Friday, May 27, 2011

ubuntu 10.04 guest on VMware with a WIN7 host; using the arduino IDE.

Sometimes I just spend hours and hours trying to do something because I can't believe that it cannot work! I thought there should be quite a number of people running linux as guest on VMware and then running the arduino IDE on it.

I can tell you that it all works very very well, including the exchange of serial data when the sketch is already loaded to the board. All is good. That is until you try to load a sketch to your arduino. When you try to do that you get:

avrdude: stk500_getsync(): not in sync: resp=0x00
avrdude: stk500_disable(): protocol error, expect0x14, resp=0x00

meaning there's exchange of info for a while but then something fails. the rx and tx lights on the board, light up briefly and then it fails.
And after spending a good part of a day going around with it, I finally start to become closer to giving up. Besides all the things I tried (it doesn't matter to list them here, because they obviously did not work!) the following links started to make it clear...
(in the page above, see the small print at the bottom: "Note: I tried to program using Linux on VMware on windows 7… but it was not working.") this is a user that is trying to use avrdude (the program the arduino IDE uses to upload the sketches to the board) under vmware, very similar setup to mine but earlier distro versions of ubuntu. It also does not work. win7 guest on (I think a win7 host). Slightly different problem of the arduino not being recognized on the guest OS, points for some trouble on the comms when using virtual machines to upload programs to the arduino board.

I spent a day on this and so far I have not found a solution for this problem. I will try a bit more because I just like to suffer, but I start to loose hope. Almost for sure, the problem seems to be coming from the communication phase between the board and avr-dude, some kind of reply that takes too long to come back from the board. I will keep looking for a solution, if you know of one, please write something on the comments area.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Network Speakers Project Complete

I finally finished this project! I was able to:

1. develop very-low-cost hardware capable of receiving a network (TCP) stream and play it. The hardware consists of an arduino controller board, an ethernet shield that had to be slightly modified to work with the mp3 shield (see previous posts describing the connections of these components). Final arduino software is available here (note limit to the playback of 32 kbps bitrate maximum on the hardware client app).

2. develop a windows application written in Delphi that:
a) automatically adds speaker clients as they are added to the network
b) manages the speaker database (allows grouping of speakers, edit names and descriptions, delete and manual add).
c) sends only one stream to the network (to decrease bandwidth usage) but selects speakers or groups of speakers for stream playback.

3. Develop a windows client application that emulates the arduino hardware (in this implementation, this is NOT a general arduino emulator!)

The software described in 2. and 3. can be used without any HW client to stream audio (mp3) content over the network from a server to a client.

All software is available here (the latest versions are the top three on the list for each of the described components).

Saturday, May 7, 2011

New Personal Weather Station Webpage

Now you can access all the data collected by my weather station online, including the old graphs by connecting to my own personal server at this location.

I have been collecting and storing quite reliable weather data for over a year now and the weather station is getting quite a lot of interest. Just FYI, here are the list of upcoming developments I would like to implement:

1. Beautify the reports page.
2. Connect a barometric pressure sensor (I already have it!!)
3. Connect a simple photocell to quantify light levels.
4. Use the barometer to actually predict the weather
5. Allow for searches and graphs for user-selectable periods on the database.
6. Add a simple webcam and broadcast an image of the weather station sensors and their surroundings.

Slowly the improvements will come.