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December 2011

Nuts and Volts Magazine

Pill Sized Timers - Big Medicine For Your Little Projects

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Features

Web Browser Control of Your Home Thermostat — Part 1

Control the temperature from your easy chair (or remotely from anywhere!) with a cell phone browser or computer.


Build a Wi-Fi Sprinkler System — Part 2

Now that you know how the Rabbit RCM5450W module works and how to interface relays and an LCD, it’s time to set up your sprinkler system.


How I Scratch-Built a Five Foot Long Radio-Controlled Submarine — Part 1

Here's a great project that will give you some good ideas and many techniques to learn. If you have a robotics project or an all-terrain vehicle or boat, follow along and learn some great building secrets. Part 1


How I Scratch-Built a Five Foot Long Radio-Controlled Submarine - Part 2

This time in, we'll look at the actual assembly of the components into the overall body of the Alfa sub itself. 0511


How I Scratch-Built a Five Foot Long Radio-Controlled Submarine - Part 3

In this final installment, I'll show you some unique solutions to solving my electro-mechanical problems as we wrap up the final details of this unique project. Part 3


A Simple DC UPS

Here is a simple uninterruptible power supply circuit that you can incorporate into your low power DC projects to ensure continued operation during power failures.


USB and the 32-Bit Micro Experimenter

Equip your Experimenter with a USB hardware interface to use in a variety of applications.


The Digilent Electronics Explorer - Review

See if this all-in-one analog circuit design station is for you.


Build a Wall Wart Power Monitor

This self-contained, battery-powered unit measures both DC current and voltage. It accepts four of the most common wall wart plugs and also has four identical output plugs — ready to hook to your project.


Using a Graphics Library With the 32-Bit Micro Experimenter

Extend current Experimenter applications using graphics and text in displays simultaneously.


LED Madness Contest Winners

Nuts & Volts LED Madness Contest winners announced!


Mixed Voltage Systems — Interfacing 5V and 3.3V Devices

Get a clear understanding of the various options for interfacing signals at different voltages.


Creating a Chipino Shield

Get a quick introduction on how to create a shield that fits the needs of your Chipino/Arduino style modules.


Pill Timers — Big Medicine for Your Little Projects

One of the neatest things about pill timers is their size, so you can easily add them to any of your projects, curing the headache of space issues.


Programming CHIPINO with SimpleC

A C programming option is demonstrated that’s perfect for beginner’s using the CHIPINO.


Legacy Communication With the 32-Bit Micro Experimenter

This article explores the use of legacy communication that exists between the Experimenter (as a terminal) and a PC.


Introducing CHIPINO — the Bridge Between PICs and Arduinos

Combine the favorite features of these two microcontrollers through a new morphed module.


The SparkFun ProtoSnap Pro Mini

Editor's review of the SparkFun ProtoSnap Pro Mini


Introducing The 32-bit Micro Experimenter

It’s here! We’re graduating from our 16-bit Experimenter so we can experience a whole new level of applications with the 32-bit version.


Build a Two-Transistor Oscillator

in Fundamentals For Beginners

Just getting started in electronics? Try these simple demos to illustrate electronics principles and how components function in actual circuits!



Projects

Build an LED Analog Clock

Electronic Gadgets

This unique clock project is a great mix of analog and digital electronics all in one.


Build A Circuit Board Assembly Jig

If you spend a considerable amount of time assembling and soldering PCBs, then you're gonna love this "third hand." Even without all the bells and whistles, having a proper PCB assembly jig goes a long way toward making electronics a more enjoyable hobby.


Explore Electronic Chaos

Electronic Gadgets

Need more chaos in your life? Well, we’ve got a simple, electronically-driven pendulum that can produce all the randomness you like.


Arduino Channel Surfer & Other Diabolical Gadgets

Arduino

With an understanding of IR codes, a wide range of devices can be built that offer new remote control capabilities.


Build the Stroboscopic Zoetrope

Nuts & Volts Special

Try a new electronic “spin” on a very old animation technique.


Build a Bat Detector

Bats use echolocation to navigate. This bat detector will give you a look inside their hidden world and can even be used to identify different species.


A Solar Powered Data Acquisition System

Nuts & Volts Special

Learn more about I2I Control’s new line of products by seeing how they’re used to monitor things like air temperature, soil temperature, wind velocity, sunlight, and rainfall in a garden.


Web Browser Control of Your Home Thermostat — Part 2

Computer Related

In this final installment, the physical connections, some construction details, and the software that makes the unit work will be described.


