Wind Empowerment Conference 2014

For the past week I have been at the 2nd Wind Empowerment conference in Athens. Wind Empowerment is a network of groups working on Small Wind Turbines, with a particular focus on the Hugh Piggott designed wind turbine. The conference was an inspiring mix of interesting presentations, hands-on workshops and social fun. Around 45 people … more

Wind Empowerment Webinar

In October 2014 I recorded a webinar on the open-source wind data-logger project for Wind Empowerment. This was the last in a series of four, which were aimed at practicioners of small wind turbines. The webinar is available online here and will hopefully be translated into Spanish and French. They are hoping to run one … more

Design manufacturing at Nottingham University

I was asked to propose a few ideas for group projects on the product design and manufacturing engineering course at Nottingham University. I proposed a few projects and two of them were taken on by small groups. These projects have been designed and built over the course of a year and I went to see … more

Solar phone charger workshop

Here are the build details and some photos from a DIY ‘Build a Solar Phone Charger’ workshop I ran at Nottingham Hackspace. There were six participants and they all built a small phone charger which runs from solar power. Full design details and instructions are available to download here. … more

RGB LED wireless light

Here is a post about what you can do in an afternoon or two with a whole load of electronics stuff lying around. I have had an red-green-blue (RGB) board from Big Clive or Phenoptix lying around for a while. I had developed an RGB LED controller for it, so I also had one of … more

Low Temperature LCD Displays

A couple of years ago I had accidentally purchased a batch of ‘low temperature’ 16 x 2 LCD displays. These do not work with the standard 5V supply as the contrast pin requires a negative voltage for the display to appear (around minus 1.6V seems to work well). This is a post on getting them … more

Marvelous Marble Run

Last Saturday was Derby Mini Maker Faire 2013. This was a free family friendly event for people who make things. It was run at the newly re-furbished Derby Silk Mill, which is the worlds first automated factory. I decided to run a DIY marble run (an idea I had run before at the Silk Mill). … more

Using the Pi-LITEr

Having been to Derby Mini Maker Faire the previous day I had bought myself a very simple (and cheap) LED light add-on for the Raspberry Pi. This was called the Pi-LITEr. It is a plug-in PCB for the RPi GPIO (general purpose IO) pins. It has 8 LEDs on it. I have not played too … more

Solar workshop with EWB Sheffield

I have run a number of solar photovoltaic and off-grid power hands-on workshops and I recently ran another solar PV workshop with EWB Sheffield. Engineers Without Borders UK (EWB-UK) is a student run organisation trying to connect engineers with the field of international development. They do this through placements, training and outreach programs.     … more

Reflow Oven Controller

This shows the build for a simple Arduino-based reflow oven controller. This converts a basic toaster oven into a temperature controlled reflow oven for making surface mount circuits. The temperature profile is read from a simple text file on an SD card. This makes changing the temperature profile very easy, without any new code to … more

Printed Circuit Board workshop

I recently ran another ‘how to make a Printed Circuit Board’ workshop at Nottingham Hackspace. This time the PCB was a board to convert an old ATX power supply into a power supply, giving 3.3V, 5V, +/-12V fused outputs with terminal post connections. This PCB was quite simple and single sided. Here is the full … more

Milling PCBs on a CNC

I have a small CNC machine which I mainly used for accurately drilling PCBs. I have done a few experiments on milling PCBs and also here (ie. taking a sheet of copper clad board and cutting away copper where it is not needed). I realised quite quickly that the bed of the CNC must be … more