Karu Ja Hundu
Software, Electronics, Music, Cooking, Photography and all-round Geekery

Raspberry Pi B+

I spent some time today playing with the newest Pi, Pi B+.

A friend of mine asked me to provide technical input on the creation of a sound orientated hardware / software framework for the creation of new art installations. As part of this I got to try out the new B+ board. It feels smaller, less pokey (if that's possible). The coaxial video is gone and in its place we now have two more USB ports, a Micro SD card slot (yes!) and 40 GPIO pins.

2014-08-09 19:22:05

Bleep Labs: The Bleep Drum

The moment I realised Bleep Labs had released a micro drum machine I had to have it. Unfortunately I ordered it directly from Bleep Labs, who are based in Texas. This meant I had to pay import duty which ended up costing 19 euro more. 

I've had the Bleep Labs Nebulophone about two years and it's really proven to be a reliable, expressive micro synthesizer. Going on the quality and overall satisfaction I have experienced using the Nebulophone I automatically assumed I'd have the same quality experience using the Bleep Drum. Unfortunately this isn't the case.

The build quality of the Bleep Drum is good, all the individual parts are well cut and feel solid, the electronic components are of a similar quality. Building the instrument was easy and probably only took 15 to 20 minutes. 

Everything seemed promising up to this point. I turned it on and tapped in the temp, then started to record a beat, first tapping the kick on 1 and 3, then the high-hat on 1, 2, 3 and 4. Something was wrong. The second kick was a whole beat early and some of high-hat hits were missing. I tried again and again, turned the BPM down really low, nothing seemed to work. After a lot of trial and error and lighting fast reflexes I eventually got a very basic beat going. At this point I assumed that the drums quantization was out of whack? and that I'd need to wait for a new firmware or try update the one available on the website myself. 

I sent an email to Dr Bleep and was told;

The quantization window is just before the beat and most of the way into it so if you hit just on or early it will be where you want it.

I've done some reading and I've not heard anyone complain about any quantization problems so perhaps my one just needs to be firmware flashed. I'll give this again and update this post when I have some results to share.

Other Gripes

The Nebulophone uses a 1/4” mono jack and produces an unamplified signal. This makes it to use with standard audio interfaces and other equipment like guitar effect pedals. The Bleep Drum however produces a stereo signal over a 1/8″ jack - ready for headphones. This isn't exactly ideal if you want to use it with other equipment in a setup which already revolves around the Nebulophone's output jack size.

The Nebulophone uses IRSync to synchronise multiple devices together, the Bleep Drum does also implement this useful convention. Another wall that makes using the Bleep Drum with other instruments difficult.

2014-05-22 08:17:57

Arduino based drum machine

I got a Nebulophone a year ago and it was great fun to make. It's also really enjoyable to make music with.

Would love this Arduino based drum machine.

2013-11-20 11:35:37

Guitar pedal under-volter

A friend of mine is in a band and wanted a device that allowed him to choose the voltage going to his guitar pedals. By browning out his devices he can force them to produce new sounds, even things like keyboards produce new and complex sounds when forced to operate just below the recommend operating voltage. The housing looks awful, I ended up using Tipp-Ex to inscribed the controls. The box the electronics are housed in is actually the box Apple returns repaired iPhones in.


2013-10-30 13:40:29

Temperature & Humidity

I decided to get the old temperature and humidity sensor work again.

The project now uses a Raspberry Pi to acquire the sensor data and store it on a MySQL database. I wrote a C based driver to access the sensor as the Python GPIO library is too slow to access it. PHP is used to display this data on the frontend. The Pi writes to the database every 60 seconds.

For now I have the last saved sensor data being printed to the screen. I'll do something cooler with the data later.

Sitting Room Sensor Data
2013-09-21 22:44:50

Not Forgotten...

I've been tinkering away with electronic remote controls, heaters and all sorts over the past few months. I just haven't documented any of it. I find when I'm soldering something I just don't have the urge to go write about it straight away. This isn't helpful in the slightest so, I've decided seeing as it's a new year I will make a bigger effort to document my electronic projects. The start off with I wanted to put up a link to the code used wrote for the hardware component of the Room Occupancy project I am working on. The link below points to a Git repo so please feel free to fork it and push up your suggestions. I might even merge your commits to the master!


2013-01-10 10:05:22

The Arduino

While there is great satisfaction to be had in writing a program and watching it perform the different functions you bestowed on to it. Having that program interact with the physical world is way more exciting! For this I use Arduino - a very powerful, open source / ware prototyping board.

I was first introduced to the Arduino over a year ago while attending the University of Limerick. Since then I've made many a fun project, from automating my college rooms heater to multiplexing a 64 LED matrix. 

2012-04-08 18:49:07