[miceuz] has a friend that works as a theatre technician, and in the course of his job he often needs to jigger with various stage components while shows are in progress. As you can imagine, the lighting situation is far from ideal, so he asked [miceuz] to build him an adjustable lighting solution for his tool box.
The circuit itself is relatively straightforward, using an ATMega88 to provide the PWM required for dimming and color control. Input is taken from three different sources, a rotary encoder for color selection, a pot for brightness control, and a button to turn the light strip on and off.
[miceuz] says that while project came together pretty easily, it still presented some issues along the way which provide some useful design reminders for beginners (and some veterans) alike.
First and foremost: debounce, debounce, debounce. [miceuz] forgot this mantra and made a mad dash to add capacitors to his design after etching the PCB to ensure that his inputs were not bouncing all over the place. He also noted that one should always be sure to read the ADCL before the ADCH register when decoding ADC data. His final observation is that using thick traces is the best policy whenever possible – he ran into a lot of issues with traces detaching during assembly, which he had to rework with wire and solder.
In the end, his friend was happy with the result, and [miceuz] is a better hacker for having worked through his issues. What sorts of important/useful lessons have you learned through the course of your projects? Be sure to share them with us in the comments.
Wow. And furthermore, WOW! Just looking at that clean prototype you know that a lot of work has gone into the project, but when you hear this chiptune MIDI device you’ll really be impressed. We know what you’re thinking, but really, you’ve got to hear this to appreciate the quality [Linus Akesson] achieved in this synthesizer. You can catch it after the break.
He does a great job of showing off the different waveforms that can be produced by the ATmega88 on this board. But there’s much more. It also serves as a 16 frame, 16 channel sequencer for creating and layering your own loops.
He mentions that eight oscillators are used for the waveform generation. We don’t see hardware for this on the board. Either we’re missing it, or these oscillators are being created with software? If you have an idea of how this works please clue us in by leaving a comment.
Continue reading “Bitbuf Delivers Some Of The Best Chiptune Effects Around”
[Hugo] went all out when sharing his findings while reverse engineering this small LED marquee. He purchased the 29×7 LED matrix for under $12 but was surprised to find that the USB connector wasn’t a standard type and didn’t come with a cable. He first soldered a standard connector in place and then set out to make the device do his bidding (translated).
What he accomplished can be seen in the video after the break. He can now connect to the device via a USB cable, sending it new messages and adjusting the speed at which it scrolls. He can also adjust the spacing between letters, reverse the scrolling direction, read the on-board buttons, and write the settings to the device’s EEPROM. This is all thanks to some alternative firmware that [Hugo] wrote for the ATmega88. You can download a copy of that code from the wiki page he put together (translated). We really appreciate the time he spent putting that page together. The wealth of information he gathered during the hacking process serves as an example of the best way to share your projects with the world.
Continue reading “Reverse Engineering A Cheap LED Message Marquee”
Unfortunately [manekinen] wrecked a couple of AVRs during his tinkering. Not letting this get him down he decided to blow them up to see what would happen. In exchange for their precious magic smoke the AVRs revealed a good portion of their silicon die.
While the details are a little sparse it seems like he hooked them up to a high (and possibly reverse) source to blow open the chips casing. From the pictures it looks like he was able to reveal some of the flash or SRAM (the big multi colored rectangles) and what could possibly be the power supply. Be sure to checkout the videos after the break for some silicon carnage.
Continue reading “Exploding An AVR”
[Johannes Agricola] recently held a workshop at the Peace Mission in Goettingen, Germany where he shared his RGB LED flowers. The small round PCB hosts an ATmega88 microcontroller which is running the V-USB stack so that the unit can be controlled by a computer. Each flower blossom is an RGB LED connected with four enameled wires which, when twisted together, make up the stem of the flower. [Johannes] took tons of pictures during the assembly while offering soldering advice along side the illustrations. The PCB is single-sided helping make this a great project for someone trying out surface mount component soldering for the first time. Or if you want something a little more free-formed try out this lemon-juice powered LED flower.
This little board serves as a current gear indicator for a motorcycle. It was designed with the Suzuki V-Storm motorcycles in mind as they have a sensor built into the gearbox. Other gear indicators rely on sensors on the shifters themselves, but reading the voltage level from a gearbox sensor gives much more reliable information.
The voltage measurement is handled by an ATmega88 microcontroller which in turn drives the 8×8 LED display. Also built into the system is a temperature sensor and photoresistor. The firmware takes advantage of both of these inputs, displaying temperature when in sixth gear or at the push of a button, and dimming the display based on ambient light. There are also settings for screen rotation, and user preferences.
We didn’t find schematics or software but this should be pretty easy to replicate. If you need a primer for AVR programming we’ve got you covered.
Here’s a bit of simple home automation using hacks with which we’re become pretty familiar. [Mrx23] combined OpenWRT, a microcontroller, and a set of RF controlled outlet switches to add automation to his plug-in devices. An RF remote that controls the switched outlets has been connected to an Arduino. The router communicates with the Arduino via a serial connection. And the router is controlled by a web interface which means you can use a smartphone or other web device to control the outlets.
The best thing about this system is the power that the router wields. Since it has an underlying Linux kernel you have the option of setting CRON jobs to turn lighting on and off, and group settings can be established to set up a room’s lighting level for watching movies, hosting guests, etc. Combine this with the fact that OpenWRT can use port forwarding for Internet control and the possibilities really start to open up.