Learning the ins and outs of USB with a simple dev board

We can’t count the number of projects we’ve seen on Hackaday with a USB port.  Unfortunately, most of these builds – from RepRap controllers to wireless data loggers – don’t use the full capabilities offered to them with USB. [Ben] came up with a very cool USB breakout board that allows you to explore the USB protocol with just a single inexpensive ATtiny.

Instead of relying on an FTDI chip or otherwise sending serial data down a USB pipe, [Ben]’s project is meant to be the hardware compliment to his book on programming USB devices. His hardware board is exceedingly simple, just an ATtiny 2313, a USB port, and a handful of other components, but allows [Ben] to receive data on eight pins on a breadboard and send them over USB to a computer.

[Ben] had sent in his USB figure eight controller, a board that displays the numbers 0 through 9 according to what data is received via USB, a while ago. It’s a truly useless build aside from learning how USB works, but an excellent tool if you’d like to program your own USB device.

IR remote as PC input

As a learning experience [GeriBoss] put together an IR remote control receiver board for his PC. His want of volume control from across the room was reason enough to undertake the project, and he got to work with a 38 kHz receiver module and Manchester encoding in the process.

The decoder portion of the project is built around an ATtiny2313 chip. The external interrupt pin (INT0) is connected to a TSOP31238. When it decodes a valid remote code it pushes a character to the RS232 chip connecting to the computer’s serial port.

We think this is a wonderful accomplishment for [GeriBoss], but we encourage him to refine the design further. You’ll notice in the image there’s a USB port on the board which is only used to provide regulated power. We know it’s possible to use V-USB with the ATtiny2313 to add USB functionality and this would be a great way to learn about it. We’d also like to mention the resistor and capacitor suggested for filtering the IR receiver module signal. We’ve included the recommended application schematic for that part after the break.

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Apartment entry morse-code lock

[Bozar88] lives in an apartment building that has a buzzer at the front security door. Guests find your name on the panel next to that door, and press a button to ring the phone just inside the entry of each apartment unit. He decided to extend the built-in capabilities by adding a morse-code entry password which unlocks the security entrance automatically (translated).

He designed a circuit and etched his own board which fits nicely inside of the wall-mounted phone. It uses an ATtiny2313 to implement the coding functions. The device attaches to the intercom line in order to detect incoming button presses from the entry panel. There’s some protection here to keep the signal at or below 5V. The output is two-fold. The microcontroller can drive the microphone line using a transistor, which gives the user audio feedback when the code is entered. To unlock the door an opt-isolated triac (all in one package) makes the connection to actuate the electronic strike on the entry door.

The video after the break is not in English, but it’s still quite easy to understand what is being demonstrated.

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Interesting substrate used to position LEDs of this Word Clock

[Ivan] decided to build a Word Clock as holiday gift for his parents. He pulled it off, but as you can see above, it meant a lot of point-to-point soldering. One small piece of proto-board is used to host the power supply and a few integrated circuits, with the rest of the device mounted on an interesting choice of material.

The substrate that holds the LED array for the display is a plastic mesh. You’ll find the stuff in any craft store, it’s meant for use in yarn work. It comes rated in several different sizes designated by holes-per-linear-inch. This is fantastic because it makes precision spacing a snap. The face plate itself looks great, especially when you consider that all of the letters were cut out from a piece of black foam board by hand. This bezel was then put in a picture frame, with a bit of tissue paper as a diffuser.

They tell us that the code was written in assembly for an ATtiny2313 microcontroller. It uses a DS1305 RTC chip to keep time and you might be interested to see how the communication protocol was implemented in assembly. The project is based on [Doug’s] Word Clock which we covered in this links post.

BB313 breadboard platform makes ATtiny prototyping painless

Johngineer's BB313

[John De Cristofaro aka Johngineer] uses various ATmega microcontrollers in his electronics projects, but he finds himself reaching for an ATtiny2313 or ATtiny4313 more often than not. He got tired of having to wire up pin headers, capacitors, and the like each time he started a project, so he spent some time designing an easy to use breadboard platform around the chips.

Inspired by LadyAda’s Boarduino, his BB313 board features FTDI pin headers, an ISP programming header, a reset button, along with breakout pins that plug directly into any breadboard. Aside from sharing a similar layout, [John] says that the similarities end there. His board is designed for designers who program in C or C++, so Arduino code won’t run without some substantial modification.

The board looks like a pretty handy benchtop tool, and we’re pretty sure it would be a big time saver for anyone who uses these chips with any frequency. [John] says that the board cost about $6.50 to make when he put it together, but that prices might vary slightly depending on where you have your PCBs made.

Be sure to swing by his site if the design looks like it might be helpful. He has made the schematics, a bill of materials, and all the rest available for the taking.

[via Adafruit blog]

Playing video games for a college application

As a senior in high school, [Owen] has been waiting to hear from the colleges he applied to for months now. Some of his applications wanted a mid-year report to see if he didn’t come down with senioritis. [Owen] realized these colleges allowed additional materials beyond a high school transcript, so he built a tiny video game that shows his electrical and programming skills.

The Demomite, as [Owen] calls his build, is an amazing piece of work. The entire system is based around an ATtiny2313 with a measly 2kB of program memory. Aside from a graphic LCD from Sparkfun and a repurposed NES controller, there isn’t much else to the build. As a study in minimalism and simplicity, [Owen] gets a big congrats from us.

The entire game fits in the 2kB of flash on the ATtiny, mostly due to coding the entire thing in assembly. You can check out [Owen]’s time-lapse construction video, software demo, and the video he sent to colleges after the break.

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DIY dimmable clapper for all your lazy lighting needs

For the lazy man who can’t be bothered to buy a proper wattage lamp here’s the Clever Clapper, a Clapper that finally has the ability to dim the lights.

Like the clapper we saw last month, [Pete]’s version uses an ATtiny2313 and an electret mic. What sets [Pete]’s version apart from the vintage 80s model is the ability to dim the lights. Like any clapper, two hand claps within a second toggles the relay. Clapping three times within one second puts the lamp into fading mode. In this mode, the lights dim up and down with PWM until a fourth clap is detected.

[Pete] saw that the program memory in his ATtiny2313 wasn’t 100% full, so he added a few more capabilities. If you shine a laser onto his circuit, a relay trips and turns on a decorative moon lamp. There’s also a ‘lecture mode’ that feeds the microphone directly into the microcontroller to vary the PWM signal. The result is a light that brightens with more intense sound. Check that feature out after the break after the demo video of [Pete]’s Clever Clapper.

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