20 Segment Jumbo Size SPI BarGraph Display

Jumbo 20 Segment SPI (Serial) bar graph driver using 74HC595 serial to parallel converter IC and BC635 display driver transistor. This project is useful for application like Amusement machines, arcade gaming, voltage display, current display, pressure sensor display, temperature sensor display , process control equipment, battery condition monitor and many more. Each segment of display consist 10 LED Bargraph display. It is easy to view from long distance, and easy to control by Micro-Controller.

20 Segment Jumbo Size SPI BarGraph Display – [Link]

Acusis – array microphone for speech recognition

An echo-canceling, far-field, linear array microphone for speech recognition and voice communications.

Acusis is a simple-to-use, complete solution for improving the audio quality for your speech recognition or video communications project. It solves multiple audio issues in a single device that mounts on a TV or monitor and hooks up to your Mac, PC, or single-board computer with standard USB protocols.

Acusis – array microphone for speech recognition – [Link]

Spinduino – IoT Fidget Spinner

IoT Fidget Spinner with Bluetooth Low Energy and POV LED Display by Uri Shaked.

A smart, programable Fidget Spinner with the following features:

  • JavaScript programmable
  • 10-Pixel RGB PoV display (using APA102 LEDs)
  • Spin count / speed detection using a magnetic latch
  • Using Nordic Semiconductor nRF52832 chip
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communication with smart phone / computer for controlling the display, reading the spin count and programming
  • Over-the-air firmware upgrades
  • Fully open-source

Spinduino – IoT Fidget Spinner – [Link]

4-port NanoHub – tiny USB hub for hacking projects

Muxtronics @ tindie.com sells their 4-port NanoHub board:

The NanoHub 4-port is a natural evolution of the original 2-port NanoHub – a truly tiny USB hub to use in the most cramped of spaces. Nanohub 4-port is bigger and better! Even though it boasts twice as many downstream ports (effectively tripling its usefulness; providing 3 extra USB ports instead of just 1), it is only 4mm wider (1/8″). Also, by popular request, ESD protection diodes are included on the input and output ports, meaning you can safely use the NanoHub 4-port with user-accessible ports, where you might zap the port contacts with static electricity. Lastly, the power traces have gotten a slight boost; you can now draw up to 4A on the output ports (combined, sustained).

4-port NanoHub – tiny USB hub for hacking projects – [Link]

RELATED POSTS

ESP8266 based e-paper WiFi weather station

Erich Styger documented his experience building Daniel Eichhorn’s e-paper weather station with a custom enclosure:

Using e-paper for a weather station is an ideal solution, as the data does not need to be updated often. By default, the station reaches out every 20 minutes for new data over WiFi and then updates the display. Daniel Eichhorn already has published kits for OLED (see “WiFi OLED Mini Weather Station with ESP8266“) and touch display (see “WiFi TFT Touch LCD Weather Station with ESP8266“). I like them both, but especially the TFT one is very power-hungry and not really designed to work from batteries. What I would like is a station which can run for weeks.

ESP8266 based e-paper WiFi weather station – [Link]

STMicro Introduces 20 Cents MCU in 8-Pin Package

STMicro has launched STM8S001J3, a new 8-bit micro-controller that sells for $0.20 per unit in 10k quantities. STM8S001J3 is also the first STM8 MCU offered in 8-pin package (SO8N), and should compete with some of the Microchip Attiny or PIC12F series micro-controllers.

STM8S001J3 has small package and little number of pins, but still it embeds rich set of peripherals. Below some of key features of this device:

  • Core and system
    • Flexible clock control capable to use three clock sources: 2 internal (HSI 16MHz, LSI 128kHz), 1 external clock input.
    • Wide operating voltage range: from 2.95V to 5.5V
    • 5 I/Os
    • 8- and 16-bit timers
  • Memories
    • 8k Flash
    • 1k RAM
    • 128 Bytes EEPROM
  • Conenctivity and debug
    • UART
    • SPI
    • I2C
    • Single Wire Interface Module
  • Analog
    • 10-bit ADC with 3 channels

Nerdonic Atom X1 is the World’s Smallest 32-bit Arduino Compatible Board

Tiny 32-bit Dev Board. 14.9mm², Breadboard, 0.95g, 3-20V input, I²C, 8 PWM, Serial, 6 ADC, Prog LED.

There is a new board in the ecosystem which claims to be the world’s smallest 32-bit Arduino board. The name of it Atom X1 and measures 14.9×14.9 mm.

Atom X1 specifications:

  • MCU – Microchip Atmel  SAMD21 Cortex M0+ MCU @ 48 MHz with 256KB flash, 32KB SRAM
  • I/Os via 2x 5-pin 2.54mm pitch headers
    • Up to 8x digital I/O
    • Up to 8x PWM
    • Up to 6x analog (ADC)
    • 1x UART
    • 1x I2C
    • 1x reset
    • Limits – 3.7V, 7mA
  • USB – 1x micro USB port
  • Programming – via micro USB port or SWD header
  • Misc – Power LED, user LED, button
  • Power Supply
    • 3.3-20V (regulated to 3.3v) via power Pin 1
    • 3.3V via power pin 2
    • 5V (regulated to 3.3v) via Micro USB port
    • Current Draw Atom X1 = ~10mA
  • Dimensions – 14.9 x 14.9 x 4.4mm
  • Weight – 0.95 grams

The board is breadboard compatible, pre-flashed with Arduino Zero bootloader, and can be programmed in the Arduino IDE just like the original board.

