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Customer Testimonials » I love me some NerdKit

December 16, 2010
by dkilmer
dkilmer's Avatar

I got to open my NerdKit early -- it was an "open in case of bad mood" deal, and developing for the iPad as I've been doing for the last few months definitely results in bad moods. I had some initial trouble with the USB cable on my MacBook, but strangely, when I push my programs from a Linux VM on the same machine, everything works fine.

I love the kit, and the guide is great. I felt adventurous enough to modify the led_blink project to be a 4-digit binary number counter, but not quite adventurous enough to hook 120V AC up through the relay I had clicking away. I was using one of the LEDs as the flyback diode, which was interesting (it lights up when the power is cut to the motor or relay) but probably not too bright on my part.

Programming for a small chip like this is such a joy! You can essentially have total knowledge about how the whole thing works. I'm looking forward to more tutorials (especially the H-bridge one). The programming part is coming pretty easily to me (not a surprise, since that's what I do for a living), but the electronics is still baffling sometimes (especially the use of capacitors for "smoothing"). I've got a lot to learn, but it looks like there's tons of information here on the forums and elsewhere.

My "big project" is going to be an automatic coffee maker. I'm using a carriage from an old printer to move the basket back and forth. It will move to the right, activate a coffee grinder for a set amount of time, then move to the left, turn on a water supply for a set amount of time (using parts from a dead Cat Genie!), then power on the heating coil for a set amount of time. There will be sensors involved, to prevent water overflow and to detect whether the basket has reached the right or left. And there will be adjustable presets, stored on the EEPROM. Should be fun!

December 16, 2010
by hevans
(NerdKits Staff)

hevans's Avatar

Hi dkilmer,

It sounds like you have a very neat project in mind. Keep us posted!


December 17, 2010
by nanaeem
nanaeem's Avatar

Hey, saw your post. Does sound like a neat project. I recently saw this and thought I would share it with you for ideas. Hmmmm... now how to post the goes nothing....


Cheers, -N.

December 25, 2010
by dkilmer
dkilmer's Avatar

Wow -- that guy is dead serious about making coffee. I'm going way simpler (and less space-consuming), but there was a lot of food for thought there. Thanks for the link!

I'm making good progress. I've got the UI basically done, with 4 adjustable presets (each with grind time, water amount and heat time options) that are saved on the EEPROM. I used hevans' debouncing code, which I'm thinking of enhancing to produce fake "repeat" button presses when a button is held down for a set length of time. I used 5 buttons - Start/Save, Up, Down, Edit and Cancel that I scavenged from a broken computer monitor, so the whole thing can run as a simple state machine.

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