Turn-key PCB assembly services in prototype quantities or low-volume to mid-volume production runs

Surveyor robot with DSP on board

This is really huge project that is impossible to review in few sentences. Surveyor or so called SVR-1 robot is designed by Surveyor Corporation. Robot platform is equipped with wireless and video modules. It can operate autonomously or operated remotely via wireless Internet connection and console. From embedded systems perspective interesting part is Blackfin BF537 DSP processor (1000 integer MIPS). Processor is used as main heart to control robot platform, run on-board interpreted C programs, capture images, compress and transmit them via WLAN. All these tasks of course wouldn’t be impossible without uClinux embedded OS. Probably the most exiting part of this project, that all development is based on OpenSource tools. uClinux is compiled with GNU tool-chain. Console is running by using Python software. Also all necessary schematics and firmware are available for download for studying or maybe building one. But probably this is easier to order one and enjoy the ride. Continue reading

Large 25×25 LED sign board

Bright LEDs are cheap today. So many new projects with large amount of LEDs can be done. But there is one problem – large amount of LEDs consume large amount of energy. This is a project that implements special technique that allows driving efficiently hundreds of LEDs. This is a large PCB where 25×25 (625 total) LED grid is soldered. Resistors and transistors are positioned around the edges of message board. That entire grid is controlled by AVR Atmega164 microcontroller. Displaying technique works as follows: microcontroller scans all display row by row through multiplexer. Scanning speed is fast enough to see all non flickering images. Project is published as open hardware. PCB and AVR-GCC project files are free to download. But if you want it quicker – you can always get a kit. Continue reading

Atmega128 development board with MMC/CD slot

It is always good to have handy microcontroller development board where you could test, debug embedded programs. Generally speaking development boards have to be universal and also convenient for interfacing. So usually when people make these tings usually build in some periphery to be ready to use like RS232 interface, MMC/SD slots. So here is one development board with ATmega128 microcontroller which is small but has lots of functionality ready to go like RS232, RS485, ISP, JTAG, MMC/SD connectors. Also it has 62kB of external RAM – so you can run really serious programs without wary. Don’t forget other interfaces like I/O, I2C, SPI, and RTC that are positioned in two additional pin-headers. Continue reading

Video camera switcher with motion detection

Video switcher allows monitoring up to 4 security video cameras. Interesting thing is that device uses intelligent method of motion detection. PIC grabs low resolution (8×8) video frames and then calculates numeric sums of screen regions to detect motion by detecting image changes. Of course it may seem that PIC microcontrollers are too slow for taking frame or even single video line at once. So it reads one sample per video line while line skewing has no practical difference. This way it collects all 64 data points. The Source File only implements the 4 cameras. You can connect any number from 1 to 4 and the software will sort out the detection and switching. Motion on any video input switches the output immediately to that source. Continue reading

Digital thermometer with large 7 segment LED display

Thermometer is based on PIC16F628 microcontroller which reads temperature data from DS1820 sensor. All three 7 segment indicators are connected to TPIC6B595 shift register. Registers are able to drain current for LED indicators that are powered from 12V voltage. Temperature sensor is capable to rank values from 0 to 99.5ºC with 0.5ºC accuracy. No negative values (hopefully temperature value won’t drop below zero). Program code is written for CCS C compiler. Great source to learn how to read data through 1-wire and drive powerful 7 segment LED displays. Continue reading

PIC PAL video OSD superimposer

This project really pushes 8-pin PIC microcontroller to its limits. It takes only a few elements and can do really cool things with your PAL TV screen. It simply adds various text effects to PAL composite video signal in real-time. The circuit is overclocked with 25MHz crystal and it works fine. Super imposer uses the same video signal to synchronize itself by detecting 28us low-level pulse in comparator input. After synchronization, super imposer sends text constructed from 5×7 elements stored in RAM memory. Only two colours can be imposed – black and white. Project files are here. You can also see working Super imposer Youtube. Continue reading