TI LaunchPad, Relays and Rail In Action

More fun with the Texas Instrument’s Launchpad! But sorry, but not mine. This belongs to Model Rail Radio contributor and great RR guy Terry Terrance. Terry has been working late tonight to put together a diorama for he Streetsville Junction NMRA Regional this weekend. He has a TI LaunchPad controlling the back ‘n forth shuttle of an On30 loco across the diorama. Pretty simple, but it could be expanded to arbitrary complexity to include automatic routing, etc. Terry saus he made one error in the narration – the relays are SPDT not SPST. The two SPDT relays are wired as a DPDT and are thrown simultaneously by the LaunchPad. Here’s a video of it in action.


I am hoping to build something like this soon, and I will update this blog as I make some progress. Basically I would like to automate the EuroNook that I started building in an earlier post. Whether I will use the LaunchPad to control it or maybe the Raspberry Pi has yet to be seen. Actually I was thinking that if I design the interfacing correctly I could swap the control mechanism between totally manual, LaunchPad, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, or maybe even JMRI just depending on what I hook up.

JMRI Updates

JMRINot that I have any involvement with the development at all, but just wanted to make sure that folks know there have been big strides in updating JMRI – the free, open source computer interface to DCC for model trains.

First of all, the manual for version 2.14.1, which was the most recent version before yesterday, has been completed. You can find that newly completed manual at the JMRI site.

Secondly, the folks doing all the hard work have announced that the new version, JMRI version 3.0, is ready for primetime and has been released. You can read the release note, see what has changed, and access the downloadable code on the Release Notes for JMRI 3.0 page on the website.

Managing Your Digital Life

I just thought I would pass along to all of you a great new website dedicated to the way all live drivenow. The Managing Your Digital Life Podcast & Blog is a great destination for information on how to deal with all the electronic stuff you accumulate during your daily life. The folks there, like Scott Bourne and Andy Ihnatko, answer questions like: What sort of hard drive should I buy? How do I create a backup plan? What’s the difference between backup and archive?

They will provide tips, tricks, news and reviews relevant to the most up-to-date storage, backup and archiving systems. The goal is to help you take care of, manage, access and safely store/backup all your precious homework assignments, videos, photos, databases, music files and more.

Managing Your Digital Life is a highly recommended site, so check them out!

Making The Break

This hereby serves as my official notice – just in case you hadn’t already guessed – I am striking out on my own. Yes, I am leaving my current position and going into business for myself providing computer consulting, development, and instructional services. When I walk out of my office on November 7th, I will be walking into the full time (and more) world of Palmettobug Digital. Oh, and I will be spending the next few days painting and cleaning up the new home office.

There are many reasons for this, but the most important thing is that I am totally excited about the future again. I had gotten down in a lot of ways recently, but the old energy has returned and I am raring to go! I already have a number of clients lined up, including doing some work for my current employer, and I am developing ways to gather more. Every piece of this project – from the marketing to the actual work is engaging to me right now. I am actually finding it hard to go to bed and sleep because my mind keeps racing. Truthfully, I haven’t been this energized in years.

So, please wish me well and stay tuned. Also, please check out my site at Palmettobug.com and let me know what you think. It is a constantly evolving work in progress. And if you need any of the services I am offering, or know someone who does, I would love to hear from you!

And by the way, love this video!

Computers Suck

I am a Mac fan, user, and evangelist. On the other hand I earn my living on PCs and Windows machines. And yes for those of you out there, I have used Linux too and continue to use it from time to time. But truth be told, they are all a pain and each one has its positive points and drawbacks. You have got to admit it — no matter how fond you are of the machine you use, at times you just want to scream at it.

You need to take a look at this video from YouTube. Basically a Southpark style remake of the famous Mac / PC ads from Apple, it hits the nail dead on the head. And in the end I do mean dead.