Curiosity is not a fault

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Curiosity is not a fault

Post by Pascaltech »

Hello to the community,

I came in this site because of an asking on ubuntu forum I visit usually. I am ubuntu, and then xubuntu user since 2013 and worked in car engineering, mainly in plastic part design.
I am very interested in these products, but not really able to make programming for it. I've followed some C courses and done LibreOffice Calc macro programs.
I knew Arduino and Rasberry Pi products but no Hardkernel ones.

Is there some statistic about usage of these products, by type of it : C, H, HC, MC, N, XU ?
How a newbie, as I am, can make a choice of product ?

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by rooted »

It really depends on what you need.

If you need aarch64 then it will have to be N2+, C4, or HC4. If you want the most cores but don't mind 32bit that's the XU4, most powerful overall is the N2+, most power efficient is the C4. If you want to run SATA then the HC4 is what you're after.

I intentionally leave out the Odroid Go Super as you would know if that's the right device for you.
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by Pascaltech »

Thank you for this answer. You gessed it correctly, I have any interest in Odroid Go Super.
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by mctom »

Hi!
So, what exactly would you like to do with your Odroid? I hope to see a project thread from you soon. :)
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by Pascaltech »

Hello,

Presently, I am just looking what kind of product it is. I was not able to start with Arduino, because of the C language.
I have projects, but when will I be able to develop its, that's the question.
I wanted to develop a remote command by wifi on a cell phone for an old washing machine in palce of a mechanical programmer and a 220Volts PCB. I don't know how to transfer instructions from a 5V board to a 220V engine. I need a gateway.
I think I'll develop a CNC machine controller but an ODROID is perhaps to powerfull for this kind of application, done by Arduino or RPI.
I think I will use an ODROID as a small computer on Ubuntu.

I've read your interesting projet : "Super simple video call system for a senior". It made me think about a french startup who created an assistant of tennis players, a camera on a stand following the ball, I've seen at TV news.
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by mad_ady »

I don't know how to transfer instructions from a 5V board to a 220V engine
You can drive a relay easily from most odroid's gpio pins. You need to make sure the relay can pass the current needed by your washing machine. See this for inspiration: https://magazine.odroid.com/article/hom ... rs-relays/
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by mctom »

Hm, if you can't do programming, you can either avoid it or start learning it. Python is a good example, it works on anything and doesn't require a compiler. And it's very popular among hobbyists, so many tutorials exist.
C is the best language ever (:D) but takes some more patience to master.

If you can't decide what to do with your Odroid, I suggest N2+ with 4GB RAM. That is the fastest one up to date, and it can be used as an everyday desktop, or anything else you want really.
mad_ady is right the best way to control 220/230V line is via a 5V relay, but an extra transistor is required to drive it. GPIO outputs cannot source enough current to switch on a relay. Or use "relay modules" just as suggested in that article. :)
Pascaltech wrote:
Sun Mar 20, 2022 3:06 am
I've read your interesting projet : "Super simple video call system for a senior". It made me think about a french startup who created an assistant of tennis players, a camera on a stand following the ball, I've seen at TV news.
Ah, yes.. Too bad we have a problem setting up Internet at Grandpa's place, otherwise the system is ready. :/
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Pascaltech (Sun Mar 20, 2022 7:38 pm)
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by Pascaltech »

Thank you mad_ady. Yesterday I've downloaded nearly the whole magazine.
Unfortunatly, I've lost all my analyze of a washing machine operation and PCB. The system is very interesting : there is a magnet at the end of the motor shaft to give feedback to the electronic circuit on the actual speed of rotation. I've seen this kind of achievement with two motors linked. And you have a voltage variation to give more power on the engine. I wasn't able to know what was inside the chip on the PCB, because it was, and it is, not a standard chip, a developed chip by company.
I've tried some tests and modifications. It was as brilliant as the national evening fest !
mctom wrote:
Sun Mar 20, 2022 7:09 pm
C is the best language ever (:D) but takes some more patience to master.
Mainly when your hears are closed and your brain frozen ! In gratitude, I want to give you a good advice : don't get old. :ugeek:
If you can't decide what to do with your Odroid, I suggest N2+ with 4GB RAM. That is the fastest one up to date, and it can be used as an everyday desktop, or anything else you want really.
mad_ady is right the best way to control 220/230V line is via a 5V relay, but an extra transistor is required to drive it. GPIO outputs cannot source enough current to switch on a relay. Or use "relay modules" just as suggested in that article. :)
Thank you for these advises.
Last edited by Pascaltech on Mon Mar 21, 2022 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by mctom »

I have never studied a washing machine build. I am lucky to have one that works for some 12 years without a single failure.

