Audioino: Arduino programmable via sound card

Here’s a unique way to program an Arduino chip: using your computer’s sound card! Chris from the hobby-roboter forum provides the details on this amazing hack in his forum post.The process simply requires the Atmega168 to be programmed with Chris’ special audio bootloader. The whole project requires only the addition of three resistors, two caps, an LED, audio jack and reset switch. Thereafter programs are developed in the Arduino IDE, then the hex is uploaded to the Audioino via Chris’ Java program (contained in the source code zipped file.)This is a really cool hack, reminding some of us how we loaded programs into the CPU memory using cassette recorders back in the day.

via DangerousPrototypes.com

Posted in arduino, AVR, electronics, hacking, innovation, tricks, tutorial | 1 Comment

New PCB’s from Seeedstudio’s Fusion Service

We were trying out new sources to get some PCB’s from. SeeedStudio provides an innovative and cost effective PCB making service called the Fusion Service. We have now evaluated this service for our MSP430 boards. The quality of PCB was really good for the price.

There are several size options also available(5cm x 5cm & 10cm x 10cm are our most used.
For Bharteya(Indian) Comparison here are the General prices that we have seen:
a. 5cm x 5cm PCB Double Sided
        Local Vendors: INR1050    (3-5 Quantity & Only One Side Silkscreen)
       SeeedStudio:     INR667.2   (Including Shipping , 10QuantityBoth Sides Silkscreen)
b. 10cm x 10cm PCB Double Sided
        Local Vendors: INR1520     (3 Qunatity & Only One Side Silkscreen)
        SeeedStudio:    INR1334.4  (10 Quantity, Including Shipping & Both Side Silkscreen)

In all we are very Happy with the Service & PCB from SeeedStudio and we thank them for this wonderful quality service

We are going for another round of PCBs and hoping that we get them soon.

Posted in open Source, PCB, prototyping | Leave a comment

MinGW: Made Easier

We had initially covered a tutorial to Install MinGW environment. Now the installation has become even easier with the Automated MinGW Installer . This is a single executable file that needs to be downloaded and it would take you through the entire process.

Here are the links:
> Source for the Automated Installer:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/mingw/files/Automated%20MinGW%20Installer/mingw-get-inst/
> Good Introduction to the Instal process
http://www.mingw.org/wiki/Getting_Started
&gt: Our Tutorial & Articles on MinGW
http://m8051.blogspot.com/search/label/MinGW

Posted in MinGW, open Source, software, tricks, Windows | Leave a comment

Inflatable Antenna from GATR

We came across the remarkable innovation that makes it possible to have remote stalactite communication and still has portable infrastructure. GATR Technologies has developed an antenna that can fit right into your backpack.

This is an inflatable 1.2-metre satellite antenna that can fit into a backpack and be carried by a single person. It is a double-layered sphere with one layer a nylon mesh and the other made from sail material. The antenna is in the centre. The receiving dish divides the sphere’s interior into two chambers and by applying pressure to one chamber you can push the antenna into a parabolic shape. The company already sells a larger, 2-metre version but this one is small enough to fit in an airline’s hand luggage area when folded.

For Further info have a look at the following links:
http://www.gatr.com/
http://www.gatr.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=71
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/onepercent/2011/07/inflatable-antenna-you-can-sti.html

Posted in electronics, innovation, RF | Leave a comment

MMA8453Q Accelerometer Breakout – Update

We had built the MMA8453Q accelerometer breakout board. We could not test it since long.
For the Circuit we followed what the Datasheet said:

We only had to map it to our pin Configuration as stated earlier.
For testing we used the Famous Buspirate from Dangerous Prototypes.

We wish to Thank Dangerous Prototypes for creating such a nice tool.

