Help me reverse engineer an LED light bulb

hack LED bulb

I went to the last monthly meeting of Sector 67, a hackerspace in Madison, WI. One of the things shown off was a color changing LED light bulb that Menards was clearing out for $1.99. Inside there’s two RGB LEDs controlled by an ATtiny13 and powered by an AC/DC buck converter. An ATtiny13 will run you around $1.25 by itself so this price is quite amazing. I grabbed a couple of these bulbs and set to work on them. Join me after the break to see what I’ve got so far.

Update: read a follow-up to this post.

[Read more...]

Waking up with the (fake) sun

[Bogdan] has some trouble getting up in the morning. A blaring alarm will do the trick but that’s no way to start the day. To get him through the dark winter months he wanted to try a sunrise simulator. He patched into the alarm signal of his bedside clock, intercepting the command from the clock’s microprocessor and using it as an input for his own ATtiny13. From there, the tiny13 gradually brightens a 150W halogen lamp using a triac until his room is as bright as a July morning. A signal is then sent to the alarm clock’s audio amplifier to turn on the audible alarm. He’s got the system set for a 20-minute sunrise so it’s just a matter of programming his alarm 20-minutes early than the ‘I absolutely have to get out of bed now’ time.

Wireless garage door indicator

[Sixerdoodle's] garage door indicator tells him if the door is open or closed. He was inspired by the hack from last September but wanted to make it wireless. The setup uses an RF transmitter/receiver pair from Sparkfun, each controlled by an ATtiny13 microcontroller. We found his battle with RF interference from other devices to be interesting. Working out those bugs made for a great learning experience.

Holy robin trap Batman!

[Matt Meerian] introduced us to his kludge of cardboard, tape, mirrors, and electronics in the form of a clever non lethal robin trap. Whenever a pesky robin would enter the box, a sensor is triggered, the solenoid drops a lid, and the bird is contained (and we assume taken far away after that).

Of course the plan backfired; we wont spoil what happened, but you can click the link above to find out.

Related: Arduino Mouse Trap

‘tiny’ power supply monitor

[Manekinen] built a power supply monitor based around an AVR ATtiny13. Voltage and amperage are displayed on a 16×2 LCD character display (we’re not sure what the third number is… samples per second?). This is no small feat considering that the tiny13 is an 8-pin chip. He makes it happen by using the pins for both LCD control and ADC input. To make this happen the HD44780 compliant display is used in 4-bit mode. Check out the video after the break and hit up the non-translated page if you want to download the source code and PCB artwork. A note of warning, he’s using the RESET pin for I/O which means once you burn the fuses you’ll need a programmer that has High Voltage Serial Programming capabilities if you want to reprogram the chip. [Read more...]

Advent wreath from parts you have on hand

Here’s an advent wreath made from six parts and a paper clip. Powered by a CR2032 3v button cell, the circuit has been free-formed using a paper clip as the conductor. We love the “dead bug” style of construction used with the ATtiny13 microcontroller because it adds an extra level of intrigue for the uninitiated. This project build on the flickering circuit we saw last year and uses the LEDs as light sensors, only turning on when a certain darkness level has been reached.

We used a tiny13 with our Menorah project last year and still have some lying around that we can use for this. We’re sure you’ve got at least a couple of low-pin-count micros on hand. If you don’t, you should!

AVR ISP programming via Arduino

ardunio avr isp programming

We found this Arduino AVR ISP programmer particularly interesting. AVR microcontrollers can utilize an interface called In-System-Programming. ISP allows the chip to be programmed or reprogrammed while in an actual circuit via a pin header. Atmel’s solution is the AVR ISP MKII programing tool. The MKII can also be reprogrammed just as an AVR. The difference here is that most people are not likely to modify the MKII to be used as anything but a programmer. On the other hand if you already have the Arduino, fetch the avr.isp.03 firmware and AVRdude. Then program a device, for example an ATtiny13 using the Ardunio as the programmer. All the project information is provided under the CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license. On a related note we covered a Microcontroller cheat sheet which covers AVR devices and ISP pinouts.

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