C.H.I.P. vs Pi Zero: Which Sub-$10 Computer Is Better?


David Scheltema @ makezine.com compares the C.H.I.P computer with Pi Zero to find our which is the best option for your next project:

Now that there are two capable, sub-$10 computers for Makers — the $5 Pi Zero and the $9 C.H.I.P. — the debate will rage online over which board is faster, cheaper, and the right one to use in a project. These debates are often unproductive, but they don’t have to be. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each board.

C.H.I.P. vs Pi Zero: Which Sub-$10 Computer Is Better? – [Link]

Solar powered Particle Photon environment monitor


FutureSharks @ github.com has another great project on it’s repository, it’s a solar powered particle photon enviroment monitor.

Here is the Photon code and hardware details to build a solar powered environment monitor. It uses a combo module of 3 separate sensors that are read via I2C protocol to periodically measure and record:

Light level
Air pressure
Battery charge

Solar powered Particle Photon environment monitor – [Link]

HiFi Passive Preamp


FutureSharks @ github.com has build a very nice HiFi passive preamplifier controlled by an Arduino board.

It has the following features:

  • Volume control and input selection via encoder and Apple remote.
  • Uses a 256 step R2R relayed based attenuator.
  • Completely passive.
  • Only 5V power required.
  • Adafruit NeoPixel shows volume level with colour.
  • Sleep mode with low power consumption: 0.9W.

HiFi Passive Preamp – [Link]

MagSpoof – Wireless credit card/magstripe spoofer


MagSpoof is a device that can spoof/emulate any magnetic stripe or credit card you currently own. It can work “wirelessly”, even on standard magstripe/credit card readers, by generating a strong electromagnetic field that emulates a traditional magnetic stripe card.

Note: MagSpoof does not enable you to use credit cards that you are not legally authorized to use. The Chip-and-PIN and Amex information is not implemented and using MagSpoof requires you to have/own the magstripes that you wish to emulate. Simply having a credit card number and expiration is not enough to perform transactions.

MagSpoof – Wireless credit card/magstripe spoofer – [Link]


ESP8266 Weather Station


blog.squix.ch has published there code for a ESP8266 based weather station. More details here:

It is not yet working as smoothly as I want it to work but maybe some of you can help me getting rid of the nasty issues that were bugging me for the last few weeks. The README on github contains basic setup instructions and also the currently known issues. Please feel free to fix them and create pull requests to let them flow into the master branch.

ESP8266 Weather Station – [Link]

Raspberry Pi tutorial: Use SSH to in order to remote control your Raspberry Pi

SSH protocol can be very useful if we want to remote control our Raspberry Pi. I am using a Raspberry Pi A+ board in this video but you can use any Raspberry Pi board you like.

So far, when we wanted to use our Raspberry Pi, we were using a keyboard, a mouse and a monitor via the HDMI port, or a touch screen like this one. The second method is easier and portable. I have prepared a detailed tutorial on that touch screen display a few weeks ago, you can check it out. But if we want an even easier solution, we can use our desktop computer, or laptop, or even our cell phone to remotely control the Raspberry Pi. Check this out, I am running a terminal on my Android cell phone and I can execute commands on my Raspberry Pi. I will now run a simple program I wrote in order to light up this LED. Cool, isn’t it? But very useful as well! Let’s see how we can achieve that!

Raspberry Pi tutorial: Use SSH to in order to remote control your Raspberry Pi – [Link]

Microcontrollers with USB interface are common, but…


FTDI.FT-X series USB to serial bridges can be still reasonable option even for today.

Microcontrollers with USB interface are common nowadays. Manufacturers provide source codes for USB device classes like CDC, HID, Mass storage and DFU. . Even in this case, programming USB communications may not be a trivial task. If it is only required to replace RS232 serial interface to USB, is worth considering using of FTDI TF-X series USB to serial bridge.Advantages:

  • Entire USB protocol handled on the chip. No USB specific firmware programming required.
  • Detection of connection to DCP (Dedicated Charging Port) USB port.
  • Lower requirements for microcontroller resources. Communication through UART, I2C or SPI is less resource demanding than implementation of USB CDC device class
  • Drivers for Windows, Mac OS-X, Linux and Android for free.
  • Microcontroller pins are connected to USB connector through USB/serial bridge. ESD or overvoltage spikes on USB bus can damage bridge instead of microcontroller. Replacement of small bridge chip is simpler than replacement of microcontroller.


  • USB/serial bridge chip requires PCB space and increases cost.

The X-chip brochure and X-chips overview. will provide you more information. Majority of FT-X series chips can be found in our standard stock offer

Microcontrollers with USB interface are common, but… – [Link]

Contactless Infrared Thermometer (Pyrometer) using MLX90614 and MSP430


mcs.uwsuper.edu has build a contactless thermometer based on MLX90614 sensor and MSP430 mcu.

The device is designed for contactless measuring and monitoring temperature of objects. It is built on Melexis MLX90614 sensor and can measure temperatures in the range from -70°C to +380°C with 0.5°C accuracy and 0.01°C resolution. The period of measurements can be set in the menu from 1 sec to 1 min in 10 sec increments. It is also possible to record the temp measurements and upload them to a computer via the serial interface through X1 and an external level converter.

Contactless Infrared Thermometer (Pyrometer) using MLX90614 and MSP430 – [Link]

4 Digit Thermometer using DS18B20 and PIC16F628A


moty22.co.uk has a PIC16F628A based thermometer using DS18B20 digital sensor.

Counter based on PIC16F628A . Included C code and circuit diagram. Displays -55 to 125 centigrade. The temperature is read every 15 seconds, can be changed in the code. The math is using integers to calculate the degrees and the tenths of degrees are calculated separately.
The 7 segment LED is common cathode, 4 separate digits can be used with segments a to g linked.

4 Digit Thermometer using DS18B20 and PIC16F628A – [Link]

Macbook charger teardown


Ken Shirriff @ righto.com has a detailed teardown of a macbook charger explaining the various components used in it:

Have you ever wondered what’s inside your Macbook’s charger? There’s a lot more circuitry crammed into the compact power adapter than you’d expect, including a microprocessor. This charger teardown looks at the numerous components in the charger and explains how they work together to power your laptop.

Macbook charger teardown – [Link]