Meetings – 2018

Friday the 14th of December 2018 Meeting Proceedings

Not all SAMG members were available for a midweek BBQ, however several were looking forward to attending a combined SAMG/PIC User Group/Adelaide Microcontroller Group BBQ set for Tuesday the 18th December at the Buttery Sports Ground Norwood.

Cliff had been working on interfacing a colour TFT LCD utilising the ST7735 chipset to the ATMega328p.   He stepped us though code he had compiled and the reasons for his method selection.  There was much analysis on the displays performance and methods of interface.   He plans to do more on this project and upload the code to the projects section of the SAMG Website.

This is the same display as used with component tester project.

Peter had previously distributed the schematic and source for the Component Tester he had previously traced out and suggested several modifications for discussion at this meeting.  Lots of ideas were bandied about and all yet to be tested.  The source was compiled using a Makefile with AVR-GCC within a Bash Terminal window. He had also installed Code::Blocks and Geany IDEs on a Pine64 running a 64 bit ARM version of Ubuntu which was used to compile the “Trendy” version of the component tester source.

David had taken a different approach using the latest “generic version” of the component tester source with Atmel Studio 7 installed on Windows 10.

David, Kevin and Peter shared notes on progress with the project so far which included flashing the microcontroller with the USBAsp and setting the fuses on the ATMega328p.

A fun evening was had by all.

Friday the 9th November 2018 Meeting Proceedings

End of year Barbeque was discussed and it was agreed that we have a combined BBQ at the Croquet Club 259 Portrush road Norwood.  Start time 6:30 pm
Rick M presented Part 1-An introduction to the evolution and flavours of Linux.
We are looking forward to further presentations on Linux.
A Steering Committee was formed and David and Kevin will investigate the purchase of a Mic and Video Camera and will report back on their findings.
Cliff Shirra gave a short presentation of the ATMega328p USART in SPI mode.

Friday the 12th of October 2018 Meeting Proceedings

Friday’s meeting ended up being very interesting. Peter G went through the requirements for setting up a computer running Windows 10© to program an Atmega328p development board via an USBASP. It was seen to be quite straightforward using available driver and driver installation software. Peter also went on to describe the use of a FTDI (USB to serial TTL) so we could use Arduino IDE serial monitor. In effect the USBASP was used to program the Atmega328p via ISP and the FTDI was connected to the Rx and Tx pins of the micro so our computers could monitor various occurrences.

Some people brought in other programmers for other types of micro-controllers.

Chris B demonstrated his ability to test individual memory locations on memory chips using his own firmware on a STM micro

Cliff S went though some very rudimentary fuse settings. It is seen attached data sheets to the various electronic devices are a valuable tool to be referenced when necessary.

Kevin Z suggested that now most have constructed their Component/Transistor tester we should investigate recompiling and extending its features to test Zener diodes.

Adam W did a brief follow up on his ongoing “popcorn” project, modbus and RS485

Friday the 14th of September Meeting Agenda

  • SAMG website – content – presentation and layout – improvements – member projects
  • Reflecting on the past few years – what did you enjoy – what would you like to see more of -ESP8266 –ESP32 –STM –R/Pi – Pine64 -UDOO –PIC –Bus Pirate -Saleae
  • What are your personal projects – what projects would you like to participate in either individually or as a group
  • It has been suggested that we revive the ATMega328 – Yes back to basics – members thoughts and ATMega328 projects
  • Lapel microphone. Webcam for online video.
  • Move of SAMG start time to 7:30pm
  • Presentation on PCB manufacture – Cliff Shirra
  • Member Ad hock presentations

Friday the 14th of September 2018 Meeting Minutes

Meeting Opened 7:30 pm

Members Present: Rick Heindenreich, Adam Webb, Chris Burrows, Mark Spooner, Howard Harvey, Wayne Sierke, John O’Sullivan, Thomas Loo, David Zerk, Colin Huckel, Phil Kocent, Rick Matthews, Graeme Wilson.

Chairman: Cliff Shirra
Secretary/Treasurer: Peter Gheude
Apologies: Eric Clarke, Gordon Crawford
Agenda Items:
SAMG website content – presentation and layout – improvements – member projects

Reflecting on the past few years – what did you enjoy – what would you like to see more of -ESP8266 –ESP32 –STM –R/Pi – Pine64 -UDOO –PIC –Bus Pirate -Saleae
What are your personal projects – what projects would you like to participate in either individually or as a group
It has been suggested that we revive the ATMega328 – Yes back to basics – members thoughts and ATMega328 projects
Lapel microphone. Webcam for online video.
Move of SAMG start time to 7:30pm
Presentation on PCB manufacture – Cliff Shirra
Member Ad hock presentations

Preamble: The feedback and input contributed by all SAMG members was very positive which led to some further clarification with respect to our diverse needs and wants as a club and personally.

