App note: USB HID bootloader for PSoC 3 and PSoC 5LP

in app notes by DP | 0 comments


An application note on USB HID bootloader for PSoC 3 and PSoC 5LP from Cypress:

AN73503 describes how to implement a USB bootloader for PSoC 3 and PSoC 5LP devices by using the USB Human Interface Device (HID) class. It also shows how to build a Windows-based USB host program. A PSoC Creator project and an example host program are included.

DirtyPCBs: C64FC 16K edition ready

in AVR, by DP | 0 comments


Stian Søreng writes:

A stack of release candidate 3 boards of the C64FC are on my desk, and a few changes have been made since RC2. We’re talking 16K support, software switches to select 8K/16K cartridge, cart disable support, bugs fixed and patched.
I also want to give a good shoutout to DirtyPCBs for their excellent service on this run. 9 days (!) after the order was submitted, a set of high-quality boards were on my desk. This is by far the fastest and cheapest service I have ever used.

Free PCB coupon via Facebook to 2 random commenters

in Free PCBs by DP | 2 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 to two random commenters.  The coupon code usually go to Facebook ‘Other’ Messages Folder .  More PCBs via Twitter on Tuesday and the blog every Sunday.

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

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Posted in Free PCBs | Tagged | 2 Comments

Daft Punk Thomas helmet (RGB LEDs + iPhone App)

in DIY by DP | 0 comments

2014-08-24 15.32.42

Marc made this cool DIY Daft Punk helmet and wrote a post on his blog detailing its assembly:

It wasn’t until June of 2014 when I was browsing through Sparkfun’s New Product Post and I saw some LEDs that caught my eye. Now, I know the WS2811/2812 LEDs have been the craze for the past few years, but I have been out of the loop for a while. For my last LED project (Mau5head 2.0 for Deadmau5) completed in 2012, I designed custom flexible PCB strips that held 5mm SMD LEDs at a 10mm pitch. Each pixel had its own LPD-6803 controller IC, which I had to order custom from China in a QFN-16 package to get it small enough. It was a 6-month long project. Maybe some day I will write up a post about it.
These days, WS2811 LEDs have built-in controllers and apparently come in all shapes and sizes. When I saw the 5mm thru-hole LEDs on Sparkfun, I immediately thought about the Thomas helmet. This was the missing link I needed to make a really awesome display for Thomas. I called Shaggy and told him to get sanding. With the goal of bringing it to DragonCon 2014, we had to hurry.

Check out the video after the break. Continue reading →

Mobile radio power controller ( MRPC )

in DIY, hacks by DP | 0 comments


Pete made a mobile radio power controller  and wrote a post on his blog detailing its assembly:

Before I began the installation of my Yaesu FT-8800 in my car I knew I wanted automatic power ON / OFF.  This is a feature that I have always felt was lacking in my other mobile rigs as I am forever leaving my ham radio on long after I have departed the car.

Check out the video after the break.

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Power playground project

in hacks by DP | 2 comments


Spacewrench over at Dorkbotpdx published a new build, a Power Playground project:

It’s a PMOS/NMOS H-Bridge with FETs that can handle 3 amps or so, plus a SPI current sensor, some switches & a rotary encoder (not stuffed yet), and a 7-segment display, all controlled by a Teensy-3.1 running FreeRTOS.
I made this because I’m always running into battery, power, inductor and transformer issues I don’t have any experience with. The idea is to use the H-bridge configuration and current sensors to experiment with moderate-current PWM, motor control, power-line synchronization, battery charging and discharging, etc.


Posted in hacks | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Android ping pong ball levitation

in Android by DP | 0 comments


Jacob writes:

This demonstration results in the levitation of a ping pong ball on a cushion of air. The purpose of the demonstration is to highlight the features of the PONTECH Quick240. Specifically and most excidingly the interface to an android tablet using the Android ADK. All of the source code controlling this application is open source and available for download on GitHub.

