Read-The-Fantastic-Manual (RTFM)*

Posted: February 6, 2013 in Hardware Kits
Tags: , , , , ,

*Yes, F is Fantastic, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  I would probably say PRTM – Please Read The Manual, but that isn’t quite as well known.

5V DC-DC Switch Mode Power Supply, and RGB-LED Kit User Manuals

As always, the user manual is the last item to be completed (and often never is entirely in engineering)!

Since the User Manual I supply with the projects is a key component of the project kits, I thought I would give everyone a “little lookie” at the kind of information provided.

5V DC-DC Switch Mode Power Supply User Manual Inside (10-Pages) – Click on the image for more details on the kit

The manuals are split into three main sections:

  1. First I introduce the concepts and design behind the circuit.  PSU kit: discusses how switch mode supplies work and how they compare to linear ones.  RGB-LED Kit: How RGB-LEDs are different to normal LEDs and ways to control them.
  2. Next I provide a component check-list, circuit diagrams and detailed build instructions (with close up pictures of each step)
  3. Finally, I provide instructions on testing your creation (and in the case of the RGB-LED kit, I’ve also include some coding examples in Bash and Python – this will also be put on this site as RGB-LED Lesson 0 – The Absolute Basics GPIO).

RGB-LED Kit User Manual Inside (12-Pages) – Click on the image for more details on the kit

In addition to the User Manual (I packed as much as I could into 12 pages), the RGB-LED Lessons will be extended onto this site, more details about that soon.

Thank you for supporting this project, I hope that people will continue to find the kits useful, and I enjoy hearing about the excellent projects they are used for!

  1. Hi Meltwater

    I purchased one of your RGB LED Kits a few days ago, to find out more about using the Raspberry Pi GPIO pins. Unfortunately, both work and hoime life have been busy the past few days, so I’ve only just managed to get all of the parts soldered to the board and played with your example shell script.

    So far, I’m really impressed. Everything has worked as expected and I’ve been able to correct all of my script errors without any serious problems.

    Just a few very minor comments on the instruction manual:

    – Why is the copyright text in a colour that isn’t very readable. This is a little off-putting. It’s as if you want to hide something 🙂
    – Not too sure about the legality of your copyright statement. I seem to remeber that copyright needs to be owned by a person or an organisation. Not too sure that an ebay userid is a valid copyright owner.
    – The table at the top of page 3 is incorrect. Led “Enabled” and Led “Disabled” are the wrong way around.
    – The party list on page 4 lists three different resitors. This is incorrect.

    The assembly instructions were very easy to follow. As always, a good dose of patience is required. I didn’t bother with the multi-meter test, because I was confident that everything was going to work correctly.

    As stated earlier, I typed the example shell script, corrected it and when it was working correctly, I added some more lines to turn all of the LEDs on (one by one with a 1 second pause between each command). I then added some more lines to turn the LEDs off, again one by one with a 1 second pause. I’m really glad that I learnt to use the vi editor when I was at University. The Yank, Paste, Replace and Substitute commands save so much typing.

    At the weekend, I hope to start using some Python to control the LEDs. I’m not very familiar with Python. Worse still, I starting to forget some of the C that I knew.

    The RGB LED Kit is excellent. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to understand how to use the Raspberry Pi GPIO pins.


    • Hi David,
      First many thanks for taking the time to provide such excellent feedback.

      Regarding your points on the user manual, which are all very reasonable.
      – The copyright text was lighter to avoid detracting from the main text, while still being present on each page (it may have come out lighter than I intended). I will make it darker, and perhaps provide the full text clearly on the first page if required (nothing abnormal). I believe it should be valid, much the same as any other Pseudonym or Pen Name, however, I do intend putting my full name in future anyway (which I have started to do also within the MagPi credits).
      – You are correct about the table, I have corrected this now.
      – Again you are correct about the parts list (that was from an older revision of the circuit – I did several different prototypes to work out the best combination).

      Your script sounds very much like the one which I ended up with for my initial testing, makes a nice disco.

      Really glad you have found the kit useful, I am always keen to improve and refine it, and it is excellent to know which parts work well so I can continue to make more useful things.

      I hope to get some more Python examples up soon. I just need to find some Pi-Time.

      Thanks again for your time and massive thanks for your support!

      Let me know if you have any other comments or queries, I will be happy to help.
      Tim Cox (meltwater)

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