Regarding our website Website administrator Graeme Wilson has been actively reviewing and changing our website to make it more relevant to the public and members.

Discussion on SAMG website included suggestion to move to alternative product called BootStrap.

It was agreed however, that a simplification of the site’s menu structure (site-mapping) would be beneficial and content to be focused on club activity only.

WordPress would remain as it is the easiest to maintain at this time as it is used by 75% of similar websites.

It is “work in progress” and the site will change and progress continually to make it relevant and pleasing to navigate and use.

Past, present and future reflections with club topics and projects

It was noted most members were satisfied in most areas.

It was mentioned that we could:
Take a closer look at utilising STM32 (Bluepill)
Since many of us have a PINE64, possibly revisiting Linux (Rick M has generously volunteered to further our education in this area and will start his presentations on the 9th of November this year)

Personal or Group Projects

Group or Individual suggestions:

  • It was mentioned that we could look at monitoring, retrieving and re-purposing Weather Balloon radiosondes (either re-flashing or trying to decode output from these devices)
  • Take a closer look at the STM32
  • Look more closely into the micro architecture
  • Delve into the possibility of retro-computing
  • Investigate the use of Raspberry PI
  • Going back to basics
  • Possibly reviewing our use and implementation of the ATmega328. Making sure that we all have a working combination of computer, USBASP and 328 development board. Along with an IDE.
  • Lapel microphone, webcam

A brief discussion on the benefits of sharing the meeting using streaming technologies so absent or distant members can view tutorials, lectures and participate in meetings. Cost will have to be reviewed and further discussed amongst the committee members before any progress will continue.

Start Time: Changing the meeting time to 7.30 was tabled and voted amongst the members. The vote was in agreeance to change the time to 7.30. It was stressed any member can arrive before this time if they want to. The meeting room doors should be open. These members must wait if the room is already occupied by another group.

General Input: It was suggested our group may be able to hold “Swap, Barter or Buy” nights.

Presentations: Cliff Shirra did a short presentation on PCB (printed circuit board) manufacture. This will be available on SAMG website for general viewing.

Ad hock Presentation: Adam Web did a very interesting presentation on a project he has/is doing. It covered a hybrid of Arduino and commercially available product that included the use of a touch screen HMI (human machine interface) and MODBUS. Adam also discussed RS485 and RS422 standards.

Meeting Closed: 10:55 pm

Friday the 10th of August
Meeting Proceedings

Meeting opened at 7pm by Secretary (Peter Gheude).

Adam Webb Spoke on new acquisition being a Computer Numeric Control Milling machine as a prelude to the nights presentation. (CNC)
He shared some pictures and discussed his plans for his new machine.
Much more to come on this one as Adam gains experience on his new find.

Minutes of Special General Meeting.

The meeting opened at 8pm on 10th of August 2018

Members present as follows: Chris Burrows, Ian Fisk, Peter Gheude, Rick Heidenreich, Colin Huckel, Steve Knight, Philip Kocent, Thomas Loo, Rick Matthews, Clifford Shirra, Wayne Sierke, Mark Spooner, David Tilbrooke, Adam Webb, Graham Wikins, Graeme Wilson, David Zerk and Kevin Zietz.
Guests; Peter Rosenthal and Peter Wintulich.

Nominations were called for the position of Chairman for remainder of 2018.
Clifford Shirra was elected unopposed as the new Chairman.

Usual meeting resumed at 8:15pm.

Peter Gheude presented a brief overview of AC Servo Motors and precision encoders. Aspects such as closed and open loop systems, and an introduction to motor design and construction.

On display and demonstrated were several AC Server Motors and a Servo Controller. Discussions included Incremental and absolute coding encoders.

Our Guest presenter, Peter Rosenthal shared his experience with encoders, utilising “Bitscope” for the capture of waveforms from demonstration encoder provided by Peter G.

Many types of encoders were passed around for all to see brought in by Peter R. Peter W, brought along examples of encoders including those used by DROs (Digital Readout Displays)

General informal discussions followed.

Meeting closed at 10:50pm.

Friday the 13th of July 2018

Wayne Zierke reviewed his Tronxy X5S 3D printer progress. He has been addressing a few of it’s shortcomings in different ways to what Peter has been doing with his, with varied results. He had a few show-and-tell electronic items related to that, and for the main presentation he ran through a photo collection of the printer and bits, and talked about the items seen in them.

Peter Gheude gave an overview of the LNK304-306 IC and his plans for producing a milliohm meter schematic to add on to the Atmel 328P component tester.

