Trying to squeeze some new life out of the tried-and-true clock paradigm can be a frustrating design challenge. Likewise, creating a clock from the absolute minimal number of parts (e.g., no more than 6 components) can lead to some sleepless nights. Finally, trying to shoehorn everything into an itty-bitty space (roughly 2-x3-inches) and making it a portable, battery-powered clock can make even a seasoned project builder scream “Uncle!” Getting everything to work like, err, clockwork, priceless.
OK, you don't have to actually throw away your Arduino, but you might wish to consider this slick alternative the next time you're going to build a temperature-sensing microcontroller project. Or, for that matter, a light-sensing project, or a proximity-sensing project, or a capacitance-sensing project.
This "alternative" is a relatively new kid on the embedded design block called PSoC® FirstTouch, from Cypress Semiconductor Corporation. The Cypress PSoC is better known as a programmable mixed signal array or Programmable System-on-Chip (PSoC). While sporting an 8-bit microcontroller clocking in at a maximum 24MHz and supporting 512 bytes of SRAM, 8KB flash, these rather lackluster specs are offset by four analog and four digital customizable advanced peripheral building blocks (known as PSoC Blocks), and the ability to build a crazy-small microcontroller project.
How small, you ask?
Every AVR programmer worth her weight in ATmegas knows about the AVR Butterfly--a ridiculously low cost ATmega169 demonstration and evaluation kit. Lamenting the lack of such a kit for the ATmega168 drove me to design my own demo/eval kit for the Arduino microcontroller family.
Our friends at Evil Mad Science (the storefront for Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories) have created a great little game machine for soothing those financial scars wrought by the recent economic downturn. Forget the line madness on Black Friday and fighting tooth and nail over the local box store's solitary Wii.
If you've ever bent the pin on a microcontroller while trying to insert it into a DIP programming socket, you're not alone. Aligning those crazy pins again and again, while intermittently prying them out of the programming socket and then inserting your freshly burned chip into a target circuit, can lead to a long and sleepless night. Luckily, there is a cure for the bent pin nightmare. And this prescription costs less than $35.
Convert a cheap, dumb RC truck into an autonomous “smart” auto
By Dave ProchnowPosted 07.31.2008 at 11:07 am 2 Comments
If you're looking for an easy way to add DC motor control to your next Arduino project, look no further than the Orangutan LV-168 Robot Controller by Pololu. Equipped with two bidirectional, low-voltage, H-bridge motor controls, this ATmega168 board can handle many of the tasks that are typically sought by Arduino DIYers. Plus you won't have to monkey around with lots of complex programming, either.
Take an accelerometer, add a microcontroller and display, and watch the dollars fly out of your carburetor
By Dave ProchnowPosted 07.03.2008 at 10:46 am 5 Comments
Pain at the pump continues to reach new levels of misery every day. While most of us can’t afford to trade our current gas guzzler for a more fuel economical model, it would be nice to adopt some new driving skills that will translate into greater fuel economy. But where do you start? How do you know if your current jitney is a fuel sipper or a gas guzzler?
A class project pairs a microprocessor and some accelerometers with the classic drawing toy
By Dave ProchnowPosted 04.23.2008 at 1:08 pm 1 Comment
SparkFun Electronics is showcasing a recent class project from Alex Dow at the University of Colorado. Derived from a box full of SparkFun widgets, Mr. Dow was able to concoct a digitally controlled Etch-a-Sketch.
Build a matchstick-sized Freeduino kit and add a 5V battery for microcontroller power in a tight space
By Dave ProchnowPosted 04.15.2008 at 6:36 pm 4 Comments
Do you need a microcontroller for a project (maybe, ahem, our Mood Cube project?) but case space is at a premium? Well, fret no more. The Really Bare Bones Board (RBBB) Freeduino PCB is the perfect fit.