Archive for August, 2015

Vancouver, BC – biggest storm in a decade knocked up to 500K customers power out (including mine)

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Sorry, I intended to finish another article over the weekend, but a power outage interfered.


Here in Langley, BC, we lost power around 10:30am on Saturday .. and did not get it back until 9:35pm.

We still don’t have our cable internet service restored. Fortunately, even though the cell signal is poor, we could keep an eye on BCHydro’s twitter feed (their web site and phone support was also off-line), and we could still read on our tablets.

Apparently at one point 500,000 customers were affected… if you assume an average of three people per home, that is around 1.5 million people without power!

You have to love USB power banks, they kept our phones and tablets alive during the outage… and a spotty & slow internet is still better than no internet.

Update: I have cable internet again, and I managed to fix on the desktop where the configuration files got corrupted by the power loss. Whew.

ODROID XU4 Shifter Shield Review with GPIO compatibility tests posted

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

ODROID-XU4 Shifter Shield Review @

I recently reviewed Hardkernel’s new ODROID-XU4 Big.little eight core single board computer – and I was very impressed by its performance.

The only real issue was the 1.8V GPIO spread between two connectors with 2.0mm pitch, which is obviously incompatible with all those nice add-on boards designed for Raspberry Pi’s, Banana Pi’s, and other similar SBC’s.

Fortunately, HardKernel has released a “XU4 Shifter Shield” to address this issue.

Click HERE to read my thorough review of the XU4 Shifter Shield

I even tested a few add-on boards designed for the Raspberry Pi with the XU4 Shifter Shield :) v0.90 Python API for Pi Droid Alpha released – and it is RoboPi compatible.

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

I’ve uploaded the first release version of the Python API for Pi Droid Alpha, and it is compatible with the Python API for RoboPi.

Yep, this means you can start building your robots with Pi Droid Alpha, and when you need a more powerful robot controller, you can move up to RoboPi – and your existing code will run!

Pi Droid Alpha @

(click on image for larger version)

The API is extremely easy to use, and will be very familiar to Wiring and Arduino users :)

If you are curious about the API:

If you would like to discuss Pi Droid Alpha, RoboPi, their API, or robots, join our forum!


Pi Droid Alpha & Prototyping boards

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

I am still working on the Pi Droid Alpha user manual and associated Python API, but I’d thought I would update y’all on what I am also working on right now… (and  there be a sale!)

Pi Droid Alpha @

Site News

  • Mikronauts ad is in the September 2015 issue of Servo on p.13
  • Pi Droid Alpha new product announcement is in Servo on p.21 (same issue)
  • My ODROID-XU4 Review has received a lot of interest
  • I hope to publish the XU4 Shifter Shield review early next week

Santa’s helpers have dropped off a box with a nice pre-release quad core ARM SBC, look for a review of it real soon!

Cheaper Shipping!!!

  • I’ve found a freight forwarder to work with, which allows me to offer cheaper shipping to the US – with tracking!
  • Would you believe it is cheaper for me to ship to the US than to Canada??? Weird, eh?
  • I also have somewhat better rates to the UK and UE, but I am still trying improve shipping there

Back-To-School Sale

I remember how painful it was to go back to school, so I decided to put Mikronauts prototyping boards on sale.

  • EZasPi prototyping board for the Raspberry Pi (now $10.95USD+s/h)
  • EZasPi (B) prototyping board for the Raspberry Pi (now $10.95USD+s/h)
  • EZasBone prototyping board for the BeagleBoneBlack (now $12.95USD+s/h)
  • EZasPieProto300 large general purpose prototyping board (now $9.95USD+s/h)
  • EZasPieProto600 large general purpose prototyping board (now $9.95USD+s/h)

The prototyping boards are also available in two and five packs for even greater savings.



ODROID-XU4 octal core Samsung Exynos 5422 Review

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

I’ve finished my ODROID-XU4 Review!

ODROID-XU4 Review @

(click on image for larger version)

The ODROID-XU4 is Hardkernel’s new octal-core ARM single board computer.

The performance is excellent, but for all the details, you should head over and read the review: