757 Labs A Hackerspace in Hampton Roads, Virginia.


Microcontroller Monday Presentation

Posted by tj

The Microcontroller Monday presentation from the 6th has been published and is viewable below. There was a great turnout for the event and I appreciate everybody's support!



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TCP Tuesdays – Networking class – March 20th, 7:30PM

Posted by telmnstr

7:30 PM - TCP Tuesdays (networking class)
Tue, Mar 20, 2012, 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
757Labs, 233 West Bute St, Norfok, VA 23510

Like most 757Labs events, this is open to the public to those interested in the topic.

TCP Tuesdays, starting this week at 7:30PM

Based on a few previous message threads, and conversations at the lab, a number of people have indicated they'd be interested in a 'networking' class, in the style of Microcontroller Mondays. So, starting THIS TUESDAY (March 20), 757 Labs will be running TCP Tuesdays, hosted by yours truly.

The first night will be 7:30PM-Whenever, with a focus on getting 'setup' to learn and run labs yourself.

Please bring a non-crusty laptop (needs to be able to run a MIPS simulator - Core-series w/2GB of ram or better recommended). Linux/Windows/OS X should all work (I've not actually used Windows for this, but its 'supported'). No serial cables or other gear needed, yet.


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TV Repair Presentation with Ethan 2/28/2012 @ 7:00PM

Posted by Beau

Ethan will be doing a presentation and hands on overview of how he generally goes about diagnosing and repairing the flat panel TVs that come into the lab. Pretty much a brain dump, sharing what he knows and how he does this.


When: February 28, 2012

Time: 7:00PM EST

Where: 757 Labs, 233 W. Bute Street Norfolk, VA 23510

Background on tonights project: Recently, Matt donated a 42" plasma TV that had failed, and it will be our subject for this presentation. Ethan will be reviewing this cold, meaning that he has not looked inside the TV or pre-checked anything out  other than confirming the service manual can be found on the inter-web. Ethan will cover both Plasma and LCD sets. While the one we will be looking at is a plasma TV.

Note: According to Ethan: It's not a profession, it's a hobby. My score so far: 5 wins, 2 losses. But 1 win is now a loss, but it could be a win again?  So it may be something simple or maybe more complex, come and join us.

We will try to record this and if its usable will distribute at a later time/date.



3D Printer Enthusiasts Meeting 2/25/2012

Posted by Beau

Hello there fellow 757 Labs friends,

There has been a good influx of interest in 3D Printers and related technologies in the past few months as well as more members purchasing kits (at least 4 reprap variations and 3 5 more Makerbots that I know of in the area). So lets get together and share what we have and work on the ones that need some help or time to get up and running.

Date: February 25, 2012
Time: 12:00 - 3:00 PM EST
Location: 233 W. Bute St. Norfolk, VA 23510 in the 757Labs Front Conference Area

3D Print of a Penny Bottle Opener

If you have an interest or want to see some 3D printers up close come on by and if you have a kit or a completed printer, bring it with you and lets share and contribute together!

NOTE: This event is open to the public, so come on out and join us!

If you are planning to come, please respond or comment so that we can be sure to order the right amount of food for those attending.


Microcontroller Monday 2/6/2012 with TJ

Posted by Beau

Quick announcement for those interested in microcontrollers:

In addition to our regularly scheduled Microcontroller Monday hack sessions at the lab we are pleased to announce that the first Monday of each month, starting in February (2/6/2012), we will be upping our game and having a more formal presentation session.

The February 2012 session will be all about the different microcontrollers that are available today, what they are and an overview on what they can do and how you (yes you) can get started using them. Whether you are a novice or a seasoned veteran there will be something for everyone during this session presented by the lab's own TJ.

Steve, Ethan and TJ checking out a project during a recent MM event

The sessions starts at 7:00pm EST on 2/6/2012 and is open to the public. If you have been interested this is your chance to participate.


Shmoocon 2012, 757 Labs and Harbor Freight

Posted by telmnstr

Last weekend was quite exciting, as a few members of 757 Labs built a project for Shmoocon. It was an audience feedback moose that took feedback via an internet website and visually (then audibly) responded. The eyes were BlinkM LEDs and the audio feedback was done by means of a Harbor Freight airhorn kit powered by ham radio power supplies.

Of course, being a con project, it was a bit last minute. Planning and software started much earlier, but it's just how things go. One huge last minute issue was when a relay failed. This relay was supplied with the Harbor Freight airhorn kit, and was used to switch the high current load of the compressor by means of the the microcontroller which was triggering the relay by means of a MOSFET.

After only a few tests the relay seemed to fail. One would guess the transistor failed, given that it's a 40 amp automotive relay. This failure, however, seemed to echo some online comments about the air horn kit.

