A little bit late of an update, it’s been a crazy weekend with the protests and riots. I feel like I’ve been checking the TV and Twitter every 15 minutes. Still this week worked on some cool stuff I’d like to share.

  • New Video: Soldering
  • Plants in Hydroponics
  • Arduino Flashing Hell
  • Bench Shelf and Table Saw Floor

New Video: Soldering
First thing was I was able to finish and post a new video in the series on the Smart Sprinkler system I built. It was a long time in between parts and since I don’t do it very often the editing process is slow and tough. But I’m happy with the progress and had been already working on the next part so hopefully I can get it out in a more timely manner.


Plants in Hydroponics
Got some new strawberry plants in the mail to test out the hydroponics bed. They arrived a little dried up and I think we are past the season/sweet spot for getting seedlings in the mail. Nevertheless I planted them in the hydroponics bed using a combination of the clay soil or the perlite/vermiculite mix. At this point I’m not optimistic about the whole setup, I think certain factors like water temperature and flow are affecting the growth in a negative way. But we’ll see how this new batch does.

Arduino Flashing Hell
For the first time in a long time I broke out an Arduino Mega and tried to load on some code for a clock that I’m going to give to a friend as a present. The process was NOT fun and I don’t remember it being this difficult, maybe it was just the initial barrier of setup. I loaded the IDE on to my Mac desktop and used the USB, of course it wasn’t recognized and I went down the rabbit hole of USB drivers for the Mac and what’s built in and what’s not and what happened on old versions vs what’s happening on the latest version. I got fed up and I switched to the Pi, I remember it being a lot easier on the Pi. It wasn’t, same sort of issues after loading the IDE. Finally, out of desperation I followed the directions of the people who wrote the code which involved doing it on a PC. It didn’t work either. I rebooted, I switched things up, I double clicked every executable I could find in the package regardless of if its for my version or not. Nothing worked. Then I decided to switch to an FTDI cable, because I remembered doing that on a Pi. That half worked. I was finally able to see the Mega but any flashing failed. Then, I don’t know why, but after trying with the FTDI a few times I went back to the USB. It worked. Recognized in windows and the IDE and the code and directions worked just fine. I don’t have the slightest idea what changed, I tried turning it off and on again, I read and followed the directions. It just decided to work. So the code loaded and the clock works, I’m pleased but the process took 6 hours on a Sunday and I have a couple more ideas I want to try out with ESPs and other Arduinos and I hope it goes a lot smoother next time. I really think doing it on the Pi over FTDI is probably the way to go, that seemed to work well in the past.

Bench Shelf and Table Saw Floor
Finally did some upgrades in the workshop, had a left over board from the floor of the shed when I built it that was hanging out in the shed. Since it was large, thick, heavy, and constantly in the way I decided to chop it up on the table saw and put a shelf on the wood working table to better organize the tools there and to add a bottom to the table saw stand I made to help stabilize the thing a little better (lots of weight close to the ground) and maybe for a bit of storage there too. Nothing too crazy, just some measurements and some cutting. My daughter helped with the measuring and I while I was showing her how to screw in the piece by placing the screw and putting pressure on it with the mechanical screw driver when the screw shot off to the side (from too much pressure) and the screw driver stabbed me right in the side of the finger. So then I got to teach her how to use the first aid kit and clean blood up, fun. But overall, minus the finger damage, it all worked out well and was a pretty quick and easy upgrade, plus it was nice getting that board out of the shed.

Great, I can still see blood on the floor near that left caster and cord

That’s it for this week. It was a crazy weekend watching all the protests. I hope everyone out there stays safe and I really hope there’s change in our country making it more fair and there’s justice for all our citizens.

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