USB Morse keyer

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Dilshan Jayakody writes about a new open source project, the PIC16F886 based CW auto key controller with USB support:

USB Morse Keyer is a microcontroller-based auto keyer project with following features:
*USB / straight key / iambic key inputs
*Support for both standalone and USB operating modes
*64-character USB typeahead buffer and 6-character Morse key typeahead buffer
*Support 5, 10, 15 WPM.
*6-page message memory
*1W Audio output
*Audio and PTT output interfaces
*32 character display

More details on Dilshan Jayakody’s blog and the GitHub repository here.

USB seven segment display module

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Dilshan Jayakody published a new build:

This project is about an open source, USB based, 10 digit seven segment display unit. This unit is specifically designed to work with POS systems and banking applications. Initially, this system is developed to work with PC based systems, and later it was modified to work with other platforms and applications.

See the full post on his blog.

Piggybacking USB onto an industrial push button

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Glen Akins has written an article detailing his USB-connected big red button project:

In this project, I mount the electronics from my single-key USB keyboard project to the back of an industrial mushroom push button switch. The finished big red button now activates my screensaver with a single overly-large button press. The biggest issues in this project were where to mount the USB electronics and how to connect the USB cable between the button and my computer.

More details on Photons, Electrons, and Dirt blog.

Building the ultimate USB power distribution system

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Dr. Scott M. Baker published a new build:

My goals include:
1. The ability to switch each device on/off with a rocker or toggle switch
2. Current limiting capability via a fuse or similar device
3. Overvoltage protection
4. Visual indicator (LED) of operational status
5. Multiple independent outlet

See the full post on his blog.

Check out the video after the break.

Serial Star, a 4 in 1 USB serial and I2C converter

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Jesus Echavarria published a new build:

Here’s one of the last board I design the last year. On 2016, I develop the Dual USB Serial and I2C Converter board. Although this board works fine, it has a couple of lacks. First one, is that to use the both converters, you need two free USB ports. Is a minor problem today with USB hubs, but you need the hub and also two USB wires. And the other problem is that this board uses mini-USB connectors. Of course today you can still find it, but aren’t as common as the micro-USB wires. For this two reasons, I decide to upgrade the board, add the micro – USB connector and put a USB hub inside it. Because I choose a 4-port USB hub, I use also 4 USB serial converters. With some addons, you can select power supply value (5V, 3V3), serial levels (TTL, RS232) and GPIO functions in an independent way for each converter. So, let’s see how works this USB Serial Star, a 4 in 1 USB to Serial and I2C Converter.

More details on Designing Electronics in Spain blog.

BMP180 based USB atmospheric pressure monitor

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Dilshan Jayakody published a new build:

We initially developed this USB atmospheric pressure monitor to study some operating characteristics of Bosch BMP180 sensor. BMP180 is low cost sensor to measuring barometric pressure and temperature. According to the data sheet this sensor can use to measure pressure ranging between 300hPa to 1100hPa. This sensor is introduced couple of years back but still it is popular due to lower cost and simplicity of it’s interface.

See the full post on his blog.

BUS PIRATE: USB Micro B connector test

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USB Micro B is the connector of the moment, but we haven’t had a very good time working with it. The bog-standard Chinese generic Micro B connectors on Bus Pirate v5 and Bus Pirate NG1 break constantly. We tested a Micro B connector with through-hole support tabs on the latest Bus Pirate PCBs. It turned out really well.

Standard Chinese USB Micro B connector

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A ton of mom and pop factories around Shenzhen churn these out by the bucket load. It seems like a great part: ubiquitous and cheap, doesn’t require a special board slot, versions with extended leads and centering pegs are easier to hand solder. Unfortunately, every connector soldered by every member of our team has eventually decided to exit the PCB.

This connector is optimized for paste stencil and reflow soldering. Most support should come from two solder pads under the connector that are impossible to reach with a soldering iron. Maybe it could be done with hot air, or the QFN “solder from the bottom of the board through a via” hack.

Connectors with supporting through-hole tabs

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The generic Chinese connector (left) has six solder pads holding it to the PCB. Four can’t be reached with a soldering iron – the two under the front, and the two recessed pads at the back near the pins.

A Molex 47589-001 (right) with through-hole support tabs went into the next revision of the Bus Pirate boards. The tabs aren’t long enough to go completely through a 1.6mm PCB, but they can still be soldered in place from the top of the board. It’s much more expensive – essentially free vs $0.50 each – but we’re optimizing for hand assembly, not production.

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Now we’re living the dream. The four tabs are really secure, and we don’t have to treat the prototype like glass. The next step is to find the most widely available Chinese equivalent.

 

 

 

PopCom – Identify your COM ports

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avishorp has written a small program that pops up a message whenever a serial port over USB device is plugged in, that is available on GitHub (code) and (installer)

PopCom is a COM port plug-in/plug-out notifier. Whenever a USB device that emulates a COM port is connected to the computer, a pop-up will be displayed, describing the device that has been plugged in and the COM number assigned to it. This pop-up helps determining the COM number assigned to each device, a number that is required for communicating with it.

More details on avishorp’s blog.