Everything for Electronics

Chuck Hellebuyck

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Chuck's Articles

Portable Electronics Workbench with 3D Printed Parts
Column: Practical 3D Printing
June 2017
Learn how to make a 3D printed/customized portable electronics organizer.

Maximite Computer 3D Printed Case
February 2017
Design a custom case for the original Maximite computer.

3D Printed On-Air Flashing Sign
Column: Practical 3D Printing
December 2016
Tired of being interrupted when you’re recording videos? Alert people when you’re on the air with this flashing 3D printed sign.

Resistor/Diode Tester
Column: Practical 3D Printing
October 2016
Modifying a previous 3D print into a different kind of component holder.

Soldering Wires with a 3D Print
Column: Practical 3D Printing
August 2016
Design a versatile “third hand” with your 3D printer to hold various sizes of wires. A little bending and the ends of the wires are touching, ready for solder.

Adding an LCD and SD Card to a 3D Printer
Column: Practical 3D Printing
June 2016
Want to break away from your computer's USB connection and run your 3D printer independently? Find out how.

MakerBot Customizer for 3D Print Creations
Column: Practical 3D Printing
April 2016
Makerbot Customizer software makes modding a Thingiverse downloaded design a breeze.

3D Print A Breadboard Base With Sidecar Supports
Column: Practical 3D Printing
February 2016
This 3D printed breadboard base with sidecar supports makes projects portable when all that connects the boards together is wires.

Fabrikator Mini
Column: Practical 3D Printing
December 2015
This 3D printer is open source and the perfect size for your benchtop.

3D Print Designs for Electronic Hobbyists
Column: Practical 3D Printing
October 2015
Discover some handy tools to print that will make a welcome addition to your work bench.

Pegboard Solder Holder
Column: Practical 3D Printing
August 2015
Never lose your roll of solder again with this handy bench organizational tool.

Tool Stand for Low Cost Rotary Tool
Column: Practical 3D Printing
June 2015
Need more room on your workbench? Then, create custom holders for your tools and their accessories.

3D Custom Storage Boxes
Column: Practical 3D Printing
April 2015
Get your electronics über organized with specially designed storage drawers.

A Custom 3D Printed Case for CHIPINO
Column: Practical 3D Printing
February 2015
Here’s an example of how to use your 3D printer to design a custom enclosure.

Briding the Gap of Packaging With 3D Printing.
Column: Getting Started With 3D Printing
December 2014
The three main areas to designing a project are: hardware, software, and packaging. While hardware and software have come a long way over the years, replicating custom enclosures has been on the expensive side ... until now.

Eight-Pin Projects
Column: Getting Started With PICS
November 2009
I recently received a development setup that I found quite interesting, as it’s targeted at my favorite audience—the beginner market. It is called the CHIPAXE system.

Programming the PICDEM 2 Plus Development Board
Column: Getting Started With PICS
September 2009
After getting everything set up — I used an MPLAB® ICD 2 for the programming tool because it is available bundled with the PICDEM 2 Plus board — I was ready to write some code.

Improving the PICKit 2 Development Board
Column: Getting Started With PICS
July 2009
The one thing I always wanted to add was a breadboard area, so I modified the development board included with the Starter Kit — it’s called the low pin count development board.

Counting Pulses with Timer 0
Column: Getting Started With PICS
May 2009
Keep track of your distance traveled on the golf coarse with this counting application.

SPI Communication
Column: Getting Started With PICS
March 2009
In my January column, I described the I2C form of serial communication. This month, I am covering its cousin — the Serial Peripheral Interface or SPI communication.

PICKIT™ 2 Command-Line Option
Column: Getting Started With PICS
January 2008
I have good news for all the users of Microchip Technology’s PICkit 2 programmer who want to use it with an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) other than Microchip’s MPLAB® IDE. Microchip has released a DOS command-line option for the PICkit 2, and I’ve successfully used it with the MicroCode Studio IDE from Mecanique ([url=http://www.mecanique.co.uk]http://www.mecanique.co.uk[/url]) and microEngineering Labs’ PICBASIC PRO™ sample version ([url=http://www.microengineeringlabs.com]http://www.microengineeringlabs.com[/url])...