Last month we had a “Suggestion Box” entry requesting a tutorial on JavaScript, (not to be confused with the Java language). Anyone interested in learning JS (JavaScript), please bring along a USB stick with enough room ( 1GB or more free space will be enough) to contain a 6.5 hour long video on JS. We will be presenting a tutorial in the near future. Also a 3.5 minute video on 3D metal printers will be shown.

Friday the 8th of June 2018

A 16 minute video on the future of SBCs (Single Board Computers) was run before Adam’s presentation.

Adam Webb then gave us a very in-depth tutorial on programming an Arduino Atmega 2560 Microcontroller.

Simple real time Microcontroller programming by Adam Webb

Ever needed to write some ‘real time’ code and started out and ended up in a tangle?

Real time, as in check a few buttons for user control, monitor a few analogue inputs and change various outputs as appropriate. Perhaps also check for incoming serial data. With some things needing to happen for a set time or after a set delay has elapsed – e.g. when movement is detected, sound the buzzer for 5 seconds (but stop sounding it if a button is pressed).

Its all quite easily possible – without interrupts, and with readable, maintainable, non-tangled code!

Demo code was shown in C for an Arduino Mega, but the technique is applicable to all languages and platforms, from the smallest to the largest.

Friday the 11th of May 2018

Adam Webb was to give a talk this evening but has postponed the presentation until the June meeting.

Instead we had a brilliant presentation by Cliff Shira on using the ESP8266 as a web server.

Friday the 13th of April 2018

April’s meeting included a “Bring Your Own Project” or work in progress and or requiring help with a problem. Amongst other projects demonstrated was a 68000 processor setup by David Zerk and an Atmega 2560 based PLC module to be installed by Adam Webb in Northern S.A. This evening also included Peter Gheude’s 3D printer progression and the carry over from March’s Part 2 of “The Arduino IDE and coding in C” by Eric Clarke.

Friday the 9th of March 2018

This was be a feature packed night, with the following themes from three of our members. Each presenter attempted to complete their demonstration within 45 minutes or less but due to a time over run Eric’s Part 2 of “The Arduino IDE and coding in C” was cancelled until April.

Peter Gheude demonstrated the latest updates to his Tronxy X5S 3D printer with further mechanical modifications  and upgrades to the electronics on the horizon.

Cliff Shirra displayed his work to date on using the ESP8266 (a low-cost Wi-Fi microchip with full TCP/IP stack and microcontroller capability produced by Chinese manufacturer, Espressif Systems) as a web server.

Wayne Sierke demonstrated his work, using “Rooter” (An open source derivative of OpenWRT. The  primarily use for his system is to route network traffic) on a (TP-Link) router, autonomously.

Friday the 9th of February 2018

This month was our AGM meeting and all committee positions were open to members. The following members were elected as follows:- Chairman – Eric Clarke , Secretary/Treasurer/public officer  – Peter Gheude, Web site editor – Graeme Wilson, Committee – Chris Burrows, Colin Huckel (also auditor), Cliff Shirra (also sub editor),  Mark Spooner.

We also revisited the updated constitution and after some discussion the constitution was passed.

After the AGM we had a very impressive presentation by Peter Gheude on his new custom built ( Tronxy X5S 3D printer ). The Tronxy X5S 3D printer was also discussed regarding members interested in buying / building their own unit.

Friday the 12th of January 2018

Wayne Sierke presented a control system that was built to manage solar PV generation at a residential “village”. The equipment uses a proprietary data-over-powerline technology utilising a TI MSP430 (TI mixed-signal microcontroller ) family.

The system management controller comprised a Raspberry Pi in conjunction with a custom interfacing board and control programs written in TCL (Tool Command Language). A testing unit was assembled based around a Freetronics Eleven (Arduino-compatible) controller with input switches and an LCD display.

Live data from the system is sent to web services for monitoring. A custom web-based service was implemented in Apache Rivet with a TCL servercomponent managing communications with the site. Wayne gave an overview of the system and a look at some of the hardware used in the project. He also demonstrated how the various microcontrollers and some of the technologies are used to implement this system.

Unfortunately, Peter Gheude’s 3D printer kit purchase (Tronxy X5S 3D printer) did not arrive in time. However we did have some videos showing a Tronxy X5S being built and in operation.

Wayne has also offered to give future quick presentations on the following:-
– a quick follow-up on the PV Solar system
– a “review” of that Altronics Inventa enclosure
– a look at that “other” type of rotary encoder
– some practical examples of TCL in use
– using “Rooter” (OpenWRT derivative) on a (TP-Link) router
– a quick look at the freescale FRDM-KL25Z development platform

Interested members in any of the above presentation ideas can email SAMG.