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Paul Bleisch

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microcontrollers

Make a Custom Membrane Keypad for Arduino

My son got one of these Leap Frog toys a few years ago as a gift.  He enjoys playing with it very much.  I am not sure how much counting and learning he is doing but it makes funny noises and sings to him so its a lot of fun.

Recently the unthinkable happened.  It died.  Not the batteries but something else.  I took the back off to look at what might be wrong (which was very easy for a toy).  Unfortunately, other than the speaker, a switch, battery compartment, and a ribbon cable to the front, there wasn’t much to investigate.  A couple of glop tops and nothing else.  I fiddled a bit more with it but everything “external” seemed fine.

Did I mention my son really loves this toy?

Continue reading “Make a Custom Membrane Keypad for Arduino”

A Simple Remote-Controlled Arduino Tank

A little while ago my son was showing some interest in robotics. His birthday was coming up and we were having trouble deciding between a beginner robot kit focused more on construction or lots of bits and pieces.

The kit we looked at was the Elenco OWI ATR – All Terrain Robot:

The alternative was to build a robot based around Arduino. There are many robotics kits out there but I liked the idea of investing in Arduino as the basis for exploring robotics. I figured we would get the Arduino Uno, a few shields to control motors and sensors and whatnot, throw some wheels on it, and blammo, have a robot.

Continue reading “A Simple Remote-Controlled Arduino Tank”

MSP430 LaunchPad arrived today

I ordered one of the $4.30 LaunchPad eval kits from TI a few weeks ago. It was immediately on backorder but to TI’s credit, when they had them, they shipped them quick — overnight FedEx from what I can tell. Nice.

I’ve only downloaded the tools – Code Composer Studio and IAR Embedded Workbench – which I’ve never used before. Should be interesting. I’ll check all this out once I work through my current (and ongoing) PIC32 composite video problems.

Exploring the PIC32 … and failing

I purchased Lucio Di Jasio’s book Programming 32-bit Microcontrollers in C (Exploring the PIC32) a while ago and love it. However, I’ve been struggling over the last few nights to get the composite video stuff to work on my PIC32 Starter Kit + IO Expansion board. The simple resistor DAC seems to be working fine but the output on the TV looks to have an extra pixel or two per line. A vertical line shifts right every line and then resets about every 8 lines or so.

I need to do more debugging with a scope attached to see what is up but it isn’t turning out to be turnkey — I suspect this is something to do with my setup and not the book or code itself.

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