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

Nice implementation of pong game

Pong game is one of the firs video games played on screen. Since then you can find many variations of it including the way of displaying it and the way of controlling. Following game implementation uses spinning POV display. In the video you can see its design and game play itself. It looks really good when speaking of solving technical problems and feel. The spinning part is made of VCR head where bearing balls and coil are already there. Little modification was needed to add brushes in order to make it spin. In order to avoid adding multiple touching wires for control, spinning part has a phototransistor which senses signals from LEDs on chassis. The smart part is made using PIC 16F690 microcontroller.   Continue reading

Tiny annoying buzzer

Do you get disturbed by unnatural sound? Take a look, there might be annoying buzzer hidden near by. If you are lucky not to have one, then be nasty and do this crazy prank to your friends. Chris have put a small buzzer which generates short sound bursts every few minutes. The pulses are short and scattered in time so it would be hard to track the source. Its small size allows to dig it deep in room mess. Buzzer is based on PIC10F202 microcontroller, coin cell battery, switch and speaker from small headphone. The PCB is practically same size as battery. No matter how tempting is to place this thing everywhere around, be responsible and creative. Continue reading

Damaged GPS module serves as logger and compass

GPS modules in DIY projects are still quite expensive part. But you don’t always have to one make cool projects. Ktulu simply had a damaged Amstrad gp100 GPS receiver. It seemed not possible to repair, so he decided to use most of it and build GPS logger. The GPS module inside can be easily connected to PIC microcontroller serial interface which is based on NMEA V2.2 9600,8,N,1. It refreshes data every second. The other parts include home made PCB where PIC18LF252 microcontroller is soldered. GPS data is logged to SD card which is FAT16 formatted. Also it holds a Nokia 3310 LCD where current data is displayed. It includes number of satellites, log status, battery status, or it can simply work as nice compass. Once data is logged in to SD card, it can be visualized using GPSVisualizer software that works along with Google maps. Device is housed into old multimeter enclosure. Continue reading

Power controller for Raspberry Pi

pic based raspberry pi power controller

Raspberry Pi has a simple power supply solution – via microUSB port. This is great for prototyping but in real applications you would probably like more control. If your end device is battery or solar powered you should implement some king of power monitor-controller. Kevin Sangeelee has been working on Raspberry Pi power controller based on PIC microcontroller. Power controller is connected to Raspberry Pi as I2C slave and has following features: Power the Raspberry Pi off and on with a push-button; Fully shut down the Raspberry Pi on ‘shutdown -h’; Wake-up at a specified time (one-off or periodic); Monitor the supply voltage; Log glitches in the power-supply (e.g. caused by USB device activity); Maintains the time from a CR2032 button cell. Project is still on breadboard and software is under development, but it already shows promising results. Continue reading

DIY RFID tag can learn the code

Since usage of RFID tags is popular, there are many enthusiasts who try to mimic them for good (learning) and of course for hacking. Additional RF tag may be used as backup solution if original isn’t near by. Anyway following RFID emulator is something more than regular RFID tag clone. It supports several standards including EM4100, TK5551, Verichip with data transfer speeds from 8 to 256 cycles for bit and is passive – powered only from antenna coil. Tag is based on small PIC 12F683 microcontroller. The most interesting feature of this tag that it can learn code automatically. All is needed is placing it near reader with “Learn” button pressed while another tag is activated and code is captured. Tag even has a LED that indicates if tag is programmed successfully. Project has great documentation, where you will be able to build one and learn few things along the process. Continue reading

USB to serial adapter detects COM port number

In microcontroller projects you probably are using an USB to serial adapter. It is normally detected as virtual COM in Windows with some number assigned. In order to know this number you need to go to hardware list and find it. If you do this a lot it may start to be a bit annoying. Avishop decided to find a solution to this problem. He made a xser – an USB to serial adapter which can show port number on LCD screen. Adapter is based on UBW (PIC18F2663) board. The trick in this is that USB here uses two heads where one implements CDC protocol which is used to create virtual COM port. And another “head” is implemented as HID that is used to send port number to microcontroller. Of course there is a host application which finds the device in hardware list (according to PID and VID) and sends number to MCU LCD screen. It may seem a bit overhead just to use serial port, but it may save some nerves if you use it a lot. Continue reading