Neopixel Night Light using ATtiny85


joshua.brooks @ describes how he build a night light using an Adafruit NeoPixel, ATtiny85 microcontroller, TSSP4038 IR receiver and some other easy available components.

I’m giving some workshops in electronics in a few weeks, centered around an inexpensive, but useful real-world project. When trying to come up with a thing to make, I wanted it to involve a microcontroller, NeoPixel LEDs (because, they’re awesome), be remotely controllable, and allow for different build options. It also had to be fully simulatable in Autodesk Circuits. This is the project that evolved.

Neopixel Night Light using ATtiny85 – [Link]

A1367 – Field programmable linear Hall-effect sensor IC


Allegro MicroSystems Europe has added a field programmable precision linear Hall-effect current sensor IC with features including a 240 kHz bandwidth, integrated voltage regulator, reverse battery protection, user-selectable ratiometry, and uni- or bi-directional output options. By Graham Prophet

The user can configure the sensitivity and quiescent (zero field) output voltage through programming on the VCC and output pins, to optimise performance in the end application. The quiescent output voltage is user-adjustable, around 50% (bidirectional configuration) or 10% (unidirectional configuration) of the supply voltage, VCC, and the output sensitivity is adjustable within the range of 0.6 to 6.4 mV/G (Gauss).

A1367 – Field programmable linear Hall-effect sensor IC – [Link]

Controlling Bus Pirate with Python


Scott Harden show us how to control the Bus Pirate with python and give us example code.

After using the AVR-ISP mkII for years (actually the cheap eBay knock-offs) to program ATMEL AVR microcontrollers, today I gave the Bus Pirate a shot. Far more than just a microcontroller programmer, this little board is basically a serial interface to basic microcontroller peripherals.

Controlling Bus Pirate with Python – [Link]

Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Hardware (Full Documentary)

Future Cities, a full-length documentary strand from WIRED Video, takes us inside the bustling Chinese city of Shenzhen

We examine the unique manufacturing ecosystem that has emerged, gaining access to the world’s leading hardware-prototyping culture whilst challenging misconceptions from the west. The film looks at how the evolution of “Shanzhai” – or copycat manufacturing – has transformed traditional models of business, distribution and innovation, and asks what the rest of the world can learn from this so-called “Silicon Valley of hardware”.

Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Hardware (Full Documentary) – [Link]

Embedded Systems Online Training Resources

Online learning of embedded system and electronics in general still bounded, and this is mainly related to the nature of hardware it self. Anyway, efforts for embedded systems training/learning continue to appear especially with MOOC platforms like Coursera and edX.

In this blog post, i’m not going to talk about MOOC online courses. I’m going to share with you some of dedicated online training centers and university programs for embedded systems.

Online University Certifications:

1-Embedded Systems Engineering Certificate from UCI:

The course schedule has variety of courses that focus on embedded system programming, logic design using VHDL and FPGA, real time systems, motor control and embedded linux.
The brochure contains informations about the fees as the following:
Course fees (4.5 prerequisite, 9 required and 6 elective units) $4,800, textbooks $1,350 , candidacy fee $125 and the total estimated Cost $6,275.
UCI had also created the “An Introduction to Programming the Internet of Things (IOT)” specialization on Coursera.

[Embedded Systems Engineering Brochure]

2-Master of Engineering in Embedded Systems Degree from Arizona State University:

I think it’s one of very rare online master degree for embedded systems.

[Program Information]

Training Centers:


DOULUS focuses mainly on ARM (DOULUS is an ARM Approved Training Center), logic design and embedded linux. They also present a  free online webinar on a regular basis.

[Training] [Webinars]


Feabhas focuses mainly on programming embedded systems. They have a variety of embedded C/C++ courses beside other ARM and RTOS courses.

[Course list]


Opersys was founded by Karim J. Yaghmour, the author of Embedded Android and Building Embedded Linux Systems books. The training courses is about embedded Linux and embedded Android.



Another training center which focuses on embedded linux and embedded Android.


