EERef v1.1.2.1 out now!

An update to my Electronics Engineering Reference program is now available!

The reason for this update was to finally address the issue that the resistor and capacitor calculators couldn’t take decimals, so something like 2.2Kohms took more effort to enter than it should have. I announced its release for 1.1.2.0 but found a bug in the capacitor calculator, so it became 1.1.2.1 after I did a quick fix.

Other changes include some minor UI tweaking, like the Quiz Results window being a little wider for long questions. I also got rid of the submit buttons on the number systems converter so you get the result right away.

The program no longer asks for admin rights. For some reason, I can’t duplicate the issues I was having in the last version where links wouldn’t launch in my browser. It does just fine now without admin rights so I got rid of that requirement.

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Wastebin Project – Ghetto Mountain (PS. I Love Adafruit)

This is another Wastebin Project (electronics experiment). It’s a cardboard cutout of Wonder Mountain at Canada’s Wonderland, with some LEDs pointed at it. It’s inspired by their 3D projection mapping show, Starlight Spectacular.
IMG_1010The original plan was to have different layers of the mountain separated far enough to put LEDs in between the layers to light up each layer. It didn’t look very good so I ended up just gluing all of the layers together which still left me with a pretty nifty cardboard cutout of the mountain. I still wanted to try lighting it up so I just put some RGB LEDs on a breadboard and bent them to try and light up sections of the mountain. The clear lens RGB LEDs would have been perfect for that but each color doesn’t shine at the same position so that didn’t work. At least I got to try my new diffused RGB LEDs.

It was fun to have a go at this, actually funny that I posted that video about half an hour before discovering my light show projects were featured on the Adafruit blog for Arduino Day. It really means a lot to me. Thank you Adafruit!

PS. I really need to fix up the Featured Project pages. Some of them may be (and have been) transferred to their own separate site. It’s been done for EERef and the Arduino Temperature/Humidity Monitor.

EERef: v1.1.1 update

A new update for my Electronics Engineering Reference (EERef) program is now available! With no new features, but still quite a few changes, we’re now at version 1.1.1. Here’s what’s different:

  • The program now needs admin rights. I wish it didn’t have to but it seems like it doesn’t want to open links (changelog, EERef website, updates) without it.
  • I added more levels to the Tutorial selection menu.
  • There is a new capacitor code quiz.
  • New terms were added to the Terminology section. I also combed through the existing terms to revise some of the definitions.
  • The Logic Calculator now updates automatically instead of waiting for you to click OK.
  • The Update Checker’s refresh button was removed because I found it was inconsistent. It’s not really necessary anyway.

The next update I’m planning on will revamp the resistor and capacitor calculators, hopefully allowing decimals. We’ll see how that goes.

PLC Trainer: Mixing Tank Simulation

It’s been a while since I’ve made a ladder logic program. I decided to go back to the mixing tank simulation that seems to come up wherever I go to learn about ladder logic programming.

The machine adds two ingredients into a tank, and then stirs it all for 10 seconds. The mixture is dumped from the tank and the process can be started over. A toggle switch allows for the ratio of the two ingredients to be changed. The process can be stopped at any time, at which point the tank will be emptied. This is all shown in the video.

Some notes:

– Along with the stop button, an overflow situation will also throw the program into a fault. I didn’t program in any intentional overflows, though that was part of the original plan. While I was debugging, there were times when errors in my program got the ingredient valves stuck open and the imaginary tank would overflow. If there are any hidden bugs that come out later on, hopefully that will catch it.

– Something that I discovered that I guess I forgot from my lessons is that outputs in subroutines will remain the way they are even if the subroutine isn’t called…

– Any time an ingredient valve is open, a counter is increased by 1 every second.  Any time the empty valve is open, 1 is deducted from the same counter every second. The float switches are simulated using compare instructions that compare constant numbers to the accumulator value of the counter. It’s two seconds between each float switch, so a full tank (not an overflowing tank) would take 14 seconds from empty because there are 7 LEDs, or 7 float switches.

So that’s it! I didn’t think it would be done this quickly. It took about a day to complete, but that’s thanks to planning everything in a Word document first.

EERef: Version 1.1 now available for download!

1

Version 1.1 of my EERef project is now available! You can get the update here: http://mwhprojects.com/eeref2The update includes a few more terms, as well as a new title area that shows the word being defined. I’ll admit, some of the terms need some tweaking, but I like that it’s growing at least.3The reason this update is 1.1 and not something like 1.0.1 is because it includes a new feature: Quizzes! There are two topics available right now with more likely to come soon.

At this point, I’m going to slow down a bit with this project and turn my attention to other things…

Full-Wave Rectifier – A short revisit

A couple weeks back, I did a tutorial on full-wave rectifiers. I picked up a rectifier bridge IC just for fun. Let’s see how it worked out.

IMG_0958If you go back to the tutorial, we got the same output reading directly from the rectifier.
IMG_0959I was interested in picking one of these up because, if I ever needed a voltage up to 18v, the circuit is smaller so I would actually consider using it… Though that case would only be if I needed that high a voltage, and if I didn’t have another supply handy for it.IMG_0960The chip is labeled nicely so that you don’t need the datasheet for anything.

Thanks for reading!

The Box project, completed!

With the Box project, or temperature/humidity monitor (part 2, I guess), sitting on a breadboard for some time, I dedicated all of today of transferring it all into the final box. I’m very happy with it despite how simple it seems. I also have a new build material.

IMG_0942I started soldering things on using a plan I drew up. This is the first time I’ve actually planned out a PCB and it worked extremely well. I don’t have to think as much as I go along.
IMG_0943Base Atmega stuff in and some resistors for the LEDs and buttons… Because it was so organized this time, it seemed a lot neater.
IMG_0945Organization was really key to the success of this project. It’s probably bad, but I was kind of surprised. There were many connections that could go wrong, and one did but I caught it and it was smooth sailing on from there.

IMG_0946I love using hot glue now and I expect to use it a lot more. Most of this project is made up of thin jumper wires so I didn’t like the connection to the perfboard on its own. The hot glue added a better base.
IMG_0947It also helped a lot with soldering. I glued them into place before soldering so I didn’t have to position my helping hands to hold the wire as I solder.
IMG_0948The first test was just powering on the LCD. I was super happy! I slowly got the other parts online and it turned out to be all good.
IMG_0950The last part was getting it all into the box. I was getting worried it would end up like my Frank robot which was basically the same thing on wheels. In that project, I couldn’t get a lid on so there were just all of these wires flying out of the top. I was actually laughing trying to find a place for the RTC. I found humor in trying to shove it in for some reason. Maybe I was just really happy too.
IMG_0953That’s it! It’s powered with a backup battery I bought for my phone, but it also works with my USB wall warts and PC USB ports.

The following video shows what control I have over it now that everything’s enclosed. Enjoy!