HD44780 based LCD displays are very popular for embedded projects because they are cheap, easy to interface, can display characters, consume power lot less than seven-segment displays, and most of the present day compilers have in-built library routines for them. However, the only disadvantage is that they require at least 6 I/O pins of microcontroller. Well, you may ask, isn’t that less than what seven-segment displays require? Yes, that’s true but there are circumstances where you don’t have left enough pins for LCD display.
Why pay for Serial LCDs when you can make your own? - [Link]
Embedded-Lab’s new tutorial is about how to play notes of a song with a PIC microcontroller. Musical notes are simply sound waves of particular frequencies. If the frequency of a note is known correctly, a microcontroller can be programmed to play the note by generating a square wave (of the same frequency) signal at one of its I/O pins, which if fed to a speaker, can produce the audio tone.
Playing musical notes with a PIC microcontroller – [Link]
If you happen to work with microcontrollers or other digital ICs, then you have certainly face a situation where you need urgently 8 LEDs with 8 resistors for a test or other debugging purposes. And it is this time where things get nasty: You are in a hurry because you want to see the results, connecting the LEDs is totally boring, you need also 8 resistors, not to mention the wires, and then, the LEDs themselves are thick and usually won’t fit in 8 breadboard rows… You know what i mean.
Tiny LED Debugging Board for Breadboard Prototyping - [Link]
Parallax’s Basic Stamp is the mainstay for hobbyists wanting to add intelligence to everyday devices. A new system called Arduino provides the benefits of the Basic Stamp at a greatly reduced cost, increased speed, and is entirely open-source.
Tiny computers surround your life. In your coffee maker, remote control, vacuum cleaner, telephone, and clock radio, these little computers (aka microcontrollers) are getting smarter and cheaper and becoming more pervasive every day. They can be had for less than a dollar. And you can program them as easy as you can write a web page.
Arduino, the Basic Stamp killer - [Link]
This morning I decided its about time I learn how to use the UART hardware in most PIC microcontrollers. I started off with a USB-RS-232 converter that I got for US$3 from DealExtreme. There are a few reasons why I used a converter, firstly being because my main PC no longer has an RS-232 port since its old tech, but also because I thought it’d be alot neater for my projects to have a USB connection and it means I can interface with TTL signal levels (0-5v) instead of the RS-232 standards -12v – +12v which would have added complications, but we’ll get back to that just now…
Learning Serial Communication - [Link]
MikroElektronika has just released EasyPIC v7, a latest edition to its successful EasyPIC series development boards for PIC microcontrollers. [via]
This is a very special day for us. We are excited and honored to present you with the new version of our famous brand – EasyPIC v7 is here!
We’ve asked ourselves what can we do to improve such an amazing board as EasyPIC6, and even if it seemed like a tough assignment, we have done some outstanding interventions in design and functionality, and made a new board no one can stay indifferent to.
For the first time in EasyPIC’s almost 10-year history, we’ve grouped PORT headers, LEDs and Buttons in an Input-Output groups, thus making them easier to use than ever before. We’ve equipped the boards with tri-state DIP switches, so placing pull-up or pull-down jumpers to desired pins is now just a matter of pushing the switch.
MikroElektronika releases EasyPIC v7 - [Link]
Embedded Lab has just posted a tutorial on how to use the mikroElektronika’s GLCD bitmap editor tool to convert a monochromatic bit map (BMP) image file into a data array so that it could be displayed on a graphics LCD using a microcontroller. The GLCD bitmap editor tool is embedded into mikroElektronika’s compilers and can generate a code equivalent of a BMP image, which can be easily inserted into the microcontroller’s source program.
Converting bitmap image files to GLCD data array - [Link]
The VCNL4000 sensor is a nice way to add a small-distance proximity sensor to your microcontroller project. For longer distances (in the range of cm, you can use a SHARP IR distance sensor, but those are only good if the object is over 10 cm away. The VCNL4000 is designed for much shorter distances, no more than 200mm (about 7.5″) and under our experimentation we found it worked best at distances of about 10-150mm. It would be good for say detecting when a hand moved nearby, or before a robot smacks into a wall. The sensor also has an ambient light sensor built in.
VCNL4000 Proximity/Light sensor - [Link]
Professor Mark Csele writes:
When your hobby is collecting old computers (including a few 6800 processors on old arcade machines), a logic analyzer proves invaluable to diagnose a multitiude of problems. This particular project is a blend of hardware, both discrete logic and microcontrollers, and software in both assembly code and C++. The actual analyzer was inspired from the original article “High Speed Logic Analyzer for Windows 95″ appearing in Circuit Cellar Dec. 97 pp. 46 by Francis Deck. The basic system uses a special FIFO chip (7204) which is dual-ported to store logic-state samples which are transferred into a PC and displayed using a Win-32 front-end. The original analyzer hardware, built back in 1998, featured a front-end written in BASIC however there are many shortcomings to this approach and the system ‘hangs’ if an invalid trigger channel is selected. In this updated project (now over twelve years old and updated many times), a multi-threaded Win-32 front-end was written allowing good user control of the hardware. The system shown here features a 50MS/s sample rate, 4K sample depth, a trigger system to start sampling on a rising or falling edge on any particular channel, 3.3V and 5V logic family compatibility, and a high-speed USB interface.
USB Logic Analyzer IV - [Link]