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Dillon Nichols
476 followers -
EE Tinkerer
EE Tinkerer

476 followers
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I just published “How to Automatically Unzip Files Downloaded from Chrome on Windows”

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If you haven't heard, I submitted a project to the #HackadayPrize . There's only a week left on the first round. I'd love a few more votes while I prepare the first update post. Thanks!

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I've updated my Spark Lamp project so it can turn some LEDs on behind my whiskey collection. Check it out!

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I just installed "stock" android on an Amazon Fire tablet that I got on Black Friday for $30. I'm very happy with how quick it runs - especially compared to the last android tablet that I played with and my 4 year old iPad mini. I think I like the android system as a whole more than iOS, but the quality of apps leaves something to be desired. At least I have a new toy to play with when I'm sitting on the couch and need to look something up. 
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Here's a quick update on my Spark Lamp project. After many months of use, I found an issue where the lights would be delayed turning on and I had to make some hardware and software changes to fix the issue.

It's only been 9 months since an update... I've been keeping busy with firmware development at work for two large projects. I'm loving it, but after coding all day, I don't have the same urge to come home and do it some more. I've put some code I've worked with on my GitHub (https://github.com/dwaq), but I don't have any major projects to show for it. I've been pretty interested in linux and full stack web development -- two things that I don't get much experience with at work, so that's been my hobby lately. Usually my major projects revolve around some need that I have around the house, and I haven't had anything pop out at me, so for the time being, I'll just keep on tinkering.

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I've finished another project! This one uses a #Spark  Core for the microcontroller and a 433Mhz transmitter to talk to some lamps connected to wireless relays. I can switch the lamps on from the wall light switch, or switches on each nightstand in the bedroom. Plus the Spark's #IFTTT  connectivity allows for some neat features I've recently implemented.

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I just posted my Homebrew Gameboy Cartridge on #Tindie for anyone to purchase! I've been getting lots of emails from people that are interested in purchasing a circuit and I thought this would make it easier for everyone to order. Let me know if you can think of any improvements to the page. I rushed putting this together so it will be available for Tindie's Cyber Monday sales. And if you're interested in purchasing one, wait for Monday to get a nice discount!

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It took me long enough but I think I finally found the best way to detect, with a microcontroller, when an outlet is on or off. I tried creating a non contact voltage detector with an antenna but the few circuits I found online either didn't work or weren't sensitive enough. Since I'm powering the circuit from one receptacle and detecting the power on the other receptacle, it really has to detect the voltage in a small area. I had an idea to use a regular brick power supply as an input level but they draw too much power, are too large, and their capacitance causes a huge time delay when falling from the supplied voltage to ground. I decided I would make my own power supply, but I really couldn't save much space. There are circuits I found with low part counts but they didn't have good isolation and I didn't feel safe using them. To help with isolation, I used an optocoupler after a voltage rectifier, and I was almost going to go through with this idea when I looked through my parts and found a 120Vac lamp. I could use this to create my own optocoupler! When the lamp shines on a light dependent resistor, it changes the resistance from very low to very high. I started with a simple transistor circuit and it worked but I couldn't create a large enough voltage spread between on and off that a digital microcontroller pin could detect it. So then I created an op-amp comparator circuit and it worked exactly as I envisioned. These three circuits are on the breadboards in the photo. I'm in the process now of building a 3D-printed case for the homemade optocoupler and I'll be sure to post pictures of that when it is complete. 
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And that is why you use a surge protector. Everything that was plugged into it is fine. 
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