Replace Incandescent Lighting with LEDs

Nuts & Volts Special

This project shows how to use Texas Instruments products to change the incandescent light bulbs in a curio cabinet to energy-efficient LEDs.


Light Up Your Clothes With Wearable Electronics

Electronic Gadgets

Add a special kind of bling to your outfits with electroluminescent (EL) wire.


Computer Controlled Air/Steam Engine

Build an “external combustion engine,” then add a computer control system to maximize efficiency and performance.


Build the Infinity Portal

Electronic Gadgets

Construct this updated version of an infinity mirror using LEDs controlled by an Arduino.


Build the Battery Marvel

Electronic Gadgets

This easy-to-build 12V battery monitor will alert you well before your car, truck, boat, or motorcycle battery fails.


True-Reading Automobile Gas Gauge

Automotive

Finally, here’s a device that can tell you exactly what your fuel level is.


Build the LED Centerpiece Christmas Tree

Nuts & Volts Special

Brighten the holidays with this colorful decoration that can be a table centerpiece or be modified for an outside display.


Build a Miniature Color Organ

Electronic Gadgets

Create your own light show with colored LEDs that flash to the beat of your favorite music.


Build the RTC OSD for CCTV Recording

Circuits

Add a date/time stamp to your closed circuit television camera system with this real time clock-based on-screen display.


Build Your Next Project With a Little Jewelry

Microcontroller/PIC

Give your projects a different kind of bling with this unique method for making more reliable interconnections between chip pins and discrete components.


A Flasher, Gate, and Bell for Your Model Railroad

Electronic Gadgets

This simple PIC circuit will enhance your railroad display with live action and a realistic bell sound.


Build a Wi-Fi Sprinkler System

Wireless

Be master of your lawn-watering system with this Wi-Fi project. This month, you’ll learn the building blocks of the Rabbit RCM5450W module that runs it.


Create Indoor Lightning With This Miniature Van de Graaff Generator

Nuts & Volts Special

Amaze your family and friends with this unique project that teaches electrostatic concepts.


Build a Sorting Counter

Electronic Gadgets

This simple project features a tally mode and a differential mode so you can count on it for a variety of uses.


Build the 3D LED Matrix Cube

Construct this eye-catching 4 x 4 x 4 monochromatic LED matrix that will give you hours of enjoyment and entertainment.


Making the DEFCON 19 Badge

Nuts & Volts Special

Joe’s yearly summary on the trials and tribulations of his badge build.



Columns

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
TechKnowledgey 2011
Read about a new approach to electronics, a solar-powered wireless keyboard, do-it-yourself thermocouples, plus more cool stuff you’ll find fascinating.

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
TechKnowledgey 2011
Read about a device that gets its juice from heat and light, a better battery management system, a major upgrade for speakerphones, disposable e-books, plus some other stuff you’ll find fascinating.

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
TechKnowledgey 2011
Learn how diamonds are a switch’s best friend, a new solar speed record has been set, and a third option for color printing that’s become available, plus some other stuff you’ll find fascinating.

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
TechKnowledgey 2011
This month, read about platooning, desktop performance in a portable, a free Pascal compiler, and how to give your handhelds a charge, plus some other interesting stuff.

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
TechKnowledgey 2011
This time, read about a new spin on lightwaves, $100/GB storage, making green fun, plus some other interesting stuff.

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
TechKnowledgey 2011
Read about an atomic clock on a chip, a tri-gate transistor that’s ready to go, new mobile workstations, plus some other interesting stuff.

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
TechKnowledgey 2011
Read about fractals that could cure blindness, the first quantum computer that has been sold, the other lighting alternative, plus some other interesting stuff.

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
TechKnowledgey 2011
This month’s coverage includes info on harvesting wasted vehicle power, docking your hard drives, Apple taking the biggest semi bite, plus some other food for thought.

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
TechKnowledgey 2011
This month’s column covers memory going soft, speedier graphics cards, a studio in your shirt pocket, plus some other cool stuff.

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
TechKnowledgey 2011
Read up on things like doubling wireless capacity, a sauna in your pants, a new laptop, and HP calling it quits ... plus some other items of interest.

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
TechKnowledgey 2011
The most complex ground-based observatory comes to life, a CPU sets a world clock record, and using an iPhone for medical imaging are just some of the current topics covered this time.

TechKnowledgey
by Jeff Eckert
TechKnowledgey 2011
This month, read about the dawn of the age of millimeter computing, automated electronics recycling, an enhanced Bluetooth headset, plus some other interesting stuff.

The Spin Zone
by Jon Williams
From Spin to PASM and Back Again!
For those of us that started with the BASIC Stamp and then (perhaps) migrated to the SX via SX/B, there can be a bit of a learning curve moving to the Propeller and its native language, Spin.

