Battery Monitor Units

We have recently been working with Product Health to develop some hardware for monitoring battery banks in off-grid systems. Product Health are working on remote monitoring of systems to ensure they are working and pre-empt any maintenance or repair which might be required. The product specification was to build a low-cost, reprogrammable and accurate unit … more

Datalogger Overview

We have been working with Wind Empowerment to specify the features of an open-source data logger unit for members of Wind Empowerment to use with grid-connected and stand-alone small wind turbine installations. After discussion at a week long hack camp in Toulouse, France the following data logger system overview was suggested. We are working, along … more

Solar workshop with EWB Nottingham

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 Nottingham. This was a two hour workshop run at Nottingham hackspace. Engineers Without Borders UK (EWB-UK) is a student run organisation trying to connect engineers with the field of international development. They … more

Modular Lampshade Project

I was wanting to make an interesting lampshade as a specal Christmas present this year. I set about searching Instructables for inspiration. I found a really interesting modular lampshade concept, which was originally designed by Holger Strøm in 1972 and called the IQlight. This used a repeated unit which was cut out of polypropylene using … more

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