• Tag Archives ideas
  • MSP430 Meetup Chicago IL (Glen Ellyn)

    This Thursday June 23 I will be teaching a small class about advanced MSP430 concepts. I2C, SPI ADC, SDA, TLV/flash memory, more about interrupts and maybe more. Source code, and material to be posted after the meetup, if interested please check out the meetup page for more info.


  • TTL/MOS timer experiments

    I have this dual 556 timer that i have wanted to use, just because it can take 15V and work with out an issue and as low as 3V. (thanks TI) So i was thinking that this had some potential to be used for RF or a fixed PWM signal. (personally i would like to pick up a few digital POTs and a digital cap to to create a DCO of some sort)
    So far i have played with it and found some interesting things out.

    TLC556 Dual Cmos Timer Data Sheet

    My first goal was to get a 50% duty cycle from the chip, this was pretty easy just choosing the correct values for Ra and Rb, but you will have to do some math and you should use the equation out of the data sheet for your chip. My equati0n Period = tH + tL ~= CT (RA + 2RB) In 2, but if you need values closer to what is measured, you will have to break out the TI 8x and plug in tH = Ct (Ra + Rb) ln [ 3 – exp(-t PHL / Ct (Rb + Ron) ) ] + t PHL and Tl = Ct (Rb + Ron) ln [ 3 – exp(- t PHL/ CT(Ra + Rb)) ] + tPLH.  I know these equations look difficult but as long as you plug in your values you will get close to what you measure on your oscilloscope. but i did this the fun way, use the first equation to get close to what you need then tweak the rest of the values until you get something close to what you want.

    The values that i chose first were the Ra and Rb, I chose Ra =  220 ohms and Rb =  100 ohms and Ct = .0047 uF.  Rl and Cl i did not choose a value nor did i hook up those components, i will have to look into the reason they are there, but i’m sure they are there for good reason. This first Test was just to make sure i can get a good square wave and be able to shape it.

    the new values that i used are – will update later, but frequency is near 1 Mhz

    My second goal was to try and make a sine wave or shape the square wave to be better for RF transmission. I added a Pi Network to the out put to shape the wave and below is what i got for half of the pi network, i will have better pics of the final wave form once my circuit is a little more complete.

    another pic

    and another

    If all goes well and i can create a pretty stable transmitter i will be hooking up a small modem chip to the circuit and create a cheap digital modem . Another thing that would be nice would be a pair or transmitters and receivers so i can send and receive at the same time.


    R1 100 ohms

    R2 220 ohms

    C1 .0047uF

  • BPM Counter Display update

    I finished the display for the bpm counter!! Its amazing what you can do with a few transistors.  I’m currently using 10 of the 14 digital pins on my board, but running three 7 segment LED displays.  Parts include 10 NPN 2n2222 transistors and NPN 2n3904. 7 x 3.7K resistors and 2 dual 7 segment displays (only 3 being used).

    Thanks to Codekiller, im going in a slightly different direction, he suggested to create a VU meter first and get a good reading, then start to create the algorithm to find out the bpm is. Timing will be essential to get an accurate calculation, and also to visually look at the graphed data the arduino puts out will help in creation of the bpm algorithm, from my experience in audio editing and mastering, I am pretty certain I can pick out the Beat and measure the time it takes for the next peak, doing this visually should not be to hard but putting it into a programming language and having it work may be a little challenging.

    I am currently coding a quick gui to read and graph the values using The processing programing language(very easy to build visualization software and gui interfaces using a C like programming language). This may turn into a start of a simple oscilloscope later this year since i do need one for my bench.

    Pics comming this morning when  I get home from work(lol)and maybe a video if i can get it to work correctly. I am so happy that I have a radio shack within 5 mins from my place, and only have to wait till 9 am till they open.

    Thanks Codekiller for the great help and ideas—> his site http://smfinc.web.elte.hu/ruckus/index.html

    and the site Im using as a starting point —>http://interface.khm.de/index.php/lab/experiments/arduino-realtime-audio-processing/

    at the time of this post the last link had a Database connection error in German, I will check in a day or so and if its still down, I will post the PDF and code that I’m using from there project.

    Look for more updates Soon!!



    my camera is not function at this moment, im working on getting it fixed and recovering some of my pics, but work is continuing on my days off. (not to much time on work days) the audio circuit is done, just need to test .

