Flex Sensor to bargraph monitor using PIC16F886

Tiny Bar-Graph display provide a Red color, bright, easy to read display which is proportional to the force applied on the FLEX sensor surface.  This Bar-Graph has 20 segments in single color and display Force applied on FLEX sensor. The Barograph force monitor is based on PIC microcontroller with 10 Bit resolution ADC.  This high performance measurement provides unique capabilities and can be used in various applications. Each LED output provided with Solder- jumper for output set point, which can be configured for output control, alarm, Relay.

Force sensing resistors are polymer think film devices which exhibits a decrease in resistance with an increase in the force applied to the active surface. Its force sensitivity is optimized for use in human touch control of electronic devices.
Flex Sensor to bargraph monitor using PIC16F886 – [Link]

Smart IoT Postbox with Arduino, ESP-01, and idIoTware Shield

When you are waiting for a very important letter to come, it’s really bothersome to go and check the postbox again and again. The problem gets worse when you are not at home and anxiously thinking if the letter arrived or not. Well, now IoT or Internet Of Things is your savior.

Following this project by CuriosityGym, you can make your own smart IoT postbox that sends you an email as soon as a letter is dropped into it.

Requirements :

  1. Arduino UNO
  2. idIoTware shield
  3. USB cable (A to B)
  4. Esp 8266 – 01 programmed with ESP-link firmware
  5. One jumper
  6. One Postbox (You can make it yourself)
  7. External 9v 1A Power adapter
  8. Double sided sticky tape
  9. Arduino UNO code (Download it)

Description :

The concept is not complicated at all. The idIoTware Shield has a set of RGB LED and an LDR. The RGB LED always emits white light and it’s received by the LDR. As soon as a letter is dropped, there is an interruption in light. The change in light intensity is sensed by LDR and processed by Arduino. Finally, ESP 8266 connects to IFTTT network and sends an email to a saved email ID.

IdIoTware Shield For ArduinoUNO
idIoTware Shield For ArduinoUNO

IFTTTIFTTT is a free web-based service that allows users to create chains of simple conditional statements, called “applets”, which are triggered based on changes to other web services such as Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. IFTTT is an abbreviation of “If This Then That”.

This can be explained using a simple analogy: “If the battery is empty then charge it”.

Watch this video for more information on IFTTT.

Procedure :

Simply place the idIoTware shield on Arduino UNO and Connect the esp8266(01) module to the ESP-01 header on the top right, such that the antenna is facing outside (See the image given below). It’s important to connect a jumper to CH_PD pin on the shield.

Smart IoT Postbox using Arduino and IdIoTware Shield
Smart IoT Postbox using Arduino and IdIoTware Shield

To make an IFTTT applet, go to IFTTT.com and make an account. Then, you need to make an applet as “If Maker then Gmail“. So, select Maker by searching and add your Maker channel (in URL field). Now, search for Gmail and select it. Define whom to and what to mail. Finish your applet, and you are all set.

Finally, upload the code to ArduinoUNO. Once the code is uploaded,  place the Arduino with double sided sticky tape inside the postbox. Don’t forget to insulate the Arduino from metallic body of the postbox.

Testing :

Power the Arduino from a 9V adapter and connect it to a serial monitor. Now post a letter in the postbox and you will see the message “New Letter!!” in the serial monitor. When you check your mail you will find a mail saying the same.

For a better understanding, watch the video:

How to use an RGB LED with Arduino

educ8s.tv uploaded a new video on their youtube channel.

Hey guys, I am Nick and welcome to educ8s.tv a channel that is all about DIY electronics projects with Arduino, Raspberry Pi, ESP8266 and other popular boards. In this video we are going to learn how to use an RGB led with Arduino, a very interesting type of LED. As you can see I have connected this LED to an Arduino Uno and every second it changes its color. That’s very handy because we can use only one LED in our projects and produce many colors!

How to use an RGB LED with Arduino – [Link]

Sensing current on the high side

Michael Dunn @ edn.com writes:

At their heart, the majority of DC current sense circuits start with a resistance in a supply line (though magnetic field sensing is a good alternative, especially in higher-current scenarios). One simply measures the voltage drop across the resistor and scales it as desired to read current (E = I × R (if I didn’t include this, someone would complain)). If the sense resistor is in the ground leg, then the solution is a simple op-amp circuit. Everything stays referenced to ground, and you only have to be careful about small voltage drops in the ground layout.

Sensing current on the high side – [Link]

Tiny LED Time Watch

tinytimewatch

David Johnson-Davies designed a minimalist ATtiny85-based watch using 12 LEDs, arranged like a clock face, to show the time in analogue-style. He writes:

To show the time you press the button on the watch face, and the time is then displayed for four seconds. It lights one LED to show the hour, and flashes another LED to show the minutes to the nearest five minutes, like the hour and minute hands on a clock. If only one LED lights up you know that both hands are pointing to the same hour mark.

