Jonathan attended FOSDEM 2012 event with his custom made name badge and shared some details of it. This is simple and straight forward design based on MSP430F5171 16-bit microcontroller that controls 5×8 LEDs where the name is scrolled. LEDs are connected in rows and columns, so five and eight pins of MCU are occupied. No limiting resistors or any transistors are used as leds are driven dynamically. Badge is powered with 3V lithium coin cell. PCB is double side and home made. Jonathan used toner transfer method for this and results are great. 6 mil tracks look really great. After tryout he suggests to add more LEDs to get better resolution as 5×8 is pretty hard to read. Anyway this is great way to stand out in a crowd.
Not all signal generators have to be complex devices. Sometimes you just need a signal generator with few features. This Attiny25 based signal generator does just that. It can output square, sine and triangle waves simultaneously from 1Hz up to 40kHz. Resolution isn’t brilliant – just 6 bits. Signal frequency can be adjusted in 256 steps what means that from 1Hz to 40kHz it ups exponentially. Despite its poor signal quality and lack of fine control signal generator may find its purpose in many uses.
Attiny85 are 8 pin microcontrollers so they are perfect for small projects. Chris had few of these lying around and decided to build fast and simple prototyping board. He made a project layout with KiCAD and instead of etching PCB he simply soldered it on prototyping board. He’s programming Attiny85 using Pololu AVRISP v2 programmer and Arduino. So this is simple set up to test things out where or make a complete project.
ManyMIDIprojects end up with several input buttons and knobs. What if you need more inputs to control on your musical device? This is where Chomp (Configurable Hardware Open-Source MIDI Platform) may be useful. It is capable of reading 48 analog and digital signals and outputMIDI. It is based on ATmega328 microcontroller so the software is written in arduino way – no problem if you want to modify it. Inputs are organized in to several 2×5 ribbon cable connectors, so no problem to attach your custom button boards or integrate in to your projects.
When working on some projects you will definitely loose sense and track of time unless you have “Freelance Puncher”. Raphael tired of looking for convenient way of tracking time spent on his freelance projects so he built a PIC16LF1827 time tracker which looks like detonator… It has a single button which toggles timer. Couple seven segment LED displays indicate hours spent on a project and also there are seven smt LEDs that indicate quarter and hundreds of hours. So you can track really long projects with it. Time information is stored inside microcontrollers EEPROM memory. Its open source project build one and you’ll probably find more uses of it.