Musical [Blinky] candy tin

Since it’s the holidays and pine trees are being cut down and installed in living rooms all around the world, [Jarv] though it would be a good idea to make a musical Christmas ornament. He needed to keep some of his geek cred, so [Jarv] decided to build a musical [Blinky] ghost from Pacman.

A few weeks ago, [Jarv] sent in his musical greeting card that uses a minimal amount of parts to play a short 8-bit tune. His project was based around an ATtiny85 and sounded pretty good. For his [Blinky] ornament, [Jarv] used a similar circuit along with some old-school Pacman songs that sound great.

[Jarv] found a [Blinky] candy tin and after dispensing with all that pressed sugar began work on his build. In keeping with his greeting card, everything is very minimal. Just a speaker, ATtiny85, and button make up the build. Pressing the button cycles through three songs from Ms. Pacman. The result sounds uncannily like a vintage arcade game, so be sure to check out the video after the break.

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DIY thermostat keeps the harsh winter cold at bay

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[Phil’s] parents grow their own organic food, but the harsh Ukraine winters make storing it a difficult proposition. Since it can drop to -30°C on occasion, they asked him to find a way to keep their storeroom at around 5-7°C above zero. He decided to construct his own programmable thermostat to keep things in check, and has been documenting the process as he goes along.

The thermostat uses a DS18B20 temperature sensor to monitor the room, and the logic is handled by an ATtiny2313. When the temperature dips low enough, the ATtiny triggers the room’s heater via a standard 240v relay. He can check the current temperature via a small 7-segment display mounted on the control board, which also contains three microswitches for controlling the heater.

It looks like a pretty solid build so far, and while he hasn’t finished coding the thermostat just yet, [Phil] says that those details are forthcoming. He has published a schematic however, so you can get a jump start on building your own if you’re looking to warm things up this winter.

Continue reading to see a video overview of the thermostat’s design.

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Bread Head makes AVR programming a snap

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[Quinn] over at Blondihacks has been working with AVR microcontrollers a lot recently, and wanted a quick way to program the ATtiny13a (her current AVR of choice) while the chip is still seated in a breadboard.

To speed up code revision and testing, she built a small programming header that she calls the Bread Head. The device is wonderfully simplistic, consisting of little more than snappable header pins and a bit of upside-down protoboard.

She soldered six headers to the top (formerly the bottom) side of the board, while a set of eight oversized headers were soldered to the opposite side of the programmer. Small bits of wire were soldered in to connect all of the appropriate pins together before [Quinn] slipped the header snugly over the top of the ATtiny and gave it a quick test. Everything worked perfectly, so she slathered in in epoxy for sturdiness and called it a day.

She says that the programmer works so well that she’s likely to make a similar header for other common AVRs too.

ATtiny hacks: Robot Halloween costume

When it comes to Halloween costumes, [Michael] doesn’t like buying expensive and poorly made bits of cloth and fabric that resembles [random Disney character]. Last year, his son decided to be a robot for Halloween and although gray spray paint and dryer vent hose make a very good costume, that only goes so far. The robot needed lights, so [Michael] spent a little time on this build that blinks a few LEDs in a random pattern.

The build is very simple; an ATtiny13 drives two 74HC595 shift registers. The code – all 30-odd lines of it – uses the random() function to shift high or low values to the shift registers. After pausing for a little bit, the cycle continues and a new patterns of LEDs light up.

The electronics of the robot costume could be easily transferred to another theme – astronauts need LEDs on their backpack, and of course aliens communicate with blinking lights. In any event, it would avoid last year’s fiasco with a dozen [Heath Ledger] Jokers. Check out the video of [Michael]‘s intergalactic robot son after the break.

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ATtiny Hacks: SerialCouple – A standalone thermocouple ADC board with serial out

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Since we are in the midst of featuring a wide assortment of ATtiny hacks, [Kenneth] wrote in to share a project he has been developing over the last few months, the SerialCouple.

Most all development platforms have the ability to function as an analog to digital converter, but you don’t always need a full-featured board when all you require is serial output for your computer. With his SerialCouple board, [Kenneth] is trying to take some complexity out of the process by building a standalone thermocouple ADC board. The SerialCouple is designed to take analog readings from a thermocouple, converting them to digital values that can be sent to any device over a serial connection. The grunt work is done by a Maxim MAX31855 chip, which converts the thermocouple’s analog data to digital temperature readings. The digital representation of the temperature is then retrieved by the on-board ATtiny2313, which sends the data out the serial port.

If a standalone thermocouple ADC board is something you’ve been looking for, be sure to swing by his site to take a look at his code and schematics.

Continue reading to see a short video demo that explains how the SerialCouple works.

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ATTiny Hacks: Run your Arduino project on an ATTiny!

Yup. We have all been there. You throw together a really elaborate Arduino project that only really needs a couple pins, far fewer than the Arduino’s native microcontrollers have to offer. Well fear not, [Thatcher] has solved just this problem by adding some ATTtiny cores to the Arduino IDE. His blog details the process from grabbing the MIT developed core files and loading them up in your Arduino software directories. The modification looks simple and although [Thatcher] shows the whole process on a Mac it only involves unzipping and tossing files into a folder. With ATTiny chips only a few bucks each this is perfect for those simple software driven hacks that don’t require an entire Uno duct taped to the outside of an enclosure.  Nice work [Thatcher]!

Announcing our next theme: ATtiny hacks

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It is time once again to announce a new theme. This time around, we have chosen to highlight projects built around the ATtiny series of processors. These are 6 to 32 pin AVR processors that run up to 16 MHz and have anywhere from 512 Bytes of flash with 32 Bytes of RAM to 16K of Flash with 512 bytes of RAM. We’re guessing that this will be a pretty popular theme since so many people are using Atmel processors these days. If you have a project that you would like to see on Hackaday that is using an ATtiny processor, please hit us up on our tip line. If we like it, we may we choose to feature it in one of our daily themed hacks.

To kick off this theme, here is a nice write up about a stepper motor driver based around the ATtiny13. This project reads the analog value on pin B4 and adjusts the speed of the stepper motor. It is well documented and includes source code.