Sorting out some boxes the other day I came across an LED keyring torch given to me by friend Michael. Whilst this was an awesome torch, after a while the button became unusable so it has fallen out of use. So I had the idea to use the LED as a headlight for our Raspberry Pi based robot!
Here are the steps:
1. Dismantle LED torch. I was surprised how little there was in this one. Just two 3V batteries stacked on top of one another and the LED mounted in such a way as the switch makes it contact the batteries. No other circuitry or wiring.
2. Cut up protective plastic that often covers a UK mains socket when you get a new appliance. These make great LED bulb holders!
3. Solder the LED to some hookup wire and connect to an output on your controller. I’m using one of the OC outputs on the Raspirobot board. NB: You may need to put a protective resistor in depending on the LED you use.
4. Test. Setting the output to 1 (high) turns the LED on and to 0 turns it off.
5. Turn off the house lights and take your Robot exploring in the dark!
Thanks again for the awesome torch Michael – made a great torch and now make a great robot headlight.
After a year off due to non cycling life getting in the way – Team A just made a return to the Afan Valley in South Wales and as usual we had a fair share of fun and drama.
Arriving Friday night and heading straight to the pub regulars Andy, Mark S and myself welcomed Mark F and Tom to the team, sharing stories of breakdowns, accidents and broken riders from previous trips.
We predicted Andy having his usual accident on the first climb and Mark S having his usual mechanical breakdown – supported by Mark’s admission that he’d had his rear suspension ‘temporarily fixed’ by a shop with them predicting it would last ‘a day of riding if he is lucky’!
We also decided on doing the full W2 route on the Saturday. This route is made up by combining the Wall and Whites Level into one big ride (the combination being graded a black route)…
So I decided it was time to get myself a Raspberry Pi. I have a few ideas for projects I want to do with it but to start I thought my 7 year old step son would both enjoy and learn from helping me build a robot. (ok I just really wanted to make a robot – I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to make a robot!)
So we moved into our first ‘proper house’ at the end of 2012.
I’ve since been bombarding people with photos on my phone of various bits of renovation – much like someone who turns up with an armful of photo albums of family holiday pics! So to document some of the first phase of renovations we’ve done, here are some before and after pics. This is very much phase 1, covering the first 2 months of sorting out the worst things and getting everything functional.
Although this is obviously a departure from my normal blogging topics, there is one distinct cycling related advantage to the new place. A garage big enough to store both my bikes (and more) – so for the first time I’m able to live somewhere with both my road bike and mountain bike available at the same time. Hooray!
I’ve started training for a big cycling trip this year (more on that in a future post!). When one of my fellow riders emailed to say I should get on Strava I thought oh no – not another GPS mapping app – quite happy with Everytrail thank you. However – after a few rides I’m converted. The App is really easy to use and if you have friends that ride you get to see all their rides and compare each others trainers. And I think this is going to be super motivating!
Here’s the ride I did yesterday courtesy of my new favourite mapping AND social networking App Strava:
I was searching for something in my Skype history today and caught myself laughing at the bizarre mixture of banalities, repetitiveness, dreadful spelling and total screw ups. So here are a few choice excerpts – this is probably only going to interest you if you work remotely or are a programming nerd, preferably both. But if you are – this might ring a few bells…
This year I’ve managed to add a new leg to my South West Coast Path record with my friend Mike. Over the course of two separate weekends we managed to cover the path from Sidmouth in Devon to Abbotsbury in Dorset. This section features some challenging hills including Golden Cap, the highest point on the whole trail.
This being Devon and Dorset and England though it would have been rude not to have sampled a fair few English breakfasts, ice creams, pub meals, cream teas and beers along the way! Two very enjoyable weekends indeed!
Some pictures and a rough route map follow (map isn’t true GPS data this time – but it’s enough to give you an idea). For more on my previous excursion onto the SW Coast path you probably want to check out the other Michael’s account
Michael, Alex, Mark and I set out to walk the TMB – a 170km long route circumnavigating Mont Blanc in the Alps with around 10,000m of ascent and descent over 10 days.
We were at the very beginning of the season, staying in several refuges the day they opened for the first time in the year. Being so early, the trail was relatively quiet but we still met several others doing the same trip or some portion of it.
We stayed in a combination of B&Bs, hotels and refuge accomodation – the refuges including the absolutely delightful Refugio Bonatti (nicer than many hotels I’ve stayed in) and the Refugio Elisabetta. The later would have probably been pretty nice except that… Michael lept to take the first shower which he managed… just! After that no more running water in the entire refuge for the duration of our stay (one 15cmx15cm wipe was my entire showering experience that night!)
- Sliding down the snow slopes in the passes (see video below)
- Eating as much as we liked (and then some) for 10 days
- Some challenging river crossings (I removed boots for just 1 to wade)
- in 10 days of walking only 2 hours of rain and many glorious sunny days
- The variety of views as we changed altitude and country (France -> Italy -> Switzerland -> France)
Sadly, Alex didn’t make it the whole way round due to a lot of knee pain. I believe that descending presents a bigger challenge to those not used to this kind of walking for exactly this reason. Alex was the only one who’d not done a long distance trail before (though we all felt knee pain during the first few days) so I guess the moral of the story is – the TMB probably isn’t an ideal first multi day hike. Nonetheless hopefully he’ll have got a taste of the truly stunning views and sense of achievement and will keep up the hiking!
Here are a selection of photos from the trip:
… and a 2 minute video, giving a small glimpse into what it was like on our Tour du Mont Blanc. I think Mark’s line “STOP taking pictures and walk… oh God” will be one I’ll remember for some time!
In summary – the views were stunning, the walking challenging but satisfying and the company fantastic so all in all it was certainly the best walking trip I’ve ever been on and right up there in the top handful of trips of any kind. Highly recommended once you have 1 or 2 slightly flatter long distance walking trails under your belt!
We have finally completed our Tour du Mont Blanc and have arrived in Chamonix.
Over the last few days we’ve done a huge amount of ascending and descending, have seen many ibex and enjoyed the part of the route with many ladders. Some more photos before a full write up when I get home…
At the end of day 7 we are now in the Swiss town Champex. Today we had our first real rain but only for an hour or two.
Alex has bowed out due to knee problems and is heading home so we are down to 3 – Tim, Michael and Mark. I’ve managed to find plenty of things to climb – an outdoor wood climbing wall, a tree platform and some high iron ladders.
We are in great spirits and making good time each day having got through some of the early pains of the huge amount of altitude change each day. More photos of the last few days follow…