Friday, August 27, 2010

Car, Mp3 Player integration

Anyone reading this that knows me knows I take forever to finish a project, in fact I have many projects that are in the slow (I mean glacier slow) process of being worked on.

I finally pushed myself to finish my mp3 player integration with my car, I had started this project probably 2 years ago easily. I, for the longest time, had wires hanging out from my console with a plug so I could plug in my iPod, also the ground was being run to my cigarette lighter.It looked TERRIBLE. I finally tore my console apart earlier this summer, and worked feverishly for a few weeks trying to get the USB port mounted, and then working on the audio jack. Summer classes began and I had no vent in the middle of my air outlet in my car so the air just blew anywhere it felt like. This killed my wife (not literally) as she tends to be colder then me pretty much all the time.  I finally kicked myself in the butt and realized that I wasn't going to get the USB working until sometime in the future, so I decided to just finish what I had so at least it looked nice.

I present to you the following:

While finishing up the cables from my cd player, I realized i needed some way to connect the two cables, I could use some kind of plug but while looking at my parts I realized I had RJ45 jacks and all I needed was a straight through network cable and I could connect through. To the left is the jack connected to the plug.

Here is the bottom side of the jack where I had to connect it through.

Here is the inside, I have the usb plug put in. I just need to build a charging circuit, and the actual audio jack.

And here is the whole thing connected up one last time before I put it all back together.

 Here it's in and I'm about to finish putting the faceplates back in.

 and finally I have the whole thing put together and running, it sounds good and looks pretty darn nice.
As a note I want to put here in case I ever have to look into this again, I have whiteblue and blue hooked up to the return, the green and whitegreen are the tape in, the brown is the ground, and when I plug the audio from my iPod in it goes to the blue, when it's unplugged the green/whitegreen combo are connected to the whiteblue/blue through the jack. 

If and when I ever build a tiny power supply and get my USB charging circuit going I'll be sure to let you know.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rant about Schedules

So I have to rant here about UNM, for just a moment, So far I have had 2 semesters in a row (last spring and this summer) where I have registered for a class, with a TBD teacher. We found out the monday of the first week of class over spring, and found out a week early (I believe) that our summer class had changed times. If all I was doing was going to school, this probably wouldn't be a big deal, but like many others in the Engineering Program we have jobs, and finding out the day of a class that the time has changed (to earlier or later). is a HUGE hassle for people.

I just wish UNM seemed to understand it, I went to CNM for 3 years roughly, and don't recall this happening EVER, and I don't understand how a University can't plan classes that are reoccuring for a DEGREE program on a consistant basis. it just doesn't make sense....sorry for the rant but I had to put it out there.

This is my "theoretical" schedule, but if they change the two classes I have at the end of my tuesday and thursday, and monday wednesday courses I'll be hosed....standby we'll see what happens monday.

UPDATE: Well class has begun, and I'm honestly surprised. The classes times have not changed, I'm a little disappointed that the money being paid for a class to be taught by a instructor is being taught by a PHD student, BUT he seem like a good guy, so hopefully I'll get an opportunity to learn a bit off him.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My 30 minutes

Ok I spent a little more then 30 minutes working and thinking about projects yesterday, as well as organizing my workspace, so I'll detail a little about what I did.

1. I got my Open Bench Logic Sniffer working, That was a HUGE hurdle, as I really wanted to use it for reading chips on my arcade to see that everything is working as planned.

2. I thought about how I can use my latching hall effect sensors. I wanted to build a gear indicator for my motorcycle, but thought I would need to buy a new set of hall effect sensors because i didn't research the ones I purchased well enough. (There is a lesson here, make sure you research what you're buying, this can save you time and money). For these hall effect sensors I'm going to figure out how much time removal of power will take to reset the sensor, then everytime I see a logic 1, I'll reset the sensor, it's not fancy but I think it'll work.

3. Cleaned up my workspace a little more again, put all my LED's in bins, as well as my resistors, rather then leaving them on the tape reels and baggies.

Also being without internet is rough, I now know I need to download all my datasheets for all my chips, sensors, etc. so when I'm home I can hook things up, not having things like my Quick Reference Guide for programming my PIC16f913 was a real hindrance to progress yesterday, maybe if I have a little time I'll get to play a little more tonight with it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Getting Started

The Hardest Part
What's the hardest part of doing a project in your free time (especially when you're not a motivated person in general)?

Getting Started.

Over at the simple dollar trent makes the statement:
Big goals, big dreams. None of them will happen until I sit down and make the decision to get started with them. I can dream all I want, but until I get started, nothing will happen.
The Key
This is key to what I've said before about getting started, start spending time on what you're passionate about. Trent makes the challenge to go home and spend 2 hours on the big thing you're dreaming most about in your life.  This reminds me a lot about what my dad said about working on our backyard. Looking at it from the perspective of the whole project it looks like it's going to take a lot of work, but if I spend 30 minutes a day on it, you realize it goes a lot quicker then you really ever thought it would. The beauty of it all? It only takes 30 minutes a day. If you can't spare 30 minutes a day about something you really genuinely care and dream about, it really can't be that important to you.

Directing Focus
I like to think of it this way. I used to spend my "relaxation" time just watching tv. But I found myself getting more and more restless. Why? I don't care about watching TV, and unless I am specifically watching TV for a specific show, I just start to get mad at myself. I might complain because I have a bit of a belly, but I don't work out hardly ever. Bam 30 minutes a day, and I bet I could start to fix that. What is 30 minutes? 30 minutes is 2% of your day roughly. Start focusing your time on what you care about and you'll find you have more time. All it takes is a little bit of focused time each day. I truely believe that my "relaxation" time will become the thing I'm passionate about. and the more I

My Project
For my Car project I have some specific things I need to finish, but just getting myself up and doing them can be a challenge. So here is how I'll start finishing things, I'm going to map out what I have left and start making plans to complete each piece.

1. Program my PIC 18F4550 to determine if I can emulate a COM port. If not Use a 16F913, and use true RS232.
2. Using the PIC 18F4550, communicate with my CAN bus chips. (Or 16F913)
3. Find out the CAN messages that my car will produce when I press the song change buttons, as well as various other buttons. (Map out the entire CAN message structure if possible).
4. Hook up my USB port I installed in my car with the right resistances to charge USB devices.
5. Integrate iPod Touch Control with Microcontroller.
6. Use Messages determined in 3 to convert and send to my iPod with knowledge from 5.
7. Determine how to "trick" my tape deck into thinking it's got a tape in it but don't require the motors to be running. (prevents the terrible noise of the motors spinning).
8. Clean everything up and make it look professional. (Possibly cable channels or wraps to make the wires look clean.

School starts in about a week, so finding time is going to become challenging but I know that I can do it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Google Voice Beginner

Well I went home to visit this weekend and my mom still had no idea what she was doing when it came to Google Voice, so I did what any good son should to and made a quick guide. This thing is by no means professional, nor is it even remotely perfect, but it was able to start her in the right direction again, so I am going to post it here for the benefit of others, I'll be updating it again as I get more questions.

Google Voice Beginner Guide V1.0