Check out the video after the break. Continue reading →

Fixing a Mega drive cartridge with old BIOS chips

in repair by DP | 0 comments


Robson of Dragão sem Chama writes, “this time I want to share my Mega Drive flash cart made of old BIOS chips. I made it because my Sonic cart was not working since always. I used Arduino, Python and a bit of Processing (nice to show visual info) to program”

Via the contact form.

Check out the video after the break.

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DirtyPCB LSF0204 breakout board – a bidirectional, multi-voltage level converter

in Arduino, by DP | 16 comments


Francesco’s LSF0204 breakout board,  a 4-bit, bidirectional, multi-voltage level converter:

I needed a small, fast and reliable multi-voltage level translator (mainly for connecting ESP8266 boards to the Arduino, got tired of resistor networks pretty quickly) so I built a breakout board for TI’s LSF0204(D).

Datasheet and info here.
The LSF0204 is a nice little chip. It can translate up to 4 signals to and from the following values:
1.0 V ↔ 1.8/2.5/3.3/5 V.
1.2 V ↔ 1.8/2.5/3.3/5 V.
1.8 V ↔ 2.5/3.3/5 V.
2.5 V ↔ 3.3/5 V.
3.3 V ↔ 5 V.

Design files on Github.  Leftovers (PCBs only!) are available on Tindie.

Arduino: 3 powerful, yet overlooked uses

in Arduino by DP | 7 comments


Daniel over at Bench Talk /Mouser blog writes:

Most engineers cringe when they see an Arduino in my toolbox. Their reaction is partly due to the fact that Arduino is often viewed as being too easy to use or just not feasible. For the most part, they are correct, but that’s not what I’m here to debate about. What these people don’t realize is the powerful “shape shifting” tool that this low cost development board is. Here are three commonly overlooked uses for an Arduino:

  1. Digital Logic Analyzer
  2. AVR Programmer
  3. UART to USB

Via Mouser Electronics blog.


Posted in Arduino | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Samsung Galaxy S-Pen waveform capture

in gadget, RFID by DP | 1 comment


Kerry Wong writes:

I was quite intrigued by the S-Pen that came with my Samsung Galaxy Note 4. According to the specifications listed on Samsung’s site, the S-Pen supplied with Samsung Galaxy Note 4 he S-Pen supports 11 bits (2048 levels) of pressure levels and can be detected at a 15 mm hovering distance from the phone surface.
Kristofer at Android Authority had done a teardown of the S-Pen a couple of years ago (it was an older model, but the principal should be largely the same). And as we know the S-Pen works similar to an RFID which is passively powered from the electromagnetic field generated by the phone. I thought it would be interesting to dig a bit deeper to see what the communication patterns look like.
Because the S-Pen is powered by the RF field via inductance coupling, we can use a pickup coil to detect the signals passed between the pen and the pone without having to take apart either. To do this, I dissembled a small speaker and used the voice coil as the pickup device.

Posted in gadget, RFID | Tagged , | 1 Comment

5″ capacitive touch panel with GSL1680 up’n running with Arduino

in Arduino, LCD by DP | 0 comments


Helge of WeatherStation writes:

After some help from wolfmanjm and CosR1, I managed to get a separate Buydisplay based GSL1680 touch panel up’n running on an Arduino Mega (1280) with only minor modifications to wolfmanjms code.
The firmware is an integrated part of the sketch. Instead of using ram, it is put in the flash memory using PROGMEM. Some, to me, special memory magic is used to read the firmware from the sketch flash (Thanks to CosR1). There might be other ways, but I haven’t investigated further. From there it is easy to write the firmware to the GSL1680 though the I2C bus. Initialization of the GSL1680 is also a bit special. It needs some special sequence of operations. I’m not sure if the code is optimal in that regard, but it seems to be stable. has a wiki with some info. There is even some information on the internal firmware registers here (haven’t verified if this info is correct).
I’ve forked the original wolfmanjm/GSL1680 github repo to hellange/GSL1680 and checked in the modifications needed for Arduino MEGA.

#FreePCB via Twitter to 2 random RTs

in Free PCBs by DP | 1 comment


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.

