Hacking the HP Z800 Xeon motherboard into a standard case

in hacks by DP | 0 comments


Andy Brown wrote an article detailing how to hack the HP Z800 Xeon motherboard into a standard case:

I’m not one to give up in the face of a technical challenge and besides I’d just forked out a hundred notes on the board so the rest of this article will go through all the steps in detail that you would have to do in order to get one of these beasts up and running yourself. There’s no cheaper way to get 12 cores of Xeon power under your desk.


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PIC Micro Modbus

in PIC by DP | 2 comments


Chas over at PNW/Electronics has been working on a PIC Micro MODbus project:

MODbus is a older-than-dirt communications protocol for industrial process/power controls. It’s generally seen in the wild as MODbus/RTU which is a RS-485 protocol ran at 9600 or 19200 baud. Of course there are a ton of variations and it wouldn’t be a comm protocol these days unless someone decided to make a MODbus/IP.. but that’s beyond the scope.

Continue to Update 2 – Calculating CRC and Update 3 – The 18F27J53 Port & tinyLED.

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Huge saving @ Seeeday December 10th 2014 EST

in kit biz by DP | 0 comments


Huge saving @ Seeeday December 10th 2014 EST!

  • Up to 70% off of all items.
  • Free shipping over 3 items your purchase. (Available for Registered Air Parcel Only, Weight Less Than 2KG)
  • More than 60 items ready for additional fire sales of $0.99, $1.90, $2.90, $3.90, $4.90 and $9.90 USD;
  • Easy shop within 12 different product lines
  • All coupons are redeemable on Seeeday
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Cupid Mega Remote: Killer controller

in hacks by DP | 0 comments


Colin Reese blogged about his MEGA controller build:

Last we met, we built a prototype temperature wireless RF temperature controller. We got some good ideas and a Beer Fridge monitor out of the deal. We also realized, however, that we were flying pretty close to the sun in terms of the available memory we had to work with. Considering we weren’t concerned about power consumption, wanted to make our IO as flexible as possible (for example more interrupts and UARTs), we decided that a more powerful micro is in order. Enter the Moteino MEGA. Take a Moteino R4 and swap out the ATMEGA328P for a 1284P, add a reset button, and you get the Moteino MEGA. Fantastic idea. It’s a slightly larger footprint, but all progress has a price, right?

Details can be found on his Cupid Controls site.

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#FreePCB via Twitter to 2 random RTs

in Free PCBs by DP | 0 comments


Every Tuesday we give away two coupons for the free PCB drawer via Twitter. This post was announced on Twitter, and in 24 hours we’ll send coupon codes to two random retweeters. Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times a every week:

  • Hate Twitter and Facebook? Free PCB Sunday is the classic PCB giveaway. Catch it every Sunday, right here on the blog
  • Tweet-a-PCB Tuesday. Follow us and get boards in 144 characters or less
  • Facebook PCB Friday. Free PCBs will be your friend for the weekend

Some stuff:

  • Yes, we’ll mail it anywhere in the world!
  • Check out how we mail PCBs worldwide video.
  • We’ll contact you via Twitter with a coupon code for the PCB drawer.
  • Limit one PCB per address per month please.
  • Like everything else on this site, PCBs are offered without warranty.

We try to stagger free PCB posts so every time zone has a chance to participate, but the best way to see it first is to subscribe to the RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.

First steps with the ESP8266-03 development board

in dev boards by DP | 1 comment


As a follow up to the “Development board for the ESP8266-03” post, Limpkin blogged about his first steps with ESP8266-03 dev board:

As mentioned in my previous blog post I was very optimistic when designing my ESP8266-03 development board and didn’t even prototype it before launching a batch in production. As I just received a few of these boards in the mail today and given that information about this module is scattered all over the internet, I’ll detail here my first steps with it…


Check out the video after the break. Continue reading →

Posted in dev boards | Tagged | 1 Comment

Reverse engineering a Verisure wireless alarm

Here’s an informative two-part series of posts over at FunOverIP detailing how to reverse engineer a Verisure wireless alarm.

Part 1 details the beginning steps such as finding the modules radio frequency and modulation type, analyzing the chipset datasheet and using GNU Radio. Part 2 covers more complex topics including firmware extraction from an alarm module and analysis of crypto keys.

Good coverage of an interesting use of SDR and related tools.

