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Exercising the Teensy 4.0

The Teensy 4.0 and 4.1 microcontrollers are a game changer. They’re a quantum leap in CPU speed and processing power. My first thought was what kind of program could use this level of performance and Mandelbrot images came to mind -- a favorite programming pastime of mine. Here’s how it went.

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Build a Simple Isolator for Externally Powered Arduinos

Arduino Unos and Megas are normally powered by five volts through their USB connectors or by connecting 7-12 volts to the power jacks or Vin header pins. However, there is another way. This is a very simple project, but it sure makes programming easier.

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Build a PICBall Machine

For our “Designing With Microcontrollers” class at Cornell University, we built a pinball machine with electronic components controlled by software on a PIC32 microcontroller. This article details the design process, challenges we experienced, and solutions we came up with while completing the project from start to finish.

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Build a Digital Clock Family Using Nextion Displays

I’m a digital clock nut. I began experimenting with the newer Nextion displays, which I really like. I’ve produced digital clock versions for the 3.5, 5, and 7 inch size Nextion display. They all run from the same printed circuit board and have several different functions.

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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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Adding FM Capability to an All American Five AM Radio

After retirement a few years back, I started collecting AA5 radios, restoring and selling them. People would ask whether they picked up FM and, of course, they did not. I started thinking about how to add FM capability without destroying the AA5’s AM operation. Here is my solution.

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