Nathan writes: [via]
A while ago I helped make a light that lit up when a near Earth asteroid went past our planet. Because I built it at a 24 hour hack day, I only had a little bit of time and there was a lot of ‘crafting’ involved (read: hot glue and plastic cups). Unfortunately I never really worked it into a finished product. This was partly because I noticed how rarely an asteroid actually buzzes the Earth close enough to be interesting. It got me thinking though, what else might I want to know about, and that happens often enough to be interesting?
The International Space Station (ISS) is a marvel of current technology and humanity. It’s a continuously inhabited orbital outpost, floating in space just over our heads. But often we forget it’s there. I realized that the light I made for asteroids would work better for the space station.
ISS Lamp – [Link]
Teravolt.org – DIY High Voltage Capacitors… [via]
Sure making a cap out of paper is fun and all, but making a high voltage one is even more fun!
You don’t need lots of money to make high voltage capacitors, in fact some pretty decent ones can be made with some cheap and readily available materials. This is because capacitors are very simple devices; consisting only of a dielectric and two plates. Most often a capacitor’s plates are just aluminum foil, and reynold’s wrap is easy enough to obtain, but what about the dielectric?
Enter the overhead projector sheet. Transparencies as they are commonly known as are nothing but acetate film, and while this is not the ideal dielectric for a capacitor it still does quite a good job. Typically a four mil OHP sheet can withstand 14kV before breaking down. As for obtaining them, the cheapest I have found these sheets is $10 for a box of 100, enough for about 16 capacitors.
How you make the capacitors is a rather trivial task, all that needs to be done is some cutting, flattening and rolling. Below I have an image that explains the process. Multiple sheets of OHP sheet are used to increase the capacitor’s voltage rating, and two sets of sheets are used so the capacitor can be rolled up.
DIY High Voltage Capacitors – [Link]
Big Mess o’ Wires has a Low-Power LCD Smackdown… [via]
Sometimes it seems like there are a million different LCDs you might use with your microcontroller project, and deciding on one can be hard. Once you’re ready to move beyond a basic text display, you’ll find graphic displays have a dizzying number of options for technology, color depth, interface type, driver, and power. Recently I’ve been collecting info on display options for my own projects, and here I’m presenting three options that look promising.
Low-Power LCD Smackdown – LCD reviews! – [Link]
You know it, in the winter time it is hard to get up, because it is dark outside and your body just won’t wake up in the middle of the night. So you can buy an alarm-clock that wakes you up with light. These devices are not as expensive as few years ago, but most of them look really ugly.
On the other hand, most of the time it is also dark when you come home from work. So the great sunset is also gone. Wintertime seems sad, isn’t it?
But not for the readers of this instructable. It explains you how to build a combined sunrise and sunset-lamp from a picaxe microcontroller, some LEDs and a few other parts.
A sunrise and sunset lamp with LEDs – [Link]
Just finished assembling Aurora 9×18. Based on the prototype aurora 9, this unit has 18 tri-color LEDs in each of 9 circles.
Because of the number of components (162 LEDs), assembly was quite a chore. Tri-color LED has pins that are close together, very narrow for a through-hole component. Solder bridging can happen very easily. (I’ve been soldering for over 30 years now, and thought I had good enough skill to get through the soldering, but I had a bit of a struggle…)
LED Aurora 9×18 - [Link]
This is a new and improved version of “Warm Tube Clock” – the open source Nixie clock project. Important hardware changes between this new version and the previous one are:
- Timekeeping is more accurate and is done by DS3231 (or DS3232) RTC IC
- There is no DS18S20 temperature sensor – the internal one of RTC IC is used instead
- Backup battery is not powering AVR anymore, but only the RTC IC
- There is no “slide switch” to control the alarm – now it is done in firmware
- Crystal on PCB is optional and can be chosen up to 16 MHz. It clocks AVR and GSCLK pin of TLC59401 IC
- Pin-compatible with previous version of Nixie “shields”
Warm Nixie Tube Clock – [Link]
2.8 TFT Touch Shield for Arduino. Spice up your Arduino project with a beautiful large touchscreen display shield with built in microSD card connection. This TFT display is big (2.8″ diagonal) bright (4 white-LED backlight) and colorful (18-bit 262,000 different shades)! 240×320 pixels with individual pixel control. It has way more resolution than a black and white 128×64 display. As a bonus, this display has a resistive touchscreen attached to it already, so you can detect finger presses anywhere on the screen.
2.8 TFT Touch Shield for Arduino - [Link]
Premier Farnell’s wave of innovation continues with the launch of the element14 knode – the world’s first interactive design automation hub
Through a single interface the element14 knode gives the design engineer immediate access to a world of electronic design solutions. Automating the creation of project design from initial concept to full realisation, increasing productivity and accelerating time to market as another unique aspect of the element14 global engineering community
7th June 2011 – London, in line with the Group’s focus on providing engineering design solutions, driving business to the web and growth in emerging markets, Premier Farnell plc (LSE:pfl), today announced the launch of the element14 knode, a revolutionary online design platform that is exclusively focused on the needs of electronic design engineers. Unveiled today at the Design Automation Conference, San Diego, CA, the element14 knode provides one interface to a world of engineering design solutions. It supports the complete design flow from concept to final production and is unique in enabling engineers to research, design, develop and prototype manufacture in a single, intelligent environment. Products get to market more quickly, and by automating the configuration of product design flow solutions, valuable engineering resource can be increasingly focused on application design and IP creation.