Archive for July 2011

SDrive NUXX Ordering Begins 04-Aug-2011 @ 14:00 EDT

Orders for the second run of SDrive NUXX parts will be accepted beginning on Thursday, August 4th, 2011 beginning at 2:00pm EDT (2011-08-04 @ 14:00 GMT-4) via this page: SDrive NUXX Ordering Page.

Pricing is US$150 for an assembled and tested SDrive NUXX, US$40 for a PCB / End Panel / Microcontroller set. All prices include shipping within the United States, and shipping to international destinations require a US$10 surcharge for each assembled device and every five PCB/panel/uC set.

The ordering page is up, but is not currently live, with all order submissions going into a sandbox. At the date/time mentioned above the page will go live and orders will be expected up until items are sold out. There are 30 assembled SDrive NUXXs available and 20 PCB/panel/uC sets.

SDrive NUXX PCBs Washed

This evening I finally got around to soldering the last of the washable parts on to the SDrive NUXX PCBs that I’m assembling. After washing off the water-soluble flux I blew off the water with an air compressor then stacked them as seen above to dry under a fan. With the air conditioning running most days here (due to the hot weather and Roxie now living here) the house’s air is nice and dry and should be perfect for allowing any lingering or absorbed water to evaporate before soldering the rest of the parts in place.

I took a few more photos today during this work, including a bunch of the PCBs laid out on the workbench, flux that needs to be cleaned off, a now-clean PCB, and another view of the PCBs stacked for drying.

Weekend of Racing

This weekend involved a bunch of racing. First there was the Tree Farm Relay on Saturday, then today (Sunday) was the annual Stony Creek Time Trial put on by Tailwind Racing, LLC..

The Tree Farm Relay was wonderful as always, with sunny, humid weather. While it was hot and sticky it was much nicer than the mud at last year’s race. Our team, the East Side Step Children, comprised of Erick Mile, Nick Shue, Erick Silvassy, and I came in 19th (out of 54), which wasn’t too bad. We would have been a good bit higher up the list, but when receiving a shot of liquor (from a syringe) at The Crater a whole bunch went up my nose and in my eye, forcing me to spend a few minutes cleaning my nose, eyes, and glasses before continuing. If we hadn’t lost those 3-4 minutes we would have been up a few more places. Not that it matters, after all… It’s the Tree Farm Relay which is more about having fun and riding than racing.

In the raffle at the end of the race my number was drawn, and I chose the bar-mount squeaky cow horn seen above fitted to my old Specialized which is now serving as a commuter / errand / path bike.

This was my first time doing the Stony Creek Time Trial, and while I came in nearly last in my category (still waiting for the results to be posted) I still had fun. I woke this morning a bit after 9am and realized that if I made it to Stony Creek by 10:20am I’d be able to register for the Sport Men 30-34 class, so I hurriedly got ready and went. This was definitely not my fastest ride of the course, which I attribute to it being hot, my being tired, and generally not being prepared. On the upside, all the hard/tedious climbing in the race is at the beginning, which made for a rather pleasant route to ride.

In the past I’d been particularly hesitant to do this race because of two river crossings which were reported to result in frequent crashes and be best done via a dismount and slog through the water, but this year they were said to be shallow enough to be ridable. I found this to be the case and was able to ride through both without issue. While my feet did get soaked, the cool water on my legs felt good and it was no worse than unexpected large puddles during wet springtime riding. If the weather is similar next year I’ll probably do this race again, although hopefully I’ll do better then.

Ticks Are Durable

This evening while riding through River Bends to look for specific areas in need of trail work I picked up two ticks on my legs. I found them both while driving and while I was able to flick the first one out the window, I dropped the second on the floor. I stopped to find where the second had landed, and after picking it up with a napkin I tried three times to crush it between my fingers, but each time failed. I eventually smashed it between the hard plastic console and a bike light housing, and after applying a good bit of force it finally snapped, crushed, and stopped moving. It’s amazing how well built ticks are.

While I didn’t get a good look at the first one, a bit of research shows that this one is a female Dermacentor variabilis or American Dog Tick (Wikipedia).

SD Card Connectors Fitted

Here’s thirty SDrive NUXX PCBs with SD card readers. Thus, the first step of PCB assembly for this run of devices is complete and the boards are under way.