VHF Aircraft radio communications receiver

in DIY by DP | 0 comments


Dilshan Jayakody published a new build, a VHF Aircraft radio communications receiver:

This is simple radio receiver project which is capable to receive aviation radio voice signals which are transmit between 118MHz to 138MHz in AM (A3E). We got initial idea of this project by reading Sverre Holm’s (LA3ZA) article about “cheap VHF receiver project”. Like LA3ZA’s original article this project is also based on Samsung’s KA22429 FM radio receiver IC.
KA22429 is low voltage FM radio receiver system developed by Samsung for portable radio receivers and as described by Holm’s it can push into VHF region by changing few values in its original circuit. In this project we redesign the schematic and PCB with some of those changes and now it can directly tune into aviation band with minimum number of adjustments.

All files are available on Dilshan’s elect.wikispaces.

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OV7670 image sensor data capture with Atxmega32E5 without using external FIFO

in project logs, sensors by DP | 0 comments


Kehribar has interfaced a OV7670 camera module with Xmegae5 microcontroller without external FIFO:

  • With current configuration, this system sends 20FPS 80×60 grayscale image data over 3Mbaud serial stream. There is 3 byte preamble {0xAA,0x55,0xAA} to indicate the start of a new image frame. Computer software / other MCU can use those bytes to sync with the data stream.
  • Utilises two EDMA channels, two event channels, two timers and one UART peripheral of the XmegaE5 microcontroller.
  • Computer software is written in C++ using OpenCV image drawing / matrix functions.
  • This project is heavily inspired by “Interfacing a cheap phone camera module to a PIC32 microcontroller” project by @mikeselectricstuff.

Via the project log forum.

Atmel releases new low power MCUs

in AVR, dev boards by the machinegeek | 7 comments

Atmel recently announced the release of their next generation of low power 8-bit MCUs. Promising to be pin compatible with previous ATmega family members, these “The Atmel mega168PB, mega88PB and mega48PB are available in 32-pin QFN and QFP packages with additional devices available later this year. All devices are sampling now. Production quantities for the mega168PB devices are available now while the mega88PB and ATmega48PB devices are available in February 2015.”

Atmel is making available a limited of Xplained Mini eval kits using the ATmega168 or ATmega328 available for $8.88 from the Atmel store.

The ATmega328 board’s user guide is available as a 16-page PDF.

Free PCB Sunday: Pick your PCB

in Free PCBs by DP | 52 comments


We go through a lot of prototype PCBs, and end up with lots of extras that we’ll never use. Every Sunday we give away a few PCBs from one of our past or future projects, or a related prototype. Our PCBs are made through Seeed Studio’s Fusion board service. This week two random commenters will get a coupon code for the free PCB drawer tomorrow morning. Pick your own PCB. You get unlimited free PCBs now – finish one and we’ll send you another! Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times every week:

Continue reading →

Posted in Free PCBs | Tagged | 52 Comments

Build a 16 million color WiFi-controlled LED lamp

Tom Van den Bon and Sebastian Schocke of Binary Space, a makerspace in the Vaal Triangle, have put together this build challenge for their members.

For December at Binary Space we wanted to do something a cheerful and colourful. We got together to design and build a low power LED table or ceiling lamp that connects to your home WiFi. Once assembled and connected you can change the colour tone to any one of 16 million colours from the RGB gamut.

The project is designed around a Nucleo STM32 Development Board, an ESP8266 Wifi Module and a set of WS2811 RGB LEDs, and is housed in a 3D printed enclosure.

Details can be found in their post on the Makes Htxt blog.

App note: Magnetoresistive Sensors

in app notes by DP | 0 comments


Principle of operation of magnetoresistive sensors, app note from Honeywell.

Magnetoresistivity is the ability of a material to change resistance under the influence of magnetic fields. There are several different magnetoresistive effects, but Honeywell sensors use the Anisotropic Magneto Resistive (AMR) effect which occurs in ferrous materials, including Permalloy. Permalloy is an alloy of nickel and iron and has been used as a sensing material since the early part of the 20th century in transformer designs. Low sensitivity to mechanical stress coupled with high sensitivity to magnetic fields provide sensors that vart from magneto meters to automotive engine applications.

App note: Hall effect sensing and application

in app notes by DP | 0 comments



Hall effect sensing introduction app note from Honeywell.

