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Month: September 2014

Expanding the Bitcraze VM 0.5 Main Partition

Expanding the Bitcraze VM 0.5 Main Partition

I had been meaning to post a tutorial on how I expanded the main partition on the Bitcraze 0.5 virtual machine. A few months back I had to do it myself since I’d wanted to upgrade the VM to a newer version of Ubuntu. As it is, the VM drive doesn’t have enough space to do the upgrade. On July 17, 2014, Ubuntu officially dropped support for Ubuntu 13.10 (the version that the Bitcraze Xubuntu VM is based on) and with the end-of-life so goes the supportability (ie. no more security updates). For most it’s probably not a big deal. The VM will run just fine even if Ubuntu isn’t offering regular updates. For others however, staying up-to-date is important so it’s nice to have an upgrade potential.

You can resize that virtual disk in a virtual machine manager (like VirtualBox or VMWare) but that’s not enough to expand the main partition. The situation is complicated a bit by the fact the swap partiton is separating the linux partiton from all the juicy unallocated space that gets created when you resize the virtual disk. It’s possible, just not entirely straight forward, to fix the situation, so I’ve created this tutorial post in an effort to assist would be drive expanders.

This tutorial is about how to expand the hard drive if you’re using VMWare Fusion on Mac. The portions about GParted and moving partitions around will apply to other virtual machine managers as well.

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Crazyflie 2.0 Pre-Order…

Crazyflie 2.0 Pre-Order…

Bitcraze just posted the details of their Crazyflie 2.0 pre-order. The specifics sound promising. Many add-ons are available as part of the pre-order and the price is discounted a bit for the early birds. Of course, you know I bought it (and all the add-ons) just as soon as their post announced the pre-order had started! It’s nice to see accessories like the LED expansion board and Qi inductive charger module are available. It’s going to be one long wait though! The pre-order discount ends Oct. 16th 2014 and the Crazyflie 2.0 isn’t estimated to ship until the second week of December. I guess it will be a nice gift for my family to get me during the holiday season… The Crazyflie 2.0 product page has more details about the new platform and the pre-order is available through Seeedstudio.

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NeoPixel Ring Mod – Part 1

NeoPixel Ring Mod – Part 1

On the bitcraze blog, Arnaud Taffanel posted an entry about a way to drive Adafruit’s NeoPixel Ring off the crazyflie’s STM32F103 ARM Cortex MCU. Obviously there were some technical hurdles to get over before they could implement support for driving the NeoPixel’s WS2812 LED chain. Adafruit’s well optimized drivers work great on Arduino but use the CPU for signal timing which doesn’t work so well on the more complicated crazyflie MCU. Not to mention the CPU can’t spare precious cycles on non-essential work like flashing LEDs when there’s critical duties (ie. flight performance) to attend to! Fortunately they found a solution using the STM32’s pulse-width modulation to create a signal the WS2812s understand and even more fortunately, they had a free timer output on the crazyflie expansion header to devote to the signal. Now, most of this is totally over my head (after all, I’m a layman with mostly software knowledge) but fortunately Arnaud detailed the solution quite well in the blog post and Marcus Eliasson posted a follow-up on it about a week later. Since the Bitcraze boys so graciously branched the crazyflie-firmware repository to implement the NeoPixel driver, I decided I could maybe accomplish this hack, so I set out to do it.

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