UPDI Programmer Stick

Johnson Davies designed and built this UPDI Programmer Stick based on an ATmega328P, that is available on GitHub:

This is a USB-stick sized UPDI programmer, for programming Microchip’s new 0-series and 1-series ATtiny chips from the Arduino IDE
It’s based on an ATmega328P, and is essentially an Arduino Uno on a USB stick, so you also could use it as a mini-sized Arduino Uno.

Project details at technoblogy.com.

Open source Bluetooth stack for PIC32/24

Nigan tipped us to a simple open source Bluetooth stack for embedded devices, the SmallTooth:

A newly developed open source Bluetooth stack for PIC32/24
* The code is really easy to understand, very well documented and really small.
* Designed to be extended and ported.
* Works straight out of the box with the PIC32 USB Starter Kit II and should be fairly simple to port to other PIC32 or PIC24 boards.

More details on Guillem’s code.google Project Page, Documentation about the stack. Author’s website www.guillem.co.uk

Via the forum. Thanks Nigan!

Single diode temperature sensor with Arduino ICU (& reverse-bias leakage)

Use a single diode as a temperature sensor with Arduino ICU

Our LED light-sensing experiments lead to an interesting observation: When these loggers are left running overnight they still produce readings because reverse-bias ‘leakage-current’ eventually triggers the Interrupt Capture Unit (ICU) – in the absence of any light. The speed of this self-discharge depends on the ambient temperature. If you deliberately cover an rgb LED with heat shrink, the different color channels have different rates of thermal decay

More details on Underwater Arduino Data Loggers blog.

Bus Pirate cables arrive from DirtyPCBs.com custom cable service

We received 100 Bus Pirate cables using our pinout color scheme from DirtyPCBs.com custom cable service. The cables were just over $1 each for 100 pieces.

The primary reason we ordered these now is to get a feel for how the pinout color scheme works in practice before we commit to it permanently.

The leads are 30cm long, which seems a bit unwieldy in real life. The next version will be a few centimeters shorter.

One end is terminated with 1 pin female “DuPont” connectors. These are easy to use with breakout boards and bread boards that have 2.54mm header pins. We’ll need to choose a nice probe hook and mating crimp eventually.

While the wire quality is fine (top), it’s a bit stiff and we’d prefer something really nice for the final cable. The Saleae Logic cable (bottom) has really amazing tangle free wire with great flexibility. We took the Saleae cable to a bunch of wire manufacturers in Shenzhen, but none of them had anything close in terms of quality and flexibility. Our search will continue.

Bus Pirate Ultra v1d 2.8 inch display board

In addition to the 2 inch IPS LCD we’re been using with the Bus Pirate prototype “Ultra”, we’re also sending off a PCB for a larger 2.8 inch display. Both panels are 240*320 pixels, so the larger version probably won’t look quite as stunning as the smaller display with high pixel density. If it does pass muster, a capacitive touch screen controller option is available that might be an interesting addition.

JesFs – Jo’s Embedded Serial File system

suchende tipped us to the small File system for NOR flash:

The main problem for “very small devices” – until now – was the “File System”: everybody knows “FAT”, “NTFS”, … but have you ever thought of a file system on a small chip? Or even inside of a CPU? No problem, with the right Software. This is why I wrote
“JesFs – Jo’s Embedded Serial File System“

Thanks suchende! Via the forum.

APP NOTE: make an analog to digital converter using FPGA pins

A differential pin pair can be used as a comparator to create a basic ADC. This app note shows how to design a low speed (1 KHz) and “high” speed (50 Khz) ADC technique using only FPGA pins, a resistor and a capacitor. Regardless of whether we ever use this technique, it is illuminating to understand how SAR and Delta Sigma ADCs are constructed:

A simple Analog to Digital Converter can be constructed by adding a small RC circuit to an LVDS input on an FPGA or CPLD…. The LVDS input will act as a simple analog comparator and will output a digital ‘1’ if the Analog Input voltage is higher than the voltage from the RC network. By changing the voltage on the input to the RC circuit, the LVDS comparator can be used to analyze the Analog Input voltage to create an accurate digital representation… A low frequency signal can be processed using a simple Successive Approximation Register… A higher frequency implementation…can be implemented using a Delta Sigma Modulator function, which consists of a sampling register and a Cascade Integrated Comb (CIC) Filter.

Lattice Semiconductor

Via ferdinandk in the forum.

APP NOTE: Give your voltage regulator the margin it deserves

Texas instruments has an app note and video explaining how to make a programmable output power supply using a typical LDO voltage regulator and a DAC. This is the technique we used for the Bus Pirate Ultra power supply to get 0.8 to 5volts output, and it works a treat!

Consider the currents going in and out of the VFB node shown in Figure 3, which is connected to the ADJ pin of the LDO. Almost no current flows in or out the device through the ADJ pin (on the order of 0.01µA). As I previously mentioned, the output voltage of the LDO is always produced such that the voltage at the ADJ pin – and therefore the VFB node – is equal to the LDO’s internal reference voltage. Thus, the current through R2 is constant. It follows that any sourcing or sinking of current by the DAC through R3 is reflected as a proportional voltage increase or decrease at VOUT to compensate for the changing current that must flow through R1.

Linear Nixie tube HAT for the Raspberry Pi

Mark Smith has been working on a HAT for the Raspberry Pi that can drive two IN-9 or IN-13 linear Nixie tubes:

This project as described in www.surfncircuits.com came about because I needed a retro looking linear meter for my espresso maker water tank. I’m always running out of water in my espresso maker, and a cool display letting me know how much water is left and to let me know when to fill it up is definitely needed. In this project, I’ll create a HAT for the Raspberry Pi that can drive two IN-9 or IN-13 linear Nixie tubes. While I’m using this HAT as a single water meter display, this same linear display would be great for showing temperature, bar graphs, audio VU meters, even surf heights by days of the week. The Nixie Tube Power Supply, designed in an earlier blog will work perfectly to drive up to four of the IN-13 Nixie tubes or one IN-9 Nixie tube.

More details on surfncircuits blog and the GitHub repository here.