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BobL
9th June 2017, 12:20 AM
Spent the last 4 days cleaning out my old study.

I used the study originally to prepare stuff for uni but it was also where my son and I had set up 3 desks back in the early nineties and at one stage we had 5 or was it 6 computers running in there - it got quite hot there in summer.

By 2002 the house had an Ethernet network so son moved his PCs out to his room and I was down to 2 PCs and a laptop so I cleaned the whole study out and made and installed a large U shaped desk made out of 3 jarrah slabs (2.3 x 3.3 x 1.8) x ~800mm wide x 42 mm thick. A few months after that we set up a wireless network and I migrated to the dining room/lounge/family room with my laptop and for the next 15 years worked anywhere but in the study so it has hardly been used except as a place to store old PCs printers etc and crap.

Just prior to retiring from Uni ~ 4 years ago I did a partial clean out of the home study and got rid of 3 PCs and 6 boxes of books went to the Save the Children, but then promptly refilled the study with stuff I brought home from my uni office. When SWMBO retired last year she also added to the piles so all the surfaces were covered as well as the floor with less than 1 sqm of space to stand in.

This clean up had been hanging over me for some time time especially as SWMBO recently converted our lounge room into a sewing room and she started hinting at "when was I going to tackle the study?" The main reason for me not tackling it was I had better things to do and I was dreading the decisions that needed to be made. What I needed was a good reason to do it and that came up recently when I decide that doing electronics in the shed was getting more and more difficult as I didn't have room and I couldn't leave anything delicate in progress out on a bench etc. So I decided to clean the study out and set it up up as a space to work on electronics projects.

It turned out that leaving it for 4 years has made the decisions about what should be chucked out a lot easier (YAY! procrastination wins again) as most of it was beyond my caring.

During the clean up over the last few days I filled a wheelie bin with paper and took 5 cardboard boxes full of cardboard, books (mainly old computer manuals) and paper, plus an old PC, two printers, half a dozen laser printer cartridges, and two old LCD screens, an old VCR. off to recycling. I found my son's old Altech Lansing amp and speakers in a cupboard and it still works so I am all geared for music. :2tsup:

Its early days yet but there's enough space cleared to get down and fiddling.
The desk is still in good condition and I don't want to damage it so I have covered the central section with 1mm polycarbonate sheet and the the font section of that is covered in cork floor tiles.
The large macro photographic stand (I made that back in 2009?) provides excellent lighting.
I knocked up a bit of a stand for my Oscilloscope and soldering stations from some pieces of veneered MDF.
The large white box on the LHS contains a small 3D printer that I want to get going at some stage.
I've ordered some roll out tool drawers that will roll under the RHS of the desk.

What I'm working on at the moment is a series of small Arduino projects in preparation for the micro dust sensor that should be arriving any day now. I've dabbled with Arduino stuff before but once again nothing with a purpose so I never got that far. One of the first things I want to to do is build myself a new multi-gas sensor for my shed for when I run the forge. the sensors used to be expensive but now they cost <$2. Of course they need to be matched with a processor and out display device so that's where its at. My son is into this stuff and he gave me a bunch of stuff to play with until I work out what I need.

I've had to drag my old programming skills out of the back drawer part of the brain. I'm surprised how much is still there.

There a bunch more stuff to come up from the shed. A couple of small sets of drawers of components, and a rack to hold cables and connectors, although I might make a new one and keep the old rack for electrical stuff in the shed,



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bueller
9th June 2017, 02:29 AM
Looks great! I've been putting off setting up something similar, my spare room is full of junk but I'd love to set up an electronics bench there. Definitely interested in the Arduino stuff, keep us posted ☺️

Lappa
9th June 2017, 06:35 PM
I was in Jaycar last week buying some bits and pieces and saw a large area dedicated to DuinoTech bits and pieces and a couple of Arduino units. I had heard of Arduino but not DuinoTech. The guy said they were similar systems by the same company.
i have been thinking of dabbling so should I stay with Arduino and leave the other one alone?
Cheers.

bueller
9th June 2017, 06:40 PM
Arduino is open source so there are quite a few alternatives, haven't had any problems with them in the past. The only issue you'll sometimes run into with the 3rd party boards is unusual layouts and pin placement. If you get one that uses the same layout as the Arduino boards you should be fine.

