About Me

My name is Robert Ussery, and I’m an electrical engineer in Boulder, Colorado. This blog serves as a repository of projects, thoughts, and anything else that I feel the world might find interesting. When I have time, I dabble in electronics, am a cyclist, and have a revolving door of new hobbies that may appear periodically on this blog. For the most up-to-date information about me, check my about.me page

Professionally, I run an electrical engineering consultancy over at Oso Electronics LLC.

Recent posts

Dyson Milwaukee Battery Adapter

Posted: Mar 06, 2024

6 minute read

Recently I bought a (very) used Dyson DC16 handheld vacuum on Ebay for my office. I got a great deal on the vacuum because it came without a charger and needed some new seals and filters. I thought I would be able to use one of the other Dyson chargers we have kicking around the house, but alas it looks like nearly every Dyson line has a unique (if very similar looking) charger. In the case of the DC16, it annoyingly doesn’t have a DC barrel jack, but uses a charging cradle that interfaces to two contacts on the bottom of the vacuum. I thought about buying a charger from Eba...

DIY Webcam Enclosure

Posted: Oct 25, 2020

1 minute read

As with many folks over the last year, I’ve been working from home since the start of the COVID pandemic. I unfortunately didn’t have a webcam back in March for the new world of Zoom meetings, so I hopped on Amazon to find one. Finding one that was in stock at that time and not outrageously expensive was more difficult than I had anticipated and I ended up buying a bare-board USB camera: ELP 2.8-12mm Varifocal Lens Camera. This camera doesn’t have an enclosure or any way to hold it in position. I ended up using some rubber bands to hold it to a miniature Joby tripod that I had hanging arou...

CAN Bus Bridge

Posted: Dec 30, 2015

1 minute read

This project grew out of a problem we were running into at Airware. The physical layout of some of the aircraft we were putting our autopilot hardware onto made it difficult to properly terminate our CAN buses at each end. In a normal CAN bus, there all of the nodes are connected on a single bus, which is terminated by a 120Ω resistor at each end. The autopilot we had designed had onboard termination for one end of the CAN bus, and then the other end would be terminated at one of the nodes on the bus. This made it difficult to terminate the bus correctly if the autopilot was not physicall...

Toilet Monitor Project

Posted: Dec 28, 2015

less than 1 minute read

This project grew out of a common source of frustration at our office - we have only three toilets for ~70 employees, and there is frequently contention for this scarce resource. There’s nothing worse than patrolling between the three restrooms searching for an open one. A coworker (Eben) and I started brainstorming how we could solve this issue, and an IoT device seemed the obvious solution. During some booze-infused brainstorming sessions, we came up with the architecture for this, and built it.

CircuitStudio vs. Altium Designer

Posted: Nov 02, 2015

5 minute read

I signed up for an Altium CircuitStudio trial in the interests of seeing if I can live with it instead of Altium Designer for personal projects. I've been using Altium Designer (AD) at work for a number of years now and love its ease of use, simple workflows, and extremely good schematic-PCB integration. A little background - Altium now offers three tiers of their eCAD software: Altium Designer - this is their flagship product, targetted at professional users, and runs around $5-10k per license. Circuit Studio - this is targetted at professionals, and in theory is just a somewhat simplifi...

Teflon Wallet

Posted: Nov 14, 2011

2 minute read

I'm going through another minimalist phase, and one of the things that's been bugging me a lot lately is how swollen my wallet has become with all the gift cards, froyo punch cards, random trash, etc. I emptied out my wallet, only to find it didn't really get that much thinner or smaller, because of how massive just the wallet leather is. I started looking around online for a thinner alternative more compatible with my newfound minimalism, and ran across this Instructable for making a paper wallet. I was really taken with how compact and simple the paper wallet manages to be, while still b...

GoPro Hero HD 960 Interface Cheat Sheet

Posted: Jul 29, 2011

1 minute read

As almost everyone who's used a GoPro can probably attest to, they're amazing little cameras with a completely impossible user interface. I can't count the number of times I've needed to change some setting but couldn't for the life of me remember how, and of course the user manual was long gone. I made some GoPro cheat sheets that I printed out and then taped to the box where I store the GoPros, so that it'll always be close at hand when I need it. I've even folded up one of the smaller ones and inserted it behind the camera in the waterproof case so it's easy to get to if I need it on th...

