25 Feb

Gaggia Classic Seamless PID Upgrade

The ability to make good espresso is one of the most coveted skills in the coffee world. The rich body and complex flavor profile of a well-made shot brings the beans to life with a depth that other brewing methods fail to achieve. But espresso is also among the more complicated ways to make coffee. Fine grinds, high pressures, short brew times, metered doses, and precise temperatures all work together to create the perfect shot – but a variation in any one of these variables can just as easily render it undrinkable. Making consistently good espresso requires consistent brewing parameters.

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Espresso Mods, therm | 2 Comments | Tags: , , ,
29 Nov

New Product: CANable Pro – Isolated USB to CAN Adapter

CANable Pro Isolated USB to CAN Adapter

The CANable Pro is a low-cost fully isolated USB to CAN adapter. Connect to any CAN2.0A/B network without worrying about common mode offset, ground noise, or damaging your computer! The CANable Pro is open-source hardware that is manufactured in the USA.

The CANable Pro provides the same serial-line CAN interface on Windows, Linux, and Mac as the original CANable but also features breakaway mounting holes, enhanced ESD protection on both CAN and USB, and full galvanic isolation.

Just like the original CANable, the CANable Pro supports the alternative candlelight firmware which enumerates as a native CAN interface on Linux for ease of integration into embedded systems and works with the cangaroo software on Windows and Linux for easy viewing and transmitting of CAN packets.

CANable Pro is now in stock at the Protofusion Labs store


  • Supports CAN2.0A and B, baud rates up to 1M
  • Full galvanic isolation
  • Breakaway mounting points
  • Additional ESD/transient protection on CAN and USB interfaces
  • Serial-line can (slcan) interface for Mac, Windows, and Linux
  • Native Linux and enhanced Windows support with candlelight firmware
  • 3-pin screw terminal with CANH, CANL, and GND
  • Button for entering the bootloader
  • Jumper to enable/disable termination
  • Made in the USA!
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31 Dec

HydroBot: Deep Water Culture

Deep Water Culture (DWC) is a hydroponic gardening method in which plants are grown directly into a large pool of nutrient solution. Typically, plants are placed in net baskets full of a growing medium such as perilite or expanded clay pellets. These baskets are then placed in a reservoir (5 gallon hardware store buckets are a popular choice among hobbyists) to submerge the plant roots. The root mass will continue to grow down into the reservoir, slowly filling it with loosely packed roots. DWC systems require a well oxygenated nutrient solution to keep the roots from drowning and rotting – an air stone and a bubbler are often used to sustain adequate dissolved oxygen levels. As plants consume water, the reservoir level will recede, exposing the roots to even more oxygen and promoting prolific growth. The downside of frequently changing water levels is that pH and EC levels tend to fluctuate, especially in smaller systems. Maintaining a large number of small reservoirs, such as 5 gallon buckets, can also become tedious. To combat this, recirculating designs are implemented to tie together smaller reservoirs into one large system, which will tend to be much more stable and require less work. Read more »

HydroBot, Projects | No Comments | Tags: , , ,
7 Oct

HydroBot: Nutrient Film Technique

Continuous Flow or Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) hydroponic systems use a shallow stream (or film) of water recirculating through a channel to deliver nutrients directly to the plant roots. The stream is shallow enough that the uppermost roots laying in the channel are exposed to air, providing the plant with access to lots of oxygen in addition to all the water it needs. To control the depth of the water stream, NTF systems use channels sloped at 1:30 or 1:40 (around 1.5 degrees). For most plants, the optimal flow rate in each channel is 1-2 L/m, and a maximum length of 10-15 meters is recommended to avoid nutrient depletion at the end of the channel. Because NFT style systems rely on a pump for nutrient and water delivery, there is no protection against power outage or system malfunctions. Plants will quickly die if the pump stops running for more than a few hours. NFT systems are best suited for leafy plants, due to the restricted channels which would not be adequate for the massive root structures necessary for most fruiting plants. Read more »

HydroBot, Projects | No Comments | Tags: , , ,
30 Sep

Tracking Balloons with WSPR

What is WSPR?

WSPR is a low data rate digital protocol intended for measuring RF propagation, typically on LF and HF bands and at very low powers (often 1W to as little as 20mW). WSPR messages are digital packets that contain just a few pieces of data:

  • Callsign of sender
  • 4-digit grid locator for indicating transmitter location
  • Transmit power in dBm

This data allows a listener to know how far away transmissions originated and with how much power the transmission was made, giving a fairly realistic and real-time measurement of RF propagation.

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HAB, Projects | 4 Comments | Tags: , , , , , , ,
24 Sep

HydroBot: Hydroponics Overview

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions dissolved in water. Plants use light to turn water and carbon dioxide into the food they need, through a process called photosynthesis. As long as the plants have enough access to water, air, and nutrients, dirt is not necessary for plants to grow. Read more »

HydroBot | No Comments | Tags: , , ,
22 Jul

HydroBot: Prototyping New Modules

ProtoModule is a HydroBot module designed to easily develop and test new monitoring or control functions that may someday go into a HydroBot module. It has 11 GPIO pins and the power rails broken out on a 0.1” pin header for easy breadboarding or interfacing with ribbon cables. The provided pins give access to a variety of digital and analog I/O, as well as digital communication peripherals, to allow for many flexible design options. Read more »

HydroBot, Projects | No Comments | Tags: , , , , , , ,
5 Feb

HydroBot: Connecting the Modules

HydroHub is a HydroBot module designed to connect together HydroBot modules in a star topology. The hub provides power and CAN connectivity to a total of eight channels. It has a DC barrel jack for connecting an external power supply, as well as selectable termination for the CAN bus.

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HydroBot, Projects | No Comments | Tags: , , , , , , ,
14 Sep

HydroBot: Switches and Relays

RelayDrive is a HydroBot module designed to drive relays and other electro-mechanical devices. It consists of 4 low-side outputs, each rated for 1A continuous current, as well as 4 digital inputs, and is controlled over CAN. This module is intended to drive mechanical relays, solid state relays, and solenoids for controlling devices such as lights, pumps, heaters, fans, and valves in a HydroBot hydroponic system.  Read more »

HydroBot, Projects | No Comments | Tags: , , , , , , ,
5 Aug

The CANable USB to CAN adapter is now cheaper and back in stock!

CANable Open-Source USB to CANbus adapter

The CANable open-hardware USB to CAN adapter is now back in stock! You can order directly from the Protofusion Tindie store. I dropped the price to $25, making the CANable an even more affordable way to interface with the CANbus. Check out canable.io for more information.

Announcements, Projects | 3 Comments | Tags: , , , , ,