Posted in Free PCBs | Tagged | 1 Comment

Arduino equipped inline sensor skates

Anurag Mishra writes,

Recently I bought a new pair of Inline Skates. So an idea struck my mind. I modified my skates to give me some results. I wanted to measure the speed with which I am skating and if I get to know the surrounding conditions, that would be awesome. So, I brought an Arduino, an LDR, some LED’s, JHD 162a LCD display, HC SR04 ultrasonic sensor and a DHT11 temperature-humidity sensor.

A wheel of my skates has 8 spokes. I put a LED on one side of the wheel and a LDR on the other side. I am counting the number of pulses in one minute. These pulses are the blockages caused by the spokes to the LDR. Dividing the count by 8, I get the RPM and then Linear speed can easily be obtained.
While skating, a skate is not always on the ground, so I am measuring the RPM only when the skate is on the ground. This, I am doing with the HC SR04 ultrasonic sensor. I have explained this in my video.

All the readings- Speed, temperature and humidity are displayed on the LCD display.

It is portable and battery powered. To make it look fascinating I have put some LED’s for head light, tail light.

A second video is available on YouTube.
The code is available on GitHub.
The project description is on my site.

Via the contact form.

Bus Pirate: Custom UART baud rates

in Bus Pirate by DP | 0 comments


Emil of wrote an article on how to use custom UART baudrates on a Bus Pirate:

I made Bus Pirate-baud rate to help when setting custom UART baud rates on the #buspirate. Easier than binary downloads.

Via Twitter.

Get an assembled Bus Pirate for $30, including world-wide shipping. Also available from our friendly distributors.


ESP8266 WiFi module quick start guide

follower from rancidpacon writes,

I recently wrote a 15-page getting started guide for the $5 ESP8266 WiFi modules for Kiwicon 8, a local New Zealand hacker con. It’s available as both HTML and a PDF.

It provides details on: how to make the hardware connections using an FTDI Board or Arduino (with suitable disclaimer); how to communicate with the module; using AT commands to act as a client, server or AP; and, updating the firmware.

The con brought in a shipment of 100 of the modules which sold out extremely quickly and the guide provides a one-stop-shop for how to get started with the modules.

Via the contact form.

App note: Demodulating communication signals of Qi-compliant low-power wireless charger using MC56F8006 DSC

in app notes by DP | 0 comments


Demodulating the Qi standard wireless power charger app note(PDF) using MC56F8006 digital signal controller from Freescale Semiconductor.

Wireless power is becoming more and more popular today, through which a number of electronic items like mobiles, laptops, media players, can be charged without cords or wires. It is beginning to show great potential in the consumer market.

Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) has developed a standard called Qi, which defines the types of inductive coupling and the communications protocol to be used for lowpower wireless devices. Qi creates interoperability between the Power Transmitter and the Power Receiver. As a regular member of WPC, Freescale has its own Qi-compliant low-power wireless charger reference design for the customers now.

This application note aims to describe the Qi communication data demodulation design for wireless charger transmitter with MC56F8006 digital signal controller (DSC) including Qi communication interface, demodulation circuits design, and demodulation software design.

Free PCB Sunday: Pick your PCB

in Free PCBs by DP | 79 comments

XT-IDE Adapter

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 | 79 Comments

App note: Low-power wireless charger transmitter design using MC56F8006 digital signal controller

in app notes by DP | 0 comments


An app note(PDF) from Freescale Semiconductor on 5-16V, free positioning multiple primary coils “Qi” compatible wireless power transmitter.

Wireless power transmission system transfers electrical power from transmitter to receiver without any wire connection. Due to safety, freedom, reliable, convenient and long life, wireless charging is popular, and widely used in everything such as toothbrushes, LED candles, remote controls, medical equipment, mobile phones, and other equipment.

This paper describes a Freescale low-power wireless transmitter solution (TX) compliant to the “Qi” standard of the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), using single-stage fullbridge resonant inverter topology on Freescale ultra low cost MC56F8006 DSC device.