The Hall effect has been known for over one hundred years, but has only been put to noticeable use in the last three decades. The first practical application (outside of laboratory experiments) was in the 1950s as a microwave power sensor. With the mass production of semiconductors, it became feasible to use the Hall effect in high volume products. MICROSWITCH Sensing and Control revolutionized the keyboard industry in 1968 by introducing the first solid state keyboard using the Hall effect. For the first time, a Hall effect sensing element and its associated electronics were combined in a single integrated circuit. Today, Hall effect devices are included in many products, ranging from computers to sewing machines, automobiles to aircraft, and machine tools to medical equipment.

Reviving 80’s arcade, Super invaders

in repair by DP | 3 comments


Stian did restoration of 80’s arcade. He wrote a post on his blog detailing the process:

I did a visual inspection the board looking for shorts or burned out components, and replaced a few 100nF ceramic capacitors that literally had cracked and/or fallen off. I then examined the on-board power supply. It consists of four voltage regulators, two 7085s, one 7812 and a 7905. I checked the datasheets and found that they would all tolerate my 19VDC laptop supply, which I later connected to the board.
Once powered up, I probed around with my oscilloscope and thanks to geeking around with composite video signals earlier, I immediately recongized the signal and hooked the board up on my TV – and voila – a working image! The game title said “Super Invaders”. The game appered to work fine, although with a very distorted and unstable image. I wonder why.

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Free PCB coupon via Facebook to 2 random commenters

in Free PCBs by DP | 9 comments


Every Friday we give away some extra PCBs via Facebook. This post was announced on Facebook, and on Monday we’ll send coupon codes two random commenters. More PCBs via Twitter on Tuesday and the blog every Sunday.

Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times every week:

Continue reading →

Posted in Free PCBs | Tagged | 9 Comments

Piccolo, a pocket sized open source CNC-bot

in open source, robotics by DP | 4 comments


Piccolo, a pocket-sized stand-alone CNC platform from DiatomStudio:

Using laser-cutting, off-the-shelf hardware and Arduino, you can make your own simple 3 axis robot. Attach a brush or pen to make a quick drawing robot, or extend Piccolo with sensors, custom toolheads, or by using multiple Piccolos together. Experiment with 2D or 3D digital fabrication at a small scale!

Source files available on Github.

Check out the video after the break. Continue reading →

Posted in open source, robotics | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Atsam3u + SDCard + USB cdc/msd + fat32 with at91lib & Chan’s fat code

in ARM, dev boards by DP | 2 comments


Limpkin writes:

This development platform is primarily aimed at facilitating the realization of high speed (several GHz) functions that quantum physicist need for their experiments, as well as providing data collection capabilities.

Without going into many details, it will physically be a 3U rack where users can plug different eurocard modules that perform specific functions.
The platform is open hardware/software for Windows and Linux, which actually made the project’s start quite difficult.
Anyway, the chosen microcontroller is a cortex-m3 based ATSAM3U from Atmel, that provides USB 2.0 connectivity.

Details can be found on Limpkin’s blog.

Posted in ARM, dev boards | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Building a 3-channel, high power RGB LED driver

in DIY, LEDs by DP | 0 comments


Francesco Truzzi published a new build, a 3-channel (RGB) LED driver:

I built another board, which is a 3-channel (RGB) LED driver based on an inexpensive chipset called PT4115 (you can find them on eBay or Aliexpress).
The circuit is very simple and looks like Sparkfun’s PicoBuck. However, I used beefier components and a different chip. You may say it’s pretty much the same thing, but I made it to learn some more about PCB design.
Datasheet here. LED current is set through a sense resistor. The output current I is equal to 0.1/Rs. I wanted ~300mA for each channel so I chose a 0.33 ohm resistor. If you want 350mA, choose a 0.27ohm resistor.
Each channel can be controlled via PWM (you can solder male/female headers on the board), for example with an Arduino.

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DIY 30 watt stereo amplifier circuit

in DIY by DP | 1 comment


An article on a DIY 30 watt stereo amplifier circuit by Ron Hoffman over at Gadgetronicx:

 The Stereo Amplifiers are quite handy in places where we need to amplify the input signals to make it audible for all. Weather it was a party or a simple meeting, this thing will do a perfect job in there. This Stereo amplifier is easy to build and will provide amazing audio power and extremely low total harmonic distortion. It is much cleaner than anything I have seen on the market using standard audio IC’s.

Posted in DIY | Tagged , | 1 Comment