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23 Apr 2012

Very cheap low-speed dual channel PC/USB oscilloscope with STM32 (STM32F103C8T6)  microcontroller

Miniscope v2c is a very simple USB interface for low-speed oscilloscope/recorder capable with continuous sampling and streaming to PC at 2×300 kSps speed. It is stripped down from switchable analog amplifier that version v2b had, but it is using small single-side PCB that would be easy to make with toner transfer method and parts should cost less than $10 total.

Miniscope v2c – Cheap low-speed dual channel USB oscilloscope with STM32 - [Link]

20 Apr 2012

Menno posts several alternatives to using pin headers for programming microcontrollers. Most use spring loaded pogo-pins make contact with the programming signal pads. Check out more pictures on his Flickr page.  [via]

Alternatives to programming through a pin header - [Link]

20 Apr 2012

The Atmel® SAM3 family of ARM® Cortex™-M3 Flash-based microcontrollers (MCU) is expanding with 40 new devices in the mix that provide more memory options and more connectivity. With this high-performance, highly integrated and power-efficient portfolio, you’ll find just the right devices to meet your unique design requirements.

SAM3 family

A powerful new family of microcontrollers from Atmel with Cortex™ M3 cores (rev 2.0). The new microcontrollers are energy efficient and the supply voltages range from 1.62 to 3.6 V. They are designed to make circuit board layouts simpler and keep system costs low. The circuits have a broad selection of interfaces and support Atmel’s touch control system, QTouch.

SAM3N – (Entry point) Entry-level model to ARM Cortex M3 technology with a 3-layer bus (AHB), 10 DMA channels and clock frequencies up to 48 MHz. UART, SPI and I2C interfaces. Pin-to-pin compatible with the SAM7S and SAM3S series. Up to 79 I/Os, 48-/64-/100-pin packages.

SAM3S – (General purpose) Mid-range model with a 4-layer bus, 21 DMA channels and clock frequencies up to 64 MHz. Full-speed (FS) USB, high-speed SD/SDIO/MMC plus USART and SPI. Pin-to-pin compatible with SAM7S. Up to 79 I/Os, 48-/64-/100-pin packages.

SAM3U – (High-speed) Fast 100 Mbps microcontroller for more advanced applications with complex communications. 5-layer bus, 22 DMA channels and clock frequencies up to 96 MHz. 480 Mbps high-speed USB, high-speed SD/SDIO/MMC plus USART and SPI. Up to 96 I/Os, 100-/144-pin packages.

SAM3 family – NEW 32-bit ARM Microcontroller - [Link]

16 Apr 2012

Every once in a while something comes along that changes the way you look at things. A project posted last week by Dmitry Grinberg was such a thing for me. The project in itself is already pretty strange: porting a 32-bit operating system (OS) to an 8-bit microcontroller lacking most of the features needed to actually run the OS. Why would you want to run Linux on an AVR? “Because you can”, would answer George Obama (or was it Barack Mallory?) and now also Dmitry. Yes, apparently you can (I didn’t try it myself), it only takes two hours to boot Linux on the AVR, with an effective clock speed of a dazzling 6.5 kHz. It is fun as in academic demonstration.

Yet for me this demonstration, working or not, useful or not, shows more. Emulating one platform on another more powerful platform is common practice these days, but I had never thought about doing the opposite. Emulating a 32-bit ARM processor on an 8-bit microcontroller is actually quite a cool idea. Maybe Dmitry is not the first to have done this, I don’t know, but it is an excellent example of thinking the other way around, outside the box. The result may be useless for now, but who knows what one day may come from this? [via]

Run 32-bit Linux on an 8-bit MCU - [Link]

16 Apr 2012

The SimpleLink GPS CC4000 family of drop-in GPS modules from Texas Instruments were designed to simplify the addition of GPS functionality to products. They feature a hardware controlled push-to-fix function; simply switch on the general-purpose I/O (GPIO) line to receive standard NMEA strings containing location, time and velocity information. The modules can be used with any microcontroller or microprocessor and feature a sub-100-mm² form factor.

