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16 Jul 2015


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]

8 Jul 2015

The solar energy collection is not that easy compared to the different types of power generation system because it has the lowest capacity factor. It has 5 out of 24 hours in a day that it can generate electricity from its solar collection. The only solution to this is by optimizing the 5 hours solar energy collection. This design features a solar tracker with Light-Dependent Resistor (LDR). The system is managed by a S08 MCU of Freescale. It has flash and RAM access protection that can be used in embedded development security. The system has its own protection such as illegal opcode detection with reset and illegal address detection with reset. It has also power-saving modes in which a peripheral clock-enable-register can disable the clocks of unused modules.

The design is comprised of a MC9S08PA16AVLC 8-bit MCU, S08 core, 16KB Flash that serves as the main controller of the system. It directs the movement of the servo motor with respect to the data gathered by the LDRs. It has four LDRs that will be able to locate accurately the solar radiation at its optimum point while behind these LDRs is the movable solar panel. The solar panel movement is handled by the servo motor that is also controlled by the MCU. The vertical servo is used to adjust the inclination of the panel while horizontal servo is used to adjust the horizontal position of the panel. The smart battery serves as the energy storage of the solar module that can trip off the supplies produced by the solar panel preventing it from overcharging.

The design is applicable to different types of solar module that will be able to optimize their solar energy application. It can be used in a basic robotic arm development since it features the minor movement capability of a robot or use it as a reference in the development of more sophisticated system.

Optimized Solar Tracking System – [Link]

2 Jul 2015

This design is a basic temperature control for refrigerators that has an electromechanical circuit. It specifically uses MC9RS08KA4CWJR microcontroller which has an 8-bit RS08 central processing unit, 254 bytes RAM, 8Kbytes flash, two 8-bit modulo timers, 2-channel 16-bit Timer/PWM, inter-integrated circuit BUS module, keyboard interrupt, and analog comparator. This project effectively controls temperature of any device using resistors and capacitors.

The refrigerator temperature control is a basic RC network connected to an I/O pin. A variable resistor (potentiometer) is used to modify the time the capacitor takes to reach VIH and adjusting its resistance varies that time. A basic voltage divider with one resistor and one thermistor is used to implement the temperature sensor. The thermistor resistance depends on the temperature. For each temperature, we have a different voltage in the divider. This value is effectively measured with the Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) implemented by software that uses one resistor, one capacitor, and the analog comparator. In addition, VDD and VSS are the primary power supply pins for the MCU. This voltage source supplies power to all I/O buffer circuitry and to an internal voltage regulator. The internal voltage regulator provides a regulated lower-voltage source to the CPU and other MCU internal circuitry.

This temperature control will not only be applicable to refrigerators but also to electronic devices that need temperature monitoring. It is a low cost device that may be integrated to appliances, medical and industrial equipment.

Basic Temperature Control for Refrigerators – [Link]

22 Jun 2015


by Mircea Daneliuc:

An electronics enclosure with HMI ( I2C LCD and keypad) for projects with sensors and relays. Good for any MCU, Arduino, Beaglebone,AVR

I have searched the net high and low to find a professional looking enclosure with an HMI (Human Machine Interface) that I could use in my project involving sensors and relays, but I wasn’t able to find one. Not for a decent price, that is… Most of the Arduino cases or enclosures were nice little boxes with slots for USB and power adapter but with no real functionality, not enabling the microcontroller to relate to the outside world in any way.

Arduino, Beaglebone, MCU enclosure with HMI (LCD & keypad) – [Link]

10 Jun 2015

This project is fit for use in automotive and industrial network applications. As a Controller Area Network (CAN) transceiver, this device provides differential transmit capability to the bus and differential receive capability to a CAN controller at signaling rates up to1Mbps. The device is designed for operation in especially harsh environments and includes many device protection features such as under voltage lockout, over-temperature thermal shutdown, wide common-mode range, and loss of ground protection.

The MC34901WEF serves as an interface between a Controller Area Network (CAN) protocol controller and the physical bus and may be used in both 12V and 24V systems. The digital interface level is powered from a VPWR input supply providing true I/O voltage levels for the controller. The transceiver provides differential transmit capability to the bus and differential receive capability to the CAN controller. Due to the wide common−mode voltage range of the receiver inputs, the transceiver is able to reach outstanding levels of Electromagnetic Susceptibility (EMS). Similarly, extremely low Electromagnetic Emission (EME) is achieved by the excellent matching of the output signals.

The MC33901/34901 are SMARTMOS high-speed (up to 1Mbps) CAN transceivers providing the physical interface between the CAN protocol controller of an MCU and the physical dual wires CAN bus. They meet the ISO11898-2 and ISO11898-5 standards, and have low leakage on CAN bus while unpowered. It consumes very low current in standby mode and features automatic adaptation to 3.3 or 5V MCU communication.