PICAXE Primer
by Ron Hackett
PICAXE Primer
In this month’s installment of the Primer, we’re going to explore two different implementations of a touch-sensitive keypad.

The Spin Zone
by Jon Williams
The Spin Zone
Wii Will Rock You.

PICAXE Primer
by Ron Hackett
PICAXE Primer
Experimenting with capacitive-touch sensors.

PICAXE Primer
by Ron Hackett
PICAXE Primer
Introducing the PICAXE AXE401 Shield Base.

The Spin Zone
by Jon Williams
The Spin Zone
Small Motor Control Made Easy

PICAXE Primer
by Ron Hackett
PICAXE Primer
Using EEPROMs to Store and Retrieve Data.

The Spin Zone
by Jon Williams
The Spin Zone
Serving Up Servo Control.

PICAXE Primer
by Ron Hackett
PICAXE Primer
Introducing the new PICAXE M2-Class microcontrollers.

The Spin Zone
by Jon Williams
The Spin Zone
Big Fun With Small LEDs.

PICAXE Primer
by Ron Hackett
PICAXE Primer
Upgrading the recent serial LCD project.

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
The Design Cycle
Riding an RF Energy Harvester.

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
The Design Cycle
Fly High With the New SPECTRUM ACE Embedded Control System.

Q&A
by Russell Kincaid
Q & A
This month’ questions cover a CAT 5 cable tester, a model railroad sequencer, a low battery circuit, and an LED replacement for incandescent lamps.

Q&A
by Russell Kincaid
Q & A
This month’s questions revisit the CAT 5 cable tester and cover a 400 Hz gyro drive, analog isolation techniques, and an LED chaser circuit, just to name a few.

Q&A
by Russell Kincaid
Q & A
A battery charge limiter, SPICE modeling, and a 433 MHz transmitter are some of the things you’ll learn about this time.

Q&A
by Russell Kincaid
Q & A
A rotary switch replacement, DC power filtering, and a USB battery charger are some of the topics covered this month.

Q&A
by Russell Kincaid
Q & A
A leak noise correlator, theremin coils, and a modified beeper/LED circuit are covered this month.

Q&A
by Russell Kincaid
Q & A
Zeners at high frequency, an LED flasher circuit, and a refrigerator door alarm are covered this month.

Q&A
by Russell Kincaid
Q & A
Get answers to a solar controller, 1.5V hobby motor speed controller, a DSL carrier detector, and some other stuff.

Q&A
by Russell Kincaid
Q&A
Get answers about gel cell charging voltages, a VFD filament driver, relay logic, and more.

Q&A
by Russell Kincaid
Q & A
Some of the answers this month deal with a high power LED flasher, a solar controller, an LED flashlight, and a Lithium-Ion battery charger to name a few

Smiley’s Workshop
by Joe Pardue
Smiley’s Workshop 40: Digital I/O — Part 2
Digital I/O — Part 2-40

Q&A
by Russell Kincaid
Q & A
Learn about a deer repellant circuit, a sine wave modulator, IR remote control, plus a lot of other stuff people have questions about.

Q&A
by Russell Kincaid
Q & A
A comb filter design, video amp, and a hysteresis circuit are some of the things you’ll learn about this time.

Q&A
by Russell Kincaid
Q & A
This month’s questions include how to set up a custom website, a circuit for pulsating LEDs, a car finder, plus a turn signal reminder, just to name a few.

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
Time for Some RTCC Translating
Our goals this month are to write drivers for the EA DOGM162L-A LCD and the PIC18F47J53’s hardware RTCC (Real Time Clock Calendar).

Smiley’s Workshop
by Joe Pardue
Smiley’s Workshop 31: avrtoolbox — Open Source and Version Control.
avrtoolbox — Open Source and Version Control. Part 31

Smiley’s Workshop
by Joe Pardue
Smiley’s Workshop 33: USB to UART for Electronic Prototyping — Part 1
USB to UART for Electronic Prototyping — Part 1-33

Smiley’s Workshop
by Joe Pardue
Smiley’s Workshop 34: USB to UART for Electronic Prototyping — Part 2
USB to UART for Electronic Prototyping — Part 2-34

Smiley’s Workshop
by Joe Pardue
Smiley’s Workshop 35: avrtoolbox — Designing an Elementary Library:  Serial Communications
avrtoolbox — Designing an Elementary Library: Serial Communications — Part 35

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
The Design Cycle
FlashFly System Gets Stamp of Approval

Near Space
by L. Paul Verhage
Near Space
Programming the Ultralight Near Space Flight Computer.

