Electronics is hard!

Photo by Vishnu Mohanan on Unsplash

I have been very quiet in the last few months—too many things on my desk and too little time to manage them.

Nevertheless, I have made some progress on Geremia, my talking skull.

I have finally assembled a working Arduino Proto Shield to be placed on top of an Arduino Leonardo.

It has not been an easy journey. As I could have imagined, electronics is complex, at least for me. I had to learn many things before putting my hands on the soldering iron.

To name a few, voltage regulators, SPI protocol, power, and ground rails.

I have spent much of my free time learning and am happy with my achievements. Connecting my proto shield to the Arduino Leonardo, uploading my test sketch, and seeing the lights turn on, the servo motor spinning, and MiniDF Player play mp3 files have been an emotion.

From my point of view, software is much easier than hardware. I made at least five tries while building the proto-shield. I understood that trace routing is a fine art in electronics. 

It has been fascinating, though. So fascinating that I ended up with hardware hacking as yet another personal project. I have been messing around with an extremely old wireless repeater. With a few bucks, I bought the necessary hardware and started playing. Extremely fun. Finding the UART and JTAG connection and connecting those to my PC with microprobes was quite fun.

Getting a root prompt from an embedded device is fascinating. I also found out how much insecure these devices are. In a few minutes, and without breaking the device, I got my WiFi WPA2 password.

That said, I have to move to the next step for Geremia. Writing the software. This will be fun, and I feel very comfortable with this. A mix of Arduino code and Python to make Geremia and my PC talk over a serial port.

Hopefully, it will not take a lot of time.

The final step is going to be complicated. Placing the two boards, the eyes, and the speaker, in the skull will be easy. Hosting the servo motor and efficiently connecting it to the jaw will be different. I will design something in Fusion 360 and 3d print it on my FLSun Q5 3D printer.

Anyway, as with everything else, electronics is hard if you don’t know anything about it.

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