Z80 computer with toggle switches as input

We normally call “computer” a device which has processor, display and input like keyboard and mouse. But this them cover much more than personal computer. Single microcontroller chip can be called a computer because it’s main purpose is to compute something. This following project definitelly breaks the understanding on how computer should look like. Jim MacArthur shared pretty interesting concept of computer. He used Zilog Z80 microprocessor which has only 256 bytes of ram. Then he built interesting user interface that consists of toggle switches as input and LED bards as visual feedback. Computer can be programmed with toggle switches where you can store commands and data in different memory addresses and then run same program by pushing clock button. There isn’t much practical use of it, but can be great tool to learn how processors work. Computer is built in laser cut plywood case which comes with rotary handle connected clocking mechanism. So by cranking it you can run program. It think it might serve as nerdy wearable accessory. Continue reading

Bluetooth and Infrared to spice up automation tasks

Bluetooth is an open wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances – this is what Wikipedia says about Bluetooth but what does it mean to have blue tooth capability? Let’s just put it this way when you have an automation going on and you hooked it up with blue tooth capability it simply means that you can control your home with your phone! Mark demonstrates how to use a 0822 Zilog Encore to interface with a Bluetooth module enabling him to wirelessly control relays using commands from his computer – through UART. Really neat stuff going at Mark’s mind, by switching relays on and off he could control appliances and just any other stuff that requires electrical power. He isn’t done yet he took thins to a different level by adding an infrared sensor – which could be used to trigger a buzzer that could serve as an alarm system – controllable via bluetooth. Continue reading

The Outstanding Karaoke and Audio Processor

People love to do different types of activities to kill off their spare time. Some of them enjoy singing with the Karaoke, even they’re dreaming themselves can turn into a singing superstar, just like those ordinary people in the reality shows, “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent”! Well, it’s good to dream big, as it’s one of the momentum to keep us go as far as possible. By the way, if singing is your favorite hobby, maybe you should consider building a Karaoke and Audio processor! It isn’t too hard to develop this project. However, you should know the concept of it first. For your information, this project consists of hardware and software parts. The hardware parts included the Zilog Z8 Encore Evaluation Board and an analog processing board. These components are for conditioning the input analog waveform and processing the PWM output from the Zilog Z8 Encore Evaluation Board. In other hand, the software was developed on the XTools ZDS II IDE. It consist a set of signal processing routines, which allows it to provide features desired in a… Continue reading

Multilab – The Best Tester in Your Electronic Lab!

Do you need some help or assistance when you’re dealing with the electronic projects? Isn’t it frustrated and annoyed, if you cannot find the proper testing tool, especially you’re in the middle of a project? In this case, all you need here is a multilab, but it would be better, if you can create the multilab by your own hand! Theoretically, the multilab is a multipurpose lab test instrument. It has fully equipped with these following components, such as: An Arbitrary function generator, A digital pulse generator, A high-resolution DC voltmeter, and A DC reference source. If you’re suggesting to cut down the cost, then you might want to eliminate the conventional “front panel” and substitute it with a Palm Pilot PDA. In this case, you can keep the whole project’s size becoming even smaller and inexpensive than before. In addition, the Z8 Encore’s DMA channels are also an ideal component for the ‘arb function’, where is allow the irDA encoder/decoder block to implement the IR link to the Palm Pilot much easier and faster! By the way, the Palm… Continue reading

This Ham Radio Repeater Locator is Not For Locating Hams!

When someone talking about “ham”, most people will react that it must be related with the foods! Well, you might be right most of the time, but you got it wrong this time. This Ham Radio Repeater Locator has nothing to do with the “ham”, but it is much important for detecting the locations and communication purposes! Do you know that over the years, the amateur radio “ham” community has successfully built numerous repeaters at many strategic locations all across the United States and worldwide? These repeaters allow the amateurs to communicate over in a longer distance, by using the normally line-of-sight two-meter amateur band, which it mostly from 144 MHz to 148 MHz! It would be an ultimate fun experience to have a 2-meter long transceiver in the car, especially when you’re driving in long distance. The Ham Radio Repeater Locator is consists a “ZiLOG” microcomputer with the accurate locations and frequencies of several thousand repeaters. All the data are being stored safely in its flash memory. This is how the Ham Radio Repeater Locator works: First of all,… Continue reading