Turn your Zero Pi into a USB Dongle

The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero is a standalone computer that can be embedded in various applications, but maybe now it is time to add some extra features.

It comes with a USB OTG port, meaning it can function as a USB device rather than a USB host. Thus, it can become a serial device with just a USB cable, an Ethernet device, MIDI device, camera, or just about anything else you can plug into a USB port.

Novaspirit has turned his Raspberry Pi Zero into a USB gadget, just like a RNDIS modem, with some easy steps. He aims to get the maximum benefit out of a Pi Zero without having to lug around any cables: “Just plug it in and you’re networked”

His hack turned the Zero Pi into a USB dongle with shared internet, and he could install services like webmin, owncloud, and vnc making it a great all-in-one device!

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With minimal soldering, he converted the Zero’s onboard female USB jacks into a male USB plug.

You only need:

  • male usb connector
  • 4 wires
  • some soldering skills

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Then you can follow the diagram to connect the male connector to Zero Pi

How to ‘donglify’ the Raspberry Zero Pi as Novaspirit suggests

  1. Attach the Raspberry Pi Zero running Pixel OS to your computer as a USB network device
  2. Set up VNC (Virtual Network Computing) on the Pi so that you can log into its desktop in a window
  3. Set up networking on the Pi so that it can connect to the wider Internet through the laptop
  4. Install OwnCloud so that the Zero serves as a cloud storage

Check out this tutorial by Novaspirit

Novaspirit guy is not the first who converted the Raspberry Pi Zero into a USB gadget that connects to the internet, but the most interesting thing about his project that you won’t lose any functionality of you Zero Pi; you can still plug your stuff and use it in your applications. In addition, he delivered a very simple hardware hack and easy to follow software tutorial on Windows.

You can check his website Novaspirit for weekly posts where you can find loads of projects and tutorials.
More details, designs and code snippets of this project can be reached here.

Water Tank Overflow Alarm System Using ESP8266

Sometimes the float valve of a water tank may not work properly causing water to overflow and spread across the floor. Peter Jennings faced this problem in his storage area, and he had developed an alarm device to notify him when the water exceeds its normal range.

Peter’s project includes a simple water sensor and ESP8266 wifi module connected with power switch circuit. When the water reach a specific threshold, the sensor will trig the switch to turn on the ESP8266, which will connect to a wireless network and send a message to a web server.

ESP8266 is a wifi module contains System-On-Chip (SOC) with integrated TCP/IP protocol stack that can give any microcontroller access to any WiFi network. The ESP8266 is capable of either hosting an application or offloading all Wi-Fi networking functions from another application processor. There are various versions of ESP8266 differ in size, shape and price. Peter used this $1.5 module, and you you are free in choosing your ESP8266 board.

ESP8266 ESP-01 Board
ESP8266 ESP-01 Board

Mini Pushbutton Power Switch from Pololu, an electronics manufacturer and an online retailer, is the power switch circuit used in this project. It is a $4 power control alternative to bulky mechanical switches which is able to turn on and off any device using the mini push button on the board, the external on & off pins, or a control signal. This low-voltage version operates from 2.2 V to 20 V and can deliver continuous currents up to around 6 A.

Mini Pushbutton Power Switch Board and Dimensions
Mini Pushbutton Power Switch Board and Dimensions

sensorThe sensor which is used to detect the overflow is very simple, it is just two wires pinned inside the tank above the highest level that water should reach. One of these wires is connected t
o the Vin pin, and the other is connected to CTRL pin on the switch circuit. DC current will flow between the two wires when the water pass the limit sending a control signal to turn on the Wifi module.

This combination is powered by a range of 3 volts to 3.6 volts battery pack. The circuits should be connected as shown in the diagram:

water_sensor_esp8266_circuit

You have to create your own web server which will receive the message from the ESP8266 and notify you. If you are not familiar with web development you can use IFTTT, a free web-based service that allows users to create chains of simple conditional statements which are triggered based on changes to other web services.

To use IFTTT, you have to create your own account, then proceed to the Maker Channel to create a Trigger event. IFTTT will give you the URL to enter into the ESP8266 code. You can set the alarm to run a ringtone on your android device, tweet on your twitter account, post in facebook, send an email, and a lot of other choices.

ifttt

There are also many ways to program the ESP8266. Peter used the simple NodeMCU Lua system, but for Arduino fans there is an Arduino firmware installation available for the ESP8266 which can also be used to implement the simple firmware required.

Additional information and other resources are reachable at the project page. You can also find some useful tutorials and links about using the ESP8266 and LuaLoader or getting started with ESP8266 on Peter’s website.

Online prototyping with A/D simulation, in Infineon Designer

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Infineon Technologies’ Infineon Designer, introduced at the 2016 electronica trade fair, is presented as the first online prototyping engine combining analogue and digital simulation functionalities in an internet application. By Graham Prophet@ edn.com:

Requiring a web browser only, it is an aid to designers in selecting the right product for a defined application. Infineon Designer works intuitively in a very short time, and neither installation nor licenses are needed. The program features application circuits in the domain of Industrial Power, Lighting, Motor Control and Mobile/RF frontend design. It enables analogue/digital co-simulation of the 32-bit XMC1000 industrial microcontroller ARM Cortex-M0 series, using the free-of-charge code generation platform DAVE.