Here is a picture of what we were working:

And here is the Command Sequence:

HiZ>m
1. HiZ
2. 1-WIRE
3. UART
4. I2C
5. SPI
6. JTAG
7. RAW2WIRE
8. RAW3WIRE
9. PC KEYBOARD
10. LCD
(1) >4
Mode selected
Set speed:
 1. ~50KHz
 2. ~100KHz
 3. ~400KHz
(1) >1
READY
I2C>W
POWER SUPPLIES ON
I2C>[ 0x3A 0x0B 0x01 ][ 0x3A 0x0B 0x01 ]
I2C START BIT
WRITE: 0x3A ACK
WRITE: 0x0B ACK
WRITE: 0x01 ACK
I2C STOP BIT
I2C>[ 0x3A 0x0D [ 0x3B R ][ 0x3A 0x0D [ 0x3B R ]
I2C START BIT
WRITE: 0x3A ACK
WRITE: 0x0D ACK
I2C START BIT
WRITE: 0x3B ACK
READ: 0x3A NACK
I2C STOP BIT
I2C>

As you see in the Last Lines it prints 0x3A which is the “who am I” kind of address for MMA8453Q.
Note: SA0 is High so the Write address is 0x3A and Read Address is 0x3B

Here is the Commands that were sent:
1. Wakeup command: [ 0x3A 0x0B 0x01 ]
2. Read the “Who am I register” : [ 0x3A 0x0D [ 0x3B R ]

So the Accelerometer is working and now we can conceal the chip package in glue to make it into a robust chip form factor. Next on the list is using it in an actual application.

We would post more updates on that soon. Let us know your comments.

Posted in Accelerometer, electronics, MMA8453Q, prototyping, soldering | 2 Comments

Scripting Android(SL4A) with Python on LG Optimux P500

We got our first Android Phone LG Optimus P500 with Android 2.2 Version. This phone has 512MB of internal RAM which is good to give a decent performance. We did not limit us to this, we wanted to make some good use of this mobile. So the Idea came that we can try to have a programming environment right int the Android Phone.
We knew that there is a complete development environment available to use PC as the host and develop applications for Android. But we wanted some thing easier. Something that could help us get Python on Mobile.
We found Scripting Layer for Android brings scripting languages to Android. SL4A in short.

Scripting Layer for Android (SL4A) brings scripting languages to Android by allowing you to edit and execute scripts and interactive interpreters directly on the Android device. These scripts have access to many of the APIs available to full-fledged Android applications, but with a greatly simplified interface that makes it easy to get things done.
Scripts can be run interactively in a terminal, in the background, or via Locale. Python, Perl, JRuby, Lua, BeanShell, JavaScript, Tcl, and shell are currently supported, and we’re planning to add more. See the SL4A Video Help playlist on YouTube for various demonstrations of SL4A’s features.

We wanted Python so we went for Py4APython for Android.
This is the version of Python that’s built to Run with the SL4A and includes various functionality such as Blue-tooth Encryption etc.

[1]
Here is a list of files that you need to download:
sl4a_r4.apk: The SL4A Frontend
http://android-scripting.googlecode.com/files/sl4a_r4.apk

textedit-sl4a.apk: Editor for the scripts
http://android-scripting.googlecode.com/files/textedit-sl4a.apk

PythonForAndroid_r5.apk: Python Interpreter for SL4A (Or the latest version available)
http://python-for-android.googlecode.com/files/PythonForAndroid_r5.apk

Python Modules:
pyephem-3.7.4.1-py2.6-linux-armv.egg
http://python-for-android.googlecode.com/files/pyephem-3.7.4.1-py2.6-linux-armv.egg

PyBluez-0.19-py2.6-linux-armv.egg
http://python-for-android.googlecode.com/files/PyBluez-0.19-py2.6-linux-armv.egg

pycrypto-2.3-py2.7-linux-armv.egg
http://python-for-android.googlecode.com/files/pycrypto-2.3-py2.7-linux-armv.egg

Now after you have all these files in the Phone in a separate Directory say “/sdcard/Develop/
You are ready to go for the Installation.

