[Mike Shegedin] makes full use of an 8-pin microcontroller with this ATtiny13-based dice project. With a maximum of six I/O pins (that includes using the reset pin as I/O) he needed a couple of tricks in order to drive 14 LEDs and use a momentary push button for user input. We’re certainly familiar with the concepts here, but it still took quite a while to figure out what is going on with the schematic that [Mike] posted.
You’ve probably already guessed that he’s using Charlieplexing to drive more LEDs than he has pins. But when we started looking at the layout we thought he had drawn the schematic wrong, because there are six pairs of LEDs where the two diodes in each pair a not reverse biased, but hooked up in parallel. That, plus the fact that his battery is hooked up backwards. After several minutes of study the light bulb finally clicked on. Dice add pips (the dots on each side of a die) in pairs with the exception of the center pip. That means that you only need to control four total lines for each die (three pairs plus the center pip). There’s two ways to handle this, you could use four rows and two columns with traditional multiplexing, or you can reverse bias the two sets of LEDs for each die and use Charlieplexing. The former is a bit easier to program, the latter saves you one I/O pin and meant that [Mike] didn’t need to use the reset pin as I/O.
This is a clever addition to the collection of dice projects we’ve seen like the battery-less die, and the ATtiny2313 powered dice.
[Brad] was asked by his Sister to design a motion-based alarm that would help her catch her son sneaking out of the house at night. Obviously this didn’t need to be a long-term installation so he decided to throw something together that is only active at night and can be battery-powered. What he came up with is a light-sensitive motion sensor that uses very little power.
He knew that an Arduino would be overkill, and decided to try his hand at using the Arduino to develop code for an ATtiny85. It has an external interrupt pin connected to the output of the PIR module, which triggers action when motion is detected. The first thing it does is to check the photoresistor via the ADC. If light levels are low enough, the buzzer will be sounded. [Brad] measured the current consumption of his circuit and was not happy to find it draws about 2.5 mA at idle. He spent some time teaching himself about the sleep functions of the AVR chips and was able reduce that to about 500-600 uA when in sleep mode. Now all he has to do is find a nice place behind the house to mount the alarm and there’ll be no more sneaking around at night.
If you’re trying to keep a tight leash on your own kids you could always make them punch the time clock.
Hit your parts bin and set aside an afternoon to build a wind turbine that recharges batteries. You can see two AA batteries hanging off the side of this small generator. You only need a few parts to make this happen, and chances are you have them sitting in your junk bin already.
The generator itself is a small stepper motor which can be pulled from a floppy disk drive or a scanner. The blade is cut from a single piece of 3.5″ (90mm) PVC pipe, with another piece of smaller-diameter pipe serving as the body of the turbine. The tail-fin makes sure it’s always pointing into the wind and was made from some plywood. As the blade spins, a current is induced on the control pins of the stepper motor. By building a pair of bridge rectifiers and using an RC filter you’ll get the most out of the generated current.
This turbine can charge a pair of NiCad batteries in about 10 hours, but it might be worth developing some smart circuitry to manage charging. If it were able to choose between a dedicated storage battery and the on-board battery holder you could put all of the wind energy to good use.
Some of our favorite hacks are those made with scrap materials, so we were delighted to see a contest being held by the German technology magazine c’t which focuses on using salvaged components. “Mach flott den Schrott” is the name of the competition, which loosely translates to “Make fast the scrap”.
German builder [Mario Lukas’] entry into the contest (Google Translation) is definitely unique, and certainly fits within the theme. He built a toilet paper printer that uses a bunch of recycled components to write anything he desires on a roll of the soft white stuff. His blog walks through the build details, including a bill of materials for all of the scrap bits he used to put it together. Several CD-ROM drives, printers, and even inline skates donated some components to the printer, while an Arduino controls the entire printing process.
Though [Mario] is using RSS and Twitter feeds as a data source for his toilet-side scribe, we imagine it will only be a matter of time before advertising companies seize upon this sort of technology to create personalized advertisements geared towards a decidedly captive audience.
Continue reading to see a quick video of his toilet paper printer in action.
Continue reading “Toilet Paper Printer Made From Scrap Parts”