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16 Jul 2015

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by Leo Kelion @ bbc.com:

The BBC has revealed the final design of the Micro Bit, a pocket-sized computer set to be given to about one million UK-based children in October.

The device – which features a programmable array of red LED lights – includes two buttons and a built-in motion sensor that were not included in a prototype shown off in March.

But another change means the product no longer has a slot for a thin battery.

That may compromise its appeal as a wearable device.

An add-on power pack, fitted with AA batteries, will be needed to use it as a standalone product.

The BBC’s director general Tony Hall said the device should help tackle the fact children were leaving school knowing how to use computers but not how to program them.

BBC Micro Bit computer’s final design revealed – [Link]

10 Jul 2015

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Brian Dorey has designed and built a PIC24 development board, that is available at GitHub:

One problem we found was trying to prototype code using this microcontroller as unlike Arduino and any ARM microcontrollers there isn’t a small easy to use prototyping board available for the PIC24 chip. Microchip make an Explorer 16 Development Board which is designed to work with the PIC24 microcontrollers but it is large and fairly expensive and is designed to work best with other Microchip addon cards.

With this problem in mind we decided to design and build a small prototyping board that would work with the PIC24FJ128GC006 as well as one of Microchips DSPIC33EP256MU806 dsPIC series microcontrollers. The prototyping board was designed with removable daughter boards for the microcontroller.

Designing a PIC24 development board – [Link]

8 Jul 2015

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by Les Hughson @ edn.com:

The ATMega168 is a great general purpose 8-bit AVR microcontroller from Atmel. It has 23 GPIO pins, but sometimes (as I have found) you can run out of I/O pins as your design grows. This happened to me recently when, of the 23 GPIO pins available, 2 were taken up by an external ceramic resonator, 1 for the reset line, 3 for serial coms, 14 for the LCD, and 3 for RGB LED control. This used all 23 GPIO pins, with none left for the four buttons I needed. What to do? This Design Idea has the solution.

A close look at the ATMega168 data sheet revealed that the I/O pins available on the 28-pin DIP package and on the 32-pin TQFP package are not all the same. On the TQFP package, there are an additional pair of VCC & GND pins and an additional two ADC input pins on top of the advertised 23 GPIOs. So if I could read my 4 buttons with these extra ADC inputs, all would be OK and the design would be saved.

Read multiple switches using ADC – [Link]

7 Jul 2015

This circuit is designed for dedicated graphic display applications. It shows the basic configuration of personal computer hardware and functions. It is a generic type of a processing unit that handles display and improves image quality. It also manages data transfer from flash drives and other serial devices such as computer mouse and keyboard.

The design is comprised of different parts that serve different functions. The PX1011B-EL1 device is a high-performance, low-power, single-lane PCI Express electrical PHYsical layer (PHY) that handles the protocol and signaling between FPGA and Motherboard. The FPGAs or field-programmable gate arrays serves as the main processors of this designed circuit. It is configured to process data at very fast rate and control bidirectional data buses including I/Os for the display. It has memory interfaces that handle the SRAM, DRAM, and Flash memory. It also has accelerator functions that handle displays and other monitoring applications and fixed peripherals that handle GIGe, USB, CAN, I2C, SD, UART and GPIO. The Static Random Access Memory (SRAM) device is a memory component that is used as a cache memory of FPGA. The Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) stores bits of data in separate capacitor within an integrated circuit. It also serves as the main memory element so that the FPGA’s work will be lessened. The PTN36242L is a dual port SuperSpeed USB 3.0 redriver IC that enhances signal quality by performing receive equalization on the deteriorated input signal followed by transmit de-emphasis maximizing system link performance. The USB microcontroller is a programmable interface chip that is used to integrate USB 2.0 port. The USB 2.0 is provided for longer cable length applications. The PCA24S08A is Electrically Erasable and Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM), which allow you to reprogram the VID/PID for the USB device Identification.

The CBTL06122AHF device is a six-channel (‘HEX’) multiplexer for display port and PCI express Gen2 applications and provides four differential channels capable of switching and multiplexing applications. The PTN3361B device is a high-speed level shifter which converts four lanes of low-swing AC-coupled differential input signals to DVI v1.0 and HDMI v1.3a compliant open-drain current-steering differential output signals, up to 1.65 Gbit/s per lane and it is connected to a HEX multiplexer. The design is practically excellent since it considers the components’ cost. It can be used for commercial applications and as a reference for CPU development. It is also suitable for data management applications such as accounting or inventory.