[2] 
Steps for Install:
– Install the sl4a_r4.apk File (Make sure you have install from Unknown source option enabled in settings)
– Install the textedit-sl4a.apk and PythonForAndroid_r5.apk
– After this transfer the SL4A and TextEdit applications to SD card from settings
– Open the Python for Android App and click on Install
   (The App would now download the nessary files automatically. So make sure you have your internet connection ON in the mobile)
– After the Extraction is done it would show that the installation has been successful, Now click on Import Modules and sequentially install the modules one after another. (All three of them)
– Exit the Python for Android App and then run the SL4A app to get the SL4A Frontend running.
  (Dont miss this else like in the Video the programs wont run)
– Now go back to Home screen keeping the SL4A running in background – Run the Text Edit App
– Browse the SD Card for “sl4a” folder in which the “scripts” directory contains the “HelloWorld.py
   (should be “/sdcard/sl4a/scripts“)
– Now you can edit the file and save it
Go back to Home screen and Open the SL4A app again. Click the Option button to refresh the files
Single click on the HelloWorld.py shows the activity bar. (this contains the “Terminal Run” or “Edit” Options)
Click on the Terminal icon to Run the Modified HelloWorld.py
– You see a terminal window automatically pop out and then says “Hello World”
– Now you would be prompted to Exit the Terminal so click “Yes” 
That’s It – You have successfully executed your first Python Script on Mobile.

[3]
Here is the Video that Demonstrates all procedures after the Files are Downloaded:
http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/jWjV47U0Md8?version=3&hl=en_US

Posted in Android, LG Optimux P500, mobile, python, SL4A, software, tutorial | 2 Comments

MMA8453Q Accelerometer Breakout – Soldering can be Art

Check out the Update: MMA8453Q Accelerometer Breakout – Update

Well we have been busy all this time so you see not much of blog activity. However our pursuit on creativity continues.
We were trying out the Freescale’s new Accelerometer MMA8453Q which we procured recently.
The problem with this chip was that it was a QFN-16 package and so tiny that we did not believe it could be soldered in any way even if we get a PCB done.
So, so… This was a job for the Wiring Pen we described earlier.

We first soldered the Chip to a piece of veroboard using FeviQuik (conventional Cyanoacrylate adhesive).

Picture of the Chip glued on to the veroboard
Bottom view of the chip showing pin descriptions

Then we did the fine art work of wires using the Wiring Pen and made a breakout.

Breakout pin configuration

We have tested this out and its working!!

As requested here are steps that can help you build your own QFN breakout:
[1] Invert the chip and fix it onto a small piece of Vero board as shown in the First Picture above.
You can use the Cynoacrilate Adhesives (like Fevi-quick we have in Bharat) for this purpose.
But be careful they are extremely poisonous and you can hurt your self it fall any where other than desired.
[2] Identify the Pin 1 location and the desired pin configuration as shown in the Bottom View picture of the chip. Then map it to the desired breakout you would like to have as showing the Breakout Pin configuration picture above.
[3] Solder the Berg pins carefully in the breakout positions as decide in the mapping.
[4] Apply the No-Clean flux on the bottom of the chip and the pins.
[5] Take the Wiring Pen and tin the tip of the wire with fresh solder uncovering the insulation. The length of the uncovered insulation to be as small as possible.
[6] Carefully take a minute ball of solder on the soldering Iron tip and attach this wire to the pin
[7] Next measure the distance to the Berg pin by taking the Wiring Pen near to it so that the wire automatically unrolls. Now cut the wire to be soldered on the berg pin.
[8] Tin this end of the Wire which we just obtained using fresh solder and then fix it the berg pin soldered point by applying the soldering iron and inserting the wire into the solder. This makes your first pin ready.
[9] Using a pain of Pins as probes measure the continuity for this connection in the multi-meter. It should be as low possible but dont press the pins hard else they might damage the joints.
[10] Not continue the steps from step [4] for all the pins you need to take out.
[11] Once done clean the entire thing in a small bath of IsopropileAlcohol to ward off all the unwanted flux or the resin residue from the solder wire.

