Adding USB functionality to your Arduino projects used to be a pain, but thankfully, the V-USB project came along and gave your ATMEGA328 the ability to control the USB lines directly and mimic simple (low-speed) USB peripherals. [Ray] shows an implementation of the V-USB project by logging the status of the Arduino’s I/O pins to an open Excel spreadsheet
V-USB (Virtual USB) is especially useful for those of us who build standalone Arduino projects with the ATMEGA328. Unlike the Arduino Leonardo and its ATMEGA32U4, the ATMEGA328 does not have a built-in USB controller. The circuit required to tie into the USB lines is made up of just a few basic components, and [Ray] provides a reference schematic and BOM to get you started. The Arduino is programmed to mimic a keyboard, so the datalogging is achieved by allowing the Arduino to ‘type’ the data into an open Excel spreadsheet. In this example, the status of 8 digital pins and all 6 Analog Input pins are logged.
For those of you who prefer the PIC microcontroller and are in a similar position of not having a built-in USB controller, there is the 16FUSB project to help you out.
Have you ever wondered how high or how fast a model rocket goes when you launch it? [sprite_tm] did, so he decided to build a low cost, lightweight data logger that he could fit into the nose cone of his rocket. To keep the circuit small, he built it around the popular ATtiny13 microcontroller. The microcontroller collects data from a Freescale MMA7260, a 3-axis accelerometer that he extracted from a third-party Wii nunchuck controller. After the microcontroller collects the data, it’s stored in 32K of EEPROM on a 24C256. All of this is powered by a small 3.6v Li-ion battery, which is the largest part of the circuit. If this sounds like something you’d like to make, he has detailed instructions along with the software used available on his site. While we don’t launch a lot of model rockets here, we may soon start just so that we have an excuse to build this.
Progressive Insurance announced that it will be rolling out its MyRate plan nationally. You participate by plugging a monitoring device into the ODB-II port on your vehicle. Once every six months you upload the collected data from every trip you’ve made. You’ll receive at least a 5% discount and maybe more based on your driving habits. In some states though, you could actually have your rates raised. Progressive will show you the direct impact your driving behavior has on your rate.
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