Announcing our next theme – Sustainability Hacks

Our last theme, ATtiny hacks, received a really good response but it is time to move on. Today we are announcing our next theme, which will be Sustainability Hacks. In this theme we will be showing projects that allow us to have a lighter footprint. This could be things like projects that run on renewable resources, projects that control systems that allow us to use less energy such as an automated fan to preempt the need for more aggressive cooling. We are also interested in showing projects that push power consumption to the limit. Like our other themes, we need your help for this to be successful. If you have a project that you think we might be interested in, please let us know on our tip line.

As food for thought, driving is simply part of life for most of us. There are ways to make it have less impact on the earth though. One example of this that isn’t seen very often these days but will probably become more commonplace as fuel prices go up is boat-tailing. This is the process of reshaping the rear of a vehicle to make it more aerodynamic. You can catch a video after the break that makes up for its lack of sound with a pretty good run down on their process.

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How to decode IR remote control signals with your PICkit 2

[SpiralBrain] needed to figure out the coding scheme used by an IR remote control so that he could use it with his own project. He built an IR receiver board for the PICkit 2 and figured out how to use some of the Microchip software to measure the timing of the incoming signal.

The hardware’s dead simple; a 38 kHz IR receiver does the heavy lifting by filtering out errant infrared light. When it does detect a signal with the correct frequency the output pin drives the base of a transistor to toggle the input pin on the PICkit 2. The breakout board has a pin header which makes it a snap to detach and store for later use. The PICkit 2 Logic Tool software captures this input, by setting the correct pin as a trigger and choosing a 10 kHz sample rate.

As we discussed in our PIC programming with Linux tutorial, the PICkit 2 really is far superior to its replacement, the PICkit 3. [SpiralBrain] mentions that it is more versatile than the newer version but doesn’t go so far as to tell us whether you can use this hardware with the PICkit 3 or not.