PiBot - Origins

Over the last 2 weeks I have been dedicating almost all of my free time towards one simple goal: creating a cheep, affordable, easily replicable Raspberry Pi based robot.

I started out with some scrap cardboard and a few simple components.

First of all I had to find some cheap motos, so I started browsing my favourite Chinese sellers on AliExpress and found some all metal gear, dc motors with built in encoders.

The next question was how I would drive and power these motors. The L298N dual H-bridge and a simple barrel connector were my weapons of choice and my lab bench power supply delivered the 7.5 volts of sustenance that was required for my LM7805 5 volt regulator driving my Raspberry pi.

After designing and wiring up a proto-board with a voltage regulator system and some male jumper pins for the powersource, motor power supply, and the signal out from the GPIO to the H-bridge, I had a crude but effective Pi-hat of sorts.

The first test is never easy, especially when you are risking costly parts such as a Raspberry pi…

After wiring up the battery connector I flicked the switch on my power supply. Only after few long seconds was I able to bring myself to reopen my shy eyes. eureka! No banging, popping or crackling sounds! No fire or smoke! Just the Raspbian boot screen.

Ok so it works. Time to write the test code.

Using a Putty terminal I connected to the Pi via SSH and for the first and last time I began writing a test script in Python using nano. “This isn’t how I’m wasting my free time.” I thought to myself.

Notepad++ to the rescue!

I now have a working concept that I was able to demo during the last Robot DIYers Odense meet up. The next steps in this project are as follows:

  • Add batteries
  • Add sensors
  • Redesign the chassis and wheels
  • Build a control system
  • Write a simple AI program to drive it

All source code can be found on the PiBot Git repository and the templates are available for download here.

~The Mad Maker


Robot DIYers Odense

As of late I've been branching out in the small city of Odense, Denmark, in order to expand my (local) maker network. While browsing FaceBook events and outdated hackerspace pages I cam across a page promising a meet of like-minded people.
Intrigued, and excited I immediately checked in to the first event available and upon arriving I was not disappointed...

The topic of the day was making an IOT device that could "order a pizza" at the push of a button.
At the heart of the project was the ESP8266, a module which I had no prior experience with.

With in minutes of first contact I had flashed the boot loader, installed the ESPlorer IDE and was blinking an led on the dev board.

I was like magic, it just worked.

Not long after we began work on the real project, and with a bunch of guidance, and the occasional helping hand I was able to send text messages to my cellphone at the push of a button.

Stressed and late I found myself waiting by what I thought was the Univeristy's FabLab but something was a miss. 

With assistance from a friendly student I wandered around the area for a good 10 or so minutes before I had the sense to call Ori, the event organizer, who then showed me to the workshop. 

As soon as I entered I knew I was in the right place.

Laptops, 3d printers, and electronic components, and modules littered the tables acompnaied by 5 friendly faces.

I was in my comfort zone.

Towards the end of the meeting we began discussions on branching out towards machine learning, and working with other microcontrollers including the CH552G.

Over all the event was a great experience, and I look forward to the next meeting!

If you're in the area and have an interest in robotics, and or electronics I would highly recommend attending the meet ups.

You can check out the page here.

The are events every couple of weeks hosted on Mondays and Thursdays.

See you there!

~The Mad Maker


Yes We're Back... Again

Yes, the rumors are true!
After yet another year in cold storage Byrith is back, this time under a .net domain, due to some issues with a Chinese domain reseller buying our previous .com rights.

So what's new? Why should we trust in Byrith's stability, and integrity this time?
We're glad you asked.

Aside from the domain quite a few changes have been made to Byrith at it's very foundation. For starters, we've had some interns (but more on that later), we've also got a full lineup for The Mad Maker, and we are connecting with more small groups, companies, and clubs, both regional, and worldwide.

As for the immediate future we are working towards some projects, and products to be released mid-year however we aren't publicly disclosing any further information at this time.

~The Mad Maker


The DIY Budget Alternative To Arduboy

A few years ago, when I was as green as a grasshopper with the Arduino IDE I wanted a fun way to get used to writing sketches and writing in the C based Arduino language, but while I had the drive, I lacked the attention span to write long segments of code required to do anything even remotely interesting with the tools that the Arduino foundation provided.

Years of constant stimulation and instant gratification provided by video games had turned my malleable little mind into mush.
How was I to continue?

Then it hit me!

Perhaps I could turn my weakness into a strength...
I always had a fascination with the process of video game development and hardware design. It was clear what must be done.

Byrith's Game Dude.

While at Odense maker fair I had heard about a place of true wonder, a place where anyone could come and use tools and equipment such as laser cutters, 3d printers, CNC machines, and much more!

A place called FabLab...

It wasn't long before I had ordered a display, and knocked up a basic file in Illustrator. A thin layer of wood served as the front panel with several tactile switches slotted into place just below.

To my surprise everything fit into place perfectly the first time around.

After the case was assembled and the tedious wiring complete I uploaded a simple example sketch.

The screen lit up, the buttons were responsive and the salvaged Nintendo DS speaker began chiming!

Not long after I read about a Kickstater campaign on hackaday.
The Arduboy promised everything I had done and more at the small price of... 40 dollars?! Well at least I had my GameDude

Over all, I learn a lot from the project, and the reward of making something yourself from scratch was far greater than having it arrive in your mail box months after forgetting you ordered it, and I can display it knowing that I can take pride in my design.

The end?...

~The Mad Maker


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