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November 2004

Nuts and Volts Magazine

Focus on Home Automation

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Features

Good PCB Design

Designing a circuit board for ease of manufacturing can help insure your project stays on schedule and the redo's are left for someone else.



Projects

AM Radio Tx

Use Your Boombox as a PA System


An Automatic Audio/Video Switch

I was pretty satisfied with my home entertainment setup. The TV was connected to a cable box, VCR, and a DVD player through a RadioShack (http://www.radioshack.com) four-way audio/video selector (model 15-1976). This particular unit is a push button model, which is both inexpensive and reliable. Having to manually switch inputs didn’t seem to be much of a hassle to me, since — for the most part — you had to get up to insert a tape or DVD, anyway.


Multi-Protocol USB

The vast majority of USB devices available on the market today have at least one thing in common: They all use microcontrollers to implement the task at hand. Whether it’s in the form of a USB serial engine sharing the same piece of silicon with a microcontroller or a simple connection between the two on a printed circuit board, the use of a microcontroller for just about any USB-based task is virtually inescapable ... that is, until now.


Remote Temp Logger

Recently, I needed to acquire some temperature data from multiple remote locations and decided to avail myself of the phone system. For the data acquisition unit, I decided to use an Atmel ATmega 8. This processor has plenty of horsepower for the task and a high performance A/D converter.


Web-Enabled X-10 Home Automation Controller

Glue Your X-10 Devices to a Webpage



Columns

Micro Memories
by Edward B. Driscoll, Jr.
25 Years Into the Future — 1980s The Third Wave
Many science and science fiction writers have written books that predict the future. By the 1970s, a term was coined for these sorts of authors: futurists. Few books, however, got the future — the future that we’re living in right now — as right as Alvin Toffler’s The Third Wave, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2005.

Stamp Applications
by Jon Williams
I2C Again — and the Case for Continuous Improvement
I get the idea that a lot of BASIC Stamp users have discovered the fun and utility of the myriad (over 1,000) of I2C devices available today — even those users that don’t have the BS2p or BS2pe with the built-in I2COUT and I2CIN instructions.

In The Trenches
by Gerard Fonte
In The Trenches
At some time in an engineer's career or in a business' development, a decision about specialization or generalization will occur. This month, we'll discuss and examine various factors and implications of generalization and specialization. Clearly, it's useful to consider the good and bad points of each position well before you face the choice.

Near Space
by L. Paul Verhage
Modifying a PenCam for Use in Near Space Applications
I like to collect data. If I can send a near spacecraft (NS craft) to 100,000 feet and return data on cosmic rays, I’m in heaven (or maybe it’s near heaven).

Q&A
by TJ Byers
Q&A
In this column, I answer questions about all aspects of electronics, including computer hardware, software, circuits, electronic theory, troubleshooting, and anything else of interest to the hobbyist.

Let’s Get Technical
by James Antonakos
Shrinking Bits — A Second Look at Digital Data Compression
Last time, we examined the applications for lossless and lossy data compression methods. In this second look at digital data compression, we will take a look inside these different compression techniques:

TechKnowledgey
Techknowledgey 2004
Events, Advances, and News