Assembly Language Programming
Column: Getting Started With PICS
March 2008
When I started programming microcontrollers (MCUs), assembly language was the only real choice. I didn’t even know what a compiler was. Now, it seems many beginners and even experienced programmers tend to fear — or at least try to avoid — using assembly language. I will admit that the latest variety of C compilers and Basic compilers make programming much easier, but I still feel it is necessary for a programmer to understand enough about assembly language to write a simple program...

Getting Started With The PICBASIC™ Pro Compiler And MPLAB® IDE
Column: Getting Started With PICS
May 2008
Email feedback has made it clear that there are many who would like me to go back and cover how to get started, as the title of the column suggests. Though I’ve covered this in many previous columns, much has changed, and there are still some beginner topics I have not covered.

Monitoring Input Signals
Column: Getting Started With PICS
July 2008
In this month’s column, I want to introduce a common topic involving sensing or measuring input signals. A wise, experienced engineer recently suggested I point out that all MCU projects involve three basic parts...

Pulse Width Modulation
Column: Getting Started With PICS
September 2008
Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) is a common term in today’s microcontroller (MCU) world. What PWM is and how you use it are the subjects of this column.

Getting Started On Your Holiday Gift List
Column: Getting Started With PICS
November 2008
With the holidays looming, I wanted to pass along a holiday shopping list that you can pass on to your loved ones who don’t have a clue what to get for you.

I2C Communication
Column: Getting Started With PICS
January 2009
It's a new year and, unfortunately, economic times are looking quite dismal.

Convergence 2004
June 2005
When Nuts & Volts asked me to cover Convergence 2004, I said no problem. I usually go there every couple years and I was due to visit again. The show had some very interesting items for the Nuts & Volts reader. First though, let me tell you what Convergence is, in case you aren’t familiar with it.

A Primer For Beginners
Column: Getting Started With PICS
January 2006
A third category of feedback involves readers that have little or no electronics background and with all the different programmers, compilers, microcontroller choices, software options, etc., they are confused and afraid they would waste a bunch of money and still not get what they want. I’m here to tell you it isn’t that difficult and it doesn’t have to cost that much to get started.

Microchip PIC-Based Resistor Checker
Column: Getting Started With PICS
February 2006
This article describes this project and shows how easy it is to use the A/D port with the PICBasic Pro compiler. In fact, I was able to write the code within 31 commands so this could be done with the sample version of PICBasic Pro which you can download from [url=http://www.melabs.com]http://www.melabs.com[/url] for free.

PIC-to-PC Communication
Column: Getting Started With PICS
March 2006
This month, I want to address one form of PIC-to-PC communication using serial RS232 format, and you get this one for free (excluding the magazine subscription fee).

Going Beyond 31 Commands
Column: Getting Started With PICS
April 2006
The feedback to my articles tells me this series on programming Microchip PICs is a success. Based on loads of email, I’ve helped many readers get back in the electronics game and comfortable programming microcontrollers. That is a reward in itself and is enough for me because many years ago, I was there, too. That success, though, also invites its detractors...

Using The MicroChip PIC Timers
Column: Getting Started With PICS
May 2006
For this article, I’ll explain timers and then use the Timer 1 peripheral to form an accurate one-second time base. This could be considered an advanced project so don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes a while to completely understand it...

Using The PIC External Interrupt
Column: Getting Started With PICS
June 2006
Life can throw you in many directions and how we deal with it builds our character. This happened to me recently while trying to get this article out for Nuts & Volts...

Developing With A PIC Bootloader
Column: Getting Started With PICS
July 2006
If you’ve been a regular reader of this column and have started to actually program PICs, you are probably tired of moving the PIC from programmer to project and back again every time you make a change. It not only damages pins, but can sometimes cause confusion if the PIC is put in the board backwards or even shifted by one pin. This is why I like to develop with a bootloader and it’s one of the most difficult items to explain to a beginner...

Multiplexed LED Displays And Relays
Column: Getting Started With PICS
August 2006
For this article, I wanted to demonstrate how to control two LED displays from one set of I/O pins in a method called multiplexing. To make this into a project for the reader, I revisited a model rocket launch control box design I did back in high school (long time ago) for an electronics competition...

Real Time Clock
Column: Getting Started With PICS
September 2006
One of the more interesting things I've discovered about the readers of Nuts & Volts is their diversity. Through the emails I've received from writing this column, I've discovered that both hobbyists and professionals read these articles.