Tiny LED Time Watch – [Link]

RELATED POSTS

PCB Rax – A modular system for holding circuit boards

pcb-rax-01-1024x657

The PCB Rax is an easy to use, versatile printed circuit board holder for repair, prototyping , and assembly that can hold nearly any shape of circuit board. Check the details on the link below.

Not all circuit boards are rectangular. PCB Rax was designed to hold all kinds of different shaped circuit boards, from circles to christmas trees, and everything in-between. PCB Rax comes standard with 10″ connecting rods that can hold rectangular boards up to 9-1/4″ x 8″, and odd shaped boards up to 6-1/2″ x 8″. For larger projects the connecting rods can be replaced.

PCB Rax – A modular system for holding circuit boards – [Link]

Low-cost current monitor tracks high dc currents

dc-current-measure

Susanne Nell @ edn.com has a design idea on how to measure high dc currents.

To measure high levels of direct current for overload detection and protection, designers frequently use either a current-shunt resistor or a toroidal core and Hall-effect magnetic-field sensor. Both methods suffer from drawbacks. For example, measuring 20A with a 10-mΩ resistor dissipates 4W of power as waste heat. The Hall-effect sensor delivers accurate measurements and wastes little power, but it’s an expensive approach to simple current monitoring.

Low-cost current monitor tracks high dc currents – [Link]

Top Ten Online Circuit Simulators

Online circuit simulators are getting more popular day by day. Electronics hobbyists, as well as professionals, use circuit simulators often to design and check circuit diagrams. The best thing about online simulator is, you don’t have to install anything at all on your PC or laptop. All you need is a browser and a stable internet connection. Work from anywhere just by opening the online circuit simulator website and signing in to your account. Cool, huh?

Now the question is, which simulator should one use? Which one is the best simulator? Well, in one sentence, “there is NO best simulator“. It depends on your requirement and level of expertise. If you are just a beginner, then you need a basic and less complex simulator. But if you’re professional and very expert in this field, obviously you’ll need a complicated, multipurpose simulator.

Here I’ve listed top ten online simulators based on their popularity, functionality, pricing, and availability of library parts.

1. EasyEDA

easyeda online circuit simulator
EasyEDA online circuit simulator

EasyEDA is a free, zero-install, web and cloud-based EDA tool suite which integrates powerful schematic capture, mixed-mode circuit simulator and PCB layout in a cross-platform browser environment, for electronic engineers, educators, students, and hobbyists.

As EasyEDA is completely free, super easy to use, and feature-rich, it holds the first place.

 

Pros: 

  •  Huge and ever growing community
  • Parts library is quite massive
  • Very powerful simulator
  • High-quality PCB designing is possible
  • Designing circuit/PCB is free from any kind of hassle. Beginners can easily get started to EayEDA
  • EasyEDA is completely FREE

Cons:

  • Getting the simulation done is kinda difficult. You need to follow the guide.

2. circuits.io (Autodesk Circuits)

(circuits.io) Autodesk circuits online simulator
(circuits.io) Autodesk circuits online simulator

Autodesk Circuits empowers you to bring your electronics project ideas to life with free, easy to use online tools.

A circuit/PCB designing tool and simulator developed by AutoDesk, empowering you to design the circuit, see it on the breadboard , use the famous platform Arduino, simulate the circuit and eventually create the PCB. You can program the Arduino directly from this software simulation.

Pros:

  • The output design is easier to interpret and will be a handy reference while making a real life connection
  • It can simulate Arduino
  • The library has plenty of parts

Cons:

  • Designing circuit is bit tougher than other simulators
  • Can’t draw a circuit quickly

3. PartSim

PartSim online Circuit Simulator
PartSim online Circuit Simulator

PartSim is a free and easy to use circuit simulator that runs in your web browser. PartSim includes a full SPICE simulation engine, web-based schematic capture tool, and a graphical waveform viewer.

Pros:

  • This platform is pretty neat and easy to use
  • Large number of parts from vendors makes this a good choice for practical purpose
  • PartSim is entirely free to use

Cons:

  • Not so powerful simulator but ok for beginners
  • It has a lot of op-amps in library but other ICs lack

4. EveryCircuit

EveryCircuit Online Circuit Simulator
EveryCircuit Online Circuit Simulator

EveryCircuit is an online circuit simulator with a well-designed graphics. It’s really easy to use and has a great system of electronic design. It allows you to embed simulation into your web page.