The modules provide better than 2.5 meter accuracy and pulse-per-second output functions to enable precise location and timing. The “watchful-eye” feature optimizes device memory utilization by automatically reusing previously decoded satellite information to deliver ultra-fast time to first fix (TTFF) and minimize overall system power consumption. The key features of the new modules are code size requirement less than 1% of competitive GPS solutions, maximum memory requirement of 1 KB RAM and 1.5 KB flash for slim driver, NMEA protocol support, 35 s autonomous cold-start TTFF under open-sky signal conditions, approximately 1 s autonomous hot-start TTFF under open-sky signal condition, and timing accuracy better than 100 ns. [via]

Drop-in GPS modules make localisation easy - [Link]

15 Apr 2012

revoltlab.com writes:

This how-to takes you through all the steps of making your own arduino on a perfboard or perfduino! Arduino microcontrollers are great for learning about physical computing and are very useful for rapid prototyping. Arduino’s simple programming language makes it a favorite of hobbyists and diy-ers around the world. Because arduino boards range in price from 30 to 70 dollars, it can be very cost effective to make your own. This lets you customize the layout of the board and brings down the cost so you can embed your perfduino in a final iteration project without losing your precious professionally made arduino board you had to wait so long for by the mailbox. The perfduino in this tutorial is designed to closely mimic the original arduino functionality without any specific project layout in mind.

Perfduino: Build Your Own Arduino Microcontroller! - [Link]

13 Mar 2012

Derek Wolfe writes:

This is an all-in-one module for Atmel ATtiny24/44/84 8-bit microcontrollers and all necessary components to run them. Having a microcontroller module is nice because it reduces the amount of redundant design in projects using microcontrollers. You only need to provide 5V power and connect to the I/O lines to make a prototype microcontroller circuit. This design easily connects to a breadboard or a subcircuit with header pins and can also be wired directly for a permanent installation. Subcircuit design is greatly simplified by a modular approach because there are no traces blocking the way to the microcontroller pins. All traces on the microcontroller module are essentially on a different level making connections much easier.

ATtiny24/44/84 Mini Board - [Link]

12 Mar 2012

electronicsblog.net writes:

This is a very basic Atmega328 development kit It includes:

  • Atmega 328 8 bit microcontroller with 20 MHz crystal resonator
  • PCB board with place for external components
  • Power circuit that allows powering Atmega directly(2.7-5.5 V), or through a L7805 voltage regulator(8-35 V). L7805 circuit includes a thermal fuse.
  • 10 pin ISP connection for programming.

Atmega328 Development Kit Guide - [Link]

9 Feb 2012

Pete made a nice tutorial on the fist steps of designing projects with AVR microcontrollers. He covers choosing the right uC for your project, finding datasheets, getting a programmer/debugger, and setting up the AVRStudio 5.1 for developing and debugging. [via]

In the wee hours of the night, I’ve been continuing to learn how to develop for the various AVR family chips from Atmel. I also do a lot with NETMF, Netduino, and the .NET Gadgeteer, but sometimes (despite the pain!) it feels good to code right on the metal.

Introductory/getting started information for the AVR family is not always the easiest to find, so this post covers a few other important details I think you’ll find helpful.

First steps in designing projects with AVR microcontrollers - [Link]

3 Feb 2012

dangerousprototypes.com writes:

We’ve seen some pretty cool projects that use blinking lights on a PC monitor to transfer data to a microcontroller. We did a little research, and here are some example projects we’ve found.

This project uses two photo transistors to read a bar code from the monitor. One handles the clock, while the other has the data. The data is read as the clock changes from black to white.

Here is the same project with a different variation of the transmission system. Instead of bar codes, two small rectangles flash to give the data and clock signals.

A more advanced setup is used by SparkFun’s bracelet kit, and the Blinky POV. Here only one flashing square is used to blink out the data, while the timing is handled onboard the uC.

You can find the blinking transfer software for the Blinky POV here, and for the bracelet kit here.

Cheap light-based PC to microcontroller communication - [Link]





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