Author Archives: ronaldscheckelhoff

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Using QEMU to build HD images

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about a little two watt x86 SoC/SBC board I had in my possession, and that I intended to use with batteries for ultra-low power off-the-grid applications.  The board is the Vortex-dx … Continue reading

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RISC for Dogs

Figure 1: I hope my dog likes Risc OS as much as I do! Some time ago I tried RISCOS to see if it could be useful for me.  I liked it, and in fact it was the only operating … Continue reading

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Porting the Hiawatha server to Haiku

Haiku (the operating system) has included with it a web server (called “poor man”). It’s Ok for what it is, but I wanted a little more horsepower for some projects I’m working on. I decided to port the Hiawatha server … Continue reading

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A Blog that fit’s in the Pocket

A Very Tiny Blog — (machine) For awhile now, I’ve wanted a WordPress blog site I could take with me. I wanted to be able to put it in my pocket. Recently, I managed to do just that. Being a … Continue reading

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RISC-V and FPGA

Figure 1: Running RISC-V Linux inside of the Spike RISC-V processor simulator. Click to enlarge. Some time ago, the RISC-V project, out of Berkeley, caught my eye. It’s an entirely new instruction set for a microprocessor, along with specific implementations … Continue reading

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The “Cheapo” Ammeter

Figure 1: The “cheapo” ammeter for keeping tabs on SoC/SBC power usage. I have a number of SoC/SBC based “homemade tablets” and “homemade server” boxes that consume anywhere from 300 mA to several amps at 5 VDC.  I wanted an … Continue reading

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In Search of the x86 SoC SBC

Figure 1:  The Vortex86Dx SoC SBC board is shown in the project box. Click to enlarge. My emphasis has been to convert the computing equipment at my establishment to use low power “off the grid” devices such as the ARM … Continue reading

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An SSD for the XU4

Figure 1: A pair of SSD drives The XU4 (Odroid) is the device with which I’ve replaced the AMD64 desktop.   It’s a size reduction of about 20x.   It’s a weight reduction of about 20 pounds.  And, it’s an energy reduction … Continue reading

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Playing with a Photon

Figure 1:  A Photon-powered project has been added to my collection. Click to enlarge. Figure one shows the idea in a physical mock up.  Actually, the parts are real, they just haven’t been soldered together yet.  So, we have a … Continue reading

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Level Shifting and Tablet Building …

Figure 1: The new tablet uses re-purposed materials on the circuit board floor. This project is more involved than a simple exercise in converting 3.3 and 1.8 volt logic levels.  It also involves building yet another homemade tablet.  I have … Continue reading

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Using a Pi SBC with Shortwave Radio

New Orleans Coast Guard weather fax operates at 4.317  4.344 MHz, so it is far outside of the default (7 MHz CF) filter bandpass of the BPF that I have in the little sidecar SDR. Currently, there is no bandpass … Continue reading

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Homebrewing a Board for the MCP3426 ADC

Figure 1:  The simple connection from the USBIO to the ADC The ADC devices currently in all three of my “homemade” tablets are a little under powered, so we’re upgrading all of them to use 16 bit Microchip MCP3426 ADC … Continue reading

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Running NetBSD on the Orange Box

Figure 1: The diminutive tablet finally shows its X (click to enlarge). The orange box Pi2 powered tablet is shown running Netsurf on NetBSD in Figure 1. It’s always so hard to get good pics of screens in photos like … Continue reading

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A Cooling Fan for the “Homemade” Tablet

Figure 1: The fan needs a couple more machine screws.  Placed towards the top of the enclosure, near the processor, it draw off heat from both sources (LCD and processor). Click to enlarge. The first homemade tablet is equipped with … Continue reading

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Temperature and Pressure Sensors

With the new Cirrus audio adapter up and running, I turned my attention to the temperature and barometric pressure sensor I had purchased for the “homemade” tablet.  The device, which measures less than an inch square, is the “BMP-180” and … Continue reading

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A Digital Compass for the Homemade Tablet

Figure 1: The digital compass has been mounted in the original homemade tablet, next to the powerful Imedion NiMH “C” cell bank. The next item to be added to the original homemade tablet was a mims/magnetic compass (purchased from Adafruit at … Continue reading

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Another SoC/SBC First Look

Figure 1: A recent addition to the SoC herd is the xu4 from Hardkernel … (click to enlarge) Posted 06/30/2016: I love to get the brown non-descript boxes in the mail, especially when those boxes contain more SoC/SBC investigative opportunities. … Continue reading

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New Face for Orange Box Server

