Light beacon for debugging autonomous vehicle

Debugging of project is as equal as building it. You need proper tools and means to see whats going on. If it is a field test, you need some sort of visual feedback. Gal Pavlin have built great looking RGB light beepers that are based on STM32F0 microcontroller. They even made a custom 3D printed cap to make it look finished. The signal light consists of three independent RGB strips controlled by 9 PWM signals generated by STM32F0 microcontroller. LED strips are switched with N-MOSFETs. A separate MOSFET is controlling beeper for audible signal. Microcontroller receives commands from host computer via USB interface which works as virtual serial port. The color depth is 8-bit. The other parameters set by host are color fade time, beep more. For more information refer to GitHub. Continue reading

Handy Atmel SAM D09 board

Atmel produce great ARM Cortex-M microcontrollers that also come in convenient SOIC. One of smallest micros SAM D09C which packs some great features. First of all it is capable of running at 48MHz and includes 8K of FLASH and 4K of RAM. There are 12 GPIO pins available that share Serial interface, ADC, interrupt, SWD, Waveform outputs and so on. And since it is ARM processor, it packs more processing power than similar AVRs. Dan Watson decided to build a SAM D09 development board for easy prototyping and embedding in to any project. He tried to keep the ability of using all functionality of chip, so he included 32.768kHz oscillator for RTC. It also can be used to run the system clock with on-board DFLL or DPLL. Other features include power LED, reset button, user LED, 10-pin cortex debugging header. Also on board you can find CR2032 battery holder that can be used to power the microcontroller or make it as backup source. Continue reading

Internet connected power usage monitor

Our homes are filling with energy hungry devices. Some of them are constantly active like fridge, routers, lighting, some switched off or on stand-by. Each of them takes some portion of energy that reflects on the end month bill. Some things you can control, but some not. So in order to hunt inefficient nodes you need some sort of energy usage monitoring. You can find lots of implementations where some are simple indicators, other are advanced and web enabled. TSalwach @ have built his own version of energy monitoring system which looks really promising. His implementation monitors all three phases where he extracts several parameters: RMS Voltages and currents on each phase Apparent power (product of RMS voltage and RMS current) Real (active) power Reactive power with inductance/capacitance indication (time delay method *) Power factor Frequency (zero crossing detection with linear interpolation) Energy Tariff indication Costs of energy and alternative cost (on single tariff) He used two microcontroller boards to for this task. First one is Raspberry Pi which takes care of web accessibility, data storage and interpretation. The… Continue reading

Highly configurable and programmable TV box with open source firmware

People who have smart TVs sometimes get disappointed with limited functionality, lag and lack of customization. TV box in other hand can give much more flexibility and ability to expand feature list. GeekBox has been working on intelligent TV box which features High performance Octa core 64bit ARM Cortex-A53 processor that includes graphics chip capable of producing 4Kx2K video. There are 2GB+16GB eMMC 5.0 memory on board which ensures fast reading and writing speeds. AP6354 WiFi module gives all latest wireless and Bluetooth communication capabilities. TV box comes in modular design where main board is interfaced using MXM3 interface. So it can be used as development board, expansion board or plug-in board for other devices. Box comes with a set of interfaces you can choose: 2 USB, 1 Micro USB, 1 HDMI 2.0, 1 DC In, 1 RJ45 1000M LAN, 1 TF Card Slot, 1 Fan connector, 1 RTC Battery connector, 1 Serial Port, 1 TP interface, 1 Display interface. Continue reading

Looking for digital oscilloscope? – Try DSO138 from Gearbest

We all agree that hobbyist or engineer should have proper bench oscilloscope for everyday use. They have all standard features including built in screen, interchangeable probes and convenient knob controls. Anyway if you are looking for temporary cheap solution, you can try building your own oscilloscope. Luckily you don’t have to make it from scratch because there are many projects and kits available that are cheap but powerful enough to fit most of basic needs. Continue reading

Bringing retro 8080 retro computer on Stellaris Launchpad

Some people have passion on building old gear simulators on modern hardware. Some of you may remember old BASIC machines that run on 8080 processors. If you look at hardware specs – they were really scarce: 1k of user RAM, 1k of display RAM, 8k for BASIC ROM and 2k of monitor ROM. Simply speaking almost any modern microcontroller can house such parameters inside memory and have more than enough of processing power. jscrane have built an emulator for this machine on Stellaris Launchpad. Launchpad has 16k of RAM which was divided in two parts – 12k for main memory and 2k for the display. It has plenty of flash (256k) where all ROMs can be placed. Simulator supports 30 lines of 40 characters on a display, which is a bit less from original (32×48) but this limitation seems to be on a 240×320 display. There is also an SD drive attached, and PS/2 keyboard. Programs can be loaded from SD card really fast as the programs are limited to 14k. For more info and source files refer to GitHub. Continue reading