So we’re always cooking up hot new hardware in the Grav Corp labs. Recently, we’ve been working on a project using a 128×64 OLED screen with the SSD1306 controller. Adafruit is a good source of these displays, with an excellent library written by Limor Fried. The Adafruit_SSD1306 library makes it simple to use these displays with a variety of Arduinos, using either software or hardware SPI. However, we wanted a speed boost, and the Due looked like it could deliver, with its DMA (Direct Memory Access) capability.
SSD1306 OLEDs – DMA Library for Arduino Due – [Link]
I was designing an electronic clock to see time easier at night. And while at it, I came up with a nice idea:
Having used a lot of perfboards(dot pcb) to prototype my projects, I thought of a way to make a 7 segment display out of smd leds. Making a segment out of 2 common grounded leds..
I stumbled upon it while trying to determine a nice size for my clock. I drew a mask on perfboard with a marker. Later I redrew it and cut it out:
An SMD 4 digit 7 segment DIY display – [Link]
Ray Wang from RaysHobby has written an article on his ESPToy 1.2, a ESP8266 development board based on the Lua firmware:
A little while back I released the very first version of ESPToy — a ESP8266 Development Board with a few useful on-board components like color LED, button, and temperature sensor. It has a built-in ATmega644 microcontroller, and pin headers for plugging in a ESP-01 through-hole WiFI module. Shortly after that, I discovered the Lua firmware (named nodemcu) for ESP8266. At first I didn’t pay much attention — Lua is a new language that I’ve never used before, and I wasn’t sure if it’s worth my time learning about it. At the same time I was getting tired of the AT firmware (the original firmware that comes with ESP), partly because it’s not very stable, and partly because it’s complicated to use and involves an extra microcontroller to communicate with it.
Introducing ESPToy 1.2 (with Lua Firmware) – [Link]
MAKE has posted Alasdair Allan’s three part series concerning the ESP8266 MCU. Alasdair highlights the capabilities and limitations of this chip, the installation and use of a supporting version of the Arduino IDE, and how to create a breadboard adapter for the ESP-01 breakout board (pictured above.) [via]
ESP8266: Arduino compatible $5 MCU with WiFi – [Link]
An application note from TI, TPS6122x low input voltage, 0.7V boost converter with 5.5μA quiescent current (PDF!):
The TPS6122x family devices provide a power-supply solution for products powered by either a single-cell, two-cell, or three-cell alkaline, NiCd or NiMH, or one-cell Li-Ion or Li-polymer battery. Possible output currents depend on the input-to-output voltage ratio. The boost converter is based on a hysteretic controller topology using synchronous rectification to obtain maximum efficiency at minimal quiescent currents. The output voltage of the adjustable version can be programmed by an external resistor divider, or is set internally to a fixed output voltage. The converter can be switched off by a featured enable pin. While being switched off, battery drain is minimized. The device is offered in a 6-pin SC-70 package (DCK) measuring 2 mm x 2 mm to enable small circuit layout size.
TPS6122x low input voltage, 0.7V boost converter with 5.5μA quiescent current – [Link]
Ugifer wrote this instructable detailing the build of his Arduino based high-altitude balloon tracker:
The tracker is based upon the Atmel ATMeag328 Microcontroller which forms the heart of many of the popular “Arduino” boards. We are going to make an “Arduino Compatible” board which we can program using the Arduino IDE.
Because the GPS module and SD card both require 3.3v and we have plenty of computing power, we may as well make the whole tracker run on 3v3. That means that we can’t clock the ‘328 up to its full 16MHz but it will run happily at 8MHz on 3v3, and that’s plenty for our purposes.
Arduino based high-altitude balloon tracker – [Link]
by Shaun Mason @ phys.org:
The dramatic rise of smartphones, tablets, laptops and other personal and portable electronics has brought battery technology to the forefront of electronics research. Even as devices have improved by leaps and bounds, the slow pace of battery development has held back technological progress.
Now, researchers at UCLA’s California NanoSystems Institute have successfully combined two nanomaterials to create a new energy storage medium that combines the best qualities of batteries and supercapacitors.
Supercapacitors are electrochemical components that can charge in seconds rather than hours and can be used for 1 million recharge cycles. Unlike batteries, however, they do not store enough power to run our computers and smartphones.
The new hybrid supercapacitor stores large amounts of energy, recharges quickly and can last for more than 10,000 recharge cycles. The CNSI scientists also created a microsupercapacitor that is small enough to fit in wearable or implantable devices. Just one-fifth the thickness of a sheet of paper, it is capable of holding more than twice as much charge as a typical thin-film lithium battery.
Scientists create quick-charging hybrid supercapacitors – [Link]
Make Galileo’s Finger: and open source star finder. via instructables:
Given the opportunity to use one of the Intel Galileo boards, we wanted to build something that would honour Galileo’s memory and pay tribute to his discoveries. What better way than to do something related to his primary focus – astronomy.
Being an avid astronomer, and loving being able to look up into the night sky and know what star or planet I’m looking at, I thought a cheap, accurate laser pointer would be perfect.
With the right idea in mind, and three weeks in which to do it, my partner and I set off coding and building.
Build An Open Astronomy Learning Tool With Arduino – [Link]
31 March 2015, Seattle–For a killer price of only $30, the small and rugged Arachnio puts taking the Internet of Things everywhere, easily within reach.
Confident that the Arachnio will be a success–as the first wireless Arduino variant to integrate the ESP8266EX WiFi chip, Logos electromechanical has launched the Arachnio as a Kickstarter project with perks for early supporters.
The Arachnio’s versatility means it can be used for many different types of projects, such as deployable sensors, audio visual applications, robotics, and smart home automation. “The number of applications the Arachnio can be used for is almost limitless. It will appeal to hobbyists, hackers, developers and researchers,” said Logos Electromechanical founder and principal engineer, Pierce Nichols.
The following features make Arachnio a standout:
- Integrated WiFi — No extra parts to buy or integrate — just load an easy-to-use library and connect to the Internet! The ESP8266EX WiFi chip on the Arachnio works beautifully with the Arduino core.
- Small and light — The Arachnio is only 50 mm long, 18 mm wide, and weighs less than 10 grams with headers installed.
- Rugged — Due to its small size, light weight, and the robustness of the Atmega32u4 processor, it’s hard to kill.
- Low power draw — In deep sleep with the power LED removed, current consumption is below 50 microamps on a single Li-Po cell.
- Arduino Micro pinout — The Arachnio uses the same pinout as the Arduino Micro and is only very slightly larger in order to accommodate the integrated antenna.
- Breadboard compatible — Standard 0.1″ headers enable you to plug directly into a breadboard for easy prototyping.
- Fully open source — everything including the board layout and the network stack is open source.
ARACHNIO – Arduino Variant with WiFi – [Link]