Arduino FIO Low Power Setup

As usually, I have been very sporadic in posting new/updated projects due to my prioritization of my doctoral work (i.e., not much time for fun little electronics projects!).  However, I’ve been playing around with the Arduino Fio (available from in my free time for a little while now, so I wanted to post some notes on a very low power usage setup that I was able to put together.

As my free hobby time has dwindled, so has the time I’ve been able to devote to debugging programs written for my little Microchip PICs.  So, given my limited time, I decided to dive right into Arduinos — which utilize a higher-level programming language, making things a little quicker and easier for me to tinker — and try to get some wireless communication working.  After looking through the possibilities, I settled on the Arduino Fio.  The Arduino Fio is a great little Arduino-compatible board that includes a socket for an XBee 802.15.4 wireless module along with a LiPo plug and charger circuit.

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8×8 RGB LED Display

So, this project was sidelined until I had to make another BatchPCB purchase.  Thankfully it wasn’t too long until I had the opportunity to work on it again! The current setup is basically 4 of the original 4 RGB LED Controller boards and 12 of the updated DR1r3 boards. All 16 are wired in parallel and being controlled by my desktop machine. You can see an extended version of this RGB test sequence after the break and I’m also including the (uncommented, sorry!) Processing 1.1 code that I used to control the boards.

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4 RGB LED Controller Update

I recently began working on a consulting project that required the creation of some PCBs.  Since I have had such great success with in the past, I decided to use them again to fab the custom PCBs.  The BatchPCB purchasing system adds a few static fees (set-up, handling, and shipping), so I felt that this was as good a time as any to make some additional of my PIC16F628 4 RGB LED PWM Controller boards with a couple of modifications.

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PIC16F628 4 RGB LED PWM Controller

I am a big fan of LEDs.  Bright, colorful, flashing LEDs.  So, given my affinity for LEDs, I decided to work on a controller that me and a few of my friends could use as an art project/passive information display.  I have posted videos from the first prototypes (here and here), but it has been tough to dedicate time to further development given my research, so I thought I would post the information so that anyone can take the design and modify it to their liking!

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PIC16F628 Serial 4 LED PWM DR1r6

I’ve been working on a project in my spare time with two friends to create some ambient light controllers, so I thought I’d just post two short videos to demonstrate the current state of the project.  In the current iteration, they can be used as wall-washers or they can be enclosed to create ambient light cubes/spheres/pentagonal cupolas/rhombo-hexagonal dodecahedrons/etc.  Each module is addressable and uses a PIC16F628 to control each of the RGB LEDs (which were purchased from the eBay seller jeledhk with the description “Superflux RGB 5mm R/H LEDLamp 8Kmcd COMMON CATHODE”).  The PCBs were created using for $5 each (+ ~$15 total for S&H and setup) and are beautifully etched, drilled, and silkscreened (although it took about 1.5 months to receive them).  Ok, less talk, more videos; one video on the front page and another after the jump:

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AMC7135 Driver Boards & Luxeon K2s

I know it’s been a looooong time since I’ve posted any new electronics projects, but that’s primarily been due to my increased course load now that I’m in graduate school. Well, I’ve finally picked up some 1050 ma constant current driver boards for the Luxeon K2 LEDs that I mentioned a while ago and hopefully I’ll get these up and running in just a little bit. I just wanted to post some pictures because I think they’re nice little boards.

AMC7135 1050ma Drivers Thumbnail

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On GPS Accuracy with the Tripmate

I am a huge fan of my Delorme Tripmate. It’s a cheap serial GPS receiver that it is very easy to work with and interface with my microcontroller projects. It was introduced over 10 years ago and mine is still in great condition. I’ve used it for a number of projects (e.g., PIC16F88 Delorme Tripmate GPS Logger, GPS Logger with Time and Speed, and a modified version for GPRMC) and I plan on creating more. However, it’s starting to show its age and I have found that over time I’ve become less and less fond of its chipset. The biggest problem has been the gross inaccuracies in reported position. Read More