The project has been launched on Indiegogo. Early bird rewards start at 10 GBP (~$13.2 US) for the board with shipping adding 2 GBP to the UK, and 7 GBP to the rest of the world. Delivery is scheduled for December 2017.

Rigol general-purpose 200MHz scopes from under €600

RIGOL Technologies introduces its new DS2000E Series Oscilloscope, a 200MHz, 2 channel scope that continues RIGOL‘s tradition of combining unmatched capabilities at unprecedented price points to transform the test and measurement industry.

The DS2000E is available at either 100MHz or 200MHz bandwidths.  All models provide 2 analog channels with 50 Ω input impedance standard.  With real-time sample rate of 1GS/Sec (on both channels), memory depth of up to 28Mpts standard, and waveform capture rate up to 50,000 wfms/sec, the DS2000E provides the raw instrument performance required to meet today’s more advanced debug challenges.  When coupled with the large 8 inch WVGA intensity graded display, complete network connectivity, hardware waveform record/playback, serial trigger and decode, and other advanced analysis capabilities, starting at just $647, engineers and technicians will see RIGOL has again transformed the price performance assumptions in the Basic Oscilloscope Market.

Rigol general-purpose 200MHz scopes from under €600 – [Link]

Bosch BME280 sensor combines pressure, humidity and temperature measurement

Bosch Sensortec announces a world first in sensor technology: the BME280 Integrated Environmental Unit combines sensors for pressure, humidity and temperature in a single package. This unique sensor has been developed to support a broad range of emerging high performance applications such as indoor navigation, home automation control, personalized weather stations and innovative sport and fitness applications. The precise altitude measurement function of the BME280 is a key requirement in applications such as indoor navigation with floor tracking where exceptional accuracy, low temperature drift and high resolution are needed. Additionally, the BME280 has a best-in-class response time of just one second for humidity determination, excellent ambient temperature measurement and low energy consumption.

More precise measurement at lowest power consumption

With a small footprint of just 2.5 x 2.5 mm2and a height of 0.93 mm in a space-saving 8-pin LGA package, the sensor offers high design flexibility and is ideally suited for mobile devices with limited space such as smartphones, tablets, smart watches and electronic wristbands. Very low current consumption of only 3.6 µA (at 1 Hz) makes the BME280 Integrated Environmental Unit particularly suitable for battery-driven applications. Three power modes and separately configurable oversampling rates for pressure and temperature measurements allow designers to adapt the BME280 to a wide range of use cases.

The humidity sensor within the Integrated Environmental Unit measures relative humidity (0% to 100%) across a wide temperature range from -40°C to +85°C with a fast response time of less than 1 second. The humidity measurement accuracy is ±3% with a hysteresis of 2% or better, and the temperature reading accuracy is within 0.5°C.

more details on the Bosch Press Release.

Three Ways to Make Arduino Works As A USB/TTL Converter

Even if you have years working with electronics, you will still find some simple hacks that you never thought about before. Personally and to save money, when I was a student with a very limited budget I knew that my Arduino UNO can work as a USB/TTL(serial) converter. I used to remove the Atmega328P from my Arduino UNO R3 board in order to use the board as a converter not as a development board.

Why we need to do some tweaking to Arduino in order to use 0 and 1 pins for direct USB <-> UART conversion? This is because of what’s called fan-out (fan-out of a logic gate output is the number of gate inputs it can drive). In Arduino UNO case, the RX & TX lines (pins 0 and 1) are connected to FT232RL/Atmega8U2 USB to TTL bridge and to the Atmega328P MCU (check the schematic). So using the same pins with an external connections without doing any changes to Arduino UNO board probably won’t work.

Patel Darshil over Hackster.io listed three ways to make Arduino works as a USB/TTL converter:

Hack #1: Set Pin 0&1 Mode to Input Mode

This is done using code:

Pin Mode Set Arduino

But why this solves the problem? Well, GPIO can operate in two modes, input and output. In the input mode the equivalent impedance of the pin is too high; therefore, the Arduino/Atmega328P’s pins will have almost no electrical effect to the converter RX/TX pins.

Hack #2: Keep Atmega in Reset Mode

Just connect the RES pin with GND (the bold red wire in the image bellow)

Arduino Reset
Image Courtesy of Patel Darshil

GPIOs are configured using special registers. For example, Atmega has GPIO port data direction register (DDR) to set the GPIO as an input or an output for each port. The value of this register is cleared during reset. Therefore, the MCU’s GPIOs mode will be input. This means high impedance, subsequently.

Hack #3: Remove The MCU

This is the common way used by most Arduino UNO users, but it’s not applicable when it comes to new versions of Arduino; where, the MCU is SMD and can’t be removed.