Introduction to CC2541

October 3, 2016

Exploring the versatile AVR microcontrollers or the powerful STM32 counterparts were amazing experiences which resulted in interesting projects, many of them presented on this blog. For a hardware designer, the multitude of options can be overwhelming and this is a good thing. In regards to BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) applications, TI’s CC254X solutions are appealing to say the least. “The CC2541 is a power-optimized true system-on-chip (SoC) solution for both…


Featured by Atmel

November 7, 2015

Trained as a software developer I’ve been active in the field doing mostly mobile apps since 2003. My first contact with microcontrollers came later, in 2009, and I still remember how exciting it was to see the tiny silicon piece run some code. That was the Atmega8 made by Atmel, and the first app was blinking a few LEDs with a simple software loop and a delay. Amazed by the…


Post Beta hardware iteration

August 23, 2015

For the Portable Environmental Monitor beta release, both the project summary and the system design document presented some of the things to improve next. The first PCB was fine, but there was a linear regulator wasting power, that had to be replaced. Also, new ideas needed more hardware changes. Here is another hardware iteration to implement all that. The new changes include: – power efficient Lithium battery voltage converter, using…


Portable Environmental Monitor

August 12, 2015

The portable environmental monitor addresses pollution, the kind that we are unable to see but directly affects our health and causes life threatening diseases. Airborne toxic chemicals, radioactive dust and radioactive radon are correlated with cases of pulmonary cancer. Since our biological senses can do little to warn us of such possible dangers, the plan was to design the Portable environmental monitor as a first line detection and warning system….


The first prototype

August 7, 2015

It’s been a crazy run, trying to make this happen. After less then one month I now have the first functional hardware iteration or the first prototype. The Portable Environmental Monitor has been brought to life! All that’s left is finalising the enclosure (it will be a nice rugged aluminium enclosure, small enough to fit the palm of the hand, despite the many sensors packed inside) and the software (both…


Resistive touchscreen

August 6, 2015

A complicated project July was a tough month, and August is no different. Due to some components arriving late, I’ve only been able to start my work on the project with considerable delay. So I had to catch up with everything and squeeze the entire development work for this complex project in a month’s timeframe. But the plan was solid and seemed doable … unless Murphy’s laws of chaos…


ILI9341 touchscreen LCD Library

July 23, 2015

I got a few QVGA LCD’s with resistive touchscreen for an ongoing project. All that was left to do was putting the driver code together. The LCD code part was very much similar to my previous work on the ILI9163 but this time I went for faster SPI communication (also due to the bigger resolution). The microcontroller – an Atmega128 – uses normal SPI transfer and the external quartz crystal…


UT50 NaI Scintillation probe

August 7, 2013

I met some great people today, and I also got a wonderful device for my ongoing experiments as a gift: The UT50 Scintillation probe, manufactured by SC ICPM SA Romania. It features a huge NaI(TL) crystal, with a diameter of 5.5cm and 5.5cm length. The photomultiplier is a British EMI9656KB and the entire device is encapsulated in an aluminum modular cylinder of no more than 24cm total length and 1270g…


AVR SDCard FAT support with FatFS

August 2, 2013

You’ve probably seen or done lots of cool microcontroller projects already, but did you ever consider adding permanent data storage to your projects? I did, and there are numerous advantages: saving data from sensors (data logger), saving configuration files, reading external content like images or songs, and so on! One thing is to connect an SD Card to an AVR microcontroller via SPI (relatively easy), a completely different thing is…


Using FS1000A/XY-FST RF Radio module with AVRs

July 31, 2013

Wireless data transfer can be useful for a variety of projects. I stumbled upon a very low cost emitter+receiver modules pair, and planned to use it for some time now. There are a few variants available on the market, but they do quite the same thing, just the operating frequency might be different (315MHz / 418MHz / 433MHz/ 915MHz): The emitter usually has 3 pins (VCC->5V, GND, DATA), with a…


How to set the AVR Fusebits

March 11, 2013

Learn how to set your atmega to work with various external crystals, program the fusebits, and build a fusebit doctor to revive your AVRs, in case you wrote the wrong settings .