Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Modified pumpkin

We picked up a kind of neat pumpkin with a color changing LED in it. However it was just a standard Fast Fade LED of the kind that you buy on eBay (in fact I have some in the lab that are exactly the same shift pattern) and the pattern was disliked by all as it does a lot of flashing, not so much with the fading.

I grabbed an ATTiny85 off the shelf, wired an RGB LED directly to the PWM outputs (no resistors needed because of the internal resistance of the batteries), whipped up some quick code for it, got the color shifts about where we wanted them, and threw it all on a small board that replaced the single self-flashing LED on top of the existing battery holder/switch and hot-glued it in the pumpkin again.

Here's the board pre-install and the completed thing:

Click here for the code.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ixon Core IQ2 50 lux review

After seeing a recommendation on Bikeforums, I went online and picked up an Ixon Core IQ2 50 lux model


I did a quick look when I got it, click here for that.

My first impressions were that it was nice, and the illumination seemed pretty good.  Less than I was used to, but a nice shaped beam which I very much want, and I've certainly ridden with less light when I first started commuting years ago.

However, as I've used it daily for 3 weeks now, I'm finding that my first impressions were really overly optimistic.  While I THINK that I have enough light, it seems to be an opinion powered by wishful thinking. I've found that when using this light, I can see major obstacles but I am hitting large cracks and rocks which aren't that obvious, on the same road where with my old light I was easily able to avoid them.  I hit them without ever having seen them, they come as a complete surprise.

Also, the shaped beam kills me on corners. I have several corners on my ride where I have to take a corner and ride straight into a minefield of cracks, holes and asphalt patches, and pick a route through them that's probably only 10 inches wide and isn't clear, but is just a series of patches that is more or less level. With the shaped beam, I can't see the road around the corner, even 45 degrees off from my handlebar, AT ALL.  So I find that I have to slow WAY down, swing a bit wide, then cut the corner going very slowly so that the light is on the road, then I can pick my way through.  It's also harder to pick the level or less broken up bits with this level of light than it was with my older lights.

I'm sure that there are people who ride on better roads than I do, and for them this is an attractive light. It's small and the battery lasts a long time for its size. The shaped beam is excellent and I wish such optics were common in the US. I don't want to say that nobody should buy this light, it's probably the perfect light for a lot of people.

But not for me, and I wanted to make sure this information is out there.  Both for people in my situation, and to emphasize the point that I hope people take away, which is that something that works great for you may not be the best choice for everyone.  I'm sure there are plenty of people who would love this light.

I'm probably going to sell this for half what it cost me 3 weeks ago, but in the end I think I still got a bargain, because from what I can tell, I couldn't expect any better than this from any of the dyno headlights, so this clearly tells me that I don't have to bother going down that path. That would have not just been more money but a lot more time and effort to go through to find out that it wasn't for me.

So I'm back to my $25 eBay MS clone with a spreader lens.  Still absolutely my favorite light.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mount a Makergeeks mk9 extruder on a Prusa i3

I designed and printed this for a friend who wanted to build a Prusa i3 and wanted to use this dual head extruder from Makergeeks


New printer: JGAurora A3

This week I decided I'd had it with all the other printers in my stable.  The CTC is stable and decent but it just bugs me (can't st...