Figure 1: The Pi (2) powered Orange Box server with its new Face (click to enlarge). So, the orange box server has gotten a nice facial.  No longer a plain little orange server box, it’s less plain and sports an … Continue reading

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Tiny Power RF Comm

Figure 1: Status and printDetail() page of the pingpair_dyn sample app (click to enlarge). Finally, the nRF24 devices are talking to each other!  It was a bit of a road trip.  One thing to note is the importance of the … Continue reading

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A collection of SoC Projects

Figure 1: A growing Collection of little Soc/SBC powered computers (click to enlarge). Today, when I visited my own site, I realized how confusing some of the projects may seem, because they reference different boards and things, and it’s a … Continue reading

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Communicating w/o Standard WiFi

Figure 1: The communications device antenna is within its protective sleeve. More than one way to communicate … To communicate between devices, one can use standard WiFi, but devices for it typically have a pretty high power consumption rate.  I … Continue reading

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Testing the Membrane Pad on the Pi2

Figure 1: Testing the membrane pad on the Pi2 powered “homemade” tablet. The little pull-up board was mounted near the Pi2, so as to make the wires shorter.  It was mounted vertically, in that space between the enclosure’s connecting posts.  … Continue reading

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SDR/Audio/Pi2

Figure 1: The “homemade tablet” is getting cramped. (Click to expand) In figure 2, it can be seen that the little “homemade” tablet is getting quite cramped. Note that I did not mount the Cirrus card on the 40 pin … Continue reading

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“Homemade” Tablet version two: GPS road test

Figure 1: First test run of the GPS module in the Raspi-Riscy “tablet” (click to enlarge) Getting back to the GPS … Since discovering that the placement of the GPS module in the “homemade” tablet was very critical, I’d moved … Continue reading

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Rehab for the second “Homemade” Tablet

Recently, I decided to give the engine inside the latest “homemade” tablet project a rehab.  I decided to add an internal battery supply, but to make it a decidedly different kind of thing this time around.  As with the first … Continue reading

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A “Homemade” Tablet that uses the Pi2

Figure 1: Recessed switches on the enclosure containing the tiny display and the Pi2 SoC based SBC might be an effective anti-bump device. Posted 01/18/2016: Recently, I picked up a Raspberry Pi2, just to see what all the excitement was … Continue reading

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A Radio for the Homemade Tablet

Figure 1: The “soft66” SDR (software defined radio) board. It’s a fun thing to build in a spare three hours, and even more fun to operate! Recently I’d integrated a “homemade” tablet into the station, for things like receiving weather … Continue reading

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The Homemade Tablet’s Little Brother

Figure 1: We’re growing the family, and HT version two is being born. Here it is shown, perched on top of the original “homemade tablet” (click to enlarge). Originally, the idea was to put a very small display on the … Continue reading

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New C1+ has arrived!

Figure 1: The new C1+ SoC board arrived in only two days (click to enlarge). With more projects than a single SoC board can handle – banging around in my mind, I decided to procur another one. The C1 series … Continue reading

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Homemade Tablet – Bluetooth Revisited

Figure 1: My workbench shows the diminutive tablet next to my regular LCD and computer. A few posts ago, I described the addition of a bluetooth keyboard to the little tablet’s accessories collection (or at least the attempt to do … Continue reading

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Homemade Tablet – External Battery Case

The batteries were pretty exposed, lying on the kitchen table with their wires all hanging out. Of course I had to fix that situation. Today, the mailman brought the clear top box I’d been waiting for, which helped to put … Continue reading

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Homemade Tablet – Getting the Battery Parameters

The start up voltage was higher today (10.35 volts) than it was yesterday (9.65 volts). That may point to the batteries being a little more discharged than I thought, coming out of the shipping box. If that’s the case, then … Continue reading

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Homemade Tablet – Fun with Auxiliary batteries

Figure 1: Working up a new battery configuration. The new batteries arrived in a small but heavy package. I pulled the brand new Imedions out of the box, and tested them for voltage. All but one was OK out-of-box with … Continue reading

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Homemade Tablet – More Battery Hacking

The batteries were purchased without much thought, as they were extremely inexpensive. There is high variability in NiMH cells, depending upon manufacturer. Some simple math shows that I am not extracting the full capacity of the batteries while running the … Continue reading

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My Homemade Laptop

I’ve had the idea to build my own laptop for quite some time. Until recently, there were high barriers to accomplishing such a thing as building a homemade laptop. Recently, for various reasons, those barriers have been lowered. Read More … Continue reading

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