Supercomputing Video Card for Personal Computer – [Link]


6 Jul 2015

This project is an automatic pet feeding system using NXP Semiconductors’ PCA8565. The PCA8565 is a CMOS1 real time clock and calendar optimized for low power consumption. A programmable clock output, interrupt output and voltage-low detector are also provided. All address and data are transferred serially via a two-line bidirectional I2C-bus with a maximum bus speed of 400kbps. The built-in word address register is incremented automatically after each written or read data byte. It provides a year, month, day, weekday, hours, minutes and seconds based on a 32.768kHz quartz crystal. It features alarm and timer functions, low current, and extended operating temperature range of -40 degrees Celsius to +125 degrees Celsius. It further contains an 8-bit year register that can hold values from 00 to 99 in BCD format. It also compensates for leap years, thus leap year correction is automatic.

The electronic part of the device is just an alarm clock based on NXP PCA8565. The alarm initiates an interrupt that awakes the microcontroller. The later one sends a signal to the motor to control its forward and reverse mechanism. The dc motor must make a full turn and stop in the initial position to be ready for the next loading. This is achieved by an opto-interrupter OBP625, which provides a feedback to the microcontroller to stop powering the motor. The motor itself is controlled by PWM based on the timer IC in order to slow it down to a practical speed. The current time and the alarm time are displayed by a 4-digit LED display combined from two HDSP-521E 2-digit displays. Time to display is selected by a 3-state slider connected to pins RA0 and RA1 of PIC16F684. In the middle position of this switch both inputs are pulled up (internally). Two buttons at inputs RA4 and RA5 accomplish time setting and alarm setting. The LED display is controlled by SAA1064. The controller and PIC communicate via the I2C interface. The display is turned OFF after 10 seconds upon release of any button. This is achieved by simply turning OFF the controller and display power by a MOSFET IRLML6402 when the voltage on pin RC2 of PIC becomes 5V.

Food and water are two essential elements for keeping pets happy and healthy. But what happens if you have to work all day, can you imagine that starving look when you come home? As a pet owner, you have to find a way that your pet is fed on time. Keep your pet well fed when you’re away using the automatic pet feeder. You never have to worry about rushing home or working late. It ensures that your pets never miss a meal and maintain their regular eating schedule.

Automatic Pet Feeder – [Link]

3 Jul 2015

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by Florian Schäffer:

This simple electronic dice is an ideal starter project to introduce youngsters and those still young at heart to the dark arts of microcontrollers and circuit building. We take you step by step through the process. For your troubles you will build a useful electronic dice. It will put an end to you scrabbling around under the table to retrieve a dice that’s been carelessly tossed and also an end to cheating… It landed on a six! It really did… yeah right.

This simple circuit simulates the rolling of a dice (or ‘die’ to pedants). When the roll button is pressed the display shows random numbers in the range of one to six, after a while the display settles with one number on the LED display.

Tiny-Dice: Electronic Dice Using an ATtiny2313 – [Link]

30 Jun 2015

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Kevin Rye has written an article detailing his new Mini 7-segment clock v3:

I hope the LEGO minifig gives you a good sense of scale. This clock is pretty small. It’s amazing how small the Mini Clock has become after just 3 iterations. Just look at how small it is compared to version 1 and version 2.

Mini 7-Segment Clock V3 – [Link]

29 Jun 2015

PIC004

The PIC 40 / 28 PIN (DIP) Development / Evaluations board demonstrates the capabilities of Microchip’s 8-bit microcontrollers, specifically, 28- and 40-pin PIC16FXXX, PIC16F1XXX, and PIC18 devices. It can be used as a standalone demonstration board with a programmed part. With this board you can develop and prototype with all Microchip’s 40 & 28 PIN PIC microcontrollers which doesn’t require crystals (External Oscillator). On board connector for UART (RX-TX) allows an easy connection with embedded hardware. The board has a Reset switch and status LEDs.

40 & 28 PIN PIC Development Board – [Link]

29 Jun 2015

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by sameer:

We always try to know the physical and electrical data like temperature, pressure, current, ac voltage etc. In this project, I’m going to display these data in the real time as well as I’ill record it to a memory card(SD/microSD/MMC card). Here the project can display four different things; ac voltage, environment temperature, relative humidity and the real time in 12 hrs format.

SD Card Data Recorder – [Link]

29 Jun 2015

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by Dani Eichhorn :

It’s amazing what you can do with just a few components: a load cell, a high gain analog-to-digtal converter and a NodeMCU module. You can for instance measure the water consumption of your dear plants. If you combine the previous mentioned components with a OLED display you can even visualize the current water level in the plant pot. And if the level reaches a critical low you can have it send an alarm message to your cellphone. Now connect everything and give it a name: Thirsdee is born!

ESP8266: Meet Thirsdee, the Intelligent Plant Helper – [Link]



 
 
 

 

 

 

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