But I imagine it varies the motor speed using a triac or thyristor. A magnet on a shaft is most probably coupled with Hall sensor that can easily determine angular speed. Actually I'm working on a motor driver at work right now, but for aiming a satellite antenna. ;)
So what exactly would you like to do with a washing machine motor? Would you perhaps consider doing something less dangerous as your first project? :)

Yes, custom chips are the worst, you may only guess what they do, based on trace widths, neighboring components and so on.
Pascaltech wrote:
Sun Mar 20, 2022 7:57 pm
Mainily when your hears are closed and your brain frozen ! In gratitude, I want to give you a good advice : don't get old. :ugeek:
Not planning to. This country offers no social security and I have no kids, so I can't get old. :D
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by Pascaltech »

I have the project to retrofit a washing machine with a mechanical programmer and develop a remote command by wifi on a cellphone, perhaps. That means, or I keep the original PCB or I create a new PCB, and then I have to know how the engine is controlled.
New machines with an electronic board are so soft to program, you start and stop when you want and old machines are thrown with very good motors. That's a pity.
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by mad_ady »

Too bad the designs are not open source...

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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by Pascaltech »

This is the old system I've work on :
Image
Image
35€ as a second hand part for the programmer and 50€ for the power PCB.
You can take a lot of pleasure to understand how works the programmer, because it is a standard part used on different machines, then all is not useful for one machine.

And this is a command board on a new system :
Image
Image
60€ as a second hand part.
Last edited by Pascaltech on Mon Mar 21, 2022 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by mctom »

That reminds me I had to fix that board in my sister's washing machine once. Fortunately it was a swollen capacitor, easy fix.

So if I understand you correctly you'd like to make your own semi-universal, open source washing machine driver? That's interesting.

For that job I think something like ESP32 would be more than enough. After all white goods are usually run by microcontrollers, and not systems on chips with Linux kernel. You don't need that much computing power to drive a motor, a heater and two pumps, and monitor temperature and leak sensor, and a few buttons.
Your optional features of Wi-Fi / Bluetooth commands would be handled as well.
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Pascaltech (Mon Mar 21, 2022 6:13 pm)
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by rooted »

Python is popular among professionals as well, it's widely used in many industries ;)

I agree esp32 is a great device for embedded applications, it's inexpensive and easy to program with enough IO for most things. As is the esp8266 but it doesn't have Bluetooth by default.
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by mctom »

Yes, it is. At the start of the pandemic I bought a book about Python and read it in a hammock. The purpose was to do scripts at home, but my first script automated a part of my job instead. ;)
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by Pascaltech »

Hello,
mctom wrote:
Mon Mar 21, 2022 5:19 am
So if I understand you correctly you'd like to make your own semi-universal, open source washing machine driver? That's interesting.
That's it.
mctom wrote:
Mon Mar 21, 2022 5:19 am
For that job I think something like ESP32 would be more than enough. After all white goods are usually run by microcontrollers, and not systems on chips with Linux kernel. You don't need that much computing power to drive a motor, a heater and two pumps, and monitor temperature and leak sensor, and a few buttons.
Your optional features of Wi-Fi / Bluetooth commands would be handled as well.
Thanks for this advice. I agree, an Odroid items would be to powerfull, Ithink. But if you look at prices, second hand prices not spare parts prices(I've done a mistake in translation), I've look on the bigger second hand website of France Leboncoin(about as numerous ads than adult population, means "The good corner shop"), today I can find an Odroid at 50€. I need to put also a PCB with relays, like said mad_ady, and that's all, I have a easy and cool programmable washing machine, and from my phone !! Immediatly, that's a dream. :(

I've choice the C language, because you can develop an OS system with it, like linux, and I think without a lot of libraries you depend on. That was a hard choice, but you are right, mctom and rooted, Python is a sufficient language for some one like me.
mctom wrote:
Mon Mar 21, 2022 5:19 am
Actually I'm working on a motor driver at work right now, but for aiming a satellite antenna.
I've done a study of aiming satellites, find these drawings attached, if it can help you.

http://www.hebergeurfichier.com/downloa ... e5bf3.html
http://www.hebergeurfichier.com/downloa ... 74ccf.html
http://www.hebergeurfichier.com/downloa ... 3e30f.html
http://www.hebergeurfichier.com/downloa ... 23243.html
http://www.hebergeurfichier.com/downloa ... e3dc4.html
Last edited by Pascaltech on Mon Mar 28, 2022 4:24 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by mctom »

C is truly universal, can't deny that. Also ESP32 cannot be programmed with Python, I think?
But Python is less complex, so lets you focus only on some aspects of programming and not all at once. You can learn how loops and conditional statements work without learning what variable types are. Not on lesson 1 at least.

You won't get "immediate" results, please don't even think about that. If you made a working washing machine driver till the end of 2022 I'd be impressed. The company employing thousands of skilled and experienced engineers don't release a new product in a week, you know.
You probably will have to design your own PCB at some point, as hobby electronics modules cover only a subset of electronics. For example, I doubt you will find a module that could control 230V motor.

Relay will let you turn the huge motor on or off without speed control. I think you'll need a thyristor based regulator with Hall sensor feedback to keep rpm somewhat constant. That is a good topic for bachelor thesis on its own.

