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4050 measuring and loads of new gear!

16 January 2012 at 9:04 pm

Article image for 4050 measuring and loads of new gear!

Spent most of the day making a tiny, but really fast framework for mobile apps in AIR. Will take another day to get it where I want it, but I’m making this fully re-usable and fast to use. The one thing I really want to do is to display a splash-screen as fast as possible, while the rest of the app builds in the background. Think I have a decent method now but will require some more testing. While I was at my Oslo office doing this, my big delivery from Makershed arrived!

Apart from the two component collections there was also some toys for my kids that we spent most of the evening building, soldering and playing with. Great fun!

A word of advice - if you’re in a hurry when ordering from Makershed - make sure you don’t add anything that says it will be delivered from Jameco! Jameco only ships directly to US customers. My whole shipment was delayed at least 7 days while Makershed waited for this single bit to arrive. Not to bad you may say, but when you’ve paid $180 for express-shipment of something worth $340, it’s incredibly frustrating to see a page saying that the order is being “Processed” for the tenth day in a row. When I called up Maker Shed’s customer service they were really helpful and said that this wasn’t supposed to happen. They removed the shipping cost as a “sorry - now that’s really good service!

Seeduino data tracker

I also got another much anticipated package today from Hong Kong! I can’t believe how small this thing is given what it contains? The picture above (click to view full size) shows a waterproof project box from Seeedstudio that has a 0.5w solar cell glued onto it’s transparent lid. In the bottom there’s a seeduino (arduino compatible w/xbee socket and SD slot) that fits right into the box, a xbee compatible GPS, a lipo battery and a 4G cellphone shield. In other words - all I’ll need to build a fully portable tracking system in a 10 x 6.8 x 5 cm box! The kit also comes with a UartSBee that’ll be used to program the board since there’s no USB port like on the Arduino Uno. This is similar to the FTDI Friend, but it can also interface a xbee shield directly. This is gonna be so fun to play with… But I’ll finish the Make Electronics book first before playing. That’s fun too and I’ll need it in the process! So stoked about learning end playing these days that I’m actually having problems falling asleep 😖

Exploring the NPX 4050 chip

Tonight I played around a bit with the 4050 chip that came with the display I tested yesterday. I didn’t fully grasp how it worked, but by breadboarding and measuring it a little I found that it was really simple. By default, the Arduino sends 5v for HIGH on all it’s IO pins, but what if you have a component that needs 3.3 volts for signaling via the same pins like an xbee compatible module? Use a 4050 chip to adjust the voltage of the signal!

It’s really simple. Apply to pin 1 (VDD) the voltage you want to scale other signals to and ground to pin 16. After this, all the 6 IO’s on the 4050 will scale HIGH signals down to the reference voltage applied to pin 1. The chip can do this for anything from 0.5 to 15 volts, so it’s really flexible. Very happy to have found this IC and I’m sure that the coming days of exploring Make Electronics will bring more like that.

PS: With todays shipments I now have 5 (!) different Arduino’s and there’s even more coming soon. If you’re in the Oslo area and happen to fry yours - you know who to call, right? 😛