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MakerPlot – The DIY Software Kit

If you use microcontrollers in your projects, imagine how helpful it would be to see the data in a graphical format, rather than just a series of numbers -- especially when debugging! MakerPlot does all of this and connects directly to your microcontroller’s serial port to display analog and digital data in graphical form; it’s DIY software for your microcontroller projects.

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An ESP32 / Teensy 3.5 Super Clock

After creating an Internet connected digital clock using the Adafruit RA8875 driving an seven inch LCD display, I decided to step it up a notch and add several additional features including: the ability to set an alarm; a countdown timer for uses like monitoring an exercise program; a weather display to provide brief conditions at 10 different cities; a real time stock market report that gives the changing prices for a selection of stocks; and lastly (just for fun), a Mandelbrot fractal generator to produce those wonderful images.

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Build the Graphing Thermometer

Recently, I began to explore ways to improve and upgrade my “thermal monitoring technology” and came up with this simple, easy to build trend-plotting thermometer. This project features a large color graphics display to show the current temperature in big bold digits. Better than that, it also graphs the temperature trends over the most recent 4, 8, 16, or 24 hour period. 

Whether it be temperature trends, time and date, current/voltage readings, battery status, or other variables, consider giving your next project some extra pizazz by including an LCD color graphics display into the design!

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An ESP8266 Live Wi-Fi Webcam

Having read about the ESP8266 NTP clock in previous issues of Nuts & Volts, an idea came to mind to construct an interface camera using the ESP8266. In this project, we used an old Android phone as a camera source and linked to an ESP8266 based webserver. The phone acts as a camera server and the ESP8266 web server acts as a client to the camera server. The webserver displays the live webcam on its web page.

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Build the Laser Pencil Engraver

Several months ago, an idea popped into my head for a fun project. I wondered if I could burn some characters into the yellow paint of a No. 2 pencil with one of those powerful diode lasers available on eBay. Perhaps it could be my name or my grandkid’s names, or even a happy birthday message to my lovely wife. Here’s how I did it.

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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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Build a MIDI Autoharp

This project is a follow-on from my MIDI lyre project featured in the July-August magazine. I’m going to describe how to build a MIDI autoharp. Like the lyre, this is a MIDI controller, so it doesn’t make any sounds itself. Instead, it sends MIDI messages to an external synthesizer. It’s the synthesizer that makes the sounds.

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