Aldon Amethyst ignition controller

Okay, first up the money shot, so you can see that it works, then I’ll circle back and set out how I got there  To set the scene, that’s my bog-standard 2.0 Pinto with an Aldon Amethyst unit (resting on the heater bowl) effectively inserted between the distributor and the coil, running a user-definable ignition advance curve with vacuum advance. I’ll be completely upfront, it’s no Megajolt/Megasquirt/1-2-3/whatever, as it only does ignition advance based…

A peek inside the toy cupboard

Among the pile of bits I’ve casually acquired over the years is this; a pair of Dellorto DHLA 40’s complete with trumpets, K&N filters, linkage and a Hiflow manifold – all for £151 from a fella about 20 miles away. If memory serves, it was one of those auctions where the seller listed it badly, with few photos, an end time in the early hours of the morning and seemingly…

It’s all in the timing

When you’re sat next to your little girl’s bed in hospital, it’s 4am, you haven’t slept in days and there’s no more Jammie Dodgers left on the nurse’s station – the last thing you want is the banality of 24 hour telly. At times like these, you want distraction, you want warm comforting words, you want to know that the simple things in life work and that they can be…

You squeaky little bastard !

One summer I was going out to the garage to find some humdrum household item or other, when I glanced through the mucky windows of the Capri and noticed something out of place, stuffed down the sides of the rear seat. Opened the door and was greeted with that unmistakeable stench of mouse piss  Dug the car out from underneath a tonne of boxes, dropped it off the axle stands…

There was beer, and then wine, and then gin …

So I’m talking over a beer or two with a mate and he asks how come the car’s still up on bricks in the garage, on the basis that saying I’ve got no free time is silly because if I’ve got free time to have a beer then I’ve got free time to play with the car. Of course it’s never as easy as that, because free time at eleven…

WizNet WIZ820io – plug in and go?

A little while back, I was musing upon the desirability of  the new WizNet WIZ820io ethernet breakout board. It’s a magjack and W5200 chip combination that (in theory) allows you to simply add network connectivity to your projects with a few SPI connections and a slightly modified version of the standard Arduino Ethernet library. At the time I was looking, the only place I could find selling them in the…

Time – He’s waiting in the wings

Whilst in the middle of something else (about which I shall no doubt witter on at great length on a later occasion) I found that I needed to set an Arduino’s system clock based upon NMEA data coming from a GPS receiver. No problem thinks I … there’s that handy example in the Time library in the arduino.cc playground – I’ll use that and be done in a jiffy. Have…

Wantage : WizNet WIZ820io

In one of those cases where you see the same thing mentioned in two completely different places on the Internet on the same lazy Sunday afternoon – and the second time you see it just reinforces the opinion from the first time – I’m on the lookout for a UK distributor carrying the new(ish) WizNet WIZ820io plug-in network module. It’s a breakout board with an RJ45 magjack and a W5200…

Codebender – yay or nay?

I saw the recent announcements of a new online IDE for Arduino development called Codebender and thought it sounded interesting, so I signed up to pre-register for a beta account (in the way that you do, these days). The basic idea is simple; the IDE is “in the cloud” (or online as it used to be called) and so is your code. Thus, wherever you have access to a browser…

No fuss Nanode

After all the recent fun I had trying to get a Xino Basic and ENC28J60 ethernet shield (remember they’re both from Ciseco, mind) running together from an external PSU, I was left wondering if there might possibly have been a similar path I could have taken that would involve a little less pissing about with regulators that aren’t up to the job. Staying on the same “indie” side of the…

Wantage : Standuino

It’s a Standuino. As soon as I saw this Arduino – alike from Czech artist Standa Filip it went straight onto my mental “I need to buy that” list. Whilst I don’t mind the 15 euro price tag, I’m not too keen on the 7 euro postage charge for just one kit. Guess I’ll have to wait for a nice UK distributor to get a stock of them. It’s your…

Assembling the CurrentCost interface

With a CurrentCost energy monitor of any form, there’s a variety of ways that you can track historical data; Option 1 involves simply looking at the stored summary on the unit itself. It’s interesting for about the first seventeen seconds, but you have no context to what you’re seeing and ultimately no ability to compare year-on-year data, say. All you can do is watch it scroll through the average KWhr of energy…

What’s the time, Mr Wolf?

If you’ve got an Arduino and an ethernet connection, you can use one of the many public Network Time Protocol (NTP) servers to find out the current time. This can remove the need for adding a realtime clock module to your project, as you can check the time in your initial setup and then re-check (and reset) at regular intervals to account for any vagueness in the inbuilt millis() based timekeeping.…

Will this ever be finished?

I’m keen to get the project to feed data from my CurrentCost CC128 energy monitor up to Cosm via an Arduino out of the way, so that – if nothing else – I can put it in a little box and tuck it out of the way and let it just get on with accumulating some data. To be able to do that I need to power it from an…

Measuring the current draw of an Arduino project

A number of times I’d seen Arduino folks casually say “just measure the current draw of your project” when discussing some technical aspect or another, but in all honestly until recently, had only the vaguest clue what they were on about. There’s a number of great articles online about how to test a generic circuit with a multimeter, but they seem to skip over actually measuring the draw of an…