Chip Yates Electric Motorcycle

Posted: Oct 25, 2010

less than 1 minute read

This is a pretty cool article describing some of the up-till-now secret sauce on the electric motorcycle project I've been working on with Chip Yates for the last few months. The article describes the front-wheel Kinetic Energy Recovery System that Chip designed in great detail. It has some cool pictures of the bike, and an awesome video that someone (ahem, yours truly) put together for the bike unveiling a few weeks ago.

GTI Subwoofer Install

Posted: Jun 06, 2010

10 minute read

I've been a wannabe car audio nut for quite a while, but I've never really had the time, money, and inspiration to actually do anything until recently. When I had my Miata, I had planned on installing an 8" sub in the trunk in a custom fiberglass enclosure. I even went so far as to build up a foam mockup of it, but that mockup just sat on my shelf for four years of college and never got built.

Airport Express Power Supply Repair

Posted: Mar 25, 2009

2 minute read

I bought an Apple Airport Express off Craigslist a couple months ago so I can send music to my living room stereo via Airtunes. The little bugger quit working about a month in though, so I tossed it in a drawer to be put on Ebay for scrap or otherwise dealt with. As is wont to happen this semester, however, one day recently I got bored and went hunting around my room for things to do. I ran across the Airport Express and started wondering what was wrong with it. Here's the story of the teardown and my attempts at repairing it:

iPod 4th Gen Teardown

Posted: Mar 01, 2009

1 minute read

The series continues... My roommate had a 4th Gen iPod that someone had given him which wouldn't turn on, so he gave it to me. My inner five-year-old was screaming for me to see its insides, so I cracked it open. Here are the results:

Canon Powershot SX100IS Teardown

Posted: Feb 20, 2009

2 minute read

I keep running across more and more stuff that is just begging to be torn apart. It's like I'm 5 years old all over again, except this time I have screwdrivers instead of just rocks and sticks. Anyway, this time around, I tore down my roommate's Canon Powershot SX100IS camera. It's been having some issues with a stuck shutter, so we tried to pull it apart and fix it. Following are the results of that attempt:

Senior Designing

Posted: Jan 31, 2009

less than 1 minute read

Considering I'm only taking three classes this semester, I've been pretty busy with Senior Design stuff so far. We had a technical review paper due two weeks ago and a proposal due next week... too much writing for my tastes. Anyway, I'm the webmaster for the group, so I've been working on getting a website together. I grabbed a .tk domain name for the website, so that we don't have to deal with the horrible Georgia Tech hosting url.

Cubeecraft Obama figure build

Posted: Jan 27, 2009

2 minute read

If there was any doubt up to this point that I have way too much time on my hands, this post should put that doubt to rest. Cruising the web the other day, I ran across a link to Cubeecraft's new Obama figurine. For those of you not familiar with Cubeecraft, they make print-able fold-up templates for paper figurines with little square heads - pretty cool stuff.

Samsung SGH-E105 Phone teardown - pictures!

Posted: Jan 19, 2009

less than 1 minute read

So, in the vein of tearing stuff apart, I ran across some pics I took a while back of my old SGH-E105 phone. I'm really hard on my phones, so the case was destroyed after about two years of use. After sourcing a new case off Ebay, I completely disassembled the phone to put the pieces in the new case.

“Death of a Battery: the Saga” or “I’m an Engineer with Too Much Time on My Hands”

Posted: Jan 17, 2009

2 minute read

I've been going on an Ebay selling binge for the last week or so, which has meant some heavy use of my little DigiWeigh postal scale. All this weighing resulted in the battery that I got with the scale two-odd years ago finally eating it. Now at this point, I faced what would be for most people a pretty simple decision… do I run to Kroger and buy a new 9V battery, or attempt to Macguyver one out of random stuff I had sitting around my desk?

HP Scanjet 4470 Teardown with Pictures

Posted: Jan 11, 2009

4 minute read

I'm in the process of cleaning out my room in preparation for my move to California at the end of this semester, so I decided to dig into my box of old electronic crap that I've been hauling around for a few years. In doing so, I ran across my trusty old Hewlett Packard Scanjet 4470 scanner that I've had since middle school. It hasn't worked for a couple of years due to a bum power supply, but I managed to scrounge up another 12 volt supply and turn it on. It turns out that all these years of hauling it around have caught up with it, and it doesn't scan very well anymore. I tried several sc...