Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Goal of a Lifetime


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Last Updated: 17 March 2014
-added links & descriptions of other articles to check out

What are My Limits?

"It should be the end goal of any professional to reach such a high level of skill at what you do that you are no longer limited by your abilities; but rather, you are limited only by your imagination."
~Gabriel Staples, 25 Feb. 2014

I was inspired with this thought tonight while listening to this song (Fear Not This Night (ft. Asja)), followed by this song (David Guetta - Titanium ft. Sia).  As the second song finished, I thought to myself, “did you hear any flaw in her voice?...are there any notes she cannot reach?...does she not have a perfect mastery of music?”  And then it hit me, musical artists at this level are not limited by their skillset, or the lack thereof; they are not limited by vocal control, or a sparse understanding of music, beat, rhythm, and notes.  Rather, singers like this are so skilled that they are limited, in what they will accomplish in their music, only by their imagination.  So it must be with engineers.  In the world of engineers, hobbyists, users and creators of electronics, RC pilots, systems and electronics integration experts and inventors, mathematicians, we must become so adept in our fields that the only limiting factor in what we can create in our areas of expertise is our imaginations.  Let us resolve to better learn our fields, and to make personal efforts to improve our skills on a daily basis, so that we can become doers and not just hearers in whatever we do.  "Be a Thinker, and Be a Doer," that is what drives me [1].

In regards to my professional interests, my goal is to become so skilled in Unmanned Aerial Systems, electronics, aviation, and computer programming, that nothing can hold me back from developing whatever I want to on the leading edge of technology, stretching the bounds of our world as we know it today.

By Gabriel Staples
25 Feb. 2014

[1] - "Be a thinker, and be a doer" is a quote from Destin, on his "Smarter Every Day" series on YouTube.
--photo is a picture of me in Egypt, by the Red Sea, in June 2009, on a trip to study Arabic.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Arduino PPM Reader Code - to read the signal coming out of the back of an RC transmitter!


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By Gabriel Staples Written: 14 Feb. 2014
Last Updated: 14 Feb. 2014

...THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS...Code is finished, just tweaking and properly documenting it...

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Begin article here...

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Arduino micros() function with 0.5us precision - using my Timer2_Counter Library


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...merging the world of Arduino and Radio Control, one tool at a time...

"I wrote a libary to get 0.5us precision on a "micros()" replacement function, so that I can get repeatable results reading a PWM or PPM signal, to within 1us.  I searched all around the internet and could not find something comparable (or that was easy to use, and maintained the Arduino's ability to write PWM signals via the Servo Libary), so I think this is my first real contribution to the world of Arduino and Radio Control."  

(font above is type "standard," from here)

Download this library:

(Optionally) donate, & download via the link just above, or by clicking here then choosing the appropriate download.  Install the library into the Arduino IDE (using Sketch --> Include Library --> Add .ZIP Library), then run the examples to see how to use the library.

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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Quick Tip: 4 Ways to Power an Arduino


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By Gabriel Staples
Written: 8 Feb. 2014
Updated: 27 May 2014 - minor details added

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4 Ways to Power Your Arduino:

  1. USB cable
  2. External power supply, or battery, going into the 2.1mm x 5.5mm DC power jack (recommended 7~12V input)
  3. External power supply, or battery, going into the "VIN" and "GND" pins on the board, via jumpers (recommended 7~12V input)
  4. External, regulated 5V power going straight into the "5V" and "GND" pins; this can come from another Arduino's 5V and GND pins even!
Please support my work and contributions by purchasing an Arduino-compatible Nano from me here.
Also, don't forget to like, share, and subscribe at the right.


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Arduino Power, Current, and Voltage Limitations


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By Gabriel Staples
Started: 6 Jan. 2014
Last Updated: 12 June 2015
Update History (newest on top)
-added info about IO pin voltage protection using a single resistor (ex: 10K --> +15.5V/-10.5V) - 20150612
-very minor corrections: some clarity added - 20140730

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(image above is from this Adafruit tutorial here

In using Arduino and designing my circuits for it, I have often-times asked myself the question, "What are the power/current/voltage limitations of the Arduino?"  "Will I risk damaging it?"  In the image above, for instance, a large servo is being powered by the voltage regulator right on the Arduino development board.  Larger servos and motors like these have the potential to push the Arduino past its max current limits, potentially causing it to reset itself and cause unusual errors while running, or possibly even damage the Arduino (I should note that most linear voltage regulators have an over-temperature auto-cutoff feature, however, so damage is unlikely).  In either case, it's important to understand the limitations of your Arduino, its input/output pins, and its voltage regulators.

Here, I will attempt to succinctly and accurately describe the power limitations of the standard Arduino boards, such as the Uno and Nano.  References will be included at the end, and references for particular data are denoted by square braces with the reference number, such as this: "[1]."  Following my references and methodology, you can use the same techniques to figure out the limits of your particular board, in case you're not using an Uno or Nano.

Summary of information below:

  • Input Voltage Limits:
    • Recommended: 7~12V
    • Absolute: 6~20V
    • Input/Output (I/O) pins: -0.5V to +5.5V (the actual max is "Vcc + 0.5V," which for a 5V Arduino, is +5.5V) (Note 1)
  • Output Current Limits:
    • When powered by USB: total of 500mA
    • With external battery or power supply: total of 500mA~1A (see below for specifics)
    • 5V pin: same as above: 500mA or 500mA~1A
    • Each input/output pin: 40mA
    • Sum of all input/output pins combined (but NOT including the "5V" pin): 200mA
Note 1: simply by adding a resistor in series with an I/O pin, you get increased input voltage protection for that pin. Ex: a 10k resistor provides voltage enough protection to allow input voltages between -10.5V and +15.5V. A 100k resistor allows DC input voltages from -100.5V to +105.5V. Read my article here for more info: Quick Tip: Arduino Input/Output (I/O) Pin Over-Voltage Protection Using a *Single* Resistor!


Power Limitations of the Arduino Uno & Nano:

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