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

Solar power converter based on PIC

Solar power converter based on PIC

The best way to power remote electronics is to use renewable energy source backed with battery pack. It can be wind, sun or other physical phenomenon based generator. Microchip describes how to get maximum power out of solar plant. We all know that sun activity is irregular and in order to get useable voltage source there is a DC-DC converter needed. Application note explains the use case of 10V solar panel with 2.5A short circuit current. It is used to charge 24-volt battery. In order to get 24V there is a boost converter used which is controlled by PIC16F690. Microcontroller monitors current and voltage from solar panel and drives boost converter oscillator. Power converter is equipped with over-voltage protection which ensures that output voltage doesnt exceed required to charge 24V battery. Application note can be great resource to build any type of solar converter. It in detail discusses the elements of converter, methods of components selection and software routine to get maximum out of solar panel. Continue reading

Rapper – remote control doubler

remote control doubler

We use remote controls pretty intensively at home. They are great to control devices within your sight without moving a muscle. Well you still need to move your thumb… Anyway there are some remote control commands that are needed right away. Imagine situation when your phone rings and you want to mute TV so you could talk. It takes some effort to find remote, find right button and click it. In that time phone can stop ringing. TO avoid situations like that, asgard built a rapper – a device which is able to record and repeat remote control sequence once triggered. In order to activate it, all is needed to hammer your knuckles on the table. This activates piezo transducer and device sends IR commands. Rapper is based on tiny PIC12F510 microcontroller which uses TSOP34836 IR receiver for recording IR commands from any remote control. Asgard wanted to make it as a gift so designed nice enclosure which he intends to laser cut. Continue reading

PIC wristwatch uses three sandwich PCBs

Wristwatches are interesting areas to experiment and find something new. Each hobby design shows some crazy ideas. Matseng also decided to give a try and made pretty interesting wristwatch. It is based on PIC16F1824 microcontroller that is powered by CR1216 lithium coin cell. Practically there is nothing special about this when looking at schematics. PIC simply drives 12 LEDs that are positioned in circle. Resistive touch sensor activates time display by blinking LEDs. First blink shows hours and second minutes. Probably most awesome part in this project is the way how watch is assembled. It is literally sandwiched using three PSBs. Top PCB holds LEDs, resistive touch sensor, microcontroller and other minor stuff. Middle PCB serves as battery holder/spacer while bottom holds battery positive pole. Continue reading

Pong game on a home-brew board

This pong game is a first home brew MCU project made by Jeff Joray. Firstly he wanted to make simple LED matrix display, but ended with a 6×10 pong game. It is controlled by PIC16F684 microcontroller. In order to control rows of LEDs there is a decade counter CD74HC401 used. The thing… you cannot play the game – it plays itself. No user input. But it can be great for counting seconds. Continue reading

Coffee roaster with PIC based panel

Coffee taste depends on type of beans and roasting quality. Since for me coffee just a coffee, but enthusiasts may differ different tastes and types by trying it. We won’t go in to that type of discussion. Let see the coffee roaster built by Ludzinc. After long evolving idea it became real – home built coffee roaster. It is based on hot air flow. One of the roaster parts are those fans. They can be controlled with voltage levels from 0 to 5V. By controlling the fans you can alter the roasting process. With different timings you can get different results. Fan speed controllers also output a signal from 0 to 10V. It can be used to monitor whats going on inside. Having these conditions he made a panel where seven segment LED indicators display the values form motor control. It is based on PIC microcontroller which takes these readings using ADC and voltage divider. With this you can definitely take control of coffee making process. Continue reading

Original solution to track vehicle motion

motion tracking with optical mouse

Motion tracking is used in many areas. Cars, robots – practically everything that moves and needs control has some kind of tracking. There are many ways of doing this, but Paul suggests pretty original solution. He decided to try optical mouse method. With proper optics he was able to track movement when sensor is faced to ground from moving vehicle. He used an ADNS-3080 single chip optical mouse sensor. They are widely used in optical mice. They are cheap to buy or you can scavenge from damaged mouse. This isn’t the one part used. From sensor data goes to PIC18F2221 microcontroller which is responsible for further actions depending on motion detected. Device has a custom housing and optics that probably is most expensive part in this project. Continue reading