Sat Jan 27 2024 – heat sinks and pi irrigation controller.

An application of Blue Board in calculating heat sink cooling capability, measured in Watts

By measuring the interior chip temperature over a few seconds of a chip cooled by a heat sink, you can calculate the watts dissipated by the heat sink. The DS18B20 measures temperatures up to 125℃ at the interior of the chip.
This is a useful measurement If you are making your own heat sinks out of copper tubes or folded aluminum sheathing,  You can also compare the effectiveness of different heat sink compounds this way.

The presentation is at this bookmark in a longer presentation on how to set up a Raspberry Pi Pico as a Blue Board learning tool. Blue Boards are available for free from George at 250-893-7423

Nov 11 2023 – Intro to NextCloud on a Pi

Why just run your own video conferencing server, when you can simultaneously run that AND mail, calendaring, contacts, calls, IM, file sharing, remote backup, and a web-based office suite, all in one intimidating package. Get your own thrift-store Google G Suite going with the open source Nextcloud platform on a tiny Raspberry Pi! Great for the privacy-conscious, the independent, and masochists. We’ll do it the hard way and make configuring Jitsi look like recess at kindergarten (and then do it the easy way). Warning: the hard way will race through dependencies including Apache, PHP, MySQL/MariaDB and openSSL, so expect some mild suffering.

Richard’s Blog here:

Actual process including configuring a web server and database and installing from a source tarball:

here are the pdfs

and here

Much briefer post using nextcloudpi via docker from my notes, as originally demoed:

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

This is a Hybrid meeting (in-person and on Jitsi).

Join Us Online here:

Sat. Oct. 28, 2023 – Forgotten Pill Warning (Hybrid)

George gets a scolding from Alexa for not opening his pill box on time.  Technologies include 

  • A dollar store pill box,
  • ESP8266 micro-controller
  • PHP server page to receive message from ESP8266
  • Cron job to notice late opening and to send a scolding email and SMS
  • IF This Then That (IFTTT) to signal Alexa
  • Amazon Alexa Echo Show to further admonish George to open the damn pill box.

George’s presentation .pdf is here

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

This is a Hybrid meeting (in-person and on Jitsi).

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

Join Us Online here:

Sat, May 13, 2023 – Projects Day

We will be having a discussion about Projects that we are working on, but haven’t shared with the group. These can be projects that are successful or ones that just didn’t work out and have been abandoned. We’ll enjoy hearing about other’s projects, and perhaps even offer to help.

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

This is a Hybrid meeting (in-person and on Jitsi).

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

Join Us Online here:

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. Sep, 24, 2022 – Firefox Extension tracking

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

Mark will share his work in stripping tracking info on Firefox on a Pi, and how to load it onto your Firefox.

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

Suite 303 – 771 Vernon Ave · Victoria, BC

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

Mark’s presentation .pdf is here.

June 25, 2022 – Recent Projects

Come share your recent projects with the group, online or in person.

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

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

George shared some pico links


Sat. Feb. 26, 2022 Making a music player – bits of Python causing grief

I decided to build my own Raspberry Pi music player using Python, as the available players didn’t really do what I wanted. This is Python at the beginner level, and the saga of making the player. Mostly it is about the little things in Python that caused me to stumble for a while. The music player is functional, the interface isn’t elegant, and I learned a few things about Python programming. – Don

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

Here are Don’s presentation .pdf and(change to .py) .txt file.

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.

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