electronics

The Raspberry Pi Pico is a new $4 microcontroller

Raspberry Pi Pico on breadboard

tl;dr: The Raspberry Pi Pico is a new $4 microcontroller board with a custom new dual-core 133 MHz ARM Cortex-M0+ microprocessor, 2MB of built-in flash memory, 26 GPIO pins, an assortment of SPI, I2C, UART, ADC, PWM, and PIO channels.

It also has a few other party tricks, like edge castellations that make it easier to solder the Pico to other boards.

The Pico is powered by a new RP2040 chip—a brand new Raspberry-Pi-built ARM processor. And the best thing about this processor is the insanely-detailed Datasheet available on the Pico website that steps through every bit of the chip's architecture.

Video Review and 'Baby Safe Temperature' Project

I posted an entire video reviewing the Pico and demonstrating a MicroPython project. The video is embedded below:

Fixing a 2011 MacBook Pro booting to a Grey Screen - AMD Radeon Video Glitch

I've been a Mac user for years, and I've repaired hundreds of different Macs, from the early II series to the latest 2015 and 2016 model MacBook Pros, iMacs (and other Apple hardware to boot!), and there is almost never a hardware situation where I've thrown in the towel and told someone to ditch their Mac.

The 2011 MacBook Pro has, for almost a decade, been the exception to that rule. There was a major flaw in the AMD Radeon GPUs included with that model year's logic board which seemed to cause GPU failure either due to overheating, internal chip problems, BGA solder joints getting broken, or a combination of the above. The problem was so rampant, Apple was forced to set up a free repair program for affected MacBook Pros—though the 2011 model has since been dropped from that program. I've handled three 2011 MacBook Pros (none of them my own—I had an Air back then), and all three of them were scrapped because of the GPU issue.

Refurbishing a classic microphone - the Electro-Voice RE20

In the world of radio and professional podcasting, there are fewer than a dozen 'go-to' microphones. Each of the classics (e.g. the Shure SM7B, the Neumann U87, or the EV RE20) has it's own advantages and a few marquee users, but one mic seems to rule the roost when it comes to versatility and ability to color almost any voice with the 'talk show' sound, and that's the EV RE20.

Electro-Voice RE20 classic black and white mounted in shock mount microphone EV
The RE20 mounted in the 309A shockmount.

Ansible deployments Visualized with a Raspberry Pi cluster

Raspberry Pi Dramble - cluster of Raspberry Pi computers

For the past few weeks, I've been building a cluster of six Raspberry Pis to test and demonstrate Ansible playbooks for Drupal deployment at upcoming events (like MidCamp and DrupalCon LA).

I added an RGB LED to each of the Raspberry Pis that can be controlled via software (for example, here's a Python script to turn on one individual color on the LED), and as part of the demonstration, I'm using the LEDs to indicate which server Ansible is currently working with.

RIP - Canon PowerShot S2 IS

Two weeks ago, my Canon PowerShot S2 IS died (the shutter would no longer open, even after I performed about six different resuscitation methods). After discovering the cost of repair was a little too high (almost $200!), I thought to myself, "Well, why don't you take a crack at seeing what's wrong?"

Bad idea.

Canon PowerShot S2 IS Disassembly

As you may surmise from the above picture, I was able to take apart practically every part of the S2 IS. However, I think I finally decided there was no chance of my repairing the camera, or even putting it back together, after I accidentally broke the itty-bitty microphone wires, then dropped two microscopic screws (until that time, I was carefully documenting where all the screws went...).