe to make a jig for the 60, 24, and 12-element rings, I could really use one myself (said Max with an ingratiating smile).”

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  7. “I'm still waiting for your final column talking about the software for your 8x8x8 cube. When I saw it in the flesh when I came to the UK last November I was drooling with desire. I have the LEDs to build my own, but it's in the back burner while I finish

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  8. “So I started off with a 4x4x4 cube, which prompted you to leapfrog over me and build your 8x8x8 cube. Now that I have the parts for an 8x8x cube, you are telling me that you're going to make an even bigger and better one. I can't keep up!”

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  9. “So you're the one who got the last of the 24 and 12 pixel rings….nnI'm going to use my Handibot to make a mount for the LED rings. I'll need to practice at making something that's a bit too big for it though. The problem is I need a jig to make a jig

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  10. “Ah yes probably, and I don't even live in the US, sorry about that LOL.nnNothing like making a jig to build something more accurately. I'd love a 3D printer and some decent and easy to use software to design the jigs then print them out so I have even b

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