Nice looking PIC24 watch with OLED

Jared has been working on his OLED watch and it seems that it reached the stage when if can be to test. Watch is equipped with several great features like USB HID communication, time, date with events and accelerometer. Watch firmware is RTOS based where he wrote all necessary drivers, graphics engine and PC applications for setting things up. He designed schematics and PCB by himself using Altium Designer software having small size in mind. Jared was about to look for 3D printer to do the case, but he found that aluminum case from iPod Nano fits just right. Watch already works, but there is much work to do on user interface and probably new features like Bluetooth, magnetometer and other things that bring it to fully featured smart watch. Continue reading

CHIP-8 emulator on PIC24

First of all CHIP-8 is an interpreted language developed long time (1970s) ago by Jospeh Weisbecker. It was used to program 8-bit computers like COSMAC VIP and Telmac 1800. Anyway there doesn’t seem much use of it, but in other hand back then using this language a number great games (Pong, Space Invaders, Tetris and Pac-Man) were created. So in order to run them you need to emulate CHIP-8. So Mat put a simple game emulator around PIC24 microcontroller. He used a cheap Nokia1202 LCD, 16 + 4 buttons, battery and UCB which turned out to be buggy due to messed up PCB. But this doesn’t stop from running programs. Such keypad arrangement was used because machine back then had this hexadecimal arrangement. There are few issues left, the onewith USB, second with display. Because CHIP-8 requires 64×32 resolution, while screen has 96×68. So some sort of image stretching is required. And there is no sound beeper. Anyway, this is great retro experience. Continue reading

Embeddable MP3 module

We used to see lots of MP3 projects where they had everything needed to play music. As the rule most of them were equipped with LCD, buttons and other user interfaces. Open Electronics have posted a bit different open hardware project where MP3 player were designed as module that can be used in different ways. It is assembled on a compact PCB with 14 pin row . This makes it convenient to plug in to breadboard, other project or simply run as stand alone MP3 player with couple additional components. From technical point of view mp3 module is powered by PIC24 microcontroller. MP3 is decoded by VS1011 chip it already has a microSD socket that is able to accept up to 16GB of flash cards. Module can operate from 3.3V or 5V with integrated 3.3V regulator. Continue reading