LittleArduinoProjects#187 nRF24L01+ Ping Pong

So now I have my nRF24 breakout boards back from OSH Park, time to try them out.

This is a simple script that runs on two Arduinos. They bounce messages back and forth over 2.4GHz using the nRF24L01+ modules, flashing their LEDs when messages successfully handled. Sweet, and the breakout boards work just fine.

As always, all notes, schematics and code are in the Little Arduino Projects repo on GitHub.

LittleArduinoProjects#176 nRF24 Breakout Board

So recently I've been intrigued by small-batch PCB fab services, like OSH Park. Like the ready supply of components from various online sellers, it's amazing how cheap you can get boards made over the net these days. How do they do it? As I learned in this hardware hangout, there are some neat tricks done behind the scenes to aggregate small orders into full panels sent to a fab.

But to get PCBs made, (more...)

LittleArduinoProjects#186 Asynchronous Counters with JK Flip-Flops

A quick demonstration using four JK flip-flops set up in "toggle" mode to implement an asynchronous 4-bit binary counter. This is the classic circuit, straight out of a text book. It's implemented with:
  • two 74LS73 for the flip-flops
  • a 555 Timer astable oscillator providing the clock pulse
As always, all notes, schematics and code are in the Little Arduino Projects repo on GitHub.

Why "asynchronous"? This refers to the fact that the output of each (more...)

LittleArduinoProjects#185 Building the Böhm Stirling-Technik HB13 Small Bonsai

What has this to do with electronics? Well, nothing (yet), but there's ample scope later;-)

A Stirling engine is a closed-cycle regenerative heat engine with a permanently gaseous working fluid. They are named after Robert Stirling who invented the first practical example in 1816.

Böhm is a small(?) specialist manufacturer from Germany that's taken up a side-line in producting Stirling engine kits. When I first discovered them, I couldn't resist. So here's my build (more...)

LittleArduinoProjects#184 Adjustable Pulse Generator

Yet another variation on the basic 555 timer astable oscillator to allow a wide range of frequency and duty cycle adjustments. It's similar the circuit used in kits like this.

As you can see from the schematic, it's the combination of pot and capacitor selector that produce the wide range of oscillator control:

But the challenge with the classic 555 astable circuit is trying to hold frequency or duty cycle constant while adjusting the other. (more...)

LittleArduinoProjects#183 Polarity Testing

A simple polarity test for uses a series of inverters. The input signal is pumped into two parallel inverter chains:

  • a single inverter
  • a series of two inverters

So, regardless of input polarity, one chain output will be high and the other low.

I used a venerable CD4069 for a quick test, although any inverter (matched to the voltage of the signal) will do. The result of the polarity test is displayed with a pair (more...)

LittleArduinoProjects#182 Building a Bench Power Supply

I've wanted a variable mains-powered power supply for a while, so when I found this kit for a reasonable price I decided to give it a go. Some things that attracted me:

  • 220V/110V mains-powered
  • continuously adjustable output voltage
  • isolated output
  • nice acrylic case
  • built-in LED voltmeter

The kit and PCB comes with a few "valued-added features" unrelated to the power supply function (CD4069 square-wave generator, externally-triggered piezo buzzer, externally-triggered polarity tester), but I decided to (more...)