Hello everyone, and welcome back to another weekly design challenge summary. It’s the tenth week of the PiCasso Design Challenge, and the second week of the Experimenting with Polymer Capacitors Design Challenge. Lots of progress has been made over the past week, but before we get to the good stuff, let’s take a few moments to learn more about these challenges, their challengers, and what hardware is being featured.


PiCasso Design Challenge


About The Challenge


Featured as the first Design Challenge of 2019, this challenge task its twenty participants with creating their artistic masterpiece using a Raspberry Pi Model 3B+. Challengers can either push their boundaries by using the computing power of Pi as the brains of their artistic work or to improve the aesthetics of their surroundings.


While twenty project proposals were chosen to be the official projects of the challenge, entering the challenge is not limited to just those twenty community members. Anyone can join the Challenge as a non-sponsored Challenger, and still be eligible win one of the three prizes. If you are a non-sponsored challenger all you need to do is integrate the components from the official challenger kit into your design, and post 10-weekly blogs detailing your project’s build.



The Official Kit


The PiCasso Design Challenge is sponsored by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Each challenger will receive all of the components below plus a wide assortment of additional passive, and digital components to build their projects with. If you would like to enter the challenge for yourself, or if you just want to follow along at home, you can purchase all of the components in the kit right here at Element14.



To learn more about each of these components as well as the other components included in the kit, visit the official kit announcement page or click the links above to purchase them for your project.


The Prizes

      • Grand Prize: DJI Mavic 2 Pro Videography Drone
      • Runner Up Prize: Nikon D3500 DSLR & Lens Kit
      • Finisher Prize: Raspberry Pi Arcade Kit. To be eligible, a challenger has to complete their project, use products from the challenger kit, and post at least 10 updates in the Sixth Sense Design Challenge space.


To learn more about the prizes, head over to the PiCasso Design Challenge Prize Page.



The Past Week In Review


Over the past several days, May 12th - May 18th, we have had a total of eight updates posted across six projects. I will be highlighting three of my favorite updates from this past week, but before I get to that, let's take a look at which projects were updated.




This Week’s Top Updates


Project: Art-a-Tronic - PiCasso Design Challenge Blog  #14 - The MDK in Practice and The Eye Light



Enrico Miglino claims our number one spot again this week with another great update to project Art-a-Tronic. This week was all about developing a system that would allow SevenOfNine to operate outside of the exhibit by anyone around the world who has an internet connection. After some debate, the decision was made to utilize a world-wide social media network or chat app to handle the delivery of messages to the borg from remote locations. WhatsApp was the first choice, but it quickly proved to be the wrong choice. Up next was Twitter and while it worked, there were several obstacles to overcome. Using a Python library called Tweepy, SevenOfNine was able to finally have a somewhat reliable connection to the world, but only after several community members teamed up to help Enrico work through the roadblocks and bugs that plagued Tweepy. This update is a must-read to fully appreciate the work Enrico and a few community members put in to bring this functionality to SevenOfNine. Visit the link above to visit the full update.



Project: PiMassive - PiCasso Design Challenge Blog #3 - 3D Printing the Parts pt1



My second featured update this week comes from project PiMassive by Wesley Gardener, and it’s filled with two of my favorite things: normal objects that have been scaled to ridiculously large proportions, and 3D printing. As you can see from the image above, this Raspberry Pi replica is going to be truly massive. The USB port is several times larger than an actually Raspberry Pi, but with large format printing, things sometimes go wrong. “So  far I have accumulated about 168.5 hours of 3d printing.  Gone through a few rolls of filament and had multiple failed prints so far just to think there is still more printing to go,” Wesley wrote. “I had forgot to scale a few of my prints correctly.  So I have to reprint a few of the parts some are pretty close to scale so I am not going to worry about them until I reprint them in the future to turn them into working parts.” Visit the link above to check out the full post, and to see how the GPIO pin plastic parts turned out.



Project: PiCassoTizer - PiCasso Design Challenge Blog  #7 - The Wand



Usually when one thinks of a wand, they think of magicians, wizards, and witches, but when Douglas Wong thinks about a magic wand, he thinks about custom PCBs, 3D printing, and design challenges. In the seventh update to project PiCassoTizer Doug walks us through the first steps to creating a magic wand that will function as a touchscreen paintbrush. “I decided the PiCassoTizer needs a wand to act like a touch screen paint brush with mouse functionality. I was going to give it a fancy name, but all the cool names I thought of sounded too pretentious,” he wrote. Using a couple of microswitches, a 3D printed pointer frame, and the hardware to create a proper debounce circuit, Douglas was able to get most of the pointer wand together, and I am assuming that the reflective pointer hardware will be added in a future update. Click the link above to read the full update, and to watch a video Douglas created to better explain how the wand works.




