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USB RGB LED Controller
Posted on Saturday, March 26, 2011   •   Category: LED

This is great LED-controller board with lots of handy features. USB interface allows selecting operating modes directly on your PC screen without need additional input devices on boars. Project has preprogrammed several modes including slow and fast color change, temperature base color ,where color depends on temperature measured from temperature sensor (DS1821). Other modes include constant colors that can be configured with C# Win application. Actually there are more possibilities of usage especially when USB is used. Write your own or use PC application that would represent CPU load or other content with RGB colors. Project is built around PIC18F2550 microcontroller which comes along with USB interface. So USB requires couple elements what allows focusing on other parts of circuitry.

Driving P-Channel MOSFETs with a Microcontroller
Posted on Saturday, March 26, 2011   •   Category: Miscellaneous

MOSFET transistors are excellent choice for driving high current devices such as motors or high power RGB LEDs. They offer very low switching resistance and very small heat dissipation compared to bipolar transistors. This guide is designed to explain how to drive P-Channel MOSFETs with a microcontroller such as PIC or ATMEGA. There are a couple of tricks to remember when using them. P-Channel MOSFETs are useful for switching positive supply of a target circuit on and off. Particular attention must be placed to the target circuit if the supply voltage is greater then the micro controller's logic voltages. If for example, your target device is being powered by 12 volts, and your logic high state from the micro controller is 5 volts, then the MOSFET will never turn off, as voltage will either be -12V or -7V (remember that this guide is designed for logic level MOSFETs). Anything over -3 volts will generally drive the logic level MOSFET on (varies between types of LL MOSFETs).

DS18S20 Dual Temperature Meter
Posted on Friday, March 25, 2011   •   Category: Test and Measurement

DS18S20 dual temperature meter uses two very exciting DS18S20 digital temperature sensors that come in convenient TO92 package. Unlike regular sensors where temperature readings are passed as varying voltage, DS18S20 passes temperature information in a digital format as data. This brings many new possibilities and enables to pass temperature information over much longer distances just over a two wire cable. With this capability temperature can be measured in different locations at the same time away from the main circuit board. With regular temperature sensors that rely on the voltage cables must be as short as possible because longer wire lengths introduce stray resistance and bring unreliable readings. Another great feature of DS18S20 sensor is that it doesn't require any calibration at all, while providing 100% accuracy out of the box. That means that you just plug it in and there's no need spending time recalibrating temperature readings. This is all due thanks to the nature of sending information in a digital format. In fact DS18S20 is just like a computer connected to the network that has a unique serial number identifier similar to an IP address. Multiple DS18S20 sensors can send information simultaneously, even over the same two wire bus cable. The two wires provide 3-5V voltage supply to the sensors and they are also used to pass data in two different directions. If wires are very long so that voltage on DS18S20 sensors drops below 3V external 5V voltage supply can be used with 1K resistor to power the sensors. Once PIC microcontroller receives temperature information it converts it into both Celsius and Fahrenheit values so that they can be displayed on LCD display. DS18S20 dual temperature meter is capable of measuring temperatures from -55 to 125 C degrees Celsius (-67 to 257 F Fahrenheit) with 0.5 C / 1 F accuracy. If you just need to measure temperature in one location you may just use one DS18S20 sensor and PIC16F628 microcontroller will use just one sensor.

4-CH RF Remote Control
Posted on Friday, March 25, 2011   •   Category: Remote Control

Having the ability to control various appliances inside or outside of your house wirelessly is a huge convenience, and can make your life much easier and fun. RF remote control provides long range of up to 200m / 650ft and it works even through the walls. You can control many low voltage gadgets including motors, RC cars, robotic devices, amplifiers or 110V/220V appliances through relays such as lights, fans, AC systems, home appliances, garage doors, security systems, motor-driven curtains, motorized window blinds, door locks, sprinklers, motorized projection screens and anything else you can think of. 4-CH RF remote control is used to turn ON / OFF four different devices independently. Any of the four outputs can be configured to work independently in either toggle or momentary mode. Outputs are buffered by BC549 NPN transistors and can drive low voltage devices directly such us motors or be connected to either 5V or 12V relays to control appliances that use 110V / 220V mains voltage or any voltage of your choice. Multiple remote systems can be used independently to control more than four appliances in the same location by changing the address code on 433MHz receiver and remote. It is also possible to use several remotes to control the same appliance such as garage door.

USB IO Board PIC18F2455 / PIC18F2550
Posted on Friday, March 25, 2011   •   Category: USB Circuts

USB Input / Output Board is a spectacular little development board / parallel port replacement featuring PIC18F2455 / PIC18F2550 microcontroller. USB IO Board is compatible with Windows / Mac OSX / Linux computers. When attached to Windows IO board will show up as RS232 COM port. You can control 16 individual microcontroller I/O pins by sending simple serial commands. USB Input / Output Board is self-powered by USB port and can provide up to 500mA for electronic projects. USB IO Board is breadboard compatible. Simply solder included 12-PIN & 8-PIN headers on the bottom side of the PCB and the board can be plugged into a breadboard for quick prototyping.

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