Making Stuff Blog

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DigiKey's KiCad library is really broken
tl;dr: Don't use DigiKey's KiCad library. Obviously, you shouldn't trust random libraries on the Internet. Heck, you shouldn't trust the actual KiCad libraries most of the time. I'm still annoyed about this because I've got a pack of useless PCBs. DigiKey, for whatever reasons, has been trying to…

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TLC5940, TLC59116, and IS31FL3218 LED drivers
tl;dr: The TLC59116 is a pretty neat part Following up to the previous entry on the CAT4019/CAV4019 LED driver , I got three more intelligent controllers to play with. All three of these are external intelligent LED drivers, two from TI, one from Lumissil. I soldered the three of them to surface…

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Three and a half new ways to deep sleep in ESPHome
I've been wanting to do some stuff with solar power and low energy and ESPHome. Thing is, either of those devices eats up quite a bit of current. Less than a Pi, but still enough power to matter if you are using solar power. Furthermore, I think that ESPHome's over-the-air software update system…

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Wiring up Wilf Rigter's SIMD1 V3
tl;dr: A FQP30N06L will work as the MOSFET in a SIMD1 V3 circuit, although it's not a very bright solar engine with the parts I've used. In the 1990's, Mark Tilden cooked up the idea of BEAM robotics. Instead of using complicated digital electronics, he'd wire up simple biologically-inspired analog…

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ESPHome is pretty neat
ESP8266 and ESP32 modules are pretty neat. They are a nice combination of cheap, featurefull, and usable and, ever since a Hackaday post in 2014 , somehow gained a hacker community that enables a lot of really fun things. Also, apparently if you peel apart your WiFi-enabled IoT devices, you…

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CAT4019/CAV4109 LED drivers
tl;dr: This is a constant-current driver for 3 strands of LEDS, up to 175 mA per LED, 200 mA total, with the LEDs powered by up to 25 V, with each strand having individual control lines. Available in a SOIC-16 package. I'm always looking for LED drivers and other such circuitry. This part (one is…

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Serial ports and making things
I'm plotting out some projects and the things that need to be done in order to make them work. And I realized that there's some very simple starting point steps to wiring and managing things necessary to make things building-block style. So, the fundamentals: Data can flow in a few ways. You can…