Canada Day Open House Tentatively Cancelled

Unfortunately, because of Canada Day (and the nice weather), we currently don’t know if we’ll have enough keyholders to keep the space open for our regular open house tonight. As such, tonight’s open house is tentatively cancelled.

Before heading down, please check our Twitter, Facebook, blog or to see if we are open tonight.

Our apologies for the late update!

SMD Soldering Beginner Workshop


This is a beginners SMD workshop. You’ll be taken through a technique for solder smd components and then get a chance to build the board shown in the photo.  The price is the cost of the parts including battery.

People should have some soldering experience – the focus will be on SMD soldering, not soldering in general.  All tools and materials will be provided.  Please consider bringing your own soldering iron with a fine tip – it is easier if you can keep working with the same tool.  Whilst anyone is welcome, first time SMD solderers are preferred.  There will be an advanced workshop on July 24, tickets and cost TBD.

If you are unable to attend you can receive a refund up to 1 week beforehand, after that you can receive your parts or nominate someone to attend in your place.

There are limited tickets for this event as this is the first run of this circuit.  There will be more of these events in the near future.

When: July 17 at 7pm
Where: VHS Bunker. 270 E 1st Ave
Cost: $4.50 plus eventbrite fee

Eventbrite - SMD 101 - basic smd soldering workshop

Schlage BE365 deadbolt hacking

We have a keypad dead bolt on the front door that has been slated for adaption to rfid for ages.  About 6 months ago we dismantled the lock and tapped the wiring to the solenoid.  The solenoid is tiny, it doesn’t open the lock, just engages the knob so human power can open the lock (hence you get 2 years on a 9V battery).  The tapping was tricky, we had to use wirewrap wire to pass the signal through the tiny wire channel from the outside of the door to the rear panel.  The lock has been functioning for 6 months with this tap in place so the job was successful.


This weekend we finally put a scope on the wiring to the solenoid to characterise it so we can emulate the keypad electronics with an Arduino.  This scope trace shows the bolt being withdraw by the keypad electronics.  It applies 5V in one direction, waits about 10s for someone to unlock the door and then applies 5V in the other direction to disengage the knob from the bolt.  As the scope trace shows, it is 5V @ 100ms, easy to emulate.


The goal is for the powered down state to revert to keypad usage ie. we can give out keypad codes over the phone when the power/internet are out.  Here is the schematic of the shield we’ve built.  It turns out that the voltage applied is actually 5V but the rest of the original design is still appropriate.

Next week hopefully we’ll get the shield installed and wired up to the Pi managing the system.

Maker Faire 2014 – Soldering Workshop Kit Instructions

Thanks to everyone for another great Maker Faire this year.  We hope to see everyone there in 2015 for the big 5th year of the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire!

The VHS soldering workshop area was popular as always, especially thanks to the new line following robot kit this year (we sold out Sunday afternoon!).  We also had lots of people learning to solder the blinky LED badge kits

If you didn’t get a chance to build a kit this year, don’t worry, you can come to VHS on one of our open nights and use one of our soldering irons.  We have lots of the blinky badge kits leftover ($3), and we will have a few of the Line following robot kits ($20) available this evening as well.

Here are the instructions for the kits:
Line Following Robot Instructions
Blinky Instructions

SHHH 2^6 – Super Happy Hacker House 32 – 2014-June-21

Hello Hackers, Tinkerers, Builders, Crafters and Makers
The Vancouver HackSpace is opening its doors to the general public for an open house and a Super Happy Hacker House #32
  • Open house –  (2PM till 6 PM) Never been to a hack space before? This is the perfect time to visit! We will give you the grand tour of the space. There will be a BBQ on site during the day if you want to bring something down to cook.
  • Super Happy Hacker House – (9 PM – Late). SHHH a social night where members and non-members are welcome to gather for conversation, beverages, lightning talks, and super happy hacking.  Bring your laptops, Arduinos, crafts, and gadgets for a night of merry making!
  • Lightning talks – (11PM). Lightning talk is a short presentation on any subject that you want. Unlike other presentations, lightning talks last only a few minutes (2 min or less) and several talks will happen in a single period by different speakers. Challenge coins will given out to the people doing talks. Here is a video of some of our previous lightning talks
>>>>>>>>  Remember to BRING YOUR OWN CUP ! <<<<<<<<
“The Bunker”
270 1st Ave E,
Vancouver, BC, V5T 1A6
or 49.268764,-123.098187 for the numerically inclined.
Parking is available just outside the space. Bikes can be brought inside via the garage door. To get here via transit: get off at Main St. – Science World station, walk South down Main to 1st Ave (past McDonald’s), turn left onto 1st Ave.  Walk until you see the VHS sandwich board (past the “Stay away from lonely places” sign, directly across the street from the Brinks building).
Saturday June 21st, 2014. 2 pm until the early hours of the 22th.
Everyone, members and non-members and all of their friends.

