Archive for the ‘diy’ Category

Upcoming Workshop! Arduino: Beyond the Blink


Sign up for the workshop HERE:

Workshop is BYOA (bring your own arduino).

Another Arduino workshop at LVL1!

On August 26th, from Noon to 4pm, we’re going to cover software on the Arduino.

This is different from other workshops we’ve done on Arduino.  We’ll cover the IDE, built-in Libraries, their uses and pitfalls.  We’ll go over the current Arduino sheild ecosystem, investigate embedded C best-practices, and more!

This workshop will be strictly BYOA (bring your own Arduino), and will run about 4 hours.  Feel free to stick around afterwards to ask any questions we didn’t cover.  Buy your Arduino from Radioshack, Sparkfun, or any number of other online vendors.  Bring your laptop and a USB cable, and we’ll make the Arduino sing.

Here’s a detailed list of topics covered:

  • What is a Microcontroller?
  • What training wheels does Arduino provide?
  • What are sheilds?
  • What are libraries?
  • Getting into the IDE
  • Blinkenlights
  • Built-in Peripherals
  • Pitfalls
  • Basic embedded C techniques
  • Going beyond Arduino
If there’s any particular topic you’d like to dive deep into, email me at

Solar Panel Fabrication Set Up


All the necessary equipment to make reliable solar panels is now set up at LVL1.  This includes a custom built oven with a vacuum sealing system capable of making panels up to 15×21 inches, but no worries for bigger projects individual panels can be wired together in series or parallel and with the right framing anything is possible.  A further break down of this oven and the panel making process is coming in the future.  Along with the oven a tile saw has been set up with a 0.015″ thick diamond blade.  This saw can be used to cut scrap or non-scrap of mono or poly crystalline solar cells into usable custom sizes to fit the needs of various projects.  The only other equipment needed to make a panel is a soldering iron, which LVL1 has plenty of.  Only some materials for making solar panels will be available the rest will need to be purchased.  For more info contact Sam Ellis at

The set up:

Example of a solar panel made using the equipment followed by a table of its performance characteristics:

Isc:   0.4485 A

Voc:   16.8 V

PowerMax:  5.1 W

Imax:  0.3845 A

Vmax:  13.28 V

Fill factor:  0.6697

% Efficiency:  12.36%


A SOPA you can get behind


Introducing a useful SOPA- The Stop Online Productivity Avoidance box.

After having an extremely productive day on January 18th, I had a thought: What if every day were January 18th? Well, at the push of a button, now it can!

The button, switch, and display are wired to an Arduino.  The Arduino communicates with a python script running on the router, which controls a Squid3 proxy blacklist.  In SOPA mode, the whole of the internet is my oyster.  In NOPA mode, however, distracting websites like reddit, hacker news, and hackaday are blocked.  This isn’t very useful without a great deal of self control, however.  In weaker instances, nuclear mode must be employed.  Turn the key switch and press the button and all distracting sites are blocked for one hour.  The only recourse is to restart the router, but the router requires 15 minutes to restart, blocking the entirety of the web for the duration.  Overriding nuclear mode is not appealing.

All code is posted online at

A video demonstration and more pictures of construction lie below the break.


LVL1 Hackerspace
1205 E. Washington St.
Louisville, KY 40206