Ambitious 3D spectrum analyzer holds 1280 LEDs

We have seen many LED cube projects that can generate lots of great effects. Sometimes the problem is that in too large cubes inner layers are hardly visible. So what if to build a LED based rectangle with less layers of LEDs. Dooievriend have found great combination of 3D effect and visibility. He has built 16x16x5 rectangle configuration of blue LEDs that displays spectrum of music being played. The heart of this spectrum analyzer is PIC32 microcontroller running at 80MHz. It has enough power to sample sound and calculate DFT of the signal. It samples input signal at 14kHz and then calculates spectrum frequencies from range 20 – 7000Hz. It refreshes the spectrum graph at 80 FPS so it looks really live. Continue reading

Playing stereo audio with PIC32

PIC32 microcontroller has enough power to many great things. One of these is playing stereo audio. Tahmid thought it would cool to make one of these an a minimal board without audio amps and fancy interfaces. He interfaced microSD card to microcontroller which is accessed with Microchip Memory Disk Drive File System (MDDFS) library. Audio is sampled by using external dual channel MCP4822 12-bid DAC. With this setup he is able to play 16-bit 44.1kHz WAV files. Playback program has an automatic period configuration which enables automatic playback of different resolution and rates like 8-bit, 16-bit mono and stereo. Continue reading

Low budget DIY oscilloscope in a matchbox

It seems that less money you have, more creative you are. Not many dear to start a DIY oscilloscope project since these tools already aren’t that expensive as they were earlier. Anyway there are always hobbyists somewhere in the world that would rather build a tool rather saving to buy. In my opinion, oscilloscope is must have tool on a bench and if possible good one. So if your budget is short to buy one, ajoyraman offers his plans on $15 scope. Oscilloscope doesn’t come with display, so it has to be connected to PC. He made sure that software is a multi-platform where Visual basic was used to to build windows compatible part, while Python for Linux. Scope has two channels with sampling frequency from 1Mbps to 20Mbps. Other features are like on common scopes including triggering on both edges, selectable gains, different capturing modes including single, repeat and store. Most of work is done on PC software where you can select various parameters and see graphs. Here you can zoom, copy, save images as you would like. Scope… Continue reading

PIC32 Based breakout Board

Everyone has been in a situation, while prototyping your project you are in a need of more power and easy to configure peripherals. The requirement might not be easily met by an 8-bit Arduino which currently seems to be the best way to prototype your project faster. There are situations, where you need a microcontroller with fairly large number of pins, but most of them are available in SMD package which are so hard to solder. So Gaurav has come up with a breakout-board for his own, which is based on PIC32 based controller few necessary peripherals like bunch of LED ,few switches , USB , EEPROM , V-Reference for ADC ,Oscillator and Voltage regulators too. The cost of the board has been tried to keep as low as possible and the most important thing, the board is bread-board compatible. The board boast off two on-board oscillator, an altimeter and temperature sensor along with a digital compass. It has also has a combination of different types of LED’s and few user switches. The board seems to be a good choice… Continue reading

Building a pulse meter using ChipKIT

chipKIT is a great PIC32 based Arduino like development board designed by digilent. They have made quite a bunch of them since last time I have checked. Additionally they are taking care of numerous shields that allow quick and easy interfacing and developing cool things. Embedded-lab has been doing a nice chipKIT tutorial series. This time they are building a pulse meter using several building blocks – chipKIT Uno32, Basic I/O shield and Easy pulse sensor along with their Easy Pulse sensor board. Everything plugs in nicely while leaving soldering iron cold. Pulse waveform is captured with on Analog input and displayed on I/O shield graphical LCD. Program also calculates Beats Per Minute (BPM) value. Continue reading

DRUM-MACHINE 2.0

DRUM-MACHINE is a device which is modelled on classic machines like the ROLAND TR808. However, this version is digital and not analogue in nature and only require a single microcontroller which is PIC24 in this case to work. The PIC has 128kb of memory which is enough to store audio samples. Another advantage of PIC24 is it is capable of running at 40MHZ of frequency which is quite fast. However the author switched to PIC32 in the later stages as he couldn’t get the prototype working. The advantage of PIC32 was that the user has full-access to flash memory s so it made the code part easier. Talking about the DRUM, the drum features 16 different instrument which are stored in flash memory along with 16 step patters with 16 pattern per song. It also has 8 sample polyphony, which are sample from classic drum machines. Another advantage is it can drive audio headphones directly or a speaker via a TPA301 IC. The data is displayed using a Nokia 5110 LCD and there are also a combination of 20 LED’s… Continue reading