Here’s Aon’s finished project the ytimer a visual feedback timer:
A countdown timer with super bright 7-segment displays that flash when the time is up, instead (or in addition to) an audible alarm.
The design is based on a PIC16F886 microcontroller which drives the displays using a TLC5916 LED driver and dual P-channel MOSFETs. A rotary encoder with a push button is used for input, in addition to two microswitches, one for power and one for toggling sound. The sound switch also toggles a green 0603 indicator LED.
The device is powered from two AAA batteries, which will hopefully deliver adequate battery life.
ytimer, visual feedback timer - [Link]
If you’re into electronics, engineering and making things move, you’ll need a good handle on electric actuators. Use this beginner’s guide to electric actuators before you set out to purchase your first actuator.
What is An Actuator?
Before linear electric actuators were around, the only way to make a robot move forward was to use rotary actuators. Linear actuators changed all that. When it comes to electric actuators, you’ve got two main choices: lead screw and ball screw. You’ve really got a ton of choices, like peizo-electric, and there are a ton of innovations happening right now, but for this article, we’ll stick to the basics.
Lead Screw Actuators
Lead screw actuators use a threaded lead screw and a nut to create motion. The gear system runs, turning the screw moving it along the nut.
Here’s a quick diagram to illustrate the idea.
BreadBoardManiac have been making some cool prototyping boards and accessories like their thin, double-sided, BiscuitBoard and CakeBoard that can be physically mounted onto the LEGO brick system, they even produce a special breadboard made of wood! Along with the accessories is a wire stripping gauge that allows you to accurately bend wire interconnects and cut them to the correct length so that they all line up neat and tidy, flush with the surface of the solderless prototyping board. The finished wiring looks like a work of modern art rather than the messy rats nest effect that you normally get with flying leads. You have probably already worked out that these people are passionate about breadboarding.
Neat Breadboard Connector - [Link]
Texas Instruments have introduced the industry’s first wireless haptic development kit. The kit consists of a small 32 mm square PCB containing a DRV2605 haptic driver chip controlling an Eccentric Rotating Mass motor (ERM) and a Linear Resonant Actuator (LRA) to produce vibrations. The DRV2605 has an integrated library with more than 100 effects licensed from Immersion Corp. A circle of LEDs can also be used to display visual alerts. The board will be useful to speed up development times when designing, and testing haptic effects in any application including watches, fitness trackers, wearables, portable medical equipment, HMI, touch screens, displays, or anything that needs tactile feedback.
Bluetooth Haptic kit, Feel The Force - [Link]
Want to build your own world clock? Check out Wouter’s DIY word clock instructables:
…I have found one DIY project that really stands out: Elektronika.ba’s wordclock, proving that it is possible to build your own wordclock that is as pretty as the original. Also, here is a video of the manufacturing process of the original: QLOCKTWO manufacturing
I have decided to build my own version, taking some queues from the sources in the above and making some changes (and adding some mistakes) of my own. Along the way, I have tried to take many pictures and I have written a build report in the form of this Instructable.
DIY word clock - [Link]
Ray Wang wrote a blog post review of the Hi-Link HLK-RM04 Serial-to-WiFi module:
It’s a pretty easy-to-use and low-cost solution to add WiFi capability to Arduino or similar microcontroller boards. Basically it allows you to receive/send Ethernet buffers through serial RX/TX pins. Programming wise, it’s similar to using the standard Arduino Ethernet shield. The module can also function as a WiFi router for changing configurations etc.
First impression on HLK-RM04 serial-to-wifi module - [Link]
Enhance the power supply capabilities of the PICkit with this external 3.3V/5V supply. The standard supply in the PICkit will only supply 1.8-5V and 30 mA when using the USB connection, while this external supply is selectable between 3.3V/5V, and the LM317 regulator can supply 1.5A. This can be handy if you have more than a few LEDs in your project. The input voltage can vary quite a bit, but must be greater than 6.5V to achieve 5V out. The input capacitor must also be rated for your input V if you choose to use higher V
PICkit Project Power Supply - [Link]
WiFi module in a version with a pin-header significantly simplifies development of applications.
Basic version of the WiFi module WizFi250 from company WizNet is probably familiar to you from our article WizFi250 – WiFi quickly, easily and cost-effectively. The newest modification of this module is a version with a „H“ suffix marking a version with a pin-header.
As you already may suspect, it is a version intended for development, as the module doesn´t have to be soldered to a baseboard (by means of hot-air reflow). WizFi250-H can be beneficial not only for development, but also for usage in a target device, where it isn´t necessary to maintain the lowest possible construction height (baseboard + WiFi module). At the same time, this combination enables to assemble another components on a baseboard – below the WiFi module.
From the construction point of view, the WizFi250-H module is solved as a combination of the WizFi250 module with a small PCB with 2x double pin header (1.25mm). As for other features, the module is identical to the original module, that´s why they have the same datasheet WizFi250. WizFi250H can be used with the WizFi250-EVB development board. We bring you a comparison of both versions – with and without a pin header on attached pictures.
WizFi250H – when a small difference can help significantly - [Link]
By Dave LeClair @ gizmag.com
For tinkerers and people who love programming complicated projects, devices like the Raspberry Pi and Arduino are amazing, but for those without technical knowledge, they can be a terrifying proposition. A new device called Verve 2 aims to bring the functionality of these devices to the masses without the need for programming skills.
The crux of a lot of cool projects you see developed using Arduino is the device itself, along with some connected sensors. From there, someone with electronics and programming knowledge writes the code that tells the system what to do when the sensors detect something. The general idea for Verve 2 is the same, except it doesn’t require the programming step.
Verve 2 is like Arduino for people without programming skills - [Link]
This nicely-built quiz game buzzer system is Arduino-based and captures the fastest player or “first to respond” out of four players.
A good friend of mine who’s a teacher was doing quizzes in her class making students compete to answer questions… resulting in them complaining they raised their hands before the others. I decided to give her this quiz show type buzzer for Christmas to solve her problems. When one of the players press it’s button (the fastest player wins this), the led of the right colour lights up saying he’s in control… and no other buttons from the other players work, until the master of the game decides if the answer is good or not by pressing a little button on the main unit, giving a point or not to the player in control.
Arduino quiz show buzzer - [Link]