Adding MIDI interface to drums

When you want to do electronic music editing and still have ability to play it in using real instruments – MIDi interface is great choice. Not all instruments have MIDi interface, so instead of looking for commercial solution, why not to try build one by yourself. Spic0m have put together a small PIC16C84 based circuit that picks drum signals and transmits them over MIDI.


Input is made very simple – piezo transducers on port pins RB0 through RB7. Software simply transmits equivalent note to get required drum sound. Due to its simplicity there are few limitations like fixed channels, fixed volume and of course the need sound module which would synthesize drum sounds. Either way a PC software can deal with all those problems. If you need different parameters, you can make changes to firmware.

Controlling webcam when you are not home

Webcam may be the cheapest way of monitoring your home while you are out. All you need is to leave your PC connected with camera so you could connect to it using remote connection software like VNC or Teamviewer. Ruijc wanted to look after his cat using this technique, but found out that steady camera doesn’t cover all the areas of the room, so he started a project where he would be able to control camera tilt and rotation remotely.


He built a simple PIC16F88 microcontroller based circuit which would drive two servo motors. Motors simply tilt and rotate camera to point at any spot of the room. Additionally he added a transistor driven LED lamp, which also can be turned on when there is dark in room. Device is connected to PC using RS232 interface. He wrote a simple VB based software which allows controlling camera position, switch LED and even see camera image. Since this is not web based access, you need to connect to computer remotely to see whats going on. Anyway this is really simple solution that does it’s job pretty well.

Numitron display based digital clock

I bet you like Nixie clocks and probably wouldn’t mind to have one on your table. Anyway, Nixie displays require relatively high voltage to light segments. But if you don’t want to generate higher voltages but rather stay with 5V then you should consider numitron displays. These vacuum tube displays light up from like 5V. Pinomelean purchased several of IV-9 displays and wanted to build very simple digital clock.

Instead of making full number display he used single digit to tell time. The method is pretty simple – it displays hours and minutes one by one. Four additional LEDs allow easy tracking of current digit displayed. Clock is driven by PIC16F84A microcontroller which is clocked at 4MHz. Using one digit display saves space and allows to design small device. For basic time monitoring this is more than enough.  

Clocks Rediscovered

All of us has those fancy hanging wall clock that shows us time in different styles. This one is a little different. It shows time with the help of lots and lots of seven segment displays. To be precise, it has a total of 72- segment displays, in a three ring format. Along with it, it has an adaptive light sensor, that makes reduces the brightness of the displays in night and increases during the day. Moreover, it also has a wave detection which shows time when you wave the hand.

Another feature is, that it has connectivity to internet to synchronize time from NTP server on time to time basis. For offline clock, it has an on-board RTC clock and even an Ethernet connection for remote entry. Although it has a lot of features, but it’s quite costly. But if the cost is neglected it is a really nice thing to have in your house. The maker of the project wants to add more features to it like a firmware upgrade and even support of IPv6 for internet access