Buy the print and get FREE access to our online edition!

Michael Simpson

Michael's Articles

A Practical Guide to Using A Bitscope
April 2009
EXCLUSIVE-ONLINE ARTICLE. A computer-based scope called the BitScope.

Build a Wireless Weather System: Final Fixes and Options
March 2008
I had planned on showing you how to add an LCD receiver satellite in this series, but before I do, I need to show you how to utilize the new Maxstream Series 2 XBee modules. Maxstream no longer supports mesh networking utilizing the original XBee modules.

Review: Niagara IV Ink Flow System
April 2008
I have been interested in photography since I was a teenager and I remember the early days of color slide processing. Things have definitely come a long way since then. While the costs of the digital cameras have dropped, the quality of the photos produced has increased. In this series, I will show you how to create some cool electronic projects that will allow you to control your camera in ways you may find very useful. Along with these projects, I will also show you how to use...

How To Dual Boot Microsoft XP With Vista
October 2008
Most new computer systems come with Microsoft Windows Vista preinstalled. The Vista operating system provides many new features, but suffers from three shortcomings...

Build A Dog Detector
December 2008
We have several pets in our home, including two dogs. One of the problems we have is the dogs like to sneak into the kitchen and eat the cat’s food. My wife asked me if there was any way we could create some sort of detector that would chirp each time a dog entered the kitchen. Of course, I said yes...

The Ultimate Utility Meter - Part 1
July 2005
In December 2001, I wrote an article in Nuts & Volts called the “Digital Utility Meter.” It was a great success and many readers built the meter. I think the reason it turned out so well was the fact that I used the meter to aid in many of my own projects.

The Ultimate Utility Meter - Part 2
August 2005
Last month, we assembled and tested our Ultimate Utility Meter (UUM). This month, I will show you how to operate the UUM.

Pool Timer
September 2005
About a year ago, when I created a floating pool light and shared it with readers, I received a number of positive responses. Around the same time, I also developed a pool timer. I’ve since refined the project and developed a new prototype, which I’ve outlined here.

Electronic Rocket Launch Control
December 2005
In this article, I will show you how to build an electronic launch control with the Athena microcontroller.

Build This Cool Interface To Work With Your Exercise Bike
March 2006
One form of low impact exercise is an exercise bike, however, as with any exercise, we are more likely to do it on a regular basis if we can stay motivated. As a software and hardware developer, I decided to create an interface to one of my exercise bikes. Before I started, I set out with a few requirements.

Interface Your PC To A Portable Digital Multi-Meter
June 2006
The RadioShack 22-812 multimeter is one of the most popular meters you will encounter. It touts many features found on much more expensive meters, one of which is an RS232interface. When I first saw this meter, my geek alarms started ringing. Wow! Just think of what I could do with a digital multimeter with a RS232 interface...

Integrating the CMUcam - Part 2
July 2006
A while back, I was researching sensors for a project I was working on when I came across a little device called a CMUcam. The CMUcam is a low-cost vision sensor developed by Carnegie Mellon University ([url=][/url]). The CMUcam has both an RS232 level interface, as well as a TTL level serial interface so you can connect it to your favorite microcontroller or directly to a PC...

Interface Your PC to an LED Sign - Part 3
September 2006
I was doing a robotics show and needed a way to both attract contestants and display contest results. I had seen a couple LED signs and decided one would be perfect for this kind of application. My only requirement was that the cost had to be reasonable and the sign needed to be easy to transport and hook up...

Build a Gaming Exercise Bicyle - Part 4
January 2007
In this installment of Control Your World, I am going to show you how simple it is to use a microcontroller in this quest for control. While the project may look very complicated, it has been presented in such a way that anyone with even the slightest soldering skills should be able to complete the project...

Catch the Wind
February 2007
This is the first in a series of articles where I will take you into the world of building your own weather station and home automation system.

Environmental Sensors - Part 2
March 2007
Last month, I introduced you to various anemometers that could be used in building your own weather station. In this article, I want to show you how to use additional sensors, but first I want to delve a little deeper into the 1-Wire interface...

X-10 Interfaces - Part 3
April 2007
Last month, we looked at interfacing your PC to various 1-Wire weather sensors. This month, we are going to dive head-first into home automation. I am going to show you how to use your PC to control lamps and appliances using the X10 protocol.

Build An X-10 Doggy Dish - Part 4
May 2007
ast month, I gave you details on how to communicate with various X10 computer interfaces. This month, I had planned on showing you how to use each one of those interfaces with a microcontroller...

Control Your World With An X-10 Interface
June 2007
In the first couple of installments of this series, we used a PC to take measurements and display the results from our 1-Wire sensors. The major drawback for building a PC-based weather station is that the PC has to be on all the time...

Two Barometric Pressure Systems In One
July 2007
planned on building a wireless station this month but, due to several requests, I decided to show you how to build a couple of different standalone barometric pressure systems...

Build A Better Mouse Trap
August 2007
I moved out of the city years ago and now live in the country in an old farm house. We have three barns and suffer quite a bit of damage from the local mouse population. I have used several types of traps with varying amounts of success...

Build a Wireless Weather System: Part 1
September 2007
When I first started this series, I knew I wanted to build a wireless weather station. In no way could I have imagined how well the overall system would function, nor could I have envisioned its versatility. In this article, it all comes together...

Build a Wireless Weather System: Part 2
October 2007
In this installment of the wireless weather station, I am going to show you how to build the Indoor Weather Satellite. Once assembled, we will run some tests with our PC interface satellite as shown in the network diagram in Figure 1...

Build a Wireless Weather System: Part 3
November 2007
In this installment of the wireless weather station, I am going to show you how to build the outdoor weather satellite. Once assembled, we will run some tests with our indoor and PC interface satellites, as shown in the network diagram in Figure 1.

Build A Wireless Weather System: Part 4
December 2007
In the last three installments, you built the three satellites shown in Figure 2. I showed you how to transmit and collect basic data...