[oshug] OSHUG #12 — Practical Approaches, Thursday 29th September.

Andrew Back arback at computer.org
Thu Jul 28 16:19:45 UTC 2011


Firstly, a date for the diary: on Thursday 27th October we will be
hosting our first OSHcamp — a one day (likely 10:00 - 18:00, then pub)
event to be held at the Centre for Creative Collaboration in Kings

We're still working on the details but there will be four parallel
workshops: building the Internet of Things using OSHW, practical 3D
printing, electronics primer/documenting OSHW projects and prototyping
accessories with the Google ADK.

And before then, in September, it will be OSHUG #12:


Practical Approaches (Double-sided PCB Design, Controlling Power, 3W
RGB LED Controller)

On the 29th September 2011, 18:00 - 20:00 at Centre for Creative
Collaboration, 16 Acton Street, London, WC1X 9NG (51.529049,

Registration: http://oshug.org/event/12

Developing a solution to a problem is not simply a matter of whether
it is technically possible, but can involve all manner of challenging
constraints. This is particularly the case in DIY and small-scale
manufacture contexts, as there may be limited access to tools, test
equipment and costly fabrication processes.

At the twelfth OSHUG meeting we'll be hearing about practical
approaches that were developed in tackling three different problems.
One is concerned with designing a double-sided PCB to accommodate
0.5mm pitch surface mount devices, that can be reliably built using
low cost DIY methods. Another with safely controlling mains powered
devices from the Internet, and the third with building a 3W RGB LED
controller using all open source design and development tools.

- DIY Double-sided PCB Design and Development for embedded ARM

Inspired by the success of the Arduino platform and driven by a
recognition that to go from raw materials to a working system is both
exciting and empowering, a project was born to develop a powerful
microcontroller board that can be built from scratch. With this came
the challenge of designing a double-sided PCB that will accommodate a
64-pin LQFP package on 0.5mm pitch, and that can be built using low
cost DIY techniques.

In this talk we will learn about the rules which needed to be applied
in order to ensure that construction of such a PCB is practical, and
discoveries that were made in its development.

Garry Bulmer gained his degree in Computer Science in the early 1980s
and developed software for companies including ICL, before going on to
teach Computer Science and Software Engineering at degree level and
beyond. During the 1990s he was a co-founder of Parallax Solutions, a
software services company with customers that included Rover Group and
Rolls Royce, and that partnered with Sun Microsystems and delivered
their Enterprise Architecture Blueprints. He's since held the position
of Chief Architect at Keane, Aspen Technology and Caritor. More
recently he has become involved in education, running Arduino
workshops for local schools and at events including Howduino, DEV8D
and fizzPop.

- A Simple Approach to Controlling Power from Internet Apps

Working with mains power can be a daunting prospect and requires due
care and attention. In this presentation we will hear about a simple
and safe way to control mains-powered appliances from the Internet
using cheap wireless links. This will include a live demo based on
MBED and an explanation of this approach, and there will be
opportunity to discuss its pros and cons.

Paul Tanner is a consultant, developer and maker in wood, metal,
plastic, electronics and software. His day job is IT-based business
improvement for SMEs. By night he turns energy nut, creating tools to
optimise energy use. Paul graduated in electronics and was responsible
for hardware and software product development and customer services in
several product and service start-ups, switching to consulting in

- Using Open Source tools to design and build a 3W RGB LED Controller
in a month of Sundays

There are many Open Source and freely available hardware designs but
almost all of them are currently hosted by proprietary tool chains.
Whether it's the EDA suite used to design the boards, the compilers
used to build the firmware or the dongles used to flash the firmware,
the chances are that at least one, if not all, are under a non-free
license of some kind.

In this talk we will hear about the experience of using an entirely
open toolchain to develop a 3W RGB LED controller. Specifically, the
the trials and tribulations in using Kicad: the GPL PCB Suite;
AVR-GCC: the GNU Compiler Collection build that targets the Atmel AVR
line of microcontrollers and a parallel port programmer that can be
built in 5 minutes with minimal components.

Andy Bennett is an Engineer that likes to inhabit the void between
hardware and the software that runs on it. After graduating from
Imperial College with a degree in Electronic & Electrical Engineering
he joined Access Devices Digital Limited where he designed software
and FPGA cores for the UK's first Dual Tuner Personal Video Recorders.
He continued working on Advanced Product Development at Pace Micro
Technology before leaving to become employee number 2 at GenieDB where
he applies his finely honed ability to produce software on a

In his spare time he likes to design ambitious projects from scratch.
In between prototyping designs for his own PDA, digital watch and
bluetooth headset, he's currently building a two wheeled, actively
balanced, robot.

Note: Please aim to arrive for 18:00 - 18:20 as the event will start
at 18:30 prompt.



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