The Chumby has landed!

Computers & Mobile Craft & Design
The Chumby has landed!

Yesterday afternoon I arrived home to see a box on the doorstep. The return address was from the Maker Shed. That could only mean one thing: The Chumby has landed!

My daughter had to draw first blood on the package. We cracked the box and checked out the stuff inside. After going to the hypnotist show to benefit the school drama department and doing strange things on stage, I felt refreshed and motivated to assemble and play with Chumby guts until long past my bedtime.

I didn’t take any photos, in large part because of the very helpful images already taken and posted to the MAKE Flickr Pool.

Build instructions are on one double sided sheet of paper. I missed it the first few times I looked through the box because I thought I would find a booklet. There is a link to the instructions pdf on the Chumby guts page in the Maker Shed. The directions are pretty good, but leave a bit to be desired. I found the photos by MAKE Flickr Pool members MTBFO and ewee to be essential. Early in the build, I was wondering which of two sets of small screws to use, and found that the silver ones were likely the ones by checking a photo. I also found the notes on many of ewee’s pictures to be really useful.

So now there is a new tooltoy in the arsenal. This should be fun, and already the big question is “How do you case this thing?” Kent Barnes has extended the chumbilical cord that connects the mother and daughter boards and seems ready to move things around. John Park has a nifty laser-cut case. The box that it came in is sized about right for a first enclosure. The next case will probably be a cigar box, which is very alluring lately. You can clothe your naked Chumby guts by following these instructions.

As soon as it was plugged in, the disembodied Chumby woke up, started talking and showed a tour of the basic functions. Within a few minutes, it had upgraded the firmware and brought me to the website to register it. Finding the household wireless was a snap. Over on the Chumby wiki, you can find resources on hardware, software, and more.

In all, this has already been a fun project with few pitfalls. The next steps of customizing the case and configuring the software are exciting prospects at this point. Now that she’s awake, my daughter is curious about how each of the widgets work. This will be a fun thing to have.

Have you got a some Chumby guts waiting to be animated? If you’ve already built yours, please weigh in with your tips and tricks by adding a comment or two. If you have a glamour shot to share or process set of pics, post them over to the MAKE Flickr pool.

In the Maker Shed:


Chumby Guts

Chumby Guts

12 thoughts on “The Chumby has landed!

  1. Simon says:

    Does this mean the second lot of guts are shipping?

  2. KentKB says:

    Great post of info. from Maker Shed and Chris Connors.

    I vote this as one of the most (n00b) new to Making projects that the whole family will enjoy, now even better with this posting above.

    Once built everyone will want to customize it with a body and do not forget all the Widgets from:

    Some of you may be able to write a widget:

    Let see some mods.
    I have a few ideas….
    hmmm? maybe a Star Trek Tri-corder:

    1. Chris Connors says:

      Thanks Kent!
      Here is a group on Flickr.

      There aren’t a whole lot of gutted Chumbys there yet. With the legions of Chumby Guts kits flowing out of the Maker Shed, this seems like another good place to park the pictures and find community.

      ONe thing I see on one of the boards is a set of pins for a battery. It would be nice to be able to move it around without having to be tethered to the wall power, and having to reboot and set the clock every time it gets plugged in.

      Mine thinks that I am in San Diego. I can manually set the time, but it would be better to have it automated. When I try to set the location, the map doesn’t respond predictably to touch.

      1. KentKB says:

        Chris, try a stylus or an eraser end of a pencil to navigate, and I have added a 9vdc battery to see if it keeps the memory.
        Letting it sit unplugged for a day to see if that works.

        1. Chris Connors says:

          Adding a battery will allow it to move around the house a bit easier, not having to boot up every time it is plugged in. I had a bit of a time finding a fitting that would fit the pins. After I made one by dremelling a plug off of an old computer front panel array, I found that the plug on a cordless phone battery looks to be about the right size.

          The stylus idea is a good way to put some of that previous generation technojunk to good use. It would be nice to have a holster for it. The button on my gel pen works pretty well, better than a fingernail.

  3. KentKB says:

    I did it!
    After seeing Chris’s body out of shipping box idea, I made one too:

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