Pros:

  • EveryCircuit is also available mobile platforms (Android and iOS)
  • Impressive animated representation of various dynamic parameters
  • It offers plenty of example and pre-designed circuits. Good for beginners

Cons:

  • This platform is not a free one
  • It lacks many useful ICs

5. Circuit Sims (Falstad Circuit)

Falstad Circuit Online circuit simulator
Falstad Circuit Online circuit simulator

Extremely simple web platform that runs on any browser. The platform perfectly suits beginners who want to understand the functionality of simple circuits and electronics.

Pros:

  • The simplest one. Beginners won’t have to struggle with it
  • Completely free and no account is required
  • This is an Open-Source platform

Cons:

  • The library parts are very limited
  • GUI is not attractive

6. DC/AC Virtual Lab

DC/AC Virtual Lab online circuit simulator
DC/AC Virtual Lab online circuit simulator

DC/AC Virtual Lab is an online simulator who is capable of building DC/AC circuits, you can build circuits with batteries, resistors, wires and other components.

DC/AC Virtual Lab has a pretty attractive graphics and components are real looking, but it is not in top fives because of limitation in parts library, incapability of drawing circuits and some other reasons.

Pros:

  • Simple UI, good for students and instructors
  • Parts look like real one, not just symbols

Cons:

  • DC/AC Virtual Lab is NOT completely free
  • Parts library is very much limited
  • Simulation is not that powerful

7. DoCircuits

DoCircuits online circuit simulator
DoCircuits online circuit simulator

DoCrcuits is easy to use but not much efficient. You can design both analog and digital circuits. But you have to log in to get the simulation done.

Pros:

  • Interactive design, though a bit sluggish
  • Components are real looking
  • Many readymade circuits are there

Cons:

  • You can’t use both analog and digital components on the same circuit
  • Simulation is pretty much limited
  • DoCircuits is NOT free

8. CircuitsCloud

CircuitsCloud online circuit simulator
CircuitsCloud online circuit simulator

CircuitsCloud is a free and easy-to-use simulator. It works good for both analog and digital. Beginners can easily use it but have to create an account first.

Pros:

  • CircuitsCloud is a free platform
  • Making circuit is easy here

Cons:

  • Simulation is not good. Doesn’t animate direction of current
  • Library doesn’t contain enough digital IC and MCUs

9. CIRCUIT LAB

CircuitLab online circuit simulator
CircuitLab online circuit simulator

Circuit Lab is a feature-rich online circuit simulator, but it’s not free. It’s designed with easy to use editor and accurate analog/digital circuit simulator.

Pros:

  • This platform is well-built with fairly extensive library that is suitable for both beginners and experimenters
  • Simulated graphs and output results can be exported as CSV file for further analysis
  • Designing circuits is easy and pre-designed circuits are available

Cons:

  • This is not a free platform but you can use the demo for free
  • The simulation could have been better with interactive simulations apart from the graphical representation
  • More digital ICs should be added in library

10. TinaCloud

Tina Cloud online circuit simulator
Tina Cloud online circuit simulator

TINA Design Suite is a powerful yet affordable circuit simulator and PCB design software package for analyzing, designing, and real time testing of analog, digital, HDL, MCU, and mixed electronic circuits.

TINA is a very sophisticated circuit simulator and a good choice for experienced persons. It’s not very easy for beginners and takes a while to get started. TINA is not free. But if you consider the performance, the price is negligible.

Pros:

  • This simulation program has sophisticated capabilities
  • Simulations are performed on company’s server, hence it provides an excellent accuracy and speed
  • Various types of circuits can be simulated

Cons:

  • This platform is NOT for beginners
  • Even if you are experienced one, initially you may face some difficulties
  • Tina Cloud is NOT a free simulator
Others:

So, now you have a list of “Top Ten Online Circuit Simulators”, but this isn’t a final one. There are other online simulators which you may find as good for you. simulator.io, Gecko-SIMULATIONS etc. are some of them. I recommend you to try all of them before choosing one as perfect.

If you have any other online simulator in your knowledge to share with us, please do. Any suggestion is highly appreciated.

Scalar Network Analyser

pics-labels-600

M0xpd documented his experience building DuWayne’s Scalar Network Analyzer Jr:

DuWayne’s project uses an AD9850 in one of our familiar modules to generate RF, under the control of an Arduino NANO. You can read on DuWayne’s blog how the SNA Jr is the descendant of earlier experiments in which an Si5351 was used as the signal source.

Scalar Network Analyser – [Link]

How to Connect to a Raspberry Pi with an Ethernet Cable

circuitbasics.com show us how to connect Rasperry Pi using Ethernet cable.

If you use your Raspberry Pi as a gaming console, media server, or stand-alone computer, WiFi is a great way to get internet access. But if you connect to your Pi with SSH or a remote desktop application a lot, WiFi is actually one of the slowest and least reliable ways to do it. A direct ethernet connection is much faster and a lot more stable.

How to Connect to a Raspberry Pi with an Ethernet Cable – [Link]