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

STM32 Nucleo boards enable faster prototyping

ST decided to enter the Arduino and mbed ecosystem with their new STM32 Nucleo boards. I think this is good decision if you want to get more activity with your products. Before we had to figure things out with their discovery boards. Now we have more options to develop ARM applications. First of all Nucleo boards have Arduino like shape that allows plugging most of Arduino shields and instantly have long list of expandability. Another feature is so called “mbed-enabled”. This means that you have option to develop programs using this great open source software platform and online tools. Nucleo boards come with all I/Os available next to Arduino headers. Also you have integrates ST-Link debugger programmer. So you can program, debug without additional tools. If you like you can use it as great prototyping board and use your old skills with regular tools like GCC. Nucleo boards come in several flavors that feature different microcontrollers like F30R8, F103RB, F401RE and L152RE. More boards are to come. Prices start from $10.32 per unit. Continue reading

Real world voice controlled chess game

Playing chess is like a gym for your brain. But how does electronics hobbyists play chess? Well it appears they try to do this in more complicated way. Take a look at CarlsenBot – voice controlled chess game platform. Ben Yeh have built it as final project for his Georgia Tech ECE 4180 class. The project consists of three “smart” parts – an mbed controlled xyz platform that moves chess figures and computer where the actual game is running. Third part is also mbed controller which takes care of speech recognition. Recognition is done using EasyVR module which can be trained to recognize words. So the quality of recognition practically relies on this module. Things gets really messy when mechanics is involved. This is much same as building CNC that has to be aware of heads position and all other that comes with it. But finally prototype works like a charm and there as always is much to polish. Continue reading

Doorbell that never gets boring

Tommi have sent us a notice about his latest project he’s been working on. Its called mbell. And so – it is an interesting wireless doorbell mod which instead of boring ding-dong does interesting things. It actually takes some space on a wall and this is because marble run doorbell. Once guest pushes a button marble is released and goes all the way down to bras bell. Another motor mechanism then returns marble back to start position to accept new guest. The doorbell is based on Mbed microcontroller which does even more than accepting signal from RF receiver and controlling motor. There is also a DS1307 RTC that keeps time. Doorbell has a standard LCD where last ring time is indicated. And another feature – a Wi-Fi notification using RN-XV. It sends a notification to Google talk every time a doorbell is activated. Continue reading

Mbed console with VGA output

Mbed is a great development board based on ARM Cortex microcontroller. It has some power to do fun things like driving VGA and still have enough processing power for custom work. Jordan used Mbed for his work in progress console project. So far he added PS/2 keyboard support, 640×480 VGA output. He already implemented few basic commands like screen info, reboot etc. His next effort goes in to developing programming shell like Forth, BASIC. Initial evaluations are done but it would be better direct port of code to Mbed. Jordan welcomes anyone to contribute. Continue reading

Monitor temperature on your web page with ThingSpeak

This project is build around mbed platform which features LPC1768 ARM Cortex M3 microcontroller. IT reads temperature from DS1620 IC. mbed reads correct time values via Network Time Protocol (NTP) and then logs temperature values to ThingSpeak. ThingSpeak is a great and open application platform that allows users to upload various data by using a web service. It already provides a nice chart API that can be embedded in to your web page for real time data visualization. Check out for more ways to send data to ThingSpeak. Continue reading