For long do I have a suspicion many companies try to fool people into thinking hobby electronics are easy, to boost their sales of modules and accessories. It is easy, as long as you follow tutorials and assemble predesigned things.
Second hand sites have tons of electronic modules from people who lost interest once they realize it's not as simple as they imagined. I bought Arduino for €4 for my girlfriend.
You enter RasPi website, and you see happy 10 year old kids "building robots". :roll:
I hold nothing against playing with kits and learning hobby electronics, just be mindful nothing is easy about it. I was learning electronics full time for 6 years and worked another 10 in this industry, and I still can't fix a damn printer :D
If you want to reverse engineer a washing machine and rebuild the existing circuits at least partially, and add microcontroller on top of all that, this is a serious endeavor that requires tools and skills.
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by Pascaltech »

You are totally right.
How many kits of Arduino, brand new ones, used one time, that are sold on Leboncoin !!
I tried to put my interest in electronic knowledge. That's hard, yes.
Companies do not have interest to develop new interface, easy to use washing machines. The PCB on the first picture has been developed by CIAPEM 30 years ago, I think.
https://www.lesechos.fr/1997/12/la-ciap ... 29a0b36c04
Haven't you see the currently price ???

ESP32 is a very interesting product, and cheap. The wiki page on it :
Programming languages, frameworks, platforms, and environments used for ESP32 programming:
Visual Studio Code with the officially supported Espressif Integrated Development Framework (ESP-IDF) Extension [54]
Arduino IDE with the ESP32 Arduino Core
MicroPython A lean implementation of Python 3 for microcontrollers
Espruino – JavaScript SDK and firmware closely emulating Node.js
Lua Network/IoT toolkit for ESP32-Wrover [55]
Mongoose OS – an operating system for connected products on microcontrollers; programmable with JavaScript or C. A recommended platform by Espressif Systems,[56] AWS IoT,[57] and Google Cloud IoT.[58]
mruby for the ESP32
NodeMCU – Lua-based firmware
Zerynth – Python for IoT and microcontrollers, including the ESP32
I'm not afraid to do a new command for a washing machine, but I need time and spirit availability.
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by mctom »

I'm still not sure how much you know about electronics or programming, so I remain cautious against patronizing you too much.
I do respect your willingness to learn though. Modern world is all about electronics and programming, this is almost essential knowledge to understand the world around us these days.

In order to learn coding, perhaps it's easier to modify existing programs rather than writing your own from scratch. I contributed to open source software numerous times, yet I consider only one of my programs worth publishing to date.
I started by submitting bug reports to open source games, and sometimes I tried to track down the error in source code. The maintainers are usually super friendly and highly regard good bug reports.
I also suggested changes and coded them, that includes firmware in Hardkernel's Smart Power 3, and I'm proud of it. ;)

Hardware is much harder to begin with, because few people actually do it, there's much to learn and it's much slower to do trial and error. Newbie programmers often compile code 10 times to see which modification works best. Electronics engineer does not build 10 boards with subtle changes for similar reasons.
Modern electronics engineer has to know basic programming because many components these days are programmable.
So if you lack experience in both fields, perhaps getting a grasp of programming first is the way to go.

Now, if you want to build something as impressive as a controller board for a washing machine, perhaps you could google if something similar already exists - how about "open source washing machine"?
Then you could find a base some people already worked on, and study schematics and code. You could either join their effort and help finishing it, or if you think they're doing it wrong, you can fork their project and finish it the way you like.
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by Pascaltech »

Good advice !
I'm not hurry, I'll find an opportunity to do it.

Perhaps you know, cathedrals took decades and century to be build, not because of the time needed, but because of a lack of experimented workers. I think we are going the same way, industry is committing suicide because years after years specialization is needed. Then, if companies do not change their mind, their are lost.

Is Hardkernel need resources in their developments or in marketing ? Do you know their volume of sell in Europe ?
I was interested to learn that the Tesla Elon Musk company asked their electronics engineers to change their developments 20 times to adapt to the shortage of components.
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by mctom »

I can see from the experience of company I'm currently working with, it takes one year to find one suitable hardware engineer, at least here.

I have no idea how the sales of Hardkernel look like, but recently @odroid mentioned that C4 sales increased by some 20% compared to last year, IIRC.
I don't think they need any help, but if they did I'm sure I'd be interested. :)

Changing the design 20 times is asking for trouble. Musk I, the Pope of Technology, clearly wanted to push sales regardless of consequences, if that is true.
A solid company secures components and then proceeds with design reviews.
Recently I did an extra commission job and designed something, and two months later they were unhappy some components are unavailable. I warned them. :roll:
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by Pascaltech »

Wisdom and intelligence are not democratically distributed in this world, mainly in management.
I don't know about Tesla reliability, I know this company is always about to fall and then need to sell.
I know that Renault and Peugeot didn't even know they had electronic components in their cars :lol: , and which ones are used by their suppliers. :geek:
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by rooted »


mctom wrote:C is truly universal, can't deny that. Also ESP32 cannot be programmed with Python, I think?
But Python is less complex, so lets you focus only on some aspects of programming and not all at once. You can learn how loops and conditional statements work without learning what variable types are. Not on lesson 1 at least.
You can use micro python on esp32:

https://docs.micropython.org/en/latest/ ... intro.html
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Re: Curiosity is not a fault

Post by Pascaltech »

Hello,

Thank you rooted for this link.

I'll create a new topic in Ideas, and bring your posts plus mctoms and mac_ady ones.
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