Experimenting with Polymer Capacitors Design Challenge


About The Challenge


The Experimenting with Polymer Capacitors Design Challenge is a new type of challenge for 2019, this challenge is a hands-on competition that everyone in the community can participate in. Instead of requiring a participant to produce a full prototype, project, or original circuit design, we decided that we'd give our members the opportunity in this competition to experiment, test, breadboard, or just play around with Polymer Capacitors, and then tell us about their experiments, and what they learned about Polymers Capacitors in some blog postings.


While only nine sponsored challengers were chosen to receive a free polymer capacitor kit, entering the challenge is not limited to just those nine community members. Anyone can join the competition by including at least one of the kit's polymer capacitors in his/her experiments



The Official Kit


Nine Challengers received a discrete component kit that included several different types of capacitors that can be used to experiment with. As the list is quite long, I am not going to post it here. If you are interested in purchasing the kit for yourself, please visit this link.



The Prizes



To learn more about the prizes, head over to this page. (https://www.element14.com/community/docs/DOC-92091/l/experimenting-with-polymer-capacitors-about-the-competition)



The Past Week In Review


Over the past several days, May 12th - May 18th, we have had a total of six updates posted across three projects. This week I will feature two of my favorite updates from this time period, but before I get to that, let's take a look at which projects were updated.




This Week’s Top Updates


14RHB  - Experimenting with Polymer Capacitors Blog  #2 - How Low Can You Go?



Up first again this week is 14RHB and his project, How Low Can You Go. After sorting our his PCB etching skills in the previous update, 14RHB has moved on to the power supply’s circuit design. With MLCC capacitors in such high demand, and worldwide shortages plaguing the industry, he wanted to use a design that utilizes polymer capacitors instead, and after researching several different designs in WeBench, he settled on an LM3478 based design that would boost a 3-6V DC supply voltage to 12V 1A.


“Quite interestingly, in an old school approach of using the design sheet for the LM3478 I would have been oblivious to the capacitor requirements beyond capacitance and working voltage, but by using the TI Webench I feel constrained to ensuring the ESR is also achieved. This design utilizes, like many PSU, large capacitance input and output capacitors and it is these that I will look to replace with the Panasonic polymer samples,” he wrote. “Other capacitors will be a mix of values I already have for Surface Mount Technology (SMT) or if I need to purchase them, then I will at first see if I can obtain a Panasonic component (as I believe they are kindly sponsoring this event). I note that the LM3478 is available as an SOIC package and will be utilizing that rather than the VSSOP-8 variant - doing so will give me a greater chance of making a successful PCB although the NexFET will be quite small.” With the circuit design now chosen, 14RHB will have to recreate the custom PCB in Autodesk Eagle as the WeBench software will not adjust the PCB designs to accommodate the components he swapped out. Click the link above to read the full update.



R. Scott Coppersmith  - Experimenting with Polymer Capacitors Blog  #1 - Basic Regulator



R. Scott Coppersmith is back with another Design Challenge appearance, and this time he is experimenting with polymer capacitors in simple voltage regulation circuits. This week he soldered up two of the same voltage regulation circuits with the only difference being one used an electrolytic capacitor, and the other used a polymer capacitor. Unfortunately, the polymer capacitor was damaged when Scott soldered it to the perf board. To make matters worse, when he was checking the polymer capacitor for damage, it sprang out of the alligator clips and flew off into oblivion.  “When I checked the first circuit, the regulator was working fine with about +_2mv ripple/noise. When I checked the circuit with the poly caps, the regulator wouldn't regulate and was drawing 500ma. Nothing was shorted, and the caps still read ok in-circuit,” he wrote. “After disassembly, it seems as if I damaged the 4.7uf surface mount poly cap when I soldered it on the PCB. It now reads 9.3uf - while I was testing the cap it jumped out of the 'gater clip and vanished.” Fortunately, Scott has another polymer capacitor with the same values and will retest the polymer capacitor version of the voltage regulation circuit in next week’s update. Head over to the link above for the full update.




That is going to wrap up this weeks coverage of the Picasso Design Challenge and the Experimenting with Polymer Capacitors Design Challenge. If you have not yet done so, please take a moment and check out all of this week's updates, and show our challengers some love in the comments section of each update post. Check back next week for another weekly design challenge summary.