Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Just Make and Have Fun! #MakerEd #ImAMaker

I've been home from my June/Early July presenting tour and it has been great. Besides the obvious awesomeness of spending time with my amazing family, I've had time to sit and think about Making things. This past week, I was able to complete two projects.

Project 1:

I was cruising eBay and I did not have a set goal. Sometimes it is just fun to window shop a bit. I stopped to look at an old rotary phone that was in a cool looking box. I was struck with the idea that I could turn the the handset into speakers that could play music. I wrote a quick post on it and shared it out.

After the phone arrived, the real work started. I had to open it up, remove the guts and see if I could figure out how to wire a headset to an earbud 3.5mm jack that would go into the Pi. I found that the wiring was pretty easy and the sound was pretty good coming from my iPhone and the speaker in the handset, but it was only one speaker and it was not very loud. I decided to strip a set of small speakers I do not use and install those speakers into the handset. It had clear sound, but it was not loud. Turns out the audio from the jack is just crappy. The Internet told me all about it. So, I ordered a USB Audio Card, installed that in the guts of the phone, and the audio was great. The other aspect of the phone I really wanted to hack was the plunger. I wanted to push the button there and turn it on and off. So, I found a push button on/off code and used an LED code as well to let me know if it is on or off. Lastly,  I needed to run code to turn the Raspberry Pi 3 into an Airplay device. I did not write these codes, but I tweaked them to fit my needs. You can take your Pi and put it anywhere and design a case around it. 

Project 2:

Nintendo announced you can buy a retro/mini NES that comes pre-loaded with 30 game for $59.99! What a deal? I had some time to kill while I was waiting for my USB Audio Card, so I took out my Raspberry Pi Zero, a Nintendo Controller themed mint can, my drill, and I got to work.

This link will cover the details of how to download the RetroPi image onto your Pi device. For me, the challenge was taking the tin and making it able to hold the Pi Zero and have openings for the two microUSB ports and the MiniHD port. Just a bit of measuring, drilling, and my Dremel to sand the rough/sharp metal edges to complete the project.

I used a USB SNES controller I had from another RetroPi project and connected it to the Pi Zero. The shot of link was just an image I placed on the Pi because it would not be cool to download old games from the Internet for free. Not cool at all...

You can find tons of free games online if you just Google search things like ROMS. There are developers out there that make great games that you can find and play for free.

As I finished these two projects, I was filled with this awesome sense of accomplishment. I wanted to share it with my family and friends. I figured out how to do some tough wiring and tricky coding (It took me hours to tweak it just right). I want to share this with all of you out there because I want to encourage all of you to get out there and try and Make something. It is so much fun to do it and share with your family.

If you have any questions, please drop me a line.

Hugs and High Fives,


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