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
The Design Cycle
Give Your Bits Some AIR.

Near Space
by L. Paul Verhage
Near Space
An Antenna for Near Space.

Fundamentals For Beginners
Build an Electronic Metronome
Just getting started in electronics? Try these simple demos to illustrate electronics principles and how components function in actual circuits!

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
The Design Cycle
Invasion of the chipKIT Max32.

Smiley’s Workshop
by Joe Pardue
Smiley’s Workshop 30: AVR_Toolbox — Documentation and Libraries
AVR_Toolbox — Documentation and Libraries. Part 30

The Spin Zone
by Jon Williams
The Spin Zone
Wrangling the 1-Wire Buss.

Smiley’s Workshop
by Joe Pardue
Smiley’s Workshop 36: avrtoolbox — Ring Buffers
avrtoolbox — Ring Buffers — Part 36

Smiley’s Workshop
by Joe Pardue
Smiley’s Workshop 38: C Standard Library
C Standard Library — Part 38

Fundamentals For Beginners
Build an English Police Siren
This circuit lets you simulate the sounds of an English police siren by creating two different tones with a pushbutton switch.

Smiley’s Workshop
by Joe Pardue
Smiley’s Workshop 32: avrtoolbox — Organizing an Open Source Project
avrtoolbox — Organizing an Open Source Project. Part 32

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
The Design Cycle
Drive your projects with the SPECTRUM ACE ECS.

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
The Design Cycle
Pedaling the STC12C5A6OS2 from STC Microcontroller.

Open Communication
by Louis E. Frenzel
Open Communication
Building a crystal radio — is it a sane thing to do?

Open Communication
by Louis E. Frenzel
Open Communication
Bluetooth: Forgotten Wireless Technology or Just Taken for Granted?

Open Communication
by Louis E. Frenzel
Open Communication
New Versions of the 555 Timer IC.

Open Communication
by Louis E. Frenzel
Open Communication
Whatever happened to CB radio?

Near Space
by L. Paul Verhage
The NearSpace UltraLight — The Everyman’s Flight Computer
My goal was to create an affordable near space flight computer that was still worth flying into near space. The most affordable PICAXE capable of meeting this need was the PICAXE-28X1.

Near Space
by L. Paul Verhage
Near Space
Cabling the Nearspace Ultralight Flight Computer — Part 2.

Open Communication
by Louis E. Frenzel
Open Communication
The wireless frequency spectrum crisis.

Near Space
by L. Paul Verhage
Near Space
Programming the Nearspace Ultralight.

Open Communication
by Louis E. Frenzel
Open Communication
New Communications Device: The Tablet Computer.

Smiley’s Workshop
by Joe Pardue
Smiley’s Workshop 37: avrtoolbox — AVR USART
AVR USART — Part 37

Fundamentals For Beginners
Build an Automatic Night Light
Just getting started in electronics? Try these simple demos to illustrate electronics principles and how components function in actual circuits!

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
The Design Cycle
Slaving Away From USB Host.

Smiley’s Workshop
by Joe Pardue
Smiley’s Workshop 39: Digital I/O — Part 1
Digital I/O — Part 1-39

The Design Cycle
by Fred Eady
The Design Cycle
You CAN Do It With the chipKIT MAX32.

Smiley’s Workshop
by Joe Pardue
Smiley’s Workshop 41: Digital I/O — Part 3
Digital I/O — Part 3-41 Bitwise Operations

Near Space
by L. Paul Verhage
Near Space
Programming the Nearspace Ultralight Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS)

Fundamentals For Beginners
How a 555 Timer Works
Just getting started in electronics? Try these simple demos to illustrate electronics principles and how components function in actual circuits!

Fundamentals For Beginners
by Nuts & Volts Magazine
Build a Dual Burglar Alarm
In this experiment, we will build an useful burglar alarm circuit for normally-closed and normally-open alarm systems.

Fundamentals For Beginners
How an NPN Transistor Works
In this experiment, we will build a simple circuit to observe an NPN transistor serving as a current amplifier.

Fundamentals For Beginners
Build a DC to DC Power Supply
Just getting started in electronics? Try these simple demos to illustrate electronics principles and how components function in actual circuits!

Departments

Thoughtful Repurposing
by Bryan Bergeron
Teardowns of electronics devices can be an excellent means of learning how to design circuits for the real world, as well as an inexpensive source of parts for your construction projects.

Designing For Others
by Bryan Bergeron
If you’ve ever designed and built an electronic gizmo for someone else, you know that once the device leaves your sight, anything goes.