BobL
9th June 2017, 07:25 PM
Arduino is open source so there are quite a few alternatives, haven't had any problems with them in the past. The only issue you'll sometimes run into with the 3rd party boards is unusual layouts and pin placement. If you get one that uses the same layout as the Arduino boards you should be fine.

From my limited viewpoint I'll second that.

Some folks using genuine Arduino boards and posting on forums can get a bit snitchy when a newbie or poster puts up a post "I'm using and Arduino board XYZ and having trouble with bluuuurgh . . . . " The pendant will say "That's not a genuine Arduino . . . baaaaark, Woooofff woof" If you post "I'm using an Arduino clone board XYZ and having trouble with bluuuurgh . . . . " they might help - usually they leave you alone.

Anyway it's good that some folks on the forums are picking up on this. It's a lot of fun and you can get up to speed very quickly just copying - pasting - modifying the zillions of programs that are readily available.

Today I've spent a ridiculous amount of time making a small cable rack and it's still not finished.

The Wifi arduino clone processor board called a Photon arrived today. This is the processor that I will be using with the PMS7003 particle detector.

The Photon is about the size of a 50c piece and as well as Wifi, it has a 120Mhz ARM Cortex M3 processor and 18 Mixed-signal GPIO pins. It comes with a mobile phone App and you can interact with it at a basic level via wifi without any programming skills. I don't want to be getting my mobile out to always access I/O so I'll be setting it up with a compact display.

Jestar
10th June 2017, 12:39 AM
One of the first things I want to to do is build myself a new multi-gas sensor for my shed for when I run the forge.


Are you going to run an infrared thermometer on that so you know when the shed's hot enough to bake a cake?

BobL
10th June 2017, 09:53 AM
Are you going to run an infrared thermometer on that so you know when the shed's hot enough to bake a cake?

Yep it will have a temperature/humidity sensor built into it as well.

Jestar
10th June 2017, 10:38 AM
Nice. That will one fancy DeathForge

Regards

Dane

BobL
10th June 2017, 11:34 PM
Here is the cable rack I spent time on yesterday.
Wall space for things like a cable rack in this little room is very limited so I had to located it above the light switch, not ideal, but I had little choice.
It's made out of an old jarrah floor board and pieces of piano hinge

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It folds out like this
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It's not exactly a thing of beauty (things made out of hinges, hanging on hinges, and on more hinges rarely are) but it works, and by jamming a bit of cardboard under the back of bottom edge of the fixed section it tilted it back enough so it stays closed.
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BobL
15th June 2017, 07:27 PM
I've had few distractions and not been able to do much more in the setting up of the electronics area but have finally managed to get back to it and have done the following.

Build a stand for the 3D printer.
Spent ages setting up windows (:(() on the old PC laptop my son gave to drive the thing.
Could be a while before I get anything going with this.
It has dawned on me that 3D printing - i.e. start, . . . . and then wait a while, . . . . .and a bit longer and a bit more . . . . . is a complementary activity to electronics futzing - while one is cooking one thing you can look at something else

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I needed some more small-scale, easily accessible and compact storage and started looking at shallow drawer tool cabinets.
I wanted to keep in SWMBO's good books by making sure the cabinets fit under the desk - she likes things to look tidy although does not always practice what she preaches.
It's funny how tools and machinery get frowned on, but I can spend whatever it takes to keep things tidy.

The gap under the desk was 700mm high so too low for most large cabinet, and most of the others with all shallow drawers were on the small side.
The other thing that annoyed was the wheels were often large and consumed a lot of vertical sade

In the end I settled on two x 3 drawer Sidchrome cabinets (on on top of the other) like this
It also provides useful temporary working surface when out from under the desk.

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I built a small wheeled trolley for it out of Al.
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And here it is all tucked away.
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Bob Willson
17th June 2017, 10:47 AM
If there is ever a second time you want to do this, then these nylon ball transfer units may be the go.

Dia 1&apos;&apos; Nylon Ball Metal Transfer Bearing Unit Conveyor Roller QTY:10 | eBay (http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/1"-Dia-Nylon-Ball-Metal-Transfer-Bearing-Unit-Conveyor-Roller-QTY-10-/262387874828?hash=item3d17893c0c:g:vpcAAOSwZJlXNW2A)

BobL
17th June 2017, 12:26 PM
Thanks Bob, they would have been great. I fact I might even look at using them as this will mean I can leave something on top of the cabinet and roll it under the desk.