IR remote control jammer makes you Lord of the Livingroom

Bring communications jamming technology into your TV viewing experience by building this infrared LED driver circuit. You’re probably familiar with the TV-B-Gone, which let’s you turn off any television at the touch of a button. But what if you actually want to watch the program that’s currently on the screen when the person with remote-in-hand doesn’t? That’s where this little marvel comes in.

[KipKay's] IR jammer uses a 555 timer to constantly transmit infrared traffic. The signals it’s sending out don’t correspond to commands the TV (or any other IR remote-controlled device) will respond to. But if the light intensity is strong enough, they will interfere with any signals coming in from a remote or even from a TV-B-Gone. [KipKay] wisely hides this circuit inside of another remote control so that the other couch potatoes you are thwarting won’t get wise to what’s happening. If they want to watch something else they’ll have to get up and walk over to the entertainment center to do something about it, and what’s the chance that’s going to happen?

Don’t miss [KipKay's] infomercial-esque presentation of this gadget after the break.

[Read more...]

Simulating VHDL of an AVR8 soft processor

Okay, now we’re beginning to feel a bit like [Alice]. This tutorial shows you how to simulate VHDL code. This code is intended to run on an FPGA and includes a software-only version of the AVR 8-bit microcontroller core. Essentially, you’ll simulate VHDL code that simulates AVR hardware. Wrap your mind around that!

The code is intended to run on a Papilio Field Programmable Gate Array development board. We saw an early version of this board running the AVR8 core about a year ago. However, you don’t need to have any hardware to follow along and recreate this simulation yourself. It might be a great way to get your feet wet with FPGA programming before making that first hardware buy. Five different screencasts take you through the process of getting the AVR8 code, using an altered Arduino IDE for it, setting up a free version of Xilinx ISE to run the simulation, then setting it free and interpreting the data that the simulator spits out the other end.

Super VMW CPU Meter

After many delays, restarts, and years, [Vince ] has finally finished his Super VMW CPU Meter. Featuring six alphanumeric red led displays, two 10 segment bar graphs, twelve red LEDs, and six color LEDs its got plenty of “screen” space to show all sorts of useful information.

Electrically its driven by four SAA1064 LED driver chips attached to an i2c bus which is banged by a PC’s parallel port and driven by software in linux. The software allows you to build displays for what ever application you may want, and even includes a color ASCII output so you can see what it will look like before you even have hardware.

Four examples are given, one is a cpu meter which uses the bar graph displays to show load per core. Another uses the bar graphs as a VU meter for your music while displaying the song’s information. There is a clock in all the normal formats + UNIX time, and some scrolling text demos.

Construction gets a little odd as overhang of chips and connectors was not really taken into account so some “lofting” was needed to raise the trouble spots above the rest of the board. It is not something we would want to do, but a handy trick if we are ever faced with that situation.

Join us after the break to see this wild light show in action. [Read more...]

PIC-based Ham radio autotuner

cw_autotuner

A few years back, [Floyd, K8AC] built a high frequency autotuner as an addition to his Ham radio setup. Based off a design he saw in QST magazine back in the early ’90s, he has been using the tuner almost daily for the last few years, on both the 3.5 MHz and 7 MHz bands.

Built into the wall in his radio room, it is a pretty impressive sight. His “L” circuit is controlled by a pair of mechanically coupled inductors which are driven in concert by a pair of two-way motors. The positioning of the C and L components are monitored by a PIC controller which stores the tuning data for up to 30 predefined frequencies. A couple of button presses on his controller’s front end sends the tuner into action, dialing in his unit’s inductors and capacitor to their proper settings. The PIC monitors the tuner’s progress, informing him when the proper frequency has been tuned in, or if the frequency can not be set, indicating issues with the equipment.

His setup has undergone several revisions over the years, with the most recent iteration being the most automated of the bunch. Check out his site for plenty more details, or keep an ear out for [K8AC] on 40 or 80 meters.

[Thanks, Rich V]

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