Ralph S Bacon

MicroControllers, Electronics and IOT

I’m back! (for good)

It feels longer than the 3 weeks since I’ve had the eye operation to reattach the retina in my left eye; time drags when you’re not occupied doing something creative – and lying in bed for 10 days was not fun.

I’m humbled by the numerous comments wishing me a speedy recovery. Thank you all, it was a real lift when I was feeling a bit down (i.e. sorry for myself). But some comments showed me that others have trod this, or a similar, path and have exited the other side all the better for it. All good.

If you want to understand more of what happened I found this excellent Spanish language (with subtitles) video. That’s not me on the operating table but could have been. And I do take issue with the statement that it is a painless operation – there was some serious discomfort at times – well they are sticking needles and stuff into your eyeball after all!

Retinal detachment

Anyway, towards the end of the 10 days’ bed-rest, I started thinking about what I could do without risking my healing eye. I had wanted to convert a nice battery-operated LED light outside my workshop to mains household electricity – well, USB power, anyway. Cheaper than buying something new, as repurposing something gives me a sense of satisfaction too. And no more expensive batteries.

So I videoed the entire project over a few days and that’s what I’m releasing as video #126. Also on GitHub. We do discuss a small amount of electronics (no spoilers) and it’s amazing how even the simplest project can take up an entire video. I’ll be interested in the reaction to this non-Arduino related video. 

Now running on mains electricity – no more batteries

I’m hoping I can continue releasing my videos now, although truth be told my eye still doesn’t feel like it’s usual self. Odd, given that my vision is generally good. Ironically, the new glasses I have are now not strong enough for that eye, having had the prescription strength reduced by the optician about a month before all this happened. Coincidence?

The best thing to do is keep going. The medical prognosis this week was that the retina is flat and is healing well. So, I’m already thinking about my next video, triggered by a comment from one of my viewers – but that’s for next week, not this time.

Thanks for reading and see you in the next video (and no more talk about eyes or pirates)!


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16 replies

  1. ;Hi Ralph hope you get well soon as a) missing your enthusiastic smile so getting withdrawal symptoms and b) been there done that. If you wish to try something when able look at something with a variety of colours ,look at the colours with your right eye only then same with left eye, bet there is a difference , ( new eye will show the true colours ) at least mine does but I had new lens at same time

    so again take care



    • Hi Keith! My eye was pronounced fit and healthy just yesterday, but then she told me that she could detect the start of cataracts in BOTH eyes! I shall be monitoring this new development, let’s hope it takes years to develop to the point of being a problem. I guess that’s why you had a new lens fitted?

      I tried the different colour check you mentioned; I didn’t notice a difference in colours but I did notice that my repaired eye is marginally “dimmer” in poor light. I mentioned this to the doc yesterday and she said something about the connections to the receptors in the retina… but the situation could change again over the next few months.

      We shall see. And in the meantime I have released at least 3 videos so you have some catching up to do, Keith!


  2. Hi Ralph – Marcus (Welsh ex-pat in Australia) here. Just caught up with you as I was hoping you’d have played with a DRV8825 servo driver and you describe things best. So sorry to hear you have had all this happen to you – how very unpleasant.

    So glad you are starting to get on the mend. I know of a few people even younger than you who have had detached retina and they came good too. So all the very best – hoping all turns out well for you.

    Cheers, Marcus


    • Thanks for posting. The funniest bit of your post here, Marcus, was the “…even younger than you…” statement!

      It makes me feel 30 again. I wish. 🙂

      Yes, things are going well; I had a follow up check-up yesterday and the retina is all attached nicely – except now the doctor said she could detect the start of cataracts in BOTH eyes! Even the “good” one. Oh dear. It just gets better and better. Sigh.

      But the most important thing is that medicine has improved over the last 50 years to the point where my sight has been saved, maybe not 100% but pretty close, and when the cataracts need to be sorted out they can do that as a routine procedure, apparently.

      So, I’d best do more videos whilst I can still see the tiny components!


  3. Ralph,
    Check out this video, it is one of yours.



  4. Delighted to hear you are on the mend. Take care, we can wait longer for a video if need be.


  5. Ralph your back that’s good, well done ,needles, show me a needle , I’ll be out of the door in short order, needles in the eyes, toooooooooo much information , sounds like some kind of punishment to me.
    At least it’s behind you, I’m glad your on the mend.


  6. Glad to see you well, have missed your videos.


  7. Good to see you back Ralph and tinkering again. I also have been at my workbench. Not feeling 100% and it is likely I never will but I feel a little better tinkering than I do when I am not tinkering.

    I am working on a DDS signal generator project (still experimenting at the moment) and here is a photo of my test rig.


    • I love your workbench there, Nick, so tidy (compared to mine). I think we already mentioned before you have the same PSU as me, and the scope looks very similar but is not the same brand. Sorry to hear you’re not 100% but I hope you’re well enough to continue your project, it looks fascinating. Keep going, as I found out it’s the only thing to do.


  8. Glad that you’re back ! Looking forward to more great videos.


  9. Thanks for your kind comments, Daniel. As I mentioned in my blog, others have had a much rougher time than me, including you, it seems, from your throwaway mention of chemo there. Glad you’re OK now.

    In relation to an orientation tool, well a couple of things spring to mind.

    Firstly, a simple ultrasonic obstacle avoider could be useful. I’ve been thinking about building just such a device for when I’m on my mountain bike so that I can tell if a car is behind me, and at what sort of distance. A sight-impaired person could just “scan” the area immediately to the front to determine if something was in his path. Could be a future Arduino-controlled project…

    Secondly, I did videos a while ago on a GPS module ((#70) and a Gyro (#76). One or both of these might be of use for a sight-impaired person to read out the direction he’s walking, such as North, South West and so on. Press a button and it could announce the direction using a cheap MP3 player such as the one I demoed in video #40. Of course, Google Maps could probably do the same thing only better.

    Have a think and let me know if you crystalise any ideas.

    Thanks for posting, good to hear from you.


    • I’m sure I saw something exactly the same as you’re proposing on the television/facebook (or somewhere) this week. It used Google maps to direct the user (and her 4 legged assistant) to open park areas for walking. It may have been BBCs Click program.

      Good to see you back Ralph and I promise no more mention of pirates 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Dear Ralph, I’m happy to hear that things are progressing towards a positive end. It takes time and I agree that forced immobility is not a happy time, as many consider… I have been (and still are) an audiobook addict; listening rather than reading books was very comforting when I had my chemo sessions, back in 2011.
    I’m sue that staying put for so much has tickled your brain on many useful gadgets for people who are in ‘forced rest’.
    There is one application of the arduino sensors I would like to explore: some kind of orientation tool for the blind. In the little town where I live the old postman wanders around helped by many locals and I wish I could give him something the make his life easier!
    My best wishes


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