building a digital clapperboard:
Clapperboards are often used to synchronize audio and video recordings. I'm also using such a tool for the podcast, so I decided to make my own digital version of it. After all I only have to show the scene, take, video and audio recording numbers. This can easily be done using electronics instead of having to write everything down myself.
For that I used a DS1307-based RTC module using the I²C protocol, seven TM1637-based 7-segment 4-digit displays using an I²C incompatible protocol, two MAX7219-based 7-segment 8-digit displays using a SPI compatible protocol, a piezoelectric element, and a custom power control circuit. We will also see how these communication protocol work.
adding DCF77 time synchronisation to the LED clock:
By adding a DCF77 receiver to the LED clock presented in episode 16, the clock can automatically update the time (in Europe) in order to compensate for the RTC drift.
I've also used the opportunity to find out how the "analog" clock works.
use LEDs on a wall to show time progress:
The LED clock is an add-on for round wall clocks. The purpose is to have LEDs on the circumference of the clock to show the progress of the time using coloured light.
For that you will need:
a WS2812b RGB LEDs strip (long enough to go around the clock)
a development board with a STM32F103 micro-controller and 32.768 kHz oscillator for the Real Time Clock (such as the blue pill)
a coin cell battery to keep the RTC running (optional)
a GL5528 photo-resistor to adjust the LED brightness (optional)
driving a vacuum fluorescent display:
The vacuum fluorescent display I salvaged from a Samsung SER6540II was only waiting to get used. This was the ideal opportunity to learn how these retro style displays work (through Supertex HV518 drivers) and get familiar with a new micro-controller (ARM Cortex-M3 based STM32F103).
my custom wireless electricity meter:
While renewing my distribution board the land lord decided to remove the electricity meter. Now I can't note how much electricity I am using. So I decided to build and install my own electricity meter: the spark counter.
Using a cheap power meter (i.e. peacefair PZEM-004), a microcontroller (i.e. Arduino Nano 3.0), radio transceivers (i.e. nordic nRF24L01+), a single board computer (i.e. Raspberry Pi), and some storage and visualization tools (i.e. influxDB and grafana) I am now able to measure, log, and monitor my electricity consumption.
building an ambient light for the screen:
The CuVoodoo ScreenLight mimics the Philips ambient lighting. The idea is to have LEDs on the back of the screen, lighting on the sides the same color as the border on the screen, creating an ambient light.
To implement this I used: VLC (with the AtmoLight video filter) or boblight (way better) to output over serial the colors to be shown on the LEDs; an Atmel ATmega328P microcontroller at 16 MHz (i.e. Arduino Nano 3.0) to control the LEDs and show the values received over serial; a strips of WS2812B chained LEDs (i.e. BlinkyTape), individually controlled using a data line.
reversing washing machine payment cards:
To use the washing machines in my apartment complex you need to pay using a rechargeable contact card.
I was curious to find out how it works. It turns out it's an I²C EEPROM in a card.
By recording the communication between the card and the machine I figured out where and how the credit value is stored.
Now I can read and write the value on cards using a Raspberry Pi or simple micro-controller, but also program my own cards to work with the machines.
building an electronic cat repeller to guard the fridge:
My sneaky cat can open all doors, even the fridge door. No meat is safe any more.
To prevent that I built a cat repeller using an Atmel ATmega328P Arduino Nano 3.0 board.
An HC-SR501 PIR motion detector checks if the cat is nearby. Then an E18-D80NK range detector verifies if the cat is in front of the fridge.
If this is the case a ~24 kHz PWM signal will generate an ultrasound using a piezoelectric diaphragm, encouraging the cat to leave the premisses.
If it still opens the fridge, a human audible alarm will sound until it is closed.