Everything for Electronics


Replacing The 555 With A PIC — Part 5 — A Digital Analog

This final article in our series will examine those circuits from the “555 Timer IC Circuits” by Forrest Mims which were not covered in any of the preceding four articles.

Build a Musical Laser Rainbow Machine

I’ve been searching for a way to give our band’s performances the kind of visual elements that can only otherwise be achieved by true lighting artists. As a musician, inventor, and laser enthusiast, I decided to draw on all my hobbies and have created a light machine that has unique responses to each tone, frequency, and beat.

Build an Analog-Style LED Clock — Part 1

Driving LEDs using the lowest possible pin-count is a common challenge for folks creating projects with microcontrollers. Complementary LED drive, also known as “Charlieplexing”, allows a large number of LEDs to be controlled with a relatively small number of I/O pins.  This fun digital LED clock project is a hands-on example of how Charlieplexing can be used to stretch your “pin budget”!

Enhance Your Debugging Tool Suite

Debugging microcontroller designs can be difficult due to resource limitations that block or curtail access to real time information internally and externally. In this article, I’ll demonstrate both a multiplexed bus protocol analyzer and the 1-Wire Manchester decoder. Combining these logic analyzer decoders with an embedded software Manchester encoder forms a great tool to enhance your debugging and diagnostic skills.

Replacing The 555 With A PIC — Part 4 — A Digital Analog

This fourth installment will examine the more complex circuits from the book, “555 Timer IC Circuits” by Forrest Mims. Some will use the PIC replacement from Part 1, while others will develop specific programs using a PIC to emulate a particular implementation of a 555.

The Retro PIC Single-Board Computer

Over the years, I have accumulated a bunch of chips from before the era of true PCs when computers with names like Altair, KIM-1, and Cosmac ELF were popular. I’ve been looking for a way to use them in new projects, so I designed a system around a 40-pin PIC16F887. I figured this would put some of my historic chips to work and be a great learning tool for understanding how a microcomputer works.

Build the Numitron — A Six-Digit Clock

This six-digit, beautifully designed timepiece showcases cold war era components — Numitrons instead of Nixie tubes — along with modern LEDs and a Microchip PIC to create not only a useful clock but a great conversation piece as well.

Toss the Toggle

Most electronic devices today have a single button you push to turn them on and off. Think of your cell phone, laptop, and even your TV. There is no toggle to flip, no knob to turn back and forth, nor slide switch to move. So, how do you get one of these power buttons into your project so your latest gadget can sit next to your other devices without the embarrassment of a toggle or slide switch?

Build the 3D LED Matrix Cube

This article shows you how to build a really cool 3D cube with a 4 x 4 x 4 monochromatic LED matrix which has a total of 64 LEDs.

Computer Controlled Air/Steam Engine

This alternative energy project is two-fold. First, convert a two-cycle engine to run on pressure (air/steam). Then, create a control system to optimize engine performance. This project is very easily reproduced by any experimenter with average mechanical skills; the controller is an easy breadboard; and — best of all — it’s cheap and green!