Sat. Dec. 10, 2020 – T’is the Season

T’is the season for bright lights and Raspberry Pi fun.

T’is the Season!

In this talk we’ll look at a ModMyPi Programmable Christmas Tree (MMP-1021), which sits atop the 40 pin header and presents a set of individually controlled LEDs. The trick to practical and easy use of the tree is via GPIOZERO, a fantastic python module. We’ll integrate some sensors as well, since GPIOZERO makes them very easy.

9:30-10a Cocktails & Conversation
10a Presentation

Small Boardroom @ Quality Foods, 27 Helmcken Rd #110 · View Royal


Sat. Oct 22, 2020 – Old Man Savers

George will share his old man savers. Consumer kitchen appliances are designed for one size fits all, not for my personal needs. My needs change as I age, and I need alerts for faults.

  • I like to turn off my drip coffee maker as soon as coffee is brewed. If I forget, it wastes electricity (500watts) and spoils the coffee. If I forget to insert the carafe, I’ve got a mess. A timed relay with a contact sensor for the carafe solves the problem.
  • So as not to overcook the meat, I turn off my induction hot plate based on a thermistor inserted into the meat to trip a relay to power off the hot plate.
  • A centralized monitor and alarm system, with text message notifications, can be tailored to one’s specific needs. My monitoring system needs to include at least 9 sensors:
  • Exterior door that gets left ajar.
  • Bathroom light gets left on
  • Bathroom water flooding
  • Fridge power lost
  • Fridge temperature too high
  • Freezer power lost
  • Freezer temperature too high
  • Exterior hall temperature
  • Smoke detector

George’s presentation is here:

His code .pdf file is here:

9:30-10a Cocktails & Conversation
10a Presentation

QCollege has welcomed us back to meet in-person. We thank them for their support.

We will be holding a Hybrid meeting (in-person & Jitsi).

Sat., June 11, 2022 – Marine GPS on a Pi

Dave will share his work in running Marine Navigation on a Pi including:

  • hardware requirements
  • how the zero could be used, but there are drawbacks
  • I was unable to get a pi 4
  • at George’s suggestion, I decided to go with the pi 400
  • hardware modifications to integrate the GPS unit within the pi 400 case
  • introduction to and a brief overview of the OpenCPN Chart Plotter Navigation software
  • some ideas I have to make a more “system-critical” GPS solution (will implement if I have time)

9:30-10a Cocktails & Conversation (virtual)
10a Presentation

QCollege has welcomed us back to meet in-person. We thank them for their support.


Sat. Apr. 9, 2022 – Power Control

Show and Tell of how you are controlling the world (or at least your part of it) with an AC Power Control project. All are invited to share in this meeting.

QCollege, Suite 303 771 Vernon Ave · Victoria, BC, has welcomed us back to meet in-person. We thank them for their support.

We will be holding a Hybrid meeting (in-person & Jitsi).

Deid’s link:

George’s presentation .pdf

Sat. Nov. 13, 2021 – Infrared Data Communications

Jim Briante presenting

9:30-10a Cocktails & Conversation (virtual)
10a Presentation

Jim’s Presentation Notes are here.

IrDA Infrared communication
Infrared Emitting Diode
• Angle of half intensity: ϕ,
• Relative radian power vs wave length
Infrared Receiver
• Series for remote control
• Automatic gain control (AGC)
• Data format compatibility
Data Encoding Methods
• Pulse distance encoding, Pulse width encoding, Manchester bi-phase encoding
Basic IR System –IR emitter/receiver
• External components/software
• Generating Pulses
• With PSoC PWM interrupts
• Raspberry Pi Pico State Machine
• Receiving Pulse
• Raspberry Pi Pico using interrupts
Single Pulse Application Example
IR Receiver for Continuous Data Communication
• What works for RS-232 data transmission and why?
Project Utilising IR emitters/Receivers using RS-232 Communication

Sat. June 12, 2021 – Prototyping

9:30 AM to 11:30 AM PST

Jim will share with us his secrets in Prototyping projects, from concept to breadboarding, prototyping and printed circuit

The discussion will touch on hardware/software tools used in each of the phases with focus on methods of prototyping and assembly.

