Fubarino Contest: Persistence of Vision clock

propellerck5

The best part of these contests is that we get people to actually show off what they’ve been working on! Check out the POV clock which was sent in by [Taciuc]. He doesn’t have a webpage for it, but he did send a video which you can see after the break.

The project is a home-etched PCB with a long row or surface mount LEDs. The board is spun by a stepper motor which takes a little while to stabilize. But once it does it’s a twirling package of awesomeness. A PIC 16F628 drives the device, with a separate RTC chip to keep time. There’s also an IR receiver to facilitate user control. Our URL is displayed on the clock face itself and we think it’s always shown. But there is an easter egg in the code itself. If you try to dump the firmware from the chip you’ll see our web address in the hex output. Here’s his project archive if you want to the HEX, ASM and DipTrace schematic.


This is an entry in the Fubarino Contest for a chance at one of the 20 Fubarino SD boards which Microchip has put up as prizes!

[Read more...]

16FUSB — it’s like V-USB for the PIC 16F628

If you have an idea for a fairly simple USB device but don’t want to invest in the more expensive microcontrollers, this library will be of interest to you. It’s a software implementation of the low-speed USB protocol for PIC 16F628. You can pick these up for around $2, and it just takes a few other components to complete the circuit. And hey, you don’t even need a proper PIC programmer to flash the code. This is the same chip for which we just saw an Arduino act as the programmer.

The circuit design looks exactly the same as the V-USB stack, which provides USB functionality to lower-end AVR microcontrollers. In addition to the chip you need a crystal oscillator, a couple of 3.6V zener diodes, and a handful of passive components. There are a couple of LEDs in the design, but we assume these are for feedback and are not crucial to the functionality of the circuit.

There’s no shortage of data included in the project post so you may want to bookmark this one for later reference.

Tiny N64 controller comes with hand-cramp guarantee

Just looking at this little thing makes our hands ache. But [Kirren] did do a great job of building an N64 controller inside a tiny project box. It’s not a mod, but a ground-up build based on a PIC 16F628 microcontroller.

It has most of the buttons found on a standard controller, and he assures us that you can play most games without missing the ones that didn’t make it into the design. You can just make out the analog stick to the left, but that silver ring on the right is actually a 4-direction tactile switch which stands in for the C buttons. He’s also included Start, A, B, R, and Z.

The link above goes to his Wiki, and there are more than enough details if you’re interested in doing this yourself or just understanding how everything works. Check out his writeup on the protocol, and  you can even get a copy of his code. There’s also a video demo after the break which shows [Kirren] playing some Bond with the controller. [Read more...]

Naughty Duck will be the end of Secret Santa at your place of work

Aw, isn’t he cute? Looks are deceiving, because if you get him started, this duck says some vulgar things. [Gigavolt] found the little guy abandoned at the Goodwill store and decided it might have some hacking potential. Boy was he right. The stock toy can already sing a tune while flapping its beak and wings. After spending some time in [Gigavolt's] lair, this duck is going to be on the naughty list. The best part is that this is going to end up in the hands of someone else thanks to a Secret Santa exchange.

The build article linked above is safe for you to read at work, but the video embedded after the break most certainly is not. [Gigavolt] got to work replacing the integrated circuit inside with his own PIC 16F628 microcontroller. He uses a new audio track, which is played back by a SOMO-14D audio player board. The two use different input voltage levels which is something of a bother, but it’s a standby power drain that has been vexing [Gigavolt] he rolled his own board using the DorkbotPDX order and can’t figure out why the current consumption is so high. Take a look at the cursing duck, then see if you can’t troubleshoot his electrical issues.

[Read more...]

PIC based frequency counter

Here’s a PIC based frequency counter that outputs the count via an RS232 serial connection. [Oakkar7] tipped us off about it after seeing the AVR based counter we featured yesterday. This project is a bit older and a bit dirtier.

Inside the metal DB9 housing you’ll find just seven parts. The most important is a PIC 16F628 which handles both the counting and the serial communications. We’re not quite sure how it’s managing to talk to that USB-to-Serial converter without some type of level conversion. Since this microcontroller is not a dedicated counter chip a little bit of trimming must be done to bring the accuracy into spec. There’s also some physical trimming involved. In order to get everything to fit into the small enclosure the circuit was free-formed without a PCB or protoboard and the case of the DIP chip had to be ground down just a bit. As for the readout, a simple script can grab the data and display it in a terminal.

[via Piclist]

Model car additions make us hear Knight Rider theme

This collection of model vehicle hacks adds obstacle avoidance in an attempt to make them autonomous. At the front end you’ll find two PCBs which use IR approximation to monitor the road ahead. We’re not familiar with this particular use of these IR receivers (TSOP1738) which we’re used to seeing in remote control receiver applications but if recent posts are any indication we think you’ll enjoy the use of a 555 timer on each of those boards.

The rest of the hardware is pretty common, a PIC 16F628 does the thinking while an L293D h-bridge drives the motors. Alas, we didn’t find a video, or even a description of the finished project. But there are full schematics, board layout pictures, and the code for both this vehicle and a second Tank version.

[Thanks Pieter]

16-pixel handheld gaming

What we need in today’s handhelds is LESS resolution. Take a look at the video after the break to see the exciting action that [Bruno Pasquini] 4×4 LED matrix handheld game delivers. The device is made up of 16 bi-color LEDs, four buttons, and a PIC 16F628. There’s no schematic yet but it looks like there’s no need for shift registers, just some transistors to handle the current load for the rows of each color. We’ve seen a 64-pixel handheld that plays Super Mario Brothers, but this portable brings a top scrolling racing game with just 25% of that display size.

[Read more...]

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