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September 2010

Nuts and Volts Magazine

Turn Your Multimeter Into A Low Voltage Insulation Tester To Detect Ground Faults In Wire

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Features

The Projects of Prototype This!

Joe Grand takes a closer look at the electronic aspects of his different builds from the popular Discovery Channel show Prototype This! This month, go deep with a virtual sea adventure.



Projects

Make the PLL Frequency Synthesizer with PIC Control

This project describes how to build a frequency synthesizer — a device which generates a stable waveform at a user-selected frequency. Frequency synthesizers are handy test instruments for digital circuits, and can also be used for audio signal generators or radio frequency mixing applications. This project is easy to build, easy to use, and a great way to learn more about how phase-locked loops work.


Flower Power

You too can power a device from a set of potted plants! However, in this case, the cells of the battery draw their energy directly from the plants, rather than from an electrochemical process.


Build a Low Voltage Insulation Tester

An easy modification allows a low tech analog ohmmeter to detect insulation faults that a high tech digital ohmmeter fails to find.



Columns

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
TechKnowledgey 2010
The return of the Nixie, molecular bot walks and decides, IBM tweaks Microsoft, laser generates bursts of nothing, plus other stuff you’ll find interesting.

The Spin Zone
by Jon Williams
The Joy of Joysticks
The first joysticks, of course, were simply made up of switches pressed by a plate connected to the stick.Then came analog joysticks which were built up with two potentiometers mechanically linked at a 90-degree angle; one pot for each axis. The original PC joysticks were easy to connect to microcontrollers without hacking. With the proliferation of USB ports, though, analog joysticks changed their interface and are no longer microcontroller-friendly. Darn ...

Q&A
by Russell Kincaid
Q & A
Hum detection, Video buffer, LCD backlight, game clock, plus more.

Smiley’s Workshop
by Joe Pardue
Smiley’s Workshop 26: AVR Memory - Part 4 — Writing to AVR Flash!
AVR Memory — Part 4: Writing to AVR Flash! Part 26

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
Gettin’ Jiggy with the Vinculum-II Hardware Design
Heat up your soldering iron. It’s time to forge some solder, silicon, ceramics, plastic, metal, and fiberglass into an electronic instrument capable of transferring our ideas to a piece of silicon we know as the FTDI Vinculum-II. The first order of business is to pick up where we left off last month.

Near Space
by L. Paul Verhage
The Canon Hacker Development Kit
A simple script can give a Canon camera its own intervalometer while more complex programs allow a camera to vary settings like zoom, f-stop, shutter speed, and exposure time while it’s taking pictures. A big thanks goes to Mark Conner and the folks on the GPSL Yahoo! groups for making me aware of this fantastic camera system.

Departments

Developing Perspectives
by Bryan Bergeron
Please visit our Developing Perspectives blog to read the full article and comment.