Hey, so its been a while, there’s been a few projects since the last post, but I haven’t written them up 🙄 .
In an effort to stop the projects accumulating in the half-finished pile, I made an effort to take this project that has been sitting on the workbench for ages and put it on display. Its simple enough but I’m pleased with the result.
Ages ago I wrote some code for an HTU21D temperature and humidity sensor. I made an outdoor housing for the sensor and all, and used it for a while, but the display was a bit impractical. Anyway, this time I used a 2 line 20 character VFD (vacuum fluorescent display) I’ve had for years (sitting in the bits and pieces pile) to display the sensor measurements. I’ve always liked the display and now its time to show it off.
Following on from my previous post where I looked inside a cheapo battery charger from eBay – I have since gutted the charger. All that I kept was the case and the battery contacts.
Gutting the unit eliminates a potential fire hazard. I replaced the circuitry with a dedicated lithium ion battery charger IC instead.
I’m using a MAX1555 and it is a single chip solution which requires a minimal number of external components. It is a single cell charger and has a maximum charge current of 280mA.
The chip has dual inputs, allowing you charge a battery from either a USB port or a DC plug pack. When charging from a USB port, the charge current is limited to 100mA. Whereas, the DC plug pack input allows for a charging current of 280mA. Also, this version of chip has a charge status indicator which can be used to drive an LED.
I’m not going to use the 240VAC socket anymore, and I’ve replaced it with a micro USB socket. This change lets me use a USB wall socket adapter which can deliver 1500mA at 5VDC. However, my new circuit will only require 280mA. (I’m already thinking about a 2nd iteration of this project which will use an IC with a higher charger current to charge faster.)
Its amazing how cheap some stuff is on eBay these days.
For example, I picked up 3x lithium ion batteries and a charger to suit my Olympus TG-4 camera for $25 Aussie dollars, including free delivery.
I have an upcoming camping trip and I wanted to get some spare batteries for the camera.
I didn’t want to buy just 1 battery in case it was dead on arrival so I got 3. The battery charger was a bonus. Olympus don’t supply a proper battery charger when you buy a TG-4, you have to charge the battery in the camera with a USB charger and charge times are pretty slow. Olympus sells an AC powered charger but its about $70 and doesn’t include extra batteries. I was hoping that the new charger would be faster or reasonably good, but I didn’t have high hopes on the quality of the battery charger.
Two screws at the back of the charger were removed, but the plastic halves are ultrasonic welded together. Splitting the ultrasonic weld was very easy though. A bare minimum of plastic has been used and it isn’t very rugged.
After reviewing some schematics I’d saved and reviewing some datasheets, I’m sort of back up to speed with where I left the project.
I managed to get some traces on my analogue oscilloscope that sort of match the datasheets but the relatively fast timings and the inability to store a trace on my oscilloscope was making things difficult. So, I took the board into work to use one of the good digital oscilloscopes in the workshop and I managed to get the following trace.
After performing a few tests I am not confident that I have all of the signals or the timing correct. Why I know this is because when I placed small pieces of black tape over the CCD’s lens, I was not seeing a decreases in signal intensity to match the number of pieces of black tape. Also, when I shaded a quarter of the CCD, the signal output for all the CCD’s pixels decreased in output value rather than the pixels that were shaded.
Anyway, I’m learning a few things about analogue electronics which is good. So far I’ve needed to improve my knowledge on op-amp circuits and I’ve been using a sample and hold circuit to help isolate the specific pixel output signal from the entire output waveform.
Anywho, I’m sure I’ll share more details as they arise.
I haven’t done a teardown in a while so I thought I’d share the insides of panel meter I recently found at a Sunday morning junk market for $5.
Below is a panel meter that has been used in some sort of industrial process. It was manufactured in 1980 by Kuwano. I’m not quite sure who the manufacturer was – the company’s logo is not easy to read but it might say, “Aumano”. What caught my attention with it was that it includes high and low needles as well as indicators and relay outputs for the high and low limits.
Happy New Year everyone. A quick post to get the new year started and I recently scored a few HP5082-7340 hexadecimal LED display chips. These are cool looking integrated hexadecimal LED displays measuring 10mm wide and 14mm high with standard 2.54mm pin spacing.
A great feature of these displays is that each chip contains all the decoder and driver logic internal to the device. Unlike a Texas Instruments TIL302 which requires a BCD to 7-segment display driver chip such as a SN74LS47, the HP5082-7340 requires 5V, 4x pins for a BCD representation of the character, an enable signal and an optional display blanking signal.
Additionally, there is no need for current limiting resistors, this is handled on-chip.
To demonstrate how the display looks, a quick breakout was made, a schematic of the circuit shows the simplicity of interfacing one of these display chips to a microcontroller.
Recently I saw you can buy heatshrink tubing cartridges for Dymo label makers. This would be really convenient to make professional looking markers to identify individual wires and cables in some of my larger projects. (Cable and wire markers for industrial applications such as these have been around for at least a decade now, but are pretty expensive. This solution from Dymo seems to be somewhat more mainstream, but it still is too expensive for the hacker)
However, my hopes were dashed when I realised that the cartridges aren’t compatible with my $35 Dymo LetraTag. Also, each cartridge is $50, so I wasn’t keen on buying one hoping that I could get it to work with my label marker.
So I got thinking about making my own and I managed to cobble together a somewhat effective method using some regular heat shrink and some 180 grit wet & dry sandpaper.