Having recently been recommended to check out Hackvana.com for the new Papilio DUO prototype’s I noticed a quick blurb about stencils in the Q&A doc. I asked Mitch, who runs Hackvana, about stencils in the IRC channel and boy was I glad I did! He outlined a very affordable and easy to use stenciling system called Stencil8. There is a detailed guide written by Zach Hoeken at hoektronics.com that shows you how to use a PCB tooling block and metal dowels to get perfect alignment between your PCB and stencil. Mitch at Hackvana.com will take your pcb design and add alignment rails that will match up perfectly with low cost stencils that he can provide for around $30 each. That’s right steel stencils for just $30 each! I’ve already ordered a PCB tooling block and am super excited to put this stencil system to the test.
Hamster posts an FPGA based Eternity II solver. Is there still a $2M bounty for solving this puzzle?March 4th, 2014
FPGA hacker extraordinaire, aka Hamster, just posted VHDL code for an Eternity II solver via the Papilio forums. More details and full code can be found at his wiki, and if you are like me you have never heard of the Eternity II puzzle before. Wikipedia has our back with an in depth article on the topic.
Apparently the Eternity II puzzle was released in 2007 and has never been solved despite the fact that a $2 million prize was offered for a solution. Its not clear if there is still a prize available, but solving this would be quite an accomplishment!
Hamster says that he has explored the puzzle using other techniques but never felt that an FPGA was suited to solve this puzzle. He recently had a flash of inspiration and realized a new approach that would be well suited for an FPGA. He quickly put his idea to code and found some good results. Head over to the forum to see what he found.
Woah, this is nuts. I remember my dot matrix printer from back in the day. I remember that it simply made a lot of racket, and what a pain it was to have to tear the feeder strips off of each side of the printed pages…
Fast forward to 2014 (like only a week ago), when I got wind of a hacked 24-pin dot matrix printer made by MIDIDesaster - which actually makes a good kind of racket. Long story short, he MIDI-enabled this printer to play Eye Of The Tiger (remember the training montage from Rocky 3?) Yeah, that song. You’ll have to just watch the above video to see how seriously cool this is.
MIDIDesaster is using an Atmega 8 and an FPGA (I researched this, but I can’t find which FPGA board he is using) that he hacked into the printer’s internals to make musical sound, via the pins on the printer head. The printer has 21-voice polyphony, and 16 channels of MIDI capability. There are even a few MIDI messages available, including note on/ off, velocity, frequency, and a couple more.
Definitely check this one out. I think more than anything, I’m really impressed with the creativity in the design and implementation of this project. When the song is over, there’s even a visual record of it, printed on the paper. Props for sure!
Just wanted to drop you all a quick note that the acrylic enclosures for the Papilio Pro are now back in stock at the store. There has been a hefty demand for these, and the design (by Os1r1s) is absolutely stunning. If you’re going to hack around with your PPro, we recommend that you do it in style!
It looks like there’s a Papilio One case coming soon by the same designer too! Awesome. Here’s the render of the Papilio One enclosure: (And don’t worry – if you stay tuned to the site, you’ll be the first to know when it hits.)
We slashed the price on the newly re-available Papilio Pro enclosure from $19.99 down to $17.99 to make up for the shortage. Hopefully that will sweeten the pot a little for you guys!
We wanted to provide some information for you about the newest peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and open source software project released under the MIT/X11 license. Yes, it’s completely open-source, and you can mine these little guys on your FPGA platform.
Educate yourself a “bit” before we go on:
- Litecoin facts, history, references, development, etc. – (Wikipedia)
- Official Litecoin forums – (Litecoin)
- Kramble FPGA Litecoin Miner - source code (Github)
I’m thinking I want to ask Jack how much work it would be to implement this on Papilio, but if any of you guys and gals have already accomplished this, or want to hack it in, and post to the GF forums, it would help to extend all of our savvy!
Papilio user Alex posted this gem in the Papilio Forum. He came across an excellent article over at Jim Wu’s FPGA blog with some super easy ways to initialize memory. Whether you are defining a sin, cosine, sawtooth, or any manner of lookup table its super easy to do it mathematically using this example code. Say goodbye to manually defining the values in a lookup table!
Hi there everyone! We are excited to finally have the brand-new Ethernet Wing in stock at the Gadget Factory store! We are offering this awesome new product at a special introductory price of $9.99 for the first day only. That day is today! I would say take advantage of the sale, because tomorrow the Ethernet Wing goes to its regular price of $19.99.
Our friends over at Uberclock (makers of the Smoothie board) actually designed the wing, and they did a great job – it’s never been easier to add Ethernet functionality to your Papilio. No wires, no fuss, just plug and play! In addition to the features listed below, you’re also getting the same library that is included with the ZAP IDE (note that no VHDL is available currently).
Now for some some quick specs on the Ethernet Wing:
- Microchip ENC28J60/SS Chip
- HanRun HR911105A RJ45 Ethernet connector with integrated magnetics
- 25 Mhz Crystal
- 3.3 v Pin powered
Remember that this is a one-day only introductory sale, so any orders received before 11:59 PM MST *today* will get the special half-off price!
- Latest version of ZAP IDE – includes code library (AVR8/ ZPUino) for Ethernet Wing (by Greg Samsa)
- Source code for the above
-The Gadget Factory Team
Forum member Offroad recently hit us up with an example project, which is based on the Papilio Pro and the RetroCade Synth. He’s calling it the Really Dumb MIDI Monitor. This deserves a bit of explanation:
For starters, Offroad explains what he means by the term, “really dumb meaning: All the fun stuff like printf(“%02c”, byte) happens in RTL state machines…”
The project includes a simple MIDI parser for note on-/off messages. It remembers the state of all keys (all channels are combined, “omni mode”). Maybe this could be useful for some MIDI music experiments with minimal fuss: Excluding UARTs and FIFO (reused modules), the actual RTL code that does all the work is only about two screen lengths.
Here are a couple of links to the actual examples that he created, so make sure to click through and check them out for yourself.
- Papilio Pro MIDI Monitor – (zip file)
- meepMeep – (zip file) – This one is a MIDI monitor that actually makes an audible impression with an 18-bit saw waveform. Offroad says it sounds like a Farfisa! (See image above) Yikes indeed!
Do any of you guys have anything interesting that you’re working on for the RetroCade? We’d love to hear about it! Feel free to post to the forums, or comment on this post! Right on.
(via the forums, and thanks to Offroad)