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

Controlling TI launchpad from GUI

When you need to do simple hardware tests or hacks, usually you need to write a chunk of microcontroller code which would read some analog data, drive some pins of generate PWM. In many cases you may find yourself doing this over and over again. This doesn’t give any excitement and takes your time. Jaspreet Singh decided to make this routine much easier. As he is a fan of MSP430 microcontroller he focused on these and wrote a simple GUI using Visual C#. The project consists of two parts – a microcontroller firmware and PC software. They both talk to each other using serial interface. Currently it allows setting pins HIGH/LOW, read ADC and generate PWM. This already looks great but it seems that project didn’t stop at this point and new features will be coming soon. We should see LCD interfacing, SPI, I2C and probably more. Continue reading

Kitchen timer sound like a duck

Kitchen timer is necessary gadget in a kitchen. Some dishes require precise timing to cook so best option is to set timer and wait for signal to finish what you started. Most kitchen timers are mechanical that have bell sound or electronic with beep alarm. What if you want something different like duck quack? Tom took MSP430 launchpad and build his own kitchen timer with four seven segment LED displays. He multiplexed display LEDs with 74HC164 shift register in order to have few pins left for buttons and alarm trigger. Probably the most catching thing in this project is alarm – its been made of quacking duck head which comes with separate batteries – launchpad only has to send triggering signal when alarm needs to be sounded. Quack quack and you’re done. Continue reading

IV-18 clock design based on Ti launchpad

Clocks in a tubes always guarantee positive reaction. They are bright, unique and proves that you’re better than flashing LEDs. Cubeberg have designed IV-18 vfd display based clock. It is powered by Ti launchpad. IV-18 is a vintage Russina tube. It needs a voltage booster to work correctly. It was build using voltage booster using MC34063. Display also needs a driver. Max6921 works well here. It seems that clock function is running in software. Additionally there is a piezo buzzer to sound alarm and optional DS18B20 based temperature sensor for display surrounding temperature. Author plans to put it in laser cut case after its finished. Continue reading

TI Launchpad power meter using INA219 IC

Measuring power is number one task when you need to control it’s usage. And there are many various ways of measuring power, but probably better is to use specialized chips to do the task. Here is a simple project on a TI launchpad which measures power using TI’s INA219 current/power monitor chip. It is interfaced using I2C. It accepts voltages up to 26V and currents from -4 to 4A. Launchpad reads current, voltage and wattage and displays values on Nokia 5110 LCD display. Program is written in C++ language that can be expanded with more functionality like graphing, logging and PC interface. Continue reading

Game shield for MSP430

Not everyone adores Arduino and this is great because other systems are great too. MSP430 has gained popularity since cheap launchpad release. So if you like MSP430 here are great news – a Launchpad GamingPack was developed that enables developing video games without digging too deep in resource hungry applications. Gaming Pack shield has two ports for NES gaming controllers – no problem to build two player games. The power lies inside FPGA which takes care of 400×300 VGA and sound output. Shield uses same rendering technique as in the Gameduino. Shield communicates to launchpad using SPI interface. There are several games developed to demonstrate it capability. These include Brick breaker, Tetris, and well known space invader. Examples can be found at GitHub. Continue reading

Wireless liquid level measurement using non contact pressure sensor

Liquid levels can be measured using several methods. Like capacitive, ultrasonic or pressure. Capacitive method limits its use with flammable liquids. Ultrasonic in other hand seems to be to complex for such task. Pressure method is what you need for simple measurements. In following project MPX2010 differential pressure sensor is used where on end is dipped in to liquid using tube. using simple static liquid pressure formula its height can be estimated easily. Design is split in to two parts – transmitting and receiving. So transmitter with sensor can be placed in some radius without worrying about wires. Transmitter and receiver are simple and cheap 433Mhz RF modules. Both parts are powered by MSP430 microcontrollers from TI. Continue reading