Open-source SWD programming adapter


Ethan Zonca from Protofusion writes, “After making the switch from AVR to STM32 microcontrollers, I redesigned my old 6-pin ICSP pogo-programming adapter for SWD. The new design allows programming with pogo pins or a small pin header soldered to the pogo pads for debugging, all with the same cable. The footprint uses surface mount pads only, so it can be placed on even the most compact board layouts.”

More info at project page.

ATtiny10 Mini Breakout Board

ATtiny10 MiniBreakoutBoard

Dan Watson has designed this very tiny breakout board for the Atmel ATtiny10. He wrote a post on his blog detailing its assembly:

This breakout board is for the ATtiny10 microcontroller. The PCB is 0.25×0.325″ and uses 0.050″ header pins. The board could actually be made smaller, but I ran into the minimum PCB size limit on OSHPark. Despite the tiny size, I was able to include a 100nF bypass capacitor, power LED, and a user LED on pin PB1. That pin is also the clock pin for the programming interface, so it flashed when the board is being programmed.

Project info at The Sync Channel blog.

App note: LED back light driving methods


Using pulse width modulation scheme for LCD back lighting an app note from Hantronix. Link here (PDF)

LED back lights on LCD modules are generally driven with a dc voltage through a current limiting resistor. This simple approach is perfectly acceptable for most applications. When the primary consideration is an extra bright display, the lowest possible power consumption, or a back light that can be controlled over a very wide brightness range another method is needed. The purpose of the paper is to describe this method.

App note: Temperature compensation for LCD displays


For over the normal range temperature, Hantronix presents a simple temperature compensation circuit to correct LCD contrast, Link here (PDF)

The optimal contrast setting for LCD displays varies with ambient temperature. For most applications this variation in contrast is tolerable over the “normal” temperature range of 0°C to +50°C. Most Hantronix LCD modules are available with an extended temperature range option which allows the display to operate from -20°C to +70°C. The changes in contrast are NOT usually tolerable over this wide a range of temperatures, which means a way of adjusting the contrast voltage as the ambient temperature changes must be provided.

As the temperature decreases the LCD fluid requires a higher operating voltage in order to maintain a given optical contrast. One way to provide for this is to give the user control of the contrast. This is a simple solution but quite often its not desirable or practical.

App note: Using the Master SPI Mode of the USART module

application note

Atmel’s application note (PDF!) Using the Master SPI Mode of the USART module:

• Enables Two SPI buses in one device
• Hardware buffered SPI communication
• Polled communication example
• Interrupt-controlled communication example

For the majority of applications, one Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) module is enough. However, some applications might need more than one SPI module. This can be achieved using the Master SPI Mode of the devices with this feature such as Atmega48.

App note: Software phase locked loop design using C2000 Microcontrollers for single phase grid connected inverter



This application note (PDF!) from TI details the design of Single Phase PLL:

Grid connected applications require an accurate estimate of the grid angle to feed power synchronously tothe grid. This is achieved using a software phase locked loop (PLL). This application report discusses different challenges in the design of software phase locked loops and presents a methodology to design phase locked loops using C2000 controllers for single phase grid connection applications.

Things to avoid when sending PCBs to the fab house


Sjaak shared some tips when sending PCBs to the fab house:

I usually collect a few PCB designs before sending them off to the PCB fabhouse. I prefer to use as I know Ian from for a long time and think he provides good quality, and fast turn around time for your money. Also tend to be loyal to my suppliers so a better alternative may exist. The main reason I wait before sending them off is that I want my PCBs returned quickly. DirtyPCBs provide fast DHL shipping (about 2-3 days to .nl) but it is quite expensive (about 30 USD) compared to the manufacturing the PCBs. Luckily the PCBs don’t weight a ton, and adding more designs will not add much additional shipping costs.

More details at site.

Music Thing Modular Axoloti control board


Tom Whitwell from Music Thing Modular built a DIY control board for Axoloti, that is available on Github:

Axoloti is a very nice €65 audio board from Belgium, the closest thing I’ve yet seen to an Audio Arduino; lots of easy analog ins and outs for pots and switches, enough power to do interesting audio, and a nice visual patching system. A bit like a Nord Modular for 2016.
I’ve put together a simple control surface for my Axoloti; pots, buttons, LEDs and a joystick.

Project info at Music Thing Modular site.

Check out the video after the break.

Instruments for the GSXR


Josh from imsolidstate made a new dash panel for his streetfighter based on an ATmega128, a Planar EL 160×80 display, and an Epson S1D13700 controller:

Since the GSXR is now a street fighter the factory gauges won’t do, and I wanted something I could log air/fuel ratios with so I can jet the bike. I went a little overboard making a new dash.
I had a Planar 160×80 EL graphic display that’s been in my parts bin for years that I’ve always wanted to use, and this was perfect. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a controller so I had to interface it to the CPU with an Epson S1D13700 graphic controller. The display indicates speed from a GPS module, air/fuel ratios from the wideband O2 sensor, engine temp, battery voltage, time from GPS, and RPM. I used a light sensor to sense ambient brightness levels and dim the display by changing TC/R in the graphics controller. The refresh of the display is high enough to allow a large dimming range without flickering. The EL display can be refreshed at up to 240Hz.

Project info at

Check out the video after the break.