Custom Soundboard

I recently purchased a small circuit board (the FN-BC10-PN) which can play up to ten custom sounds. Each sound is linked to an open circuit to which you can wire up a button. You can plug the thing into your computer as a USB device, upload the files, then disconnect the device and use it on its own as a little sound player.  You can wire up power to it directly or use a USB power source, and you can wire up a small speaker or plug in a set of headphones for output.  The thing even supports serial communication so that you can hard-wire it to a computer (think Arduino) and control it programmatically.

I’m keeping my plans for its use a secret at the moment (nothing nefarious, I assure you).  If my idea works out, I’ll definitely make a post about it.  Don’t expect anything too soon, though.

FN-BC10

I came across a problem with the device, however, and I wanted to record the solution so that others who are experiencing the same issue might get their issue resolved.

The device worked fine at first, but it stopped playing sounds after plugging it into my computer and then removing it. I can’t recall if it stopped working after the first time I plugged it in, or if it took a couple of times. I used the Windows option to safely eject the device; maybe that caused the problem? Anyway, the basic problem is that the board stops working after you plug it into a computer — even if you don’t modify the contents of the board’s memory.

What normally happens when you use the device is that it flashes a tiny light on the board when it is playing a sound. After plugging the thing into Windows once and removing it, the device no longer played sounds, and the little light no longer flashed.

After emailing back and forth with someone from the website I bought the thing from, I was eventually provided with a solution which worked.

Normally you place the sound files in the root folder of the device’s memory: up to ten files named 001.mp3 to 010.mp3 (.wav files are also supported). The device comes with ten default mp3s in the root folder, so you don’t actually have to upload any files in order to test the board once you get it.

The solution to the problem I experienced was to create ten subfolders in the root directory numbered 01 through 10, and to then move the corresponding mp3 file into each directory (e.g. 001.mp3 into subfolder 01). That’s it.

If anyone out there is having problems with their FN-BC10 not working anymore after plugging it into a computer, this is how you solve the problem.

The guy I emailed said something about Windows putting a hidden file or something on the drive when you plug it in, and that this was the cause of the problem. I’m going to have to investigate what that’s all about.

 

 

Cup of Ice and Fire

It has been something like twenty years, but it has finally returned: Cinnamon-flavored Slurpees!

cinnamonslurpee

I had only seen this flavor once, many many years ago.  The flavor wasn’t really all that great, but the experience was something entirely new: an icy cold drink which burned my mouth.  I never, ever thought I’d see this flavor of Slurpee ever again.

It’s not really a crazy hot flavor or anything.  It does have a decent cinnamon flavor, though, for a cold drink.

I’ll probably never buy this flavor again, actually — it’s really just the fact that I never thought I’d experience a cinnamon Slurpee ever again…and now here it is.

So, Universe: if you are suddenly granting food-wishes, please bring back Mexican Chili flavored flavored Bits & Bites (or was it Nuts & Bolts?).  Also, those big, round jaw-breaker-like lollipops that came in grape, orange, or cherry flavors.  Thanks.

 

X-wing: Cobra

Not content with ruling the entire world, Cobra Commander has set his sights on outer space!  Piloted by highly trained Star-Vipers, this new fighter — Codenamed Nemesis — extends Cobra Command’s grasp to the stars.

I painted a Kihraxz fighter from the X-wing Miniatures Game over the past couple of days.  I wanted to come up with a color scheme that would look nice, and it occurred to me to try the common colors used in a lot of old Cobra vehicles from the early 80s G.I. Joe toy line.  I think it turned out rather well.

The Cobra insignias on the side didn’t turn out as well as I’d like.  I created them using water-slide decal paper I purchased for my laser printer. The decal material is very thin and transparent, and the dark blue background of the ship overpowered the thin layer of toner that was printed onto it. To remedy this I tried to hand-paint parts of the Cobra symbol so that they would show through the decal. It worked quite well, but my estimates on the size of the logos was not quite spot on.

Original paint job:

“Cobra” paint job:        I wish my smartphone could take better quality photos. So much of the detail is lost in these images.

I like this color scheme and I may try it out on more ships.

“I shall call him, ‘Mini-Bee'”

I painted up a miniature version of my car:

I’m not entirely happy with the sloppiness of the paint job.  My model-painting experience is almost entirely in acrylic, and this job was done with enamel.  I figured enamel would be more durable for something like this.  Unfortunately, enamel is a bit harder to work with and is less forgiving than acrylic.

The paint I used was Humbrol Black Satin 85.  It does not look very much like satin paint to me, though.

Death Star Trench Misconception

The other day I was listening to an interview with Todd Vaziri, a visual effects artist from ILM.  During the interview, Mr. Vaziri talked about working on Rogue One.  He brought up an anecdote about how, one day when going over the visual effects being worked on, one of the story’s writers suggested that the Death Star model needed more detail around a north-south meridian line near the base’s north pole.  The writer casually explained that this was where the final “trench run” in the original Star Wars movie happened, which was a revelation to most of the visual effects crew.

For most of my life since seeing the original Star Wars it never occurred to me that the Death Star trench run does not occur along the equatorial trench we see in long shots of the station.

deathstar

The equatorial trench on the Death Star is lined with hangar bays and is the ingress/egress area for the station.  This trench is far too large to be the trench which leads to the Death Star’s thermal exhaust port:

trench1trench2

The actual trench in question is far narrower and has no room for hangar bays:

trench4

Adding to the confusion caused by the strongly visible equatorial trench is the use of horizontal shots of the actual trench in question.  In this image, the north pole is to the right of the screen, not to the top which is natural for us to assume:

trench3

Oddly enough, the movie itself explains that the exhaust port is at the north pole and that the trench runs north-south during General Dodonna’s mission briefing:

trenchanim

I probably dismissed this in the past because of the fact that the computer animation was based on an earlier model of the Death Star which had the laser dish situated on the equator.

wrongdish

Because the dish was in the wrong place, I guess I subconsciously figured the location of the trench was wrong, too.  But, no, the historic “Death Star trench” runs north-south and ends at (or near) the north pole.

trench0

It’s neat to learn something new about a thing with which one is already very familiar.