Adding the u.RAT Adafruit Pi-OLED

The urat.c program with printf statements ready to be replaced by OLED print commands . . 

My good friend Mike, KJ4Z found a C Library for the Adafruit Pi-OLED, something my Google searches just didn’t find. Thanks Mike! Here is the link, and I shared it with Adafruit and their Support Forum – since no one there had found this wonderful C Library:

So, today I will solder the header on one of the two Raspberry Pi Zero W’s and plug the cute little Adafruit Pi-OLED in:

I still cant get over this cool little Linux computer and display. All for under $30

Adafruit really rocks. They design products that really open up the Maker world, and have all plans in the form of CAD and Fritzing schematics, spec sheets, code and lessons. No wonder they have gotten the press and accolades that they have.

The OLED_96 library example program – all I need to do now is replace my printf statements with the oledWriteString commands

The project happened due to a combination of Elecraft being so supportive with their code, a guy in Hawaii who had the best wiring diagram for the steppers and my drivers, a guy in Devon in the UK with a great library to make the steppers move, and this library to display the C and L positions of the KPOD rotary encoder on the OLED.

I prefer Python for business and BI (Business Intelligence) apps at work, but I do like C for this lower level hardware work. Arduino supports C – but its a special form of C because of its development environment, and the Raspberry Pi with C compiled on Linux using gcc is more of what I am used to as far as C goes. You have a choice of languages on the Pi – on Arduino you do not. Arduino C is about the easiest form of C that I have ever tried – C# is easy, but I had found C++ to be quite difficult back in the 80’s – when I worked for Oracle.

If the KPOD itself didn’t dictate that I use C, I would have probably used Python, but we shall see – I’m surprised how much I still like C.

OK – I hope later today (or at least this weekend) I can post a video showing the roller inductor and variable capacitor mounted properly on a plywood board and the Raspberry Pi Zero W with Adafruit Pi-OLED displaying the L and C values in a way nicer than this:

The “final frontier” will be to possibly add a shaft encoder to the roller inductor shaft which turns on a LED when I get to one end or the other – so I won’t bang the roller at its stops:

There are many, and F6HQZ has on based on WiringPi:

This will be the point where I have to decide what would go in an Open Source project and what won’t. Since any tuner components would really need the OLED, I think that’s worth including, but since someone could use a switched inductor tuner – like the Johnson Viking KW Matchbox, then they would need a relay switching schema and not a shaft encoder in their project.

Even the OLED might be dictating too much, but I think the Raspberry Pi Zero W plus OLED along with the KPOD is an unbeatable combination. I have suggested to Elecraft that they consider a new and more super charged KPOD that has a little OLED display right on board – then the game steps up quite a bit as far as having a Universal Maker controller using the KPOD.

But hey – since I am sharing my work back with Elecraft, who knows – if they see a way to market to hams and makers, maybe I will have come up with my first product design “hack”.

Are we having fun yet?


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