VR night at VHS

Links from the night

VR night at VHS

SMD April – USB Isolator overview

You can see from looking at the block diagram above that the isolation is transformer based, it’s quite remarkable that they can fit 5 transformers in such a small package.  If you can’t attend the workshop the pcb files can be found on github and all the parts at Newark/Element14.

Newark/Element14 have an excellent video from Analog Devices embedded in their product web page for the ADUM3160/4160.  I’ve embedded it below.

When: April 17th and 24th 7:00PM

Where: VHS Bunker, 270 E 1st Ave Vancouver
Cost: $15/$5 plus Eventbrite fees, depending upon whether you have a sample chip
Tickets: Eventbrite - SMD April - USB Isolator Eventbrite - SMD April - USB Isolator

VHS Members pay it forward


As part of the recent pi protoplate/connector group buy we included funds for Adafruit, the authors of the open hardware PCB design we chose. We ordered 25 boards and aimed to include $1 per board kickback for Adafruit.

The final numbers are $169.54 paid after paypal fees, the pcbs were $80.55 inc shipping and the connectors $55.40 inc shipping (from Adafruit). This leaves the $33.59 to be sent to Adafruit today.  This leaves 33.59 for oshwa.org.

It’s important to realise the open hardware is free to use but not always free to create.  Where possible, always try to offer some benefit to the designer of the product even when they haven’t explicitly asked for it.

 Donation receipt

SMD April – USB Isolator


In one of the earlier SMD workshops I managed to temporarily kill my new macbook pro when I plugged in a prototype.  I revived it by removing the battery all the time chanting to myself, must get a usb isolator, must get a usb isolator, must get a usb isolator…..

This is a nice simple soldering project that does exactly that, isolates your USB port from connected devices.  There are two input usb connectors, one carries data and power from the computer the other supplies power to the output.   The output comes from a 3rd USB A connector.  There is no power/ground/data connection between the computer and connected devices other than through the isolator chip.  This board has two grounds, two power supplies etc.

The isolator chip is an ADUM3160, it is most of the cost of this workshop – “The ADuM3160 is a USB port isolator, based on Analog Devices, Inc., iCoupler® technology. Combining high speed CMOS and monolithic air core transformer technology, this isolation component provides outstanding performance characteristics and is easily integrated with low and full speed USB-compatible peripheral devices.”

I did manage to get some samples from http://www.analog.com/en/interface-isolation/digital-isolators/adum3160/products/product.html.  There are two ticket types, one for those who can get free samples and one for those who can not.  I suggest you find a friend and order two sample at a time.  Please wait until you have the sample confirmed or denied before buying a ticket, otherwise you will create a lot of work for me in refunds etc.

We’ll be getting the ADUM3160 from Farnell/Element14, you can see more details on the isolator at their product page.

When: April 17th and 24th 7:00PM
Where: VHS Bunker, 270 E 1st Ave Vancouver
Cost: $15/$5 plus Eventbrite fees, depending upon whether you have a sample chip
Tickets: Eventbrite - SMD April - USB Isolator Eventbrite - SMD April - USB Isolator

Lets get Touchey-Feely – Intro to Capacitve Sense Interfaces

What: Adding Capacitive Sense buttons or sliders to anything
Where:  VHS (270 east 1st http://vancouver.hackspace.ca/wp/about/ )
When: Saturday March 8th at 4:30pm
Why: If you can make an art project, awesome; If you can make an art project that people can get intimate with, even better.
Who: Anyone with some microcontroller and/or fpga experience. Basics in electronics also suggested.
Bottom Line: Loial
This will be an introduction to capacitive sense inputs such as sliders, rings or buttons. The class will go through the basics of capacitive sensing using a few basic methods. Source for MSP430 value line (launchpad board) will be given and some launchpad boards will be available for $10 each. Donations and feedback welcome and encouraged.


Identified Flying Objects Meetup II at VHS

Quadcopter in flight

VHS Betamax Quadcopter in flight

Are you into things that fly, and are small enough for a person to carry?

Quadcopters, Helicopters, Fixed Wing, Multirotors, or anything else? Participate in our quadcopter build workshop, and want to continue to learn? Wanted to get into multirotors, and not sure how to get started? come on down!

VHS will be hosting our second afternoon meetup on March 15th. Bring down your flying objects of all descriptions, check out others gear, share your knowledge , and learn from each other.

Meet at 1:00 PM at VHS ‘the bunker’ – 270 E 1st Ave. We’ll spend some time in the shop ‘bench flying’, then if the weather co-operates we’ll head down to near Science World for a bit of flying.

Don’t forget – crashing is an opportunity to do more building :-)

VHS membership is not required (but encouraged!), and it’s a great opportunity to check out the space.

SMD March – Arduino Internet of things kitbuilding

There’s a lot of work that goes into putting workshops on at vhs.  In the photo below you can see some of the parts for the SMD March Internet of things board laid out ready for packing.  Many SMD components have no identifying markers – once they leave their supplier packaging it is tough to identify them.  Here they’re all colour coded, cut into strips and then bagged.  Each kit comes with a colour coded photo that helps you match the components to the PCB.  I’m assembling 20 kits to start with, these are almost all sold but I will buy more as needed – you can find out more at https://vhs-smd-march.eventbrite.ca

You can also see tweets from my test board at https://twitter.com/vhsthings – I’m hoping we can add these boards to stuff like the laser cutter and furnace, this will let them tweet when they’re in use!  The random number on the end is there to avoid tweets being marked as duplicates.

See you next month perhaps?

SMD March Kit building

Vancouver Maker Faire – Call for makers – Poster

Dan Royer


Dan Royer from VHS featured in a Vancouver Maker Faire poster

Maker Faire – Maker Town Hall – Saturday, 1 March, 7:30 PM at One Thousand Rivers

Hello Hackers

We are having the Maker Faire, Maker Town Hall this Saturday at

One Thousand Rivers
54 4th Ave E, Vancouver, BC V5T 1E8
Saturday, 1 March 2014 from 7:30 PM to 10:30 PM (PST)

Are you thinking about being a Maker at this year’s Vancouver Mini Maker Faire? Not sure if your project is interesting enough, or which category you should apply? Then come to the Maker Town Hall to find out more about being a Maker and get your questions answered. Listen to VMMF organizers talk about this year’s event. Hear the stories of veteran Makers as they talk about their experiences at VMMF. Socialize, have a drink, and meet other makers. All led by our Master Crafter of Ceremonies, Kim Werker. Doors at 7:30, event starts at 8 pm.

Master Crafter of Ceremonies, Kim Werker.

Confirmed Speakers:

Free entry, but pre-registration recommended due to limited capacity.
Cash bar.
For more information on being a Maker at this year’s faire, check out the Call for Makers on our website.


Vancouver Hack Space – Amateur Radio Club (VHS-ARC) – Wednesday Feb 26, 2014

Weekly VHS Amateur Radio Club (VHS-ARC) meeting.

Vancouver Hack Space
270 East 1st Avenue
Vancouver, BC

Wednesday Feb 26th, 2014 @ 7:00-9:00 pm

Meeting is open to all, members and non-members alike . All are welcome
whether you hold an Amateur Radio license from Industry Canada or wish
to acquire your Amateur Radio Certification.

Paul Gill