Autonomous time lapse with a video camera throwie

When [Matt] came across a small video camera made to fit onto a keychain, the first thing that came to mind is a time-lapse video throwie. Like the LED + coin cell battery + magnet we’ve seen we’ve seen before (and deployed…), [Matt]‘s video throwie would be deployed in interesting spots for a few days and shoot a time-lapse video until the battery ran out.

The camera [Matt] picked up has the capability of shooting video or still pictures and writing them to a microSD card. To make his camera film a time-lapse video, [Matt] connected an ATtiny45 to the camera shutter and power buttons and uploaded a short bit of code that would snap a picture ever 15 seconds.

Right now, [Matt] is having a few problems with his video throwie. When the camera is turned on, it iterates through the SD card to find the next unused file name. This eats up a few seconds, so the current setup will slowly speed up the time-lapse video. This isn’t an insurmountable problem, so we’re looking forward to the very interesting videos these tough little cameras will film.

Check out [Matt]‘s video of ice melting after the break.

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[Sprite_tm]‘s three-component FM transmitter

When the Regency TR-1 transistor radio came out onto the market in the 1950s, it was hailed as a modern marvel of microelectronics. With only four transistors and a handful of other components, the TR-1 was a wonder of modern engineering. [Sprite_tm] may have those old-timers beat, though. He built an FM transmitter with the lowest parts count of any transmitter ever.

Like most of [Sprite_tm]‘s builds, it’s an unimaginably clever piece of work. [Sprite] overclocked the internal RC oscillator of an ATtiny45 to 24 MHz. After realizing the PLL running at four times the frequency of the oscillator was right in the middle of the FM band, he set about designing a tiny FM transmitter.

[Sprite_tm] remembered his work on MONOTONE and made a short song for hit ATtiny. The firmware for the build takes the notes from his song and varies the 96 MHz PLL frequency a tiny bit, thereby serving as a tiny FM transmitter.

Does it work? Well, if you want to compare it to a Mister Microphone, the range is incredibly limited. That being said it works. It’s an FM transmitter built out of a microcontroller and a battery, and that’s very impressive. Check out [Sprite_tm]‘s demo after the break.

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The most evil gift ever

[form], a new user on the Hack a Day forums, was thinking, “what Christmas present i can send a friend, that would be really annoying?” We think he really hit it out of the park with this one. It’s a modified computer speaker that will play “explicit” audio until the power button is pressed 200 times and the light sensor is covered. When this present is unwrapped, the room will fill with sounds not suitable for children, the elderly, or those with heart conditions.

The build is based around an old powered computer speaker. Six Li-ion batteries from an old laptop provide the power, and a very simple circuit pulls sound off an SD card with the help of an ATtiny45.

The schematic for the build looks easy enough, and like a good builder, [form] included the source and HEX files. Sadly (or thankfully), there is no video of the gag gift in action; probably a good thing, because this seems like a great way to lose a friend.

Toaster oven reflow control without modifying the oven

[Eberhard] wanted his own reflow oven but didn’t really want to mess around with the internals that control the heating element. He put his microcontroller programming experience to work and came up with an add-on module that controls the oven by switching the mains power.

The image above shows a board in the midst of the reflow process. If you’re not familiar, solder paste usually comes with a recommended heat curve for properly melting the slurry. [Eberhard] managed to fit three of these temperature profiles into his firmware.

The ATtiny45 which makes up the controller samples oven temperature via the thermistor seen next to the board. A PID algorithm is used to calculate when to switch mains power on and off via a relay. One button and one LED make up the controller’s user interface for scrolling through the three preprogrammed temperature profiles.

It looks like it works great, see for yourself in the clip after the break.

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8-pin micro plays Pong on your widescreen

[Fernando] sent in a tangential project update that uses an ATtiny45 to play Pong on his television. Last time we looked in on his work he had just finished getting the eight-pin chip to display a big number on the TV via the VGA port. This expands on the idea while he continues to wait for parts.

Right now the chip plays against itself, but he’s got one input pin left and we’d love to see a button added for a simple one-player game. We’re thinking the paddle would always be moving in one direction or the other, with a click of the button to reverse that direction. The part that he’s waiting for is a Bluetooth module, which we’d love to see used for 2-player games via a pair of Wiimotes (we’re just wishing at this point and don’t know if that would even be possible). The end goal for the hardware is a Bluetooth connected scoreboard for Android devices.

The code is written in Assembly, and we found it relatively easy to follow what [Fernando] is doing with the game logic. On the graphics side of things he gets away with a 120×96 resolution because Pong is supposed to look pixelated. We love the result, which you can see for yourself after the break.

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ATtiny Hacks: ATtiny45/85 servo library

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Servo8bit is a library for AVR microcontrollers that allows you to drive servo motors without the need for a 16-bit timer. Obviously, this is quite useful for smaller chips that only have 8-bit timers and it is specifically targeted at the ATtiny45 and ATtiny85 microcontrollers. The library offers 256 steps of resolution, and can drive up to five servos at one time. Servo control pulses can be generated between 512 and 2560 microseconds and if you don’t mind increasing the time between these pulses [Liya] says it would be possible to increase the 5-servo limit.

The library is quite easy to use, but in its current state it would take just a bit of work to port to another device. It’s been written for an 8 Mhz clock signal with PortB used to drive the motors. Using find-and-replace to change the PORTB keywords to use a DEFINE variable should be easy enough, but we don’t know how hard it would be to change the clock frequency.

We wonder if it’s possible to make this a slave device, perhaps implementing a 1-wire protocol?

ATtiny Hacks: Simple USB temperature probe

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[Dan’s] office is awfully hot, but he needed some real temperature numbers that he could show the building management office to justify opening a maintenance ticket. He had seen some simple temperature probe examples online, and decided to build his own using a small AVR chip.

Based off a similar temperature monitoring example called EasyLogger, his temperature probe uses an LM34 temperature sensor, which is wired to an ATtiny45. The ATtiny communicates with his computer using the Ruby-USB library in conjunction with a bit of Ruby code he put together. Once the data is obtained, all of the temperature measurements are logged and graphed using RubyRRDTool.

As you can see by in the image above, his office is far hotter than it should be, so we’re pretty sure he’s happy to have actual measurements to back up his claims.

If you are looking to make a small temperature probe of your own, his code, schematics, and links to all of the tools he used in the project are available on his site.