How to configure an XBee on Linux, Mac, or any other operating system

Posted by Erica on Feb 21, 2012 in Electronics, Making

Consider this post a corrective to all the over-complicated advice I’ve seen out there. If you own an XBee, you likely already know that the official configuration tool, X-CTU, only runs on Windows. As result, if you need to configure an XBee on a different operating system, a Google search brings up repeated suggestions to […]

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LED stair video and how-to

Posted by Erica on Jul 13, 2011 in Making

For everyone who has contacted me regarding the automatic LED stair project, good news: the official instructions page is now available. Here is the video of me using the stairs. Movie making is not my greatest strength, but I think this gives an idea of what the stairs can do. They are beautiful. I am […]

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How to add a power strip to perfboard

Posted by Erica on Mar 23, 2011 in Electronics, Making

Things are moving along well with the automated LED stair light project. All the software is completed and sensors tested. I’ve begun moving the components from breadboard to perfboard, the permanent construction. Along the way I ran into a puzzle that I haven’t seen posted anywhere so I thought I would write about it here. […]

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Expanding the Arduino: cheap ways to add output pins and power

Posted by Erica on Jun 9, 2010 in Electronics, Making

For the LED stairs, I need to control 14 LED lamps and 2 sensors. From the beginning, I had in mind an Arduino as the microcontroller for this project. Although it is possible to do a primitive version of these stairs without a microcontroller, having a brain at the center gives many more options. And […]

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Learning to use heat-shrink wrap

Posted by Erica on Feb 10, 2010 in Electronics, Making

With the ProtoShield wired up and the ribbon cable prepared, the next step for the Speed Vest was attaching the electroluminescent wires to individual strands of the cable. This was rather fun as it was my first chance to try something I’d been interested in for a while, heat-shrink wrapping.  I paid my Coolight, my […]

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How to make a ribbon cable

Posted by Erica on Feb 7, 2010 in Electronics, Making

If you’ve ever worked around computers, you have seen IDC ribbon cables before. They are extremely common. So when I saw that the SpeedVest required a 14-wire ribbon cable with a 2×7 female header, I figured that I could simply get one at RadioShack or order it online. Turns out, it is not so simple […]

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