Virtual Meetings – 2020

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We will be conducting Virtual Meetings for the next few weeks using Jitsi, a free video-conferencing system. Please use Chrome or Chromium for the best experience, or download one of the pre-built clients: https://jitsi.or/downloads

TBA – 2020 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 vicpimakers.ca 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

*** shown in the included 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.


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