TTGO ESP32 Module With Multiple Personalities

Volos Projects educator [Danko Bertović] had a TTGO ESP32 board looking for a project, so he implemented a surprisingly functional weather station for such a small screen. Presumably that was too boring for him, so he decided to write a version of the classic Atari game Breakout instead. [Danko] prefers using the Arduino IDE for ESP32 projects, and has made the Breakout software available as an Arduino sketch. We hope the weather station sketch will be released soon, too. The TTGO is a small ESP32 board with an ST7789V 1.14 in (29 mm) TFT color display, available from your favorite Shenzhen market supplier. This platform is perfect for all kinds of niche applications. We’d love to hear how you are using, or plan to use, these modules in your projects.

We wrote about one such project last summer, where a similar TTGO module was used to display 50-year broadcast delayed transcripts of the Apollo 11 mission. [Danko] is no stranger to Hackaday — he has made several Arduino-based calculator projects.  Perhaps the most remarkable being the circuit sculpture binary number calculator from last year, another project that morphed into a computer game (Pong).

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SMD Breadboard Adaptors Skip Schematic, Goes Straight To PCB

If you need to add one or two SMT chips to your breadboarded prototype, [Travis Hein] has you covered. He designed a set of small SMD adaptor boards for various SOIC, SOT23, and DPAC patterns using KiCad.  He has released them as open source, so you can feel free to use them or modify them as needed.

Normally we don’t see people bypassing the schematics when designing a PCB. But we can agree that [Travis] has found a situation where going direct to PCB makes more sense. He just plops down the package in Pcbnew, adds some pin headers and wires everything up directly on the PCB. (But don’t worry, some of you may remember [Travis] from his earlier SSR mains switching project, which demonstrates that he can indeed draw proper schematics.) We know there are more people out there who prefer to go straight to PCB layout… [mikeselectricstuff] comes to mind. If you could yourself among this tribe, let use know your reasoning in the comments below.

We wrote about a similar universal breakout boards for SMD parts back in 2016, which is a single breakout board for two- and three-pin jelly-bean components. If you paired some of those boards with [Travis]’s breakout boards, it would make a great combination to keep in your prototyping gadgets bin. Consider this project the next time your favorite PCB shop has a sale.

Jetson Nano Robot

[Stevej52] likes to build things you can’t buy, and this Jetson Nano robot falls well within that category. Reading the project details, you might think [Stevej52] drinks too much coffee.  But we think he is just excited to have successfully pulled off the Herculean task of integrating over a dozen hardware and software modules.  Very briefly, he is running Ubuntu and ROS on the PC and Nano. It is all tied together with Python code, and is using Modbus over IP to solve a problem getting joystick data to the Nano. We like it when existing, standard protocols can be used because it frees the designer to focus more on the application. Modbus has been around for 40 years, has widespread support in many languages and platforms.

This is an ongoing project, and we look forward to seeing more updates and especially some video of it in action. With the recent release of a price-reduced Jetson Nano, which we covered last week, this might be an excellent project to take on.

USB Adaptor Isolates Multiple Serial Interfaces

You need a Swiss Army knife of serial communications? Ollie is a compact isolated USB adaptor that provides USB, CAN bus, and two UARTs at logic, RS-232, and RS-485 signaling levels, as well as an isolated power supply.  [Slimelec] has managed to squeeze all this into a package the size of a harmonica.  We like the technique of making the enclosure from PCB material, complete with clearly labeled switch, LED and connector pinout names.

So far, only the compiled firmware is available for this project, but hardware files, and presumably the source code and documentation, are coming soon.

The central themes here are  isolation and flexibility. We can’t find the isolation voltage in the project specifications, but the CANable project on which this adaptor is based provides 2.5 kV galvanic isolation.  A single isolated USB interface is also provided over a standard Type A connector. The four-wire logic-level UART signals are available on a 2 x 7 box header, and are voltage selectable.  The RS-232, RS-485, and CAN signals are on an 8-pin pluggable screw terminal block, or you can use a DB9 connector with a pluggable adaptor board.

Whether you need a troubleshooting aid for field testing, are using CAN bus on your projects, or just want to isolate your expensive computer from sketchy prototype hardware, have a look at this project.

An Up-To-Date Datasette For Commodore TED Series

Retro computer enthusiast [Steven Combs] documents his adventure building the TEDuino, a modern replacement for the Commodore Datasette which uses an SD card instead of audio tape. He based the design on [Peter Edwards]’s Tapuino project, which was featured by Hackaday back in 2014. [Steven] took the aesthetic design to a new level, and also modified it to work with his Plus/4 and other TED series Commodores.  We are amazed that he was able to design this enclosure in SketchUp, and impressed with the results from his Creality Ender 3. He went to great lengths to match the color and style of the Plus/4, and pulled it off quite well. [Steven] also applied some interesting design features in this enclosure. The PCB modules are snap-fit, the buttons are made as a single piece – not unlike a living hinge. The 3D-printed strain relief for the cable is a nice finishing touch, and we cannot disagree with [Steven]’s sage advice – “Gorilla anything is just cool”.

This is only part 1 of the project. Stay tuned for future improvements, tweaks and embellishments.

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Improved Part Searches For JLCPCB Parts

Finding the JLCPCB component parts library frustrating to navigate, [Jan Mrázek] took matters into his own hands and made an open-source parametric search utility. We’ve all probably wasted time before trying to track down a particular flavor of a part, and this tool promises to make the process easier.  It downloads data from the JLCPCB parts site upon initialization and presents the user with typical selection filters for categories and parameter values. You can install it yourself on GitHub Pages, or [Jan] provides a link to his site.

For the curious, the details of how to pull parts information from the JLBPCB site can be found in the project’s source code.  We like it when a distributor provides this level of access to their part details and parameters, allowing others to sort and filter the parts in ways not originally envisioned by the site design team.  We think this is a win-win situation — distributors can’t sell parts that designers can’t find.

If [Jan]’s name sounds familiar, it should be.  We have written about several of his projects before, two of them are also PCB designer tools ( KiCad Board Renderings and KiCad Panelization ).