I know what I’ll be doing with most of my free time for the next week or two. Not that I mind; I really enjoy this stuff! Short production runs are fun.

SDrive NUXX ATmega8-16PU Programming

Here’s what I spent a good portion of my evening doing: programming and labeling 50 Atmel ATmega8-16PU microcontrollers as part of a new SDrive NUXX production run. Some of these will be sold preprogrammed along with blank PCBs and aluminum end panels while others will be fitted into assembled devices. The next step is for me to begin soldering on the surface mount SD card connectors.

Programming was done with CrossPack on OS X. The issue that I previously complained about has since been fixed, so I had no issues using avrdude and an AVR Dragon fitted with a ZIF socket to quickly program and verify each device.

Permanent Signs at River Bends

On Thursday I headed out to River Bends with Spencer Wood, the Eagle Scout candidate who built the trail head kiosk and is working on the trail signage. He and I placed a bunch of WRONG WAY signs along the single track clearly illustrating it as one-way trail, and signs were also placed along the two track. All placed signs are color coded to match the map, and the directional signs match the directional arrows. This is a really big step in the construction of the trails, as it establishes the trails with permanent signage which matches the published map and the forthcoming trail head information.

Conveniently we were able to arrange it so that the temporary signs placed last November could be reused (in place) in most areas, reducing the need to remove signs and the effort and associated waste. The seasonal loops (blue signs / route) is currently unridable and thus not completely signed, but this should be done within a couple weeks; hopefully some time after next weekend.

Here’s a few more photos of the new signs:

· In the parking lot at River Bends getting ready to hang more trail signs.
· Start of Phase 1 of the single track at River Bends showing the entrance to the single track (yellow signs) or multi-directionality of the two track (green signs).
· Wrong way sign on a stake at the end of the normal single track due to there being no trees to affix it to.
· Sign indicating the start of the two track at the current end of the asphalt path at River Bends.
· New signs (yellow and blue) at the beginning of the seasonal loops at River Bends.

Interviewed on Shelby TV

Two weeks ago I was interviewed by Shelby TV in front of the trailhead at River Bends about the trail at the park. Here’s the resulting video, which also includes a bit of the trail riding video that I’d posted about previously.

Click here or on the image above to watch the PRM in the News containing the interview, which begins at roughly 00:03:25.

SDrive NUXX PCB Cross Section

The new run of PCBs for the SDrive NUXX arrived today (photo), and with them was this this piece of the PCB, embedded in acrylic, sliced, and polished to allow inspection. The through-hole plating, top and bottom layers, and everything are all clearly visible (and measurable). Now it’s time to order up the components and enclosures, wait for the end panels to arrive, and get to building.

Fourth of July Ride

While a bit hot, today was a great day for a ride and also a good time to try out some Infinit Nutrition products. For about two years now I’ve been drinking Hammer Nutrition‘s HEED while riding, and this has been good for most riding that I do. However, it goes off pretty quickly in heat and doesn’t do the trick so well for many-hour rides.

Some friends recommended that I check out Infinit’s offerings, so I ordered up some and thus far it seems pretty nice, even mixed double-strength to be enough calories for a decent-pace two hour ride. The flavor was good, and the extra bit of flavor from the stronger mixture helped ensure that I drank water afterward. When I ordered I got some with protein (for longer rides) and some without. Today I tried the protein-less version, so for my next ride I think I’ll try the one with it in there.

This ended up being a nice ride, with me not backtracking once. I ended up taking residential and dirt roads a bit north of Stony Creek, over to the Paint Creek Trail, down through Rochester, through Bloomer, through Holland Ponds and then River Bends, and then heading back home via some more residential streets. While hot out, it was quite a nice ride. I just wish there was more shade along the route. During times when I was under trees things were quite comfortable, but the last few miles of the ride on pavement was getting to be a bit much. There was very little stopping on this ride, only a little bit in Holland Ponds to climb over fallen trees and walk up the stairways.

Today’s stats:

Distance: 38.07 Miles
Moving Time: 2:39:21
Moving Average: 14.33 MPH
Max Speed: 34.86 MPH
Bike: Titus Racer X 29er