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 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 … Continue reading

PIC32 based TFT display board

Color TFT displays bring quite some value to embedded projects. First of all the information can be presented in graphical form and second most – it can be represented with colors. This is why more and more hobbyists like to use them. But once you step into this area you face lots of small problems that may cause some effort to accomplish. First of all, TFT displays come with small pitch film wires and connectors. Second, controlling LCDs may take time. Luckily there are many libraries written to get started with. Herpderp decided to try ILI9320 controller based TFT display. So he built a PIC32 based development board that connects 2.8′ TFT LCD with touch screen. At first he wanted to use one of existing libraries, but found that they … Continue reading

Neat computer resource usage monitor

If you want constantly to keep an eye on computer resources, then you should consider having resource monitor. Software based are easy to set up, but in order to view the info you need to activate the window. In most cases this isn’t convenient as it requires action every time you want to look. It is better to have all info in front of you what ever you are doing near PC. So Ivan started experiments with various set ups. First of all he thought to have a tachometer based CPU LED bar. But eventually monitor evolved in to compact and very informative display. And so, resource monitor is driven by PIC32 microcontroller which connects to computer via USB port. It drives RGB 8×8 LED matrix where each column indicates … Continue reading

Yet another geeky universal remote

This universal remote is more dedicated to SetTopBox(STB) control. The fact is that Ivan wanted to make things more energy efficient and get more comfort. In order to make things working he used a PIC32 microcontroller board as base station which would receive IR commands from remote control. He connected his monitor to STB using HDMI and wanted to power this thing on. So he made it remote controllable. Another thing he did was added a PIR sensor which would boot on STB once movement is detected. So when you sit and click turn thing on – you get almost immediate picture. He also realized that RGB strip light in his room doesn’t need a separate remote. He made it work from same STB remote (where unused VCR/DVD/DVR are). Remote … Continue reading