USB PIC Programmers
Column: Getting Started With PICS
October 2006
The emails keep pouring in and it’s great. Easy and instant feedback is what makes the Internet so awesome. Though a few people let me know they feel I’m just writing this to sell my stuff, most understand that my goal is to help everyone I can learn how to develop microcontroller-based designs using PICs. I also get several emails from people who have discovered a different Basic compiler and wanted to let me know about its great features. If it gets you programming, then I say go for it....

PIC Hardware Interface
Column: Getting Started With PICS
November 2006
Programming Microchip’s PICs is a lot of fun, especially if you have a nice development board with all the connections pre-wired for you. My BasicBoard, built around the 40 pin Atom chip (16F877A with Atom bootloader installed), was designed just for that purpose. A beginner could get a lot of programming in before they ever have to build custom circuitry around their PIC micro-controller. What I’ve found from reader feedback is a lot of people are looking for a little guidance...

Christmas Music
Column: Getting Started With PICS
December 2006
This month’s installment marks the conclusion of the first year of this column. I want to thank everybody who reads these articles for their support. Since it’s the December issue, I thought I would offer a project related to the holidays. I also wanted to tackle the subject of digital-to-analog conversion. To do that, I plan to have a PIC play a little Christmas music through a small speaker — kind-of like one of those Christmas cards that plays a tune every time you open it up...

PIC12F675 Replaces The 555 Timer
Column: Getting Started With PICS
January 2007
If you have been fooling with electronics as long as I have, you will have seen a lot of changes throughout the years. I watched the birth of integrated circuits which led to op-amps and TTL or CMOS digital chips, and eventually to the microcontroller. Somewhere along the way, an eight-pin chip used by hobbyists all over the world was developed.

Quick And Dirty Hockey Scoreboard
Column: Getting Started With PICS
February 2007
Once you learn how to control an LCD module, you suddenly see them all over the place and numerous ideas for LCD projects come to mind. Over the years, I’ve done many projects with LCDs...

In-Circuit Serial Programming
Column: Getting Started With PICS
March 2007
The advantage to ICSP is the ability to program the PIC in-circuit.Now this may sound familiar since this is the same feature I’ve promoted about using a bootloader in a previous column.ICSP and bootloaders are similar in function,but the difference is...

PIC vs. PIC Speed Test
Column: Getting Started With PICS
April 2007
If you look through Nuts & Volts or surf the Internet, you’ll see lots of different Microchip PIC-based development chips and modules offering all kinds of different features...

8/14/20-PIN PIC® Microcontroller Family
Column: Getting Started With PICS
May 2007
Programming PIC® microcontrollers (MCUs) has been my hobby and sideline for many years. In fact, I started back when there were only five PIC MCUs to choose from. Now there are hundreds of different PIC MCUs...

C Language Introduction
Column: Getting Started With PICS
June 2007
In my April column, I did a speed-test comparison of various PIC® microcontrollers (MCUs) that were programmable in Basic, and then compared a Basic and C compiler. I made a mistake that affected the results...

Hot Wheels Drag Race Finish Gate
Column: Getting Started With PICS
July 2007
On a recent trip to the local Kmart, I saw that Mattel had released a series of classic Hot Wheels sets similar to the ones you could buy when I was a kid...

BasicATOM In-Circuit Debugger
Column: Getting Started With PICS
August 2007
If you’ve thought about getting started with PIC® microcontrollers (MCUs), you’ve probably seen the variety of available development tools, such as programmers, debuggers, and the Integrated Development Environments (IDEs)...

Large Digits on a 4x20 LCD
Column: Getting Started With PICS
September 2007
Driving a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) module has become very easy to do with the various PIC® microcontroller (MCU) options that are available...

PICkit™ 2 Starter KIT vs. PICkit 2 Debug Express
Column: Getting Started With PICS
October 2007
If you’ve been reading this column on a regular basis, you will — no doubt — have realized that I’m always on the lookout for a better and lower-cost starter package, or at least programming solution...

PICBasic Pro, Excel, and The Beginner
Column: Getting Started With PICS
November 2007
Good things come to those who wait. This is a common saying, but the real question is how long do I have to wait? Some would say it all depends on how you define a “good thing.”

Stocking Your Lab
Column: Getting Started With PICS
December 2007
One of the more common emails I receive involves recommendations on which PIC® microcontroller (MCU) should be stocked in the home lab.