Everything for Electronics
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Take the Z80 Challenge

This project started out as a challenge to myself: Could I cram a full-featured Z80 microcomputer using DIP packages onto an ExpressPCB MiniBoard (3.8” by 2.5”)? Here’s what happened.

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Updating a General-purpose Programming System

Twenty years ago, I published an article in Nuts & Volts about designing a general-purpose programming system: the LP120. I’ve used the LP120 heavily for the last 20 years to support my eight-bit design hobby. It now has uploadable drivers and programming modules for many eight-bit micros, EPROMs, and GALs. However, things have changed since 2000. Back then, few microcontrollers had more than 4K bytes of program memory. Now, eight-bit PICs have up to 64K words of memory. Clearly an update to the LP120 was called for.

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Build an Audio Loop System

The last time I had my hearing aids serviced, I discovered that the devices included a T-mode operational feature. The T-mode (or Telecoil) setting allows you to receive audio signals fed to an induction loop, which is just a wire loop laid on the floor around the perimeter of the desired area. Induction loops can be found in places such as concert halls, movie theaters, auditoriums, churches, banks, and public buildings where PA announcements are common. I decided to build an installation for my home. Here’s how it went.

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Build a Digital Light Saber

Want to “paint with light?” This article explains in detail how you can build a low cost (<$100) microprocessor-controlled LED light saber that provides as much or more capabilities than professional light wands.

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Harvesting Electricity From The Environment

With "smart" cell phones, Wi-Fi, RFID tag systems, and so many other new applications for radio waves these days, it is obvious that we are immersed in an electromagnetic field ("EMF") just about everywhere we go. Here's a circuit to experiment with collecting and measuring the energy present in our environment.

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TGI: The TEENSY Graphics Interface

The February and March 2018 editions of Nuts & Volts featured my article detailing the Arduino Graphics Interface (AGI) project which described a general-purpose hardware and software platform that could draw graphical objects onto the face of any analog oscilloscope. A reader challenged me to see if the AGI concept and software library could be ported to the newer and faster TEENSY 3.6 processor. This article describes the new and improved TEENSY Graphics Interface project that implements a fully operational “CRT Clock” as a working demonstration of a TEENSY based graphics platform.

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Pocket Geiger Unit

Small Geiger-Müller (G-M) tubes make ideal sensors for pocket-sized devices to detect radioactivity. However,  even a small G-M tube needs an anode voltage in the 400 to 600 volt region. Here's how to generate that voltage from a 9 V battery.

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