Thats all for the process.
Thanks for your interest. Let us know your feedback in case you would like a Video demonstration.

Check out the Update: MMA8453Q Accelerometer Breakout – Update

Posted in Accelerometer, electronics, MMA8453Q, prototyping, soldering | 2 Comments

Quick Response Code: Details

We always wondered what and how the QR code came into play. This remained a shady fact that we used it couple of times on the mobile phone for URI catching but never got to find the real designs behind the screen.
Until Recently we found this:

Source: Wikipedia

In fact the QR Code is covered by a Patent 6,494,375 from Denso Wave.

We found even more detailed picture:
Source: QRME
The data contained in the QR Code is an amazing 4,296 Characters of text or 7,089 Digits or simply 2,953 Bytes. This means a complete HEX file for a small microcontroller can be embedded into one QR Code. Or think even better. A whole Letter that you send on a page can converted into a few QR Code Symbols !!
Many of the Mobiles and App sources such Google App Store Zxing provide API that help to encode data in QR Code format.
We are hoping to utilize this technology and cover the easy to implement QR Code in many of our projects.
Scan for your self….
For more Details Visit:
Wikipedia Article on QR Code:
QRME Website for more Documentation on QR Code:
Denso Wave’s Website on the Code Implementation details:
Quick QR Code Generator: (We like this one!!)
Posted in QR Code, Technology, tutorial | Leave a comment

MSP430 JTAG & Spy-By-Wire Connections

Some time people mistake the connections for the common MSP430 debug interfaces. Specifically in our new board we ran into some issues. So here are some pictures to help you.

Spy-By-Wire Connection
Jtag Connection

Hope that this would help.

Posted in Circuit Design, MSP430, TI, tricks, tutorial | 1 Comment

Wiring Pen: For next gen in DIY prototyping

We came across ELM chaN’s website and wondered at how soldering can be an Art.

Source: ELM chaN Website

In hopes to be able to make this possible, we read through the entire tutorial on Wiring Pen & how UEW (polyUrethane Enameled copper Wire) is used.
Looking at this we wanted to make our own Wiring Pen so we started in search of the raw materials:

[1] UEW: We found an easily available source from Mobile repair Shop. On the website we found indication to using the old Relay Coils or any type of solenoid etc. We found this:

In Bharat its available in any Mobile Repair Shop for others they can take it from an old relay. The best part is that you get a bobbin free if you take it out of the Relay.

[2] Syringe Needle & Pen: This is need for planning the exit of the wire in the Wiring Pen. You can get it from any of the medical shops. Also you would need an transparent Pen for use as the body. So here is a picture of what we have collected so far.

[3] Screw: This is needed to fit the Bobbin to the Pen Body.

Now here is how you Assemble the whole thing:
[1] Fix the Nail to the body of the Pen:

[2] Have a Stopper made out of a Plastic container lid to keep the bobbin in place. We have used a Screw on the Other end also. This was made possible by the use of a Metal Stud in the Center as you can see from the above picture.

[3] We added an additional (pulley using a) paper clip insered into the pen at the end of the pen to help the wire be pulled smoothly without damage.

[4] Next carefully insert the wire through the pen body and out on the other side. Then insert it into the Syringe and the Pen Tip. Here we found that initially that the syringe Needle had a big back projection and it could not fit into the pen. So we cut that out and adjusted it to fit in to the Pen’s tip. We also inserted a small filler to tighten the Needle.

After Assembly:

[5] Now put every thing together and you have the Wiring Pen Ready !!

Our Wiring Pen is Ready !!

Hope that you liked our build, let us know your comments.

For more information visit the following Links:

ELM chaN’s Website:
http://elm-chan.org/docs/wire/wiring_e.html

Tutorial on How to build a wiring Pen:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Wiring-Pen/

Posted in prototyping, soldering, tricks, tutorial | 2 Comments