DevboardAholics Anonymous Night

Do you have more devboards than you have projects? Is the teetering pile of boards threatening to topple and crush a household pet? Do you have a google alert for “arduino compatible” on kickstarter? Can you use boards running “blink” instead of christmas lights? Are the sketchy radio dev boards heating your house, and cooking eggs in their shell if you put them on the workbench?

It might be time to admit that you have a problem – and then celebrate that problem with the rest of us!

Bring your boards down for a collaborative show and tell.

What: Showing off and chatting about different developer boards
Where:  VHS (270 east 1st )
When: June 23rd, 2014. 7:30PM.
Why: we need a reason?.
Who: Anyone with or interested in different devboards
Cost: Nothing upfront, but you know in a moment of weakness, you’ll probably end up buying more…


SMD May – programming jig



This week we’re building Logic Pirate open hardware logic analysers at VHS in our SMD workshops.  The ICSP header is 0.05″ pitch so I came up with a top and bottom programming jig to load the initial firmware.  Tickets are closed, if there is demand we’ll re-run the workshop later this year.

The LP is currently OOS at Seeed (, I’m selling the extra PCBs on Tindie (

The doco page on the LP is at As above you need a pickit to program the initial bootloader and firmware image. The hex file can be found at

The Mouser project is at

SMD May PCBs arrive just in time


The circuit boards from dirty pcbs for SMD May are here just in time. The Logic Pirate is a nice cheap compact logic analyser design by Markus Gritsch. More at Dirty PCBs and Dangerous Prototypes.


Vancouver Mini Maker Faire 2014 Workshops


VHS and Vancouver Mini Maker Faire are closely associated.  The 2014 Maker Faire will be at the PNE like last year, it is only 3 weeks away.  This year, for the first time, a selection of excellent workshops are running.  You can find more details on the web site.  Some of the workshops are run by VHS members, support them and sign up today!

Build-an-Arduino-Robot-150x150mozilla_foundation_logo-150x150 Puppet-Making-150x150 Stitching-With-Purpose-150x150 Wood-Paller-Organizer-150x150Growing-With-Lego-1-150x150 Knotwork-Bracelet-150x150crochet-placeholder Mighty-Ugly-150x150 Puppet-Making-150x150


SMD May – Logic Pirate




The dangerous prototypes logic pirate is a new 8 channel logic analyser design from the home of the bus pirate.  It uses the open SUMP protocol supported by the ols java client software (Mac, Windows, Linux).

This project is of similar difficulty to the internet of things arduino, except none of the chips are so fine pitched (the usb connector is however).  There are parts on both sides.  The board is very small 3cm x 3cm making a nice compact tool.  If you are a competant with through hole soldering you can easily tackle this project.

It is recommended that you bring your own soldering iron, tweezers and magnifier, limited supplies are available.  It is not necessary to arrive on time, please arrive when you can and plan to attend catchup nights if necessary.  Practice boards are available for use before you start your project.

From the website….

Here are some of its features:

  • 8 channels
  • 256 kSamples recording size
  • 60 MHz (overclocked) sampling rate (20 MHz and lower non-overclocked)
  • No compromise when combining the values above
  • Simple configurable edge detection triggers on all inputs (simple OR trigger)
  • Configurable ratio of samples from before and after the trigger (rolling sample buffer)
  • 5 V tolerant inputs (LOW-level voltage < 0.8 V, HIGH-level voltage > 2.0 V)
  • About 500 kB/s transfer speed to the PC (256 kSamples take about 0.5 seconds)
  • Data capturing can be stopped from the host software anytime
  • Cross platform host software for Windows, OS X, and Linux
  • DIY-friendly 0603 parts and SOIC packages used on a 2-layer board
  • On board 3.3 V regulator can supply up to 400 mA to an external circuit
  • Tiny 3cm x 3cm PCB
  • Firmware updates via built-in USB bootloader
  • Probe cables and acrylic case available from Seeed Studio
  • Open source PCB (EAGLE) and firmware files

Some features of the host software:

  • Precise measurement by using up to ten free placeable cursors
  • Automatic period, frequency, and duty cycle measurement
  • Displaying channel groups as HEX values and/or as an analog signal
  • Analyzers for a large number of protocols: 1-Wire, I2C, JTAG, SPI, UART, etc.

When: May 22nd and May 29th, 6:30pm ish
Where: VHS Bunker, 270 E 1st Ave, Vancouver
Cost:$22.50 plus $2.34 Eventbrite fee, click on the orange button below to buy tickets

Eventbrite - SMD May - logic pirate Eventbrite - SMD May - logic pirate