Everything for Electronics

Microcontrollers

Microcontrollers, Software, and You — Part 3

While getting the correct answer to a programming problem is crucial when designing a program, it should not be your only objective. You also want to write it with sufficient clarity that someone else can read your code and easily understand what the code does. Let’s take a look at an example program to show the square of a number.

Build the Music Visualizer

As a final class project for our “Digital Systems Design Using Microcontrollers” course we all took last semester at Cornell University, we created a very unique device. We wanted to design something fun, aesthetically pleasing, and interactive, and since we all enjoy listening to music, we decided on a music visualizer. Our vision was to create a unit that listens to music being played, then in real time displays a dynamic and colorful visual representation of the music based on the volume and pitch of the notes. Additionally, our music visualizer provides an alternate avenue for experiencing music for the hearing impaired. Here’s how we did it, so you can make one too!

An Introduction to the Parallax Propeller 2

This article gives an easy preview and shows you how some of the neat new features in the long-awaited Propeller 2 can be leveraged in your applications.

The Dr. Duino Explorer —  A Review

Stop spending hours fighting your breadboard! With the Dr. Duino Explorer, you’ll save a ton of time on your next Arduino project. Whether you’re a novice or experienced Arduino user, the Explorer offers an array of commonly used sensors and modules with the ability to connect and disconnect what you need at will. It has a novel mechanism for routing digital and analog I/O pins to wherever you need them.

Microcontrollers, Software, and You — Part 2

In the previous installment, we discussed the Five Program Steps and how we can use those five steps to organize our thoughts about writing programs. In this article, we’ll discuss the format that the Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE) requires for your program to execute in the IDE. We’ll then examine how the IDE allows us to easily organize a program using the Five Program Steps.

A Real-Time Operating System for the Arduino

An RTOS (Real Time Operating System) is a software component that lets you rapidly switch between different running sections of your code. Think of it as having several loop() functions in an Arduino sketch where they all run at the same time.

Microcontrollers, Software, and You

Most of us have invested some time in learning those things we want or need to do. Learning how to program is no different, and it can be an extremely satisfying endeavor. Seeing a device respond to code you wrote is, well, intoxicating in a good way. My goal is to create an interest in exploring microcontrollers and encourage you into investing $5 and some of your time into that exploration. I honestly think you'll enjoy the journey.

REVIEW: Dr. Duino’s Starter Kit for the Arduino Uno

In addition to making breadboarding easier, the new Dr. Duino Starter Kit can be a useful tool in learning Arduino hardware and software design. Getting into microcontroller development for the first time can be a daunting undertaking and anything that can simplify the process will be welcomed by many. Plus, there are many other possibilities for how this kit can be used.

Build a Configurable Clock/Timer

This project implements a clock/timer device with several handy features other than just a simple alarm. It utilizes a 16-bit PIC, the MPLab Code Configurator, and a serial LCD.

AC Volt/Amp Meter with Web Interface

Work areas usually have multiple power strips ganged together and connected to the same outlet. Various devices are connected to these strips, including computers, lights, coffee pots, space heaters, etc. Environmentally conscious persons ask, “How much power does my work area consume?” Safety conscious persons ask, “Am I overloading my circuit?” Calculating the answers requires two basic measurements: the voltage supplied to the circuit, and the amperage consumed by the circuit. Measuring AC voltage and, particularly, amperage with a multimeter is a potentially dangerous diagnostic for laypersons.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a self-contained volt/amp meter that displays the values on a webpage?