Update to Stairmonster

The “Stairmonster 2” is an updated verison of the hyper speed, home brew stairmaster we covered back in November. It still features most of its original version’s features including a very sturdy construction, heart rate monitor, and 320×240 touchscreen interface. What is new about the Stairmonster 2 is its handlebars. V1 used stationary bike handlebars, which would be good for pull-ups or other similar exercises, but did not do much good while on the machine.

Version 2 on the other hand uses moving handles, when paired with the resistance of the machine allows the user to simulate a climbing action. The handles are also attached to rotary slip clutches so there is only resistance on the pulling cycle and not while retracting, which could be very bad at the speed this thing can run at.

Overall a good improvement to an already impressive machine, though don’t expect to see us climbing on it anytime soon.

Pong clocks using LED matrix modules

We love Pong clocks because they’re showpieces. This particular offering, called the Wise Clock, is the third hardware revision of the project. The LED display is dead simple since they’re using a 32×16 bi-color module from Sure Electronics. If you don’t want to design and build your own multiplexing display this is a somewhat inexpensive and high-performance alternative.

After the break you can see that the paddle movements look very realistic. They move like a human player might, which is quite often not the case with these clocks. If you want to see how that’s done, check out the code which was originally developed by [123led] for a different project.

[Read more...]

Animating an LED matrix without a microcontroller

[Konstantin] had some extra 27C256 EPROMS lying around and decided to use them to animate an 8×8 LED matrix. He’s not only using them to store data, but driving the display with them as well. The chip holds 32 kilobytes of data which equates to 4096 frames of animation. A 32 kHz clock circuit works with some ripple counters to scroll through each byte of stored data, turning on the columns while sinking the proper row. Of course current protection is a must so there is a ULN2308A darlington driver and some 2N2907 transistors at work, but you won’t find a programmable microcontroller. Neat!

Yep, you read that right. The picture above shows an EPROM chip that requires a UV light source to erase the data.

[Thanks Kopfkopfkopfaffe]

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