Minimalism AVR development board

Lacking of proper development board always poses huge resistance for me to jump onto a new MCU. Even with the most prototyping friendly DIP packages, wiring a programming header onto the breadboard is both troublesome and unreliable. Things become worse when the MCU is an AVR. There is absolutely no way to mount a 2×3 0.1in pitch programming header onto the breadboard. It was such a pain until recently I found a elegant way to make a quick and dirty minimalism board. Here is how.

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Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2014, from Visitor to Maker

Singapore Mini Maker Faire has entered into the 3rd year. Being at the right time (long weekend) and right location (community club), the turn out is overwhelming. Same overwhelming is the wide range of exhibits, which are far beyond what I can put into words.

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HOWTO: Use STM32 SPI half duplex mode

I’ve got my hands onto some STM32F030F4P6 ARM-Cortex M0 processors. Though touted as “32 cents 32-bit micro”, it is not that inexpensive from DigiKey in one-off quantity ($1.45). However it is still cheaper than ATmegas and offers 3 times the performance. The chip comes in 20-pin TSSOP package. Limited pins require much more thoughts when assigning pin function. For example, using 3-pin half-duplex SPI instead of 4-pin full-duplex SPI saves me 1 very precious GPIO pin. Continue reading “HOWTO: Use STM32 SPI half duplex mode”

FlappyDuino – Arduino Day 2014 celebration

March 29 2014 is Arduino’s 10 years birthday, also the World’s Arduino Day. In conjunction with the global celebration, SG Makers in partnership with IDA is organizing a whole series of events for Singapore Arduino lovers. And I was invited to showcase some Arduino projects. Continue reading “FlappyDuino – Arduino Day 2014 celebration”

HOWTO: Write a display driver for SEGGER emWin

One lucky day you wake up to find your dream of creating sophisticated graphics user interface for MCU projects comes true, because STMicroelectronics has released a free version of SEGGER emWin for STM32 line of ARM controllers. But your excitement is quickly balanced by the frustration that your favourite LCD panel is not supported. That is a typical day of mine, and my favourite LCD is a 2.6″ 400×240 IPS panel, model TFT1P5971-E by Truly. This post is about how to make the LCD usable with emWin. Continue reading “HOWTO: Write a display driver for SEGGER emWin”

JTAG adapter for Arduino Micro

For the holiday season I get myself an AVR JTAGICE3. Holding the new shiny emulator and a bunch of Arduino boards, what shall I do? Of course to hop onto the all-hail Atmel Studio and ditch the toy-alike Arduino software. Reason being? Debugging Arduino code with serial console is no fun. I need my single steps, breakpoints and watches back. In fact the Arduino boards seems to be more valuable (to me) without the software. The onboard ISP connector seems to be standard and it “just works” with JTAGICE3. Well, I had this “just works” impression until I tried it on the new Arduino Micro board… Continue reading “JTAG adapter for Arduino Micro”

FT230X charger detection investigation

I bought some FT230X (FT230XS) USB-USART bridge chip recently for a new design.  FT230X is not only cheaper than the traditional FT232RL, but also offers a new fancy “USB charger detection” function. This interests me because I’m quickly running out of desk space and power socket. I wish the new device to be solely powered by USB and/or battery.

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Singapore Mini Maker Faire, 2nd year

Well I should have written this earlier since the Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2013 (#SMMF13) has passed for weeks.

This is the second year of the event and the venue was relocated from the remote (to me) Science Center to Singapore’s busiest Orchard area. And it is free entry for all 😀

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Hacking a cheap LED voltmeter

I’m planning to build a EEVblog-ish constant dummy load for battery and power supply testing. Dave in his build used a LCD voltmeter for the display. In the senseless pursuit of difference, I tried other display solutions including character LCD, graphics LCD, OLED, TFT, AMOLED, IPS, which resulted in several previous blogs but nothing ends up to be satisfactory. Along with the complexity grows exponentially from one  solution to another, I slowly start to feel the importance of KISS concept, keep it simple stupid. All I need is just a number display, nothing fancy, nothing pricey, nothing takes my attention away from the analog circuitry. I decided to go back to the basic 7-segment LED display. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, how elegant it is! Continue reading “Hacking a cheap LED voltmeter”