See the presentation .pdf here.

9:30-10a Cocktails & Conversation
10a Presentations

Jitsi Virtual Meeting

Please contact if you are having trouble connecting to the meeting server.

Sat. Mar. 13, 2021 – Hardware Containers

Now that you have the world’s most useful project, it is time to package it up so the world doesn’t break it. We’ll discuss using different packaging containers to protect your project.

9:30 AM to 11:30 AM PST

Jitsi Virtual Meeting
Please contact if you are having trouble connecting to the meeting server.

George’s packaging presentation:

Deid’s packaging presentation:

Postponed – Projects and Challenges

Due to the current situation @ March 14, 2020, in-person meetings have been suspended until further notice. Please do join us on Slack or at our online learning sessions using Jitsi. Write to hello at for invitations and information.

Q-CollegeSuite 303 771 Vernon Ave · Victoria, BC – 10am

1) Hack Challenge, by George
Modify a window alarm to be a useful or entertaining device. Window alarms to be supplied free March 14th, one per attendee.

2) Hack Challenge, by Deid
New “Christmas Light” patterns

3) … bring projects that you want to share or need help with… If you like, email a description to be added to this page.

It is fun to repurpose battery powered consumer products.  For instance, here is a Leak Detector made from a window alarm.  The article includes the window alarm schematic.  

And George made a bike theft deterrent alarm with remote radio alerting from the same window alarm.

In normal operation, the window alarm senses separation from its external magnet via its internal reed switch and feeds its piezo disk with an oscillation.  The window alarm runs on 3 button cells and draws no current when the reed switch is open. There is also a slide switch to enable/disable the alarm.

Here is a photo of the circuit board:  The OUT signal from the 8 pin oscillator chip is a 10V DC wave, pumped up by the inductor from 5 volts. A voltage divider can be added to lower this chip output signal to less than 5v to feed another device.    

Or the piezo can be used as a microphone, providing about 100mv into a very high impedance input

In May we can show what we achieved.

New “Christmas Light” patterns

Deid successfully connected a 50 light string of addressable LEDs to an ESP8266 to cause the lights to light and change colour and move and …

Deid created the following patterns:

  • Primary
  • Random
  • Web Safe
  • Follow
  • Lead
  • Random On ***
  • All On
  • All Off
  • Rainbow
  • Moving
  • Colour
  • Christmas
  • Rainbow Group
  • Dual Colour ***
    *** Shown in the images

The ESP8266 C code to do this can be found here.  Deid makes no representation that the existing code is good.  In fact he knows some of it is not. Feel free to fix.

The challenge is to add more patterns and the code to implement the patterns.  If you send Deid the code he will load and try the code. Unless someone comes up with a better way for folks to test remotely.

Saturday, Jan 11, 2020 – Amateur Radio

Using Nexus DR-S hat on your Pi to control your Amateur Radio. Nexus DR-X (aka: DigiLink) is a digital radio cross patch that allows you to link the Raspberry Pi sound card of your choice to nearly any amateur radio transceiver to enable perfect digital data communications.

The Buster RPI image includes a host of Ham apps and a simple dialog box that makes updating and installing your favorite programs easy. Deid’s presentation notes are here.

10:00 AM – 12:00PM
Q College Suite 303 771 Vernon Ave · Victoria, BC

Sat, Nov 23, 2019 -Electrical measurements in the unsteady state

10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Learn how to measure the electrical world using your embedded device. In this talk, we’ll answer the following, and show you lots of cool stuff:

  • When does Ohm’s law apply?
  • Measuring inductance and capacitance, and formulas for these
  • Recording transient currents when a motor starts and stops.
  • Protecting devices with inrush current limiters and transient suppressors.

Camosun College Interurban Campus
4461 Interurban Road · Victoria, BC
Tech Bldg, Tech 177