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

MSP430 based wristwatch

Wristwatches are having hard time to compete with other gadgets like cell phones. Unless they have something unique to offer. The only way is to build one by yourself like guy from 41j did. As a clock base he used an eZ430 development board interfaced with Nokia graphical LCD. So far watch is displaying accurate time in decimal and binary format. Software still needs some tweaking when speaking about efficiency, because it drains battery power pretty fast. Using sleep modes should increase run time to more than few days. Anyway Nokia LCD is still a big energy eater, probably it would be nice to use more efficient indicators. Anyway here it is – customizable, programmable watch that is unique. Continue reading

Taking Time-lapsed Pictures Using the MSP430

TI’s MSP430 has attracted a lot of microcontrollers enthusiasts (that includes me) not just because its crazily cheap $4.30 but it also has the basic features that you would need to get your project going. Not to mention the Code Composer Studio that is used to program the microcontroller is also competitive. VistaQuest VQ1005 – an old fashioned digital camera that was opened (by the owner not me no no no) up a couple of years ago. The first approach was to use the 555 timer integrated circuit to trigger the camera at timed intervals and when you get the photos together you’ll end up having a time lapsed  photo – neat huh, simple but it could do the job. The only problem was that there is a time interval restriction since the VistaQuest VQ1005 will go to sleep mode when there is no activity for a certain period of time. How did he go through the modification? Its actually quite simple. A tap was made on the the camera trigger (the one that you click to take a picture) when this… Continue reading

TI LaunchPad RGB LED table spectrum analyzer

Student team on Texas Instruments have designed astonishing RGB LED table which is controlled by MSP430 LaunchPad. Table is divided in to 8×16 RGB LED matrix which is driven by 8 TLC5940 16-channel LED drivers. What makes this table unique is that it is able to generate FFT patterns along music played around. They used a FFTW C library for calculating discrete FFT. PC software calculates data table and then sends it to MSP430 microcontroller so it could update table image. This table shall rock the party. Continue reading

MSP430 counts car lap times

In this simple project MSP430 launchpad has been taken in to car race. Bluevault has sent us a short notice about his SLOT car lap time calculator based on MSP430 microcontroller. Setup is very simple – cars are detected with reed switches under each track lane. Timer counts time and displays values on standard HD44780 LCD. Such small improvement pushes hobby in to new level. Continue reading

MSP430 takes care of chicken coop door

Those who have chicken know that there are some routine tasks that need to be done when taking care of them. One of them is opening coop door early in the morning and closing it in late eve. Christian automated this process so door would open when sun rises. This releases from getting early and opening it. You know how sweet sleep can be sometimes… Solar-powered automated chicken coop door opening in the morning from Christian Wolpert on Vimeo. The system is controlled by MSP430 microcontroller which is powered from 2.1W solar panel. Of course motor activator needs more power, so it has an accumulator that is used when activator is engaged. During day time accumulator is charging from same solar panel. Sunrise is detected with simple photovoltaic detector. This is great autonomic and efficient system that is once set and forget. Continue reading

Making MSP430 useful

Markus had a spare MSP430 microcontroller have decided to make simple alarm clock of it. He used a four digit 7 segment LED display controlled via 74HC164 shift registers. He connected two push buttons for interactions. And finally he added a buzzer to play alarm tunes. He made it really miniature and power efficient. It draws about 10µA in standby mode. So set and forget for about 10 years. Continue reading