Building Pong for an 8-pin micro

pong

For playing around with video signals and trying to create a an interesting microcontroller project, you can’t do better than the classic Pong. We’ve seen our share of microcontroller-based pong builds, but rarely have we seen an 8-pin microcontroller recreate every part of the first video game.

[Tim] started his PIC12F1840-based Pong build with just a few buttons for controls and a video output. This in itself is somewhat of an achievement, as [Tim] used all the data memory and every GPIO pin on this small microcontroller.

He had time to optimize his build and ended up adding the bleeps and bloops of the original Pong to his build. He’s got an interesting design on his hands, and also what is probably the smallest Pong clone in¬†existence.

Adding the Apple ‘breathing LED’ to a motorcycle

[spiralbrain] has a beautiful KTM Duke 200 motorcycle, but he’s found the factory configuration is a little bit plain. Wanting to add his own unique touch to his bike, he decided to add a ‘breathing LED’ to the parking light¬†that slowly changes its brightness much like the LED on recent Macs.

From the factory, [spiralbrain]’s bike uses extremely inefficient (and somewhat ugly) T10 lamps for the parking light. This was changed over to a 12 Volt white SMD light bulb, but what really makes this build special is the way [spiralbrain] is controlling this lamp.

[spiralbrain] added a very tiny circuit consisting of an 8-pin microcontroller (a PIC12F683) that slowly dims the new SMD light bulb using the built-in PWM module. When the bike is taken out of neutral, the microcontroller stops at the highest PWM setting so the ‘breathing’ LED function is only engaged when not moving.

It’s an interesting mod that’s sure to draw some attention when [spiralbrain] is showing off his bike. As a bonus, the mod is completely¬†reversible, so the bike’s warranty is still good.

Building a better clock to drive you insane

[Simon] came up with an improved version of Lord Vetinari’s clock that begs to be installed in waiting rooms around the world.

Last week, we were introduced to a real-life Vetinari Clock that keeps regular time but ticks at irregular intervals. It’s a great way to turn someone’s mind into porridge, but the original build broke after a few weeks because of some limitations in the clock drive. [Simon] built a very minimal circuit does away with these problems.

Just as in the first build, a microcontroller pulses the second hand motor once every second. As for the random component of this build, the microcontroller has a puts 32 bytes into a 128 byte array. The array is checked 4 times a second, and if the byte is 1, the second hand is incremented. If the byte is 0, time stops for a little bit. [Simon] included the schematic, board layout and code if you’d like to build one yourself.

There are a few drawbacks to this design; the pattern of ticking and not ticking is hard-coded into the microcontroller. Even though the 32 second long pattern shouldn’t be noticeable by watching the clock, it’s not an entirely random solution. Judging from the comments on the original build, using radioactive decay to increment a second might be a bit uncalled for.

We would like to see a second hand that stops when you look at it though. Facial recognition, anyone?