Generating Video With The PIC

[bekeband] recently came across an old industrial monitor. It’s small, monochrome, has a beautiful green phosphor, and does not accept a composite signal. Instead, there’s a weird TTL input with connectors for horizontal sync, vertical sync, and video. Intrigued, [bekeband] brought it home and started working on a project that would drive this monitor. He succeeded, and with a chip we don’t see much of on the Hackaday tips line: a 16-bit PIC.

The project uses the dsPIC30F3011, a strange little 16-bit PIC in a 40-pin package. The board for this build actually comes from an earlier build, and after connecting the horizontal sync, vertical sync, and video to this tiny board, [bekeband] started writing some code.

There are two programs written for this board. The first is a static image tester that displays a single image on the CRT. The second is one that displays a simple animation, in this case, a horse running in place. It’s not the fanciest project, but it does work, and even though [bekeband] isn’t using a high-speed ARM, he is getting a reasonably high resolution out of this chip.

Video below.

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Super Serious Garage Door Opener

Tired of cheap plastic garage door openers? [Yetifrisstlama]’s is probably the most serious garage door opener that we’ve seen. The case is an old emergency stop switch, which has plenty of space for the circuitry and features a big red button.

This build log starts with details on reverse engineering the original door opener’s protocol. It’s an amplitude-shift keying (ASK) signal that sends a 10 bit code to authenticate. The main components inside are a PIC16LF819 microcontroller, a MAX7057 ASK/FSK transmitter, and some RF circuitry needed to filter the signal. There’s a mix of through hole and surface mount components mounted on a prototyping board, requiring some crafty soldering.

[Yetifrisstlama] says that the next step is to add a power amplifier to increase the range. The code and project files are also provided for anyone interested in working with ASK. While the hack looks awesome, it might make bystanders think you’re doing something more sinister than opening a garage door.

Adding a keypad to a key card lock


[Colin Merkel] had a little problem: he was continually forgetting his electronic key card, locking himself out of his own dorm room. Like any normal Hack a Day reader, rather than getting in the habit of always carrying his card, the natural impulse of course is to build this elaborate rig of electronics and duct tape. Right?

The result is an additional keypad that can be used to gain access…not by altering the existing electronic lock, but with a secondary mechanism that operates the inside door handle. An 8-bit PIC microcontroller scans the outside keypad (connected by a thin ribbon cable), and when a correct access code is entered, engages a 12 volt DC motor to turn the handle. It’s a great little writeup that includes a parts list, source code, and explains the process of keypad scanning.

It’s similar to the RFID-based dorm hack we previously posted. By physically operating the handle, most any approach could be used: facial recognition, other biometrics, DDR pad, or whatever inspired lunacy you can dream up.