My parents growing their own organic food and they asked me to deal with winter temperatures problem in the storage room. It gets really cold here, in Ukraine. Some winters have even lower temperatures than -30°C (-22°F). So right now I designing a simple thermostat for keeping temperature at about 5-7 degrees C above zero. Plus right now I started to use my garage as a gym, so this thermostat would be handy there too.
It’s based around ATMEL AVR ATtiny2313 microcontroller, it will measure temperature using DS18B20 digital temperature sensor, and it has a 30A 240VAC relay to control heater.
dangerousprototypes.com writes: [via]
If you’re at that stage as a beginner where you wonder what’s going on behind the scenes on an Arduino board you should check out jumperone’s tutorial on using microcontrollers. There you’ll learn what’s needed to take a bare microcontroller and load your own program onto it. Both PIC and Atmel chips are covered, with an explanation of what simple components you need to get started in addition to the chip itself, along with programming connections and hardware.
Microcontrollers for newbies - [Link]
If you like the AVR ATmega microprocessors, then the AVR XMEGA offer you even more reasons why to use them in your appliances.
Single-chip microprocessors AVR ATmega have gained a huge popularity all over the world. Because an excellent can also be even better, Atmel Corporation came to the market with the innovated series of these processors under marking XMEGA.
Generally known excellent properties of 8 bit RISC processors AVR Atmega, were further improved by developers in Atmel Corporation in this new line of 8/16 bit AVR XMEGA processors. That they succeeded, testifies this concise overview of innovations:
- fast precise 12 bit AD converter (ADC)
- fast 12 bit DA converter (DAC)
- DMA controller for CPU independent data transfer
- event system, most of peripherials and the DMA controller can use it, what significantly offloads CPU
- ultra low power consumption – picoPOWER technology for a minimal consumption of 100nA in the Power down mode
- EBI bus for RAM extension, peripherials (LCD) or memory-mapped devices
- free Qtouch library for operation with capacitive touch panels
- full speed USB connectivity without external crystal (at some models)
- free AVR Software Framework including all common USB device classes
- LCD display driver for a direct connection of LCD to processor
- true 1.6V operation and speeds up to 32 MHz
- AES, DES crypting protocols
- 3-level interrupt controller (priority is freely user definable)
- CRC modul (cyclic redundancy check) for data integrity check
- RTC (real time clock) with optional battery backup system
- analog comparators with adjustable hysteresis and propagation delay
- external oscillator failure detection – in case of failure, CPU will start operation with the internal 2MHz oscillator
- supply voltage 1.6 to 3.6V
Atmel AVR XMEGA will provide you eXtra more - [Link]
Global online community element14 has been very busy lately implementing innovative new ways to help engineers stay one-step ahead—from dedicated hubs to aid communications in Thailand to development kits designed to help engineers bring products to market faster than ever before. Following are a few noteworthy additions to the element14 community:
- element14 has been ranked number one in the Heardable “Online Brand Benchmark Report: 30 Leading Brands in the Electronics Industry.”
- The SAM9 development kit is now available on the community—a full-featured evaluation board centered on Atmel’s ARM based AT91SAM9G45 processor, designed to provide developers with a feature-rich, development platform for ARM926 based embedded microprocessor design enabling shorter development cycles and significantly reducing time-to-market.
- To support communications while companies navigate the flooding crisis in Thailand, element14 has created a dedicated online space at Thailand Flooding which will act as a central repository for the electronics industry on the rapidly changing situation.
element14 News: Communications Support in Thailand, New Dev Kits - [Link]
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 is a project I did a couple of years back for a business friend of mine to automatically log all his phone calls into his computer. The hardware (pictured above) uses an microprocessor to monitor the phone calls (incoming and outgoing) and send the data out the serial port to be read by the computer.
The hardware is controlled by an Atmel AVR ATmega32 microprocessor. The processor uses optoisolators to see if the phone is off-hook and to check if the incoming line is ringing. If the phone is off-hook a DTMF decoding chip CM8870CP is used to decode the number that is dialed. If it is an incoming call an FSK decoding chip XR2211 is used to decode the Caller ID data.
Phone Call Logging Project - [Link]
Arduino Blog » Blog Archive » Breakfast at Arduino. [via]
For the second year in a row we decided to announce our new products at Maker Faire in NYC.
Tomorrow morning, if you come to the Arduino tent, you will be able to see:
Arduino 1.0, we finally froze the Arduino API, the IDE and the layout of the boards. We’ve made some minor additions to the Arduino connectors to make them more flexible. Tomorrow you will be able to download the release candidate and in 1 month of frantic testing with the community, the platform will be ready and stable.
Arduino Leonardo, a low cost Arduino board with the Atmega32u4. It has the same shape and connectors as the UNO but it has a simpler circuit. On the software side it has a nifty USB driver able to simulate a mouse , a keyboard, a serial port (with more drivers coming later). As usual for Arduino, everything will be released as open source (Core, Bootloader, Hardware).
