Posts tagged electronics

Workshops at BetaLab

In the next weeks we’ll be giving two workshops at BetaLab, a co-working space organized by betahaus| within the Chiado-After-Work program.

Here’s all the information and workshops’ schedule (in Portuguese):

Workshop DIY Kinetic SolarBots – Construa o seu próprio robot cinético solar.

Neste workshop os participantes vão construir um pequeno robot cinético através da montagem de um circuito solar com um pequeno motor e do design/modelagem do corpo do robot com Shmelzolan (plástico utilizado em artesanato).

Datas : 12 de Maio / 19 de Maio / 26 de Maio

Horário : 17h – 21h

Preço : 25 Euros/Pessoa

Local : Rua Garrett, 70 (Baixa, Lisboa)

CC : Video by xdatelier (

Workshop Electrónica Aprender a soldar

Qualquer pessoa é capaz de fazer uma boa soldadura, é só uma questão de prática! Neste workshop aprendemos a soldar construindo circuitos muito divertidos como o Pisca-Pisca LED, uPONG (Retro Video GAME), Drawdio (um lápis/pincel que emite sons enquanto desenhámos) entre outros.

Datas : 14 de Maio / 21 de Maio / 28 de Maio

Horário : 17h – 21h

Preço : entre 10 – 35  Euros/Pessoa (consoante o kit seleccionado para construir)

Local : Rua Garrett, 70 (Baixa, Lisboa)

CC : Photo by LadyAda (

A inscrição para qualquer um dos workshops numa das das disponíveis deve ser efectuada via email para o endereço :

Mini-workshop “Motores de Passo”

(scroll down for English)

Vamos pegar aleatóriamente num motor de passo e tentar descobrir que tipo de motor é, desenhar um diagrama simples do mesmo.
Depois vamos pegar no ferro de soldar (não há que ter meeeeeedo :)) e montar um circuito que permite controlar esse motor a partir de um Arduino ou qualquer outra placa baseada num microcontrolador.
Todo o material é fornecido e fica para os participantes, sendo apenas necessário trazer ferro de soldar e multimetro (ou esperar que alguma alma caridosa vos empreste).

O número de participantes é limitado pelo que, se disserem que vêm, contamos MEEESMO convosco ;)

Para inscrições e pedidos de informação: workshops /arroba/
Lotação máxima de 10 participantes
Sábado 13 de Março de 2010
AltLab em Cacilhas

Let’s each of us pick up a random stepper and try to find out what kind of stepper it is, draw a simple diagram.
Then pick up the soldering iron (have noooooo fear :)) and assemble a circuit to control that motor from an Arduino or any other microcontroller-based board.
All materials are supplied to the participants and everyone gets to keep them; you’re just required to bring your own soldering iron and multimeter (or wait a random amount of time to borrow someone else’s).

The number of participations is limited, therefore, if you tell us you’ll come, we’ll REEEALLY be waiting for you ;)

For registration and information requests: workshops /at/
Maximum of 10 participants
Saturday, March 13 2010
AltLab @ Cacilhas

First Soft Circuits Open Lab

soft circuits open lab

This Sunday we’re holding our first Soft Circuits Open Lab at the School of Fine Arts in Lisbon (FBAUL – Faculdade de Belas Artes de Lisboa). There is no predefined structure for the event. We will meet for the course of one day with the purposes of sharing knowledge, experimenting freely, advancing on-going projects, and just having fun working together. Some of the people attending will be specialists in electronics and others in textiles. Barcamp style impromptu presentations are very welcome.

Altlab will provide some basic tools such as pliers, scissors, soldering irons, ironing board, etc. But participants must bring all the materials and additional equipment necessary for their own projects/experiments (including laptops). Here are some suggestions: any kind of fabric, needles and thread, yarn, t-shirts, conductive and/or resistive fabric, conductive thread, conductive and/or resistive yarn, knitting and/or crochet needles, LEDs, coin cell batteries, battery holders, EL wire, strands of fiber optics, copper foil, copper adhesive track, aluminum foil, resistive foam, regular foam, arduinos (lilypad or any other kind). If you’ve never worked with any of these materials and don’t have them handy, come anyway, you can help someone else with their project and learn along the way.

