Playing with the Teenage Engineering OP-1

I sampled some of the chat in the makerspace today and made a track, I am still learning the OP-1, but here it is anyway…

ESP8266 Pirates vs Ninjas Voting Dashboard – Quick Make

My first BarCamp!

I am going to my first BarCamp this weekend: Manchester Girl Geeks BarCamp.

I have never attended an ‘unconference’ before and I have been wondering whether I should have a go at speaking and if I did what I’d actually talk about. 

Well I decided I don’t want to speak at my first BarCamp, I want to see as many talks as I can and get the idea of what goes on. This event is well organised, people have gone to a lot of effort, so I feel like I should do something to contribute to the event. 

I’ve decided to do a make to display, something that is of the moment and I can set up and leave, with the Blackpool Makerspace name on and advertise our group a little bit. If I write the make up here before hand I can direct anyone interested to this blog post.  

Seems like the plan… However I decided this on the Monday evening (whilst I was decorating and missing eating my Kong burger with @blackpoolgeekup). So it will have to be a very quick make. I have 2 free evenings to get this done before Saturday…  Challenge accepted!

What to make?

A simple ESP8266 project that people could interact with using their phone seemed to be the right direction.  

I started with the idea of the Reddit Button it’s an interesting thing and there are a few articles about this April Fools phenomenon like this one.  It seems such a simple idea and if I could demonstrate something similar on the ESP8266 it might be good fun and a social game.  I had a think on how I’d implement it on the ESP8266 and it became clear I didn’t really have enough time to solve the issues before the event.

So I decided to stick to what I know… Servos… I know about them, hmmmm…

Interactive voting dashboard

The idea I settled on is an interactive voting dashboard.  People browse the ESP8266 on their wi-fi device and get a website with buttons to choose their answer to this or that or would you rather style questions.  Their responses are logged by the server and a servo moves a pointer in response towards the this or that they choose.

I haven’t worked out a simple way to restrict each person (device) to one vote only so it will be open to the abuse of people voting multiple times for their choice, maybe that will turn out to be fun. 

This idea could be extended to present a number of questions but I’ve decided I’m just going to do the one: Pirate vs Ninja?

The ESP8266 ESP-12

The Version of ESP8266 I will be using is the ESP-12. A write up on the various flavours of ESP8266 is here:

Getting started on the code…

If you are used to the Arduino environment the easiest way to program an ESP8266 is to use the ESP8266 for Arduino IDE bundle. 

This can be installed by following the instructions here:

Since v1.6.4 (the current version when this post was written) the Arduino IDE has a boards manager and this makes it much easier to add boards. This is a great feature and it’s worth a side trip to learn what this really means on the Adafruit site: 

The ESP8266 Community module installed in the Arduino Boards Manager


ESP8266 WIFI Serial Dev Kit Development Board

These development boards sidestep some of the problems encountered when using a bare esp8266.
Battery powered with an onboard voltage regulator, just put batteries in the holder and you are ready to start programming it.
Add the esp8266 development board to the Arduino IDE using the board manager, and you can then use an Arduino to program the blink sketch into the esp8266 board.
If you hit this problem with the firmware updating software
  • The firmware updating software only works on COM ports 1-6. If your USBSerial device enumerates to a higher port number than that, you will have to change it via Device Manager in Windows.
  • You can download all the required files in this ZIP file
Guide with firmware bundle, flasher didn’t work for me as I was on com 8
download and used this Flash tool instead

adding esp8266 board to arduino

Get it here

using the Arduino to blink esp8266 LED

looks familiar,
void setup() {   // initialization
pinMode(16, OUTPUT); // set the io pin 16 to output
void loop() { // loop
digitalWrite(16, HIGH); // GPIO16 high TTL, LED on
delay(1000); // delay 1s
digitalWrite(16, LOW); // GPIO16 low TTL, LED off
delay(1000); // delay 1s

A temperature monitoring project with the esp8266:-

Aaeon NanoCOM-U15

Aaeon NanoCOM-U15Mar. 09, 2009 — Aaeon’s COM exploits the newly proposed “COM Express Ultra” standard. The 84 x 55mm NanoCOM-U15 includes an SDVO (serial digital video out) connector, an Intel Atom Z5xx-series CPU, and up to 4GB of SSD (solid state disk) storage.

Kontron pITX-SP

Kontron pITX-SPMar. 10, 2009 — Kontron’s first pico-ITX SBC is built around a 1.1GHz or 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z5xx CPU. Targeting small, multimedia-oriented devices, the “pITX-SP” offers gigabit Ethernet, two SATA II ports, a microSD slot, and a DVI port.

ARM9 Samsung S3C2443 SoC

Digi ConnectCore 9M 2443 and ConnectCore Wi-9M 2443Mar. 04, 2009 — Based on an ARM9 Samsung S3C2443 SoC, these two network-enabled embedded modules from Digi International target networked displays, medical devices, building access controls, energy management devices, time and attendance devices, and scales. The ConnectCore 9M 2443 and WiFi-enabled ConnectCore Wi-9M 2443 offer a variety of interfaces, including Ethernet, USB, serial, and camera support.

Calao TNY-A9G20-C0x

Calao TNY-A9G20-C0x, TNY-A9260-C0x, and TNY-A9263-C0xFeb. 09, 2009 — Calao Systems’s Linux-ready “TinyCore” SBC modules are offered with Atmel’s ARM9-based processors, including the 400MHz AT91SAM9G20, 200MHz AT91SAM9263, and 180MHz AT91SAM9260. The TNY-A9G20-C0x, TNY-A9260-C0x, and TNY-A9263-C0x modules each measure a scant 1.4 x 1.6 inches, and ship with 64MB of SDRAM, 256MB of flash, micro-USB connections, serial debug interface, and other I/O.

Armadeus APF27

Armadeus APF27Feb. 26, 2009 — Armadeus Systems’s low-cost system-on-module (SOM) is available with a development board and a Linux community distribution. The “APF27” processor module is built around an ARM9 Freescale i.MX27 system-on-chip (SoC) and a Xilinx Spartan3A FPGA, and offers a variety of I/O.

Icop VDX-635

Icop VDX-6354Jan. 13, 2009 — Icop’s PC/104 computer module is based on a 32-bit, 800MHz x86-compatible SoC that is claimed to run Linux on under two Watts. The “VDX-6354” has 256MB of RAM, 4GB of flash, 10/100 Ethernet, audio, and an onboard VGA controller.