Online prototyping with A/D simulation, in Infineon Designer – [Link]

LTM4643 – Ultrathin Quad μModule Regulator with Configurable 3A Output Array

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Configurable as quad, triple, dual or single output, the LTM4643 quad output step-down µModule [micromodule] (power module) regulator deliver, respectively, 12A, 6A & 6A or 9A & 3A, or 4 x 3A from a 9 x 15 x 1.82 mm ultrathin LGA package. by Graham Prophet @ edn.com:

This flexibility enables system designers to rely on one simple and compact µModule regulator for a variety of voltage and load current requirements in FPGA, GPU, ASIC and processor-based applications. The 1.82 mm height ultrathin package allows the LTM4643 to be mounted on the backside of the PCB, freeing space on the topside. The LTM4643 is suitable for systems with height restrictions, such as backside PCB assembly in PCIe applications and where the regulator must fit under a common heat sink or cold plate to cool high power FPGAs, GPUs, ASICs and processors in applications such as embedded computing, data storage, medical imaging and industrial systems

LTM4643 – Ultrathin Quad μModule Regulator with Configurable 3A Output Array – [Link]

DIY Arduino ProMini Data Logger

New Dupont-jumper build of the basic data logger build for 2016
New Dupont-jumper build of the basic data logger build for 2016

Ed Mallon has details on his DIY ProMini data logger:

Typical pro-mini loggers built with this design sleep at 0.25mA, before extra sensors are added. At that current draw, the logger should deliver approximately six months of operation on three brand new AA batteries with a 15min duty cycle; depending on sensor load.

DIY Arduino ProMini Data Logger – [Link]

PWM Fan controller

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Lucky Resistor has build a PWM fan controller using Arduino and DHT22 sesnsors.

The fan controller described on this project page, controls one or more PWM controlled 12V PC fans. It uses the input from two precise DHT22 based temperature sensors. The MCU is an Arduino Uno, which is powered using a 12V power source. On top of the Arduino Uno, there is the Adafruit data logger shield — and on top of that is an Adafruit LCD shield. The software is a simple, custom written PID controller.

PWM Fan controller – [Link]

How to Choose a Connector

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Sanket Gupta @ octopart.com discuss on how to choose a connector. He writes:

Continuing our series about choosing parts, inspired by the latest version of the Common Parts Library, let’s take a close look at how to find and select connectors. In this blog, we will explain all the different types of connectors, their merits and demerits, and their popular applications. We will also recommend some commonly used connectors with high supply chain availability to help you find the right connector.

How to Choose a Connector – [Link]

Pressure sensors need as little as 0.9 V

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Susan Nordyk@ edn.com:

These micropower low-pressure sensors operate from a supply voltage of just 0.9 V to 1.8 V and are intended for use with noncorrosive, nonionic working fluids in such applications as medical devices and instrumentation, environmental controls, HVAC equipment, and portable devices.

Pressure sensors need as little as 0.9 V – [Link]

Using OV7670 Camera Sensor With Arduino

Developing a hardware project became much easier thanks to the growing number of the various sensors and actuators modules, which give you the ability to shift your ideas into a wider range of applications. This tutorial presents the steps of how to use OV7670 Camera Sensor Module STM32 with Arduino.

To follow the tutorial, you will need these parts:

  1. Arduino Uno Board and USB
  2. OV7670 Arduino Camera Sensor Module STM32
  3. Resistor (2x10K & 2×4.7K)
  4. Breadboard

The OV7670 image sensor is a small size, low voltage, single-chip VGA camera and CMOS image processor for all functions. It provides full-frame, sub-sampled or windowed 8-bit images in various formats, controlled through the Serial Camera Control Bus (SCCB) interface.

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The camera module is powered from a single +3.3V power supply, and external clock source for camera module XCLK pin. The OV7670 camera module built-in onboard LDO regulator only requires single 3.3V power and can be used in Arduino, STM32, Chipkit, ARM, DSP, FPGA and etc.

This is pin definition table of the module:

OV7670 Pin Definition
OV7670 Pin Definition

OV7670 module specification:

  • Optical size 1/6 inch
  • Resolution 640×480 VGA
  • Onboard regulator, only single 3.3V supply needed
  • Mounted with high quality F1.8 / 6mm lens
  • High sensitivity for low-light operation
  • VarioPixel® method for sub-sampling
  • Automatic image control functions including: Automatic
  • Exposure Control (AEC), Automatic Gain Control (AGC), Automatic White Balance (AWB), Automatic
  • Band Filter (ABF), and Automatic Black-Level Calibration (ABLC)
  • Image quality controls including color saturation, hue, gamma, sharpness (edge enhancement), and anti-blooming
  • ISP includes noise reduction and defect correction
  • Supports LED and flash strobe mode
  • Supports scaling
  • Lens shading correction
  • Flicker (50/60 Hz) auto detection
  • Saturation level auto adjust (UV adjust)
  • Edge enhancement level auto adjust
  • De-noise level auto adjust

The connection between the module and the Arduino uses 6 analog pins and 8 digital pins, and they have to be connected as shown in this figure:

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The software requirements are the Arduino IDE and Java Development Kit (JDK). To run the project, you have to execute a java code through the command line. The script will search for images received from Arduino and then saves them on the PC.

Source code, additional needed files, and setting up instructions are all available at the tutorial page.

Recover Bricked ATtiny Using Arduino as high voltage programmer

source: oscarliang.com

Hi! Today I’ll explain you how to recover your bricked ATtiny microcontroller using your Arduino board. ATtinys are very popular due to their small form factor yet very powerful. While working with them you may accidentally brick the ATtiny. As arduino is extremely popular and really easy to use, I guess you have one or more lying on your work table. You don’t need to purchase a HVP (High Voltage Programmer), or search for an old PC with parallel port to recover ATtiny. Just build a small circuit, plug it into Arduino board, upload a sketch and you are good to go. So let’s start… (more…)

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