Making stuff in Shenzhen – The Grillino




A few weeks ago I’ve had the great opportunity to attend the awesome Hacker Camp in Shenzhen, hosted by Ian Lesnet from DangerousPrototypes. I could say a lot about that incredible experience, so I’ll start by sharing an experiment I did to explore Shenzhen’s manufacturing ecosystem.

The idea
Shenzhen is a big city where you can find entire buildings packed with people selling and buying all kind of electronic components. A lot has been written about the markets, like Bunnie’s poem, but no words, pictures or videos can describe what you’ll find there.

Making stuff in Shenzhen – The Grillino




So, I had a few spare days to hang around in this city while waiting for some money to be transfered and I decided to see if I could develop an electronic device from idea to product in 24 hours. I also had the perfect device in mind, a very simple clone of the classic Annoy-A-Tron, making cricket sounds at random times, to hide inside my friend’s house when he got married a week after I got back from China. The first name I came up for the project was a boring “AnnoyingThing”, but I later decided to name it “Grillino” instead as a mix of “Grillo” (cricket in italian) and “Arduino”. It’s also a word play on my real surname and a nickname for people following a certain italian political group, so I can sleep at night knowing that this post will never come up on Google’s first result page when people look for it!

Prototyping
A microcontroller, a battery and a piezo speaker is all that’s needed for a project like that; after briefly checking around the internet for similar projects, I found a few examples and decided to base my device on a small micro like the ATTiny85. That’s way overpowered for the task but will help me recycle the project after the joke gets old.
With a rough idea in my mind, at 10:00 I headed to the markets to buy an arduino and some piezo speakers to test the design.

READ  ESP8266 controlled with Android app (MIT App Inventor)

Things got quickly out of hand, and by 12:00 I found myself with a bag full of arduinos and breadboards. Curiosly, even here in the world’s electronics capital, there is only a relatively small hackerspace, and the reason is simple: you can buy your own tools and build your own hackerspace (with blackjack and hookers) in your hotel room with a few hundred euros! And that may lead to some interesting hacks:

By the way, after some quick breadboard tests I decided this code was the best and started designing a PCB. I have mixed feelings about that website because the code is presented with just a screenshot; my heart wants to say “fuck you very much for making me mess around with OCRs”, but my brain knows that while difficult to access and index, I have to be thankful because it’s still open source and free… Oh well. I always listen to my brain anyway.

PCB design and manufacture
At about 14: 00 my PCB design was ready! I wanted a very small buzzer, and being very impressed by my LiPo monitor loudness I used a similar device in the design, even if I didn’t test it before.

 

For more detail: Making stuff in Shenzhen – The Grillino




Leave a Comment

*
= 3 + 2

(Spamcheck Enabled)

Read previous post:
Program your Arduino with an Android device

Hi, in this Instructable I want to show you, how you can program your Arduino with your Android device. It...

Close
Scroll to top