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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
So, my wife volunteered me for “Science Day” at my son’s elementary school — an annual half day program where moms and dads taught mini-courses on everything from rocketry to zoology to chemistry. But what could I teach the kids? No sooner did the thought cross my mind, did I get the answer: build a video game!
What kind of home project has 82 legs, horns, and will never have all of the "bugs" worked out of it? The answer is "H-2-Opus," a BASIC Stamp driven musical water fountain.