Back in July I was contacted by Nikki of fizzPop Hackspace in Birmingham about making very low cost Arduino clones on stripboard. I hadn’t really given it much thought until I realised how easy it would be to make an Arduino compatible device on stripboard (or breadboard) for something less than a fiver!
I’ve tried to standardise the design, to make use of the ATmega328 pin-out – which lends itself for an efficient layout.
Here’s a couple of recent boards – one is a controller for a spark ignition system, and the other is a general purpose layout – just the Arduino in the corner of a vast expanse of prototyping board.
Below is the prototype spark ignition controller. It is based on the Atmel ATmega328 microcontroller and uses the standard FTDI USB to serial cable as a means of
Arduinoids – The Rise of the Machines - [Link]
This little board demonstrates the capabilities of the MMA2260 +/- 1.5g X-Axis Micromachined Accelerometer. As you tip it back and forth, LEDs light up to show the magnitude and direction of the G force.
The MMA2260 is the fat SOIC 16 in the upper left, isolated so it could be cut off of the board and used as a breakout, keeping only a pin header and the recommended decoupling and output RC filter.
The microcontroller is a PIC16F628, which is entirely unsuited to this application, having no ADC. I failed to notice that, being quick to note “AN0″ on PORTA and slow to note that it was for a comparator, not an ADC. However, there is a builtin programmable voltage reference which was sufficiently accurate for lighting up 8 LEDs. I’m trying to get away from PICs, as AVRs have spoiled me with their GCC support, many registers and sane memory organization. Even on this project, which is only about 30 lines of C, most of the work was fighting SDCC bugs (failure to banksel, in this case). I’ve discovered a perverse pleasure in soldering down ICs to counteract my packrat nature. It did force me to put an ICSP header on, however.
MMA2260 Accelerometer Demo - [Link]
I’m working on a board that will exceed the Eagle freeware limitations, so I am experimenting with gEDA, which includes the schematic capture program gschem and pcb. This is a board I made to try out the workflow.
The board is for a friend of mine who can’t resist blinking LEDs. This should force him to learn Verilog, since I plan to deliver it with the CPLD erased. The design is based on my experience designing my first CPLD prototype board several years ago.
CPLD LED blinker based on XAPP078 - [Link]
The last project I built, the Masochist’s Video Card reminded me of how fun pure TTL digital design can be and since the 7400 contest seems to be allowing multiple entries, I figured why not build something else?
The accelerometer is an interesting sensor that is now extremely tiny thanks to MEMS technology. Specifically, the accelerometer senses gravity, and since earth has a constant 1 g-force always pulling toward the center, we can use that reference to find the tilt of any object. With some digital design and LEDs added to the mix we can even build a tilt sensor as I will show you in this article.
TTL Tilt Sensor - [Link]
This project describes an easy and inexpensive way of adding a digital thermometer and data logging feature to a PC. It involves a PIC microcontroller that gets the surrounding temperature information from the Microchip MCP9701 sensor, and sends it to a PC through an USB-UART interface. The USB port of the PC is also used to power the device. The open-source Processing programming platform is used to develop a PC application that displays the temperature in a graphics window on the computer screen. The PC application also records the temperature samples plus date and time stamps on an ASCII file.
Low cost temperature data logger using PIC and Processing - [Link]
The MHVBoard is an Arduino clone kit, which does away with a second chip for USB comms, and instead uses V-USB to talk directly to the main microcontroller.
The kit has been designed to run soldering workshops, and is completely hand-solderable, even by complete newbies (all through hole components except for 1 large pin soltage regulator).
Programming is done via the USBAspLoader bootloader, which presents itself to the computer as a USB ASP programmer, which AVRDude knows how to talk to. Patches for the Arduino environment to teach it about this board are also included.
Since the chip directly has USB support, projects can easily emulate low-speed USB devices using the V-USB library. I have integrated USB Keyboard support into our MHVLib runtime library, and others have written similar libraries for the Arduino environment.
The MHVBoard also has a prototying area available, and our members have successfully used this for various interfaces (displays, nunchucks, etc). I have also built a software controllered 3V->5V boost regulator (using the MHVlib driver) in the proto-area so I can run off LiPos, but that is another project
Other unique features include a 20MHz clock (instead of 16MHz on other Arduino boards), as well as breadboard compatibility. A right angle connector can be mounted along the edge, allowing the whole board to be installed (standing vertically) into a breadboard, with all pins broken out.
MHVBoard – an Arduino Clone - [Link]
Aktakom offers essential laboratory package complete with oscilloscope, signal generator, power supply and 6 in 1 digital multimeter.
Miami Fl., October 11, 2011, 2011 – T&M Atlantic, distributor of the test and measurement equipment today announced a package deal that combines all the basic equipment necessary for assembling a new electronics laboratory. The laboratory package includes: Aktakom ADS-2061M (60MHz; 500MS/s; 2ch) Digital Storage Oscilloscope, Aktakom AWG-4105 (5MHz; 125 MS/s; Wave length: 16 K pts.; 2ch) Function / Arbitrary Waveform Generator, Aktakom APS-3205 ( 30V:5A; 2ch) Power Supply and Aktakom AMM-1062 6 in 1 Professional Digital Multimeter with Environment Measurements (Light Meter, Sound Meter, Humidity Meter, Temperature Meter & Non-contact AC voltage detector). This laboratory package is not just functional and economical it is also portable and with optional VGA output for an oscilloscope could be used for presentations, demonstrations and brainstorm sessions.
First introduced at the NCSL International Show in Washington DC, ADS Oscilloscopes and AWG Generators attracted interest from many leading laboratories including: MIT, John Hopkins University, UMASS, UPENN and UCA Berkley.
More information is available at www.tmatlantic.com
Introductory Prices start from $999.00 Plus Free Shipping and Free Oscilloscope Carry Bag
Aktakom electronics laboratory under $1000 - [Link]
As a worldwide leader in soldering equipment, Weller tools are built to last. And that’s why we want to find the oldest Weller soldering tool that still works.
All you need to do to enter is email us a picture of your oldest working Weller soldering tool. Feel free to send us the background story of your tool too.
Email your entry, along with name and shipping address to email@example.com
Entries will be accepted October 1, 2011 – December 31, 2011. The winner will be announced on our blog as well as our Facebook page and Twitter page on Monday, January 16, 2012. The winner will also be contacted via email.
Oldest Working Weller Soldering Tool Contest - [Link]
Mice first broke onto the public stage with the introduction of the Apple Macintosh in 1984, and since then they have helped to completely redefine the way we use computers.
The mouse is an extremely popular device. While the majority of mice are connected directly to the computers peripheral input via a cord and the computer’s main power powers it, wireless mice are becoming extremely popular as they give computer users cordless accessibility to their mice and their computer. Wireless Mouse – Get insight
Wireless Mouse – Get insight - [Link]
Steve Jobs’s Patents – Interactive Feature @ NYTimes.com – [via]
The 317 Apple patents that list Steven P. Jobs among the group of inventors offer a glimpse at his legendary say over the minute details of the company’s products — from the company’s iconic computer cases to the glass staircases that are featured in many Apple stores.
Steve Jobs’s Patents - [Link]