High-speed CAN Transceiver – [Link]

4 Jun 2015

The automotive industries are now into electronics applications in which embedded systems are already part of its major components. In this design, it features the Peripheral Sensor Interface 5 (PSI5), which is the most efficient standard interface of sensors and electronic control units in automotive. It supports complete airbag system that includes system power mode control, supplies for squib firing, satellite sensors, and local Electronic Control Unit (ECU) sensors and ECU logic circuits. It has dedicated safing state machine that complements the airbag’s MCU hardware/software safing approach. The system itself is capable of diagnostics and self-protection.

The design is comprised of MCZ33789 Freescale airbag system basis chip that manages the entire airbag partitions and some major components like squib driver IC, SPI communications with MCU, accelerometer sensor, satellite sensors, and dc sensors for monitoring. The squib driver IC supports air bag modules and seat belt retention that functions with accelerometer sensor. The MCU provide the connection of airbag system with the entire electronic applications of the vehicle. The LC filters are provided to ensure frequency range.

The design is used in different airbag system in which it optimizes the capability of providing safety to users. It can be used for further development of safety system in automotive and other vehicle that is prone to crash or collisions. It can help save lives during accidents.

Airbag System Basis Chip (SBC) with PSI5 – [Link]

26 May 2015


by MIKE BARELA @ adafruit.com:

Trinket lends itself very well to building clock projects, its small and easy to hide behind a larger display. And clocks don’t need a lot of logic, this example only has maybe 20 lines of code. Adding a digital display via I2C is possible using seven segment or character-based displays (with the library code posted for other projects).

This project interfaces Trinket to the the Adafruit DS1307 real-time clock (RTC) breakout board to form a clock. But in a twist, the display is done using two analog meters. One for hours, one for minutes.

The Trinket can output to a meter without digital to analog converters. Trinket has pulse width modulation (PWM) on three of its pins. The meter uses a moving coil inductance movement, acting to average the indication of current flowing through it. If you have narrow pulses, the average voltage it sees is lower, thus the current is lower for the fixed resistance attached to it. For wide pulses, the meter sees nearly the supply voltage and will stay around the full scale. This circuit varies the pulse width sent to the meters proportional to the hour of the day and the minutes after the hour.

Meter Clock using a DS1307 RTC and Trinket Microcontroller – [Link]

22 May 2015


by Steven Keeping @ digikey.com

The wearables market is booming. Statistics aggregator web portal Statista, notes that the global market will be worth over $7 billion this year and $12.6 billion by 2018.

Although the potential rewards are high, this is not an easy market to enter. Designing smart watches or fitness bracelets is tough; consumers expect lots of functionality, smartphone connectivity, compact form-factor, light weight, and long battery life. The introduction of highly integrated, ultra-low-power microprocessors and wireless chips has eased the design process, but squeezing out all of the battery’s power remains key to a wearable product’s success.

This article takes a look at how silicon vendors help wearables designers extend battery life by offering power-frugal displays, microcontrollers (MCU), silicon radios, and power-management chips designed specifically for ultra-low-power applications.

Extending Battery Life in Wearable Designs – [Link]

20 May 2015


This project is a versatile, configurable, and cost effective development board available for the 16F628A or other 18 PIN Microcontroller from Microchip. The board has simplest form with all the Port pins terminating in a Relimate connector (Header Connector) for easy connection to the outside world.

16F628A Microcontroller development board – [Link]

18 May 2015


LAPIS Semiconductor has recently announced the development of a low power microcontroller that has an integrated 8-bit low power MCU core, speech synthesis circuit, highly efficient Class-D speaker amp, non-volatile memory and oscillator circuit on a single chip, making audio playback possible by simply wiring up a speaker.

The ML610Q304 has a typical audio power output of 450 mW operating at 3 V or 1 W at 5 V. The controller includes four 8-bit counters which can be combined to make two 16-bit timers, a three channel 10-bit A/D converter, a two channel SSIO, UART and I2C peripheral interfaces. The memory capacity of the ML610Q304 includes a 96 KB program flash, 2 KB data flash and 1 KB RAM. The dedicated hardware-based audio playback helps reduce CPU loading. Two suggested audio playback formats are 16 kHz 16-bit PCM and 16kHz HQ-ADPCM. The Class-D amp reduces current consumption during audio playback by approx. 40% compared to conventional solutions, making it a good choice for incorporation into mobile battery-powered devices. In recent years a growing number of electronic products are adding voice playback functionality, particularly battery-driven devices that require increased miniaturization and lower power consumption for longer operating life.

8-bit MCU with built-in 1 W Audio Amp – [Link]





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