  • Update: sugru, shapelock, and my break

    I am so excited my Sugru order shipped a few days ago from the UK, I am really looking forward to testing this stuff out, and finally tested my shapelock- pics and movie to be posted soon. Works as its supposed to, no more scrounging for servo and motor mounts.
    as for my break only a few weeks left before i start working on my projects, lots of updates and some great new ideas coming to plan…


  • IR eye

    This project is the first step in my motion tracking. This Eye was built and adapted from an LRM post here .

    DSCN0219DSCN0221please dont laugh at my soldering job, its what i can manage with that kind of board, I like the ones that mimic a breadboard setup. With very little trouble i finished soldering in about 2 hours but had to go back a desolder one transistor and replace it and resolder one wire. After that i tested each IR sensor by themselves to make sure they all worked, each one gave a little different reading off the same IR source but that can be fixed with a little calibration in the software. But for now my goal is to hook it up to 2 servos and control the x and y for the motion tracking, eventually i would like to put this into an enclosure that looks like an eye.
    This is to make sure all 4 eyes are working
    const int sensepin0 = 0;
    const int sensepin1 = 1;
    const int sensepin2 = 2;
    const int sensepin3 = 3;
    int sensorValue0 = 0;
    int sensorValue1 = 0;
    int sensorValue2 = 0;
    int sensorValue3 = 0;
    void setup() {
    void loop() {
    sensorValue0 = analogRead(sensepin0);
    sensorValue1 = analogRead(sensepin1);
    sensorValue2 = analogRead(sensepin2);
    sensorValue3 = analogRead(sensepin3);
    Serial.print("sensor = ");
    Serial.print(" ");
    Serial.print(" ");
    Serial.print(" ");

    this will test all 4 sensors and print to the serial port.

    also this code is written for the arduino but can be adapted to other microprossecors.

    Here is a screenshot of the schematic as well

    ScreenshotNext i will mount it to the servo and start writing the logic for 1 of the axis, but my question is how to mount this to a servo with stuff wround the garage. I will answer this question soo.

    and this is why you should never place you MC on your keyboard…………..Screenshot-1that large stack to the left is about 30 print screen applications running. I placed my arduino on my print screen button for about 10 secs before I realized what was going on.


    • 4x 2n 2222 NPN transistors (generic NPN)
    • 4x 220 Ohm 1/4w resistors
    • 4x NPN photo transistors
    • a bunch of wire
    • Arduino

  • Work, The Internet, Your Browsing

    Have you ever had that feeling that someone is standing over your shoulder, while browsing at work?  Or someone sends you a link in your corp mail, you click and you get that wonderful message, “this site has been blocked by <your big brother software> for <some reason that its not related to work>”…… Every time i have gotten a message like that, my brain goes “uh oh” knowing that in some log that it recorded your user name time and the site you were trying to get to!! So you think that this is another mark on your flawless company record…but even worse is it keeps all the sites that you go to regardless if its blocked or not…….So are you getting paranoid now? Well don’t be unless you know what your doing is against company policy like looking at NSFW sites or other social networking sites. But it still bugs me that my Digital Privacy is still being infringed upon……I know that Company’s put in filters and proxy s for extra security to keep out the viruses malware and spam from the internet, But do you really need Draconian laws to help with security? isnt there a better way, maybe Teach your emplyees, good browsing habits, what phising  is  or social engineering, and whats acceptable for work browsing and sample sites…… It may be years before major company realize that there internet policy is failing due to people circumventing there security, which is a Big problem that no one seems to realize, so Let me tell you some interesting ideas to circumvent your employers draconian internet policy……………… There are a few different ways to get by there security, depending on what is in your way. Most company uses a Proxy to allow people to access to the internet which usually have some sort of login, some use a Web filter software added to the proxy to allow you access to a few sites that the company feels you need access to, others use just the filter and some use something called a transparent proxy or gateway that has some sort of filtering software, there may be others ways for security to impede on your web surfing. Now for the Good stuff, how to get around your works web security… Remember I do not Support breaking the law or circumventing critical network security or breaking your company internet usage policy…Basically I take no Responsibility for your actions. Read the Policy and understand it because knowing your rights as an employee is your responsibility not HRs……….This is for informational and educational purposes only!
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