For more information on soft circuits techniques and materials, check out the Soft Circuits Resources section on the openMaterials wiki.

This open lab will take place on February 21st, from 10:30 to 18:30, at the School of Fine Arts in Lisbon, room 307, 1st floor (since our own space is still under construction). All are welcome, there is no fee nor registration, but please do let me know if you are planning on coming: catarinamota(at)

Circuit Bending

Hello “intrenets” people(s)

This post today reflects a little about  what circuit bending and diy are.

I have many friends and colleagues  asking me “-So what is circuit bending?”, well here goes the awser and a bit of the history behind circuit bending.

Seems that a guy called Reed Ghazala, was making experiments with some synthesizers, trying to get some more sounds out of the electronic instruments, so he decided to open one and poke the guts of the beast .

He soon  finds out that the core of an electronic instrument its a lot of fun and this could be exciting discover.

Now…have you ever heard of the Savant syndrome ?  a person who as Savant Syndrome have the ability of mixing emotions, like seeing numbers in a wide variety of colors or the alphabet in shapes and forms, the cause of this, its simply the brain and some short fuses in some areas, and this its exactly what Circuit bending is.

So, when Reed decided to explore the possibility of the short circuit he open a big door for experimental music and a new form of seeing electronic devices, the idea its simply brilliant, lets open some toys, synths, pedals (whatever) and lets start to take some really cool sounds out of it, and the brilliant part is : you don’t need to know about electronics or be a geek who spent all day in the garage (myself included), because circuit bending its like a a brain in short fuse.

What you need to circuit bending some stuff ?  This is another question and an important one. Hummm lets see:

First, you will need some kind of device that produces sound, like a toy, a distortion pedal, an old synth just to name a few.

Second, this is the important part DON’T USE ANYTHING THAT CONNECTS DIRECTLY TO THE AC/DC POWER, this means DEATH, instead use batteries, all kinds of batteries and even transformers as long you don’t touch that evil 220 V you are in business .

Third, open your device and choose your method of operation, this could be done in a variety of ways, you could use your fingers with a little of saliva (ughhh), or two screw drivers connected by an alligator clip.

Four, explore and see if the device reacts to your touch poking some circuits, i often get some great results poking the chips legs and connecting them together, finding the cool points its fun so don’t give up if you don’t find something in the first 5 minutes.

Five, ohh the “intrenets” yes there’s a lot in here just search a bit and you will find yourself in a brand new world, of course the circuit bending community its open minded and friendly, so don’t be shy and ask questions (most of us don’t know what are doing so join the club).

Now you know were Beck, Madonna, Mike Patton and many others are getting they inspiration (yeah that’s right Madonna), the musical possibility are immense, just think  is you, who  are discovering your own sounds and making it at the same time (not like a patch in a synthesizer ) something really new and fresh made entirely  by you.

So,  what is Circuit Bending  ?

PAPERduino’s design

This is a fully functional version of the Arduino. We eliminated the PCB and use paper and cardboard as support and the result is.. the PAPERduino :D

This is the the first version of the layout design, next we will try more designs, and other materials. You just need to print the top and the bottom layouts, and glue them to any kind of support you want. We hope that you start making your own boards. If you do, please share your photos with us, we would love to see them ;)

There is no USB direct connection, so to program the paperduino you will need some kind of FTDI cable or adapter. One of this products will be fine:
FTDI cable from Adafruit Industries
FTDI adapter from Sparkfun

Download PDF

Components list:
1 x 7805 Voltage regulator
2 x LEDs (different colors)
2 x 560 Ohm resistors (between 220oHm and 1K)
1 x 10k Ohm resistor
2 x 100 uF capacitors
1x 16 MHz clock crystal
2 x 22 pF capacitors
1 x 0.01 uF capacitor
1 x button
1 x Atmel ATMega168
1 x socket 28 pin
Female and Male headers

Use a needle to puncture the holes for your components.

Don’t rush, place one component after another and do all the solder work carefully.

Follow the connection lines.

And this should be the final look of your paperduino connections.

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