Controlling 4DSystems Diablo16 and Picaso displays from Python

A few week ago I had a really good time testing 4DSystems 4Duino-24 board. One of the things I noticed is that the Serial Command Set interface is really flexible. You can easily drive the display from an 8-bit microcontroller. But you can also use more powerful controllers like an ESP8266 or an ARM machine like a Raspberry Pi or even my laptop.

4DSystems provide libraries for all those platforms and others. Most of those libraries share a common language: C (they have also developed libraries in Basic for PicAxe and Pascal). But even thou I spend a lot of time write C code, when I’m on my laptop a prefer higher level languages like Node.js or Python. So why not using Python to control these displays?

Actually, Python being written in C itself has a great support to wrap C libraries so you can use them from the language. Using Python to develop has several advantages:

  • Powerful language with complex but easy-to-use data structures
  • Rapid development since it’s an interpreted language
  • Mostly platform independent (you still need to compile the C libraries for your platform, but the wrapper and example should work without modifications)
  • It’s cool

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Low power weather station with BME280 and Moteino

A few weeks ago I wrote about my new door monitor. It was the first step towards migrating my XBee based wireless sensors network to RFM69 radios using Moteino platform by LowPowerLab. I was truly impressed by the low power consumption so I committed myself to keep on working with them.

Coincidentally Felix Russo, the guy behind LowPowerLab, released the new version of it’s Weather Shield for Moteino. So it was time to update (or completely revamp) my trusty Arduino FIO based weather station… and last week I received a parcel from LowPowerLab with a pair of shields to play with: the new WeatherShield R2 and the PowerShield R3. They are both compatible with the Moteino (off course).

Moteino PowerShield and WeatherShield

From left to right: PowerShield R3, Moteino and the new WeatherShield R2

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Sonoff TH10 & TH16: sensors, displays, actuators,…

Itead Studio keep on creating interesting products for the hacker community. A few weeks ago a new version of the already classic Sonoff TH came to life. This new version comes in two flavours: the Sonoff TH10 and TH16.

In this article I will briefly talk about what’s new in this device to quickly go to explore one of those novelties: it’s external interface.

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Using the new Bean Loader CLI from PlatformIO

Last Thursday PunchThrough, the people behind the LightBlue Bean and Bean+ boards, released their new Bean Loader, the application that allows you to upload new sketches to your beans. The great news about this is that, for the first time (!!!) the Bean Loader supports Linux!!! Yeeeha!

So I quickly looked for my 4 Beans that have been sad and forgotten in a components box for the last 2+ years and put them to work. It was not smooth, but there is a happy ending. So keep reading.

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4Duino-24 upside down

A few weeks ago the 4D Systems announced one of its latest products: the 4Duino-24, an Arduino compatible display module with built in 240×320 resolution TFT LCD Display with Resistive Touch and an ESP8266 ESP-06 module on board.

it looked like a great product for a home automation control panel, although the screen could have been bigger. Anyway I contacted the people at 4D Systems and they were kind enough to send me a sample to review, and hack!

I love getting packages in the mail

I love getting packages in the mail

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