Before heading to Radio Shack, I popped the top on one of the relays and low and behold, it's a lie. The 40 amp relay is really a fake case on a 5 amp relay. It was purposely made to look like it was a heavy duty 40 amp automotive relay, when it is not! I've heard about Chinese vendors doing this with capacitors, but never have witnessed it in real life. So here you have it, the 40 amp relay included with the Harbor Freight air horn kit is a lie.

The fix was ultimately to go to Radio Shack and pick up some replacement relays. A few taxicabs and a few Radio Shacks later relays that looked pretty similar to the Harbor Freight ones were in hand, but the Radio Shack ones weighed quite a bit more. We had 3 of the air horn kits, and sourced 3 replacement relays. The air horns draw at least 20 amps, so there is no way the supplied 5 amp relay (mocked up to look like a 40 amp relay) would last very long.

Relays before removal of cover. "40A" automotive relay


Relays after removal of cover. It's really a 5A PCB mount relay!

Unfortunately this delayed the airhorns until mid-day Saturday, as the Radio Shack nearby in the city closed early.

I wonder if Harbor Freight knows their supplier is lying to them?


SOPA/PIPA | Why we went dark the way we did

Posted by jfranklin

As some of you may have noticed we went dark on January 18th in protest of SOPA and PIPA, along with a large number of websites from across the US, and around the world. There's no need to go into details on why these two bills are bad news, and should never be allowed to see the light of day in any form what so ever. What I think does need some mention is the reason why we went dark the way that we did.

The decision to go dark was made by one person, and one person alone. Our network admin (me). He advised no one that he was going to do this. There was no discussion, no talk about our level of involvement, or even where we, as a collective, stood on this issue. He took this action without any notice because that is just how these bills would work. No notice, no recourse, no time to respond at all. One day you're there, then next you're gone. Poof.

There were comments made by members that this was an inconvenience, and that the method used was a poor choice. They would have preferred that a javascript overlay been used, much in the way that Wikipedia did, so that it would still be possible to get to the information they were trying to access. One person even asked that some way be provided to access a specific piece of information from his user page on the wiki. Our network admin took the site dark in the way that he did to prevent these options from being possible, because without feeling the full force of the reality of these bills he did not feel that the true impact of them would be realized.

Everything is back to normal, and all information is intact, just as it was on January 17th. For now. No matter how you feel about piracy it has to be understood by now that altering the way the internet works is not the answer. Let us all hope that those in congress who were still on the fence about this issue realize what this could mean... or at least are willing to look deeper into the issue now, and come to their own conclusions and not those of the lobbyists.

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December update!

Posted by telmnstr

It's been a good while since there has been a post on the blog. For anyone that doesn't know, there is a mailing list with a link over on the right side of the 757labs.org page where you can sign up for a mailing list. The mailing list allows people to post as well as read, bi-directionally.

757Labs has an interim board, and investigation is being done into 501(c)3 status.

There is a high probability that 757Labs will be moving to a different space in the same building. The space is smaller, but it will allow us to focus better. It will be a good move.

Microcontroller Mondays (every Monday, 7pm) continue to amaze. From introductory simple projects to demonstrations of quad-copters, it's been amazing.

Open hack nights continue to be great social events. Meet those into technology in the area.

Some members of 757Labs are working on an event for next year that is posed to be pretty epic. More details after the paperwork is signed.

Various members are working on a number of projects. Members have a key role at MAGFest, the Music and Gaming festival in Maryland on January 5th through 8th. There is also a project to be unveiled at Shmoocon in Washington DC. There is some upcoming involvement with another project that should be at PAX East in Boston. There are some other secret projects that could be huge. Once we clear the new year we hope to start posting some videos of what is going on. So hang in there!


Circuit Board Creation – First For The Lab

Posted by telmnstr

Members of the lab have finally started creating custom circuit boards for projects. The first is a custom board based on the electronics done for last year's high altitude balloon launch. The purpose of the board is for this year's entry into the Hackerspaces in Space high altitude balloon contest.

It took numerous tries, but progress has come around! More information to come once the board is fully populated.

Currently we're using the technique of transferring toner to a glossy surface, then ironing it onto the copper PCB surface, then etching with cupric chloride or ferric chloride.

Nice traces!

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iRobot iCreate-Based Robot Project

Posted by telmnstr

Jamie is working on building a ROS-based robot that looks pretty exciting. It's an open source robot which, once assembled, offers a good starting point for software creation. It uses a Microsoft Kinect, a netbook, and a iCreate (based on the Roomba vacuum cleaner).

Angus of Hines Design Labs cut the acrylic on his laser cutter as it's larger than the lab's. More info to follow on this neat project!


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