Diode or MOSFET as a Reversed Voltage Protector

Diode or P-channel MOSFET is what you need to protect your circuit from applying reversed voltage, according to a nice video published on Afrotechmods channel.

Method 1:Diode


The simplest way is to use a diode in series with main power supply. When you connect the power source right, the diode anode is connected to positive side and the cathode will take the ground from the rest of the load which is connected to the ground.

The downside of using this method is the heat generated from the diode.
wasted power=Vf*current

So if we use a normal diode like 1n4007 for 2A:

wasted power=0.85*2=1.7W


If you connect the power source in reverse, then the diode will be off, thus protecting the circuit.


Method 1 (enhanced):Schottky Diode

In this way we can reduce the amount of power dissipated by the diode, as long Schottky Diode have a lower forward voltage compared with a normal diode.


Method 2:P-channel MOSFET


You can use P-channel MOSFET like FQP47P0. In this method, when the power supply is connected properly, the Vgs is negative (you need to be above the threshold). When we power on the device, Vs is connected to Vd through the body diode of MOSFET and the MOSFET is on, the equivalent resistance between drain and source is very near to zero, for example Rds(on)=0.026ohm for FQP47P0.

wasted power=I*I*R=2*2*0.026=0.104W

Method 2 (enhanced):P-channel MOSFET with Zener


In this method, we protect the MOSFET from applying Vgs with a limit that exceeds the breakdown voltage.

What Will Happen to Moore’s Law in 2021?

Moore’s law states that the number of transistors doubles every two years. Rachel Courtland from IEEE Spectrum explained the sharp turn of Moore’s law in 2021.

Moore2021Chip manufactures will switch to another way of boosting the density in the chip by having multilayer chips using vertical geometry, and we’ve already seen the 3D concept in silicon chips like 3D NAND Flash. According to 2015 roadmap released by International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), by 2021, shrinking the dimensions of transistors in microprocessors will not be desired economically by chip makers, although the report of 2014 predicted that the physical dimensions would continue to shrink until at least 2028.

According to the article, the spirit of Moore’s Law could still there, where some changes in the technologies will still lead to pack more transistors in a given area.

Rachel also mentioned  that first international Rebooting Computing conference will be held in October this year 2016. It’s “Other ITRS participants are expected to continue on with a new roadmapping effort under a new name” Rachel said.

[Article on IEEE Spectrum]

Dual Adjustable Regulated power supply 1.2V TO 37V DC


This project is a solution to power up most of devices or projects requiring dual (+/-) adjustable power supply. The circuit is based on LM317 positive and LM337 negative voltage regulators. LM3X7 series of adjustable 3 terminal regulators is capable of supplying in excess of 1.5A over a 1.2V to 37V DC output range. On board TO220 Package with heat sink can handle maximum load current. Board provided with two on board preset to adjust the voltage.

Dual Adjustable Regulated power supply 1.2V TO 37V DC – [Link]

Constant Current Sources

What are Constant Current Sources? Find out how they work and why they are useful. Try the circuit!:

Constant Current Sources [Link]

Projecta – Affordable & Faster PCB Prototyping Machine

A.Qadry @ Intelligent Minds tipped us with their latest project, a PCB prototyping machine. They are going to crowdfund the project soon so if you are find it cool you can follow them on their facebook page.

There are mainly two ways in talking about manufacturing, if you are going for a mass production by sure you will use photo-resist dry-films or you can use CNC engraving, Ink- transfer or even 3-D printing during prototyping but in this very first phase you need a fast & easy to use method to produce your prototypes and test your idea without expensive equipment, so that’s why we introduce this affordable machine to the market.

The creative idea we applied in Projecta is we cover the PCB board with any available metallic marker and the machine engraves the ink layer to produce a very high resolution image as resulted in photo-resist dry-films. We are going to a crowdfunding campaign for the mass production and wait your support!

Projecta – Affordable & Faster PCB Prototyping Machine – [Link]