Arduino Due, a major breakthrough for Arduino because we’re launching an Arduino board with a 32bit Cortex-M3 ARM processor on it. We’re using the SAM3U processor from ATMEL running at 96MHz with 256Kb of Flash, 50Kb of Sram, 5 SPI buses, 2 I2C interfaces, 5 UARTS, 16 Analog Inputs at 12Bit resolution and much more.
Instead of just releasing the finished platform we are opening the process to the community early on. We’re going to be demoing the board and giving away some boards to a selected group of developers who will be invited to shape the platform while it’s been created. After Maker Faire, we will begin selling a small batch of Developer Edition boards on the Arduino store (store.arduino,cc) for members of the community who want to be join the development effort. We plan a final and tested release by the end of 2011
Arduino Wifi Shield. It adds Wi-Fi communication capabilities to any Arduino. Instead of using any of the classic WiFi modules on the market we wanted to have something that will provide the maximum level of hackability to the user. The shield is based on a wifi micro module made by H&D Wireless coupled with a powerful AVR32 processor that carries the full TCP-IP stack leaving room to add your own protocols and customisations. We’ve also worked hard to make sure that you will be able to migrate your code from the Ethernet Shield with minor changes.
We’re also going to show some prototypes of new platforms we’ve been working on: We have robots, new IDEs and more.
It has been a crazy few months and we want to thank ATMEL very much the support that we got on all the new products.
Come over to Maker Faire and have a look for yourself!
Arduino 1.0, Arduino ARM, Arduino Wifi and Arduino Leonardo… – [Link]
Atmel announced additional unique features to the already-successful 8/16-bit AVR XMEGA microcontroller (MCU) family with the industry’s lowest power consumption of 100nA with 5µS wake-up time. The new Atmel AVR® XMEGA® family includes full-speed USB, the fastest and highest-precision analog systems, a Direct Memory Access (DMA) controller and the innovative event system that maximize real-time performance and throughput while reducing CPU load. This new family lowers overall system cost through higher integration, capacitive touch support, and ultra-low power consumption. The AVR XMEGA microcontrollers are designed for applications in the industrial, consumer, metering and medical segments. [via]
Atmel AVR XMEGA Series with USB and High-precision Analog - [Link]
About two months ago, Atmel announced a smart new set of AVR development boards, the XPlained series. One of these boards (which I’ve just recently purchased for $30) boasts a shiny new AVR XMega microcontroller. What? An XMega you say? Why yes, haven’t you heard? Come now, they’ve been around for fully three years at this point. Well, don’t worry if this is fresh news, you’re not alone. For some reason, adoption of the powerful new XMega MCU has been slow amongst hobbyists.
Explaining the XMega XPlained (Dev. Board) - [Link]
I developed a nifty way to send data from any microcontroller to any PC running any operating system with zero components and hardware you probably already have sitting in front of you. Traditional interface methods (namely serial port and usb port, both have been referenced on Electronics-Lab) have drawbacks. For serial, you need a level converter IC (like a max232) and an archaic PC with a serial port, or a USB serial port adapter (many of which don’t run on Linux or newer versions of windows), and a crystal specifically chosen for transfer at a certain bit rate. FTDI makes a series of USB/serial interfaces, but they’re expensive and SMT only I don’t feel like paying even more for a breakout board just to communicate with a $1 microcontroller. Also, many ATMEL chips (most of the ATTiny series) don’t have rs232 capability built in, so you have to bit bang it in software (not fun). USB is another option, but requires a crystal and some level conversion circuitry, and isn’t supported by most small/cheap ATMEL chips. It’s built in some simple PICs (like some of the 18F series) but I don’t want to switch architecture just to send a few bytes to a PC! The V-USB project helps ATMEL chips bit-bang the USB protocol, and I’ve gotten it to work, but it’s not easy (their hello world program is hundreds of lines of code), and you have to mess with writing USB drivers or interfacing pre-made USB drivers with OS-specific solutions, it’s not fun either.
I’ve long wished there were an easier way! In this post, I demonstrate a simple way to send data from a microcontroller to a PC (and a more advanced second example showing bidirectional communication) using PC a sound card! Although the one built in most PCs would work, I decided to do it with $1.30 sound cards that are all over eBay. The chip sends pulses of data to the PC and a Python script (which can be run on virtually any OS) listens to the sound card with the pyAudio library and waits for data. When it’s received, it measures distances between pulses and dumps data values to the screen (optionally logging them to a CSV file ready for graphing by Excel or some other program). A series of calibration pulses precede the data stream allowing the PC to adapt to incoming data at any speed (no specific clock speed or crystal is required).
Although it’s not a refined method suitable for consumer applications, it sure is a useful hack for anyone looking to quickly exchange data between a microcontroller and a PC!
Sound Card Microcontroller / PC Communication - [Link]