Some of my projects

I decided that my first real post will be a brief overview of some of the projects I keep myself busy. I will try to write a more detailed article on each in the future. This article is meant to at least put something up here as a start and also to get myself more familiar with the process of publishing this way.

I have never been much of a writer and English is not my first language, so please bear with me. Hopefully I wont bore you to death in the process.

Firstly, I enjoy tinkering with embedded software. I have always been fascinated by the interaction of software with the physical world. The fascination probably started in the good old days of dial-up modems and the characteristic chirping noise they made to establish a connection. This was hardware and software in action, working together and using sound to get a job done. My young mind was blown and I just had to satisfy my curiosity into this technological wonder world.

In order to get software to interact with the outside world, you need a circuit off course. I make my own printed circuit boards as you will notice. I am getting better at it. I even made my first double sided pc board recently.

This is a USB serial converter / infrared receiver and transmitter. It is the first board that I made using surface mount components. I am quite pleased with the result. It produces a board that requires fewer holes to be drilled, I think. I still need to drill holes for the vias, for which I use a 0.6mm drill bit. The software is still a work in progress though.

I recently pushed my manufacturing and soldering skills to a new limit, with this breakout board that contains an iPod connector.

The pitch of the iPod connector is 0.3mm! This breakout will come in handy in trying to interface iPod accessories. Notice the marks where I cut the traces connecting the ground pins.

Some of my more primitive projects involved white LED’s meant for illumination. We enjoy camping allot and these projects were meant to experiment with new ways LED’s can be applied in the outdoors.

This one is a LED light with a dimmer switch as well as an adjustable day/night switch to activate the light automatically after dark. It works surpisingly well, I just need to redo the board layout into a more suitable format for packaging.

It uses a dual 555 timer packaging, one timer implements pulse width modulation for dimming the LED’s and the other timer is configured as a one shot, to activate the pulse width modulation using a light dependant resistor as input. The LED’s are grouped in groups of 3, each group driven by a constant current regulator circuit to avoid thermal runaway.

The second LED project is simple LED strip with a 555 timer providing a push button on/off circuit.

Here is a lead acid battery charger I built, to charge a 6V LA battery I used for a line follower robot I built long ago. The charger worked well, but was a beast when it came to generating heat. It got hotter than hell and I had to position it in front of a normal household fan running at full speed to keep it from overheating.

That’s it for now. Im hoping in my next article, I will be able to show you some of the equipment I had to make, in order to refine my pcb manufacturing process. More on that later though…

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