Feeling a bit neglected… Not me, the blog!

Posted by under Electronics, Life, on 9 January 2015 @ 9:03pm.

It’s been a while since my last post – I’ve neglected the blog for the first time since I started it a few years ago. I’ve had plenty of things going on but most of it isn’t worth talking about. That said, I have a few projects on the go and have bought a few things since then.

For Christmas, a friend bought me a dashcam. One of the functions of it is that it powers up and starts recording on its own when you start the car. Unfortunately it only does this if your cigarette lighter socket is turned on and off with the key. Annoyingly, mine isn’t and it’s permanent live. When discussing with a friend months ago we came up with the idea of making something that would turn it on and off based on battery voltage, so he went ahead and made one. It works great, but now I’m in need of the same thing so I’m making my own variation too. I’ll probably make a full post about it when it’s done, I’m just waiting for a few parts to complete it such as a project box and an Arduino Nano chip to run it.

My second version of the PWM charge controller is going to be built at some point too. I realised how much power the USB version of the Arduino Nano was really using compared to how low I could get it, so I’m building another version to replace it with a non-USB Nano board. That way I can reduce the power consumption to 0.5mA when asleep during the night instead of the 4mA or so that it uses now. That 4mA uses a lot of power and is especially noticable now that it is winter and the day time solar is already very low. The charge it takes out isn’t being put back in again during the day and it’s power consumption during the day is higher too, so eventually it would end up killing the battery if left alone. I’ll be experimenting a bit more with the processor speed vs power consumption as well since it doesn’t need a massive amount of processing power to do what it is doing. If it’s running too quickly then it’s just wasting power.

Since my last post I have also bought myself a Quadcopter, or a drone as they are sometimes known. It’s a Blade QX2 350 and is packed full of features. It has a GPS hold function which means it’s incredibly easy to fly and almost impossible to crash into the floor at speed. This function is also known as aerial photography mode as it’s very stable and smooth in operation. I also bought a camera for it which is an SJ4000 and looks just like a GoPro albeit slightly larger. It’s comparable in quality to the cheaper GoPro too and much cheaper. It’s a Chinese knockoff style camera but it works well enough and because it was cheap I don’t mind if it gets knocked around a bit. To go with the camera I also bought a 2 axis electronic stabilised gimbal (which I proceeded to break on its first flight due to a fly-away crash) and it works incredibly well (I’ve fixed it now to the tune of £22 for new casing). It looks like this year I might be building a Quadcopter too with an FPV (first person video) setup on it. Watch this space, and check out my YouTube channel for on board videos.


Tomorrow I have a new case for my PC arriving, the Corsair Vengeance C70. I’ve needed a new case for a while and since I got an Amazon voucher for Christmas from my dearest mother (thanks Mum!) I put that towards it and paid the rest myself. It will replace the horrible case I have now which was an old desktop style server case with the disk drive bays missing. I’m attending a gaming LAN party later in the year and a new case which looks the part for that will definitely be a bonus. Next on the list will likely be a new graphics card as my HD 7770 1GB is feeling dated already, even though I have only had it a little over a year (or is it two? Time flies so quickly these days…). When you can’t even get 30FPS out of Flight Simulator X on medium graphics, you know it’s dated! I’ll probably make a post on that when and if I get it too.

This year I’ll be attending several WEC racing events again, and a 24 hour Brit Car event too which will be a welcome change. Le Mans of course is still on the cards and my photography skills will be further put to the test at all of these events. I’m getting better each time which you can probably tell if you have seen these events in the gallery. Again, watch this space for updates.