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Fun with microcontrollers

EricTheCat

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#1
I thought some of you might find this interesting if not a little loony. I've been playing around with some microcontroller circuits lately. With Winter weather setting I ordered some new parts to get me through the winter. I got a few propeller microcontrollers along with a speech module, GPS module, altimeter, servo motors an oLED display (color screen about the size of a stamp) and some other fun and useful components.

Speech module is great fun, especially having it speak based on GPS info (time, altitude and location). I wrote a function to calculate distance between two GPS coordinates and programmed a few locations it can tell me how far it is away from.

So far I'm just playing and prototyping and figuring I'll make a few builds over the winter.

Today I got the oLED display working. For some reason thought it would be a good idea to see if I could get my fractal code working on a microcontroller. So yeah, now I have this little chip that can calculate and display fractal images for no good reason. :)

PropellerMicrocontroller-Fractals-2017-12-17-IMG_8256SSS.jpg


Penny to show scale. I might actually build this into a little project with a few features like specifying where to zoom in and going from Mandelbrot to Julia set based on coordinates.
PropellerMicrocontroller-Fractals-2017-12-17-IMG_8259SSS.jpg


If you're ever wondering how Minnesotans who don't watch television get through winter this is one way. :)
 

Goldhedge

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Does this fit on a drone or something?
 

EricTheCat

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#4
I dig it. Makes me want to dust off all my arduino bits.
Fun stuff. I very well might get an arduino to play around with at some point as well. Something interesting that the propeller offers (and I haven't yet looked at how this compares to arduino) is the propeller has 8 32 bit cores. So you can have 8 different things running at one time if you really want to and they can share memory and even pins to work together. This is very useful for things like checking if a button is pressed constantly while your main program can go on uninterrupted.

Does this fit on a drone or something?
It certainly could but mainly I'm just planning to build out some of my more useful/entertaining projects instead of having prototypes all over the place. Also building a couple robots, just for fun.

Some of the projects I'm planing to work on:
Mini game system utilizing that screen and either potentiometers or some little joy-stick modules I have. Just basic arcade type games with a few extra screen-saver like features
A wandering robot that can avoid obstructions and speak
A few custom alarm-type sensors that can do things like sound an alarm/turn on/off relays based on input from IR sensors and motion sensors
A simple compact signal generator with display

That said, all of these ideas could be swept aside if some other crazy idea comes to mind. Of course I could buy some of this stuff but this is how I play.
 

EricTheCat

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#5
Some more pics here of some of the stuff I've been doing.

Of course, I had to make a version of the classic line screen saver as soon as I got the screen working:
LineScreensaver-2017-12-18-MVI_8354.gif


Here is another program I have going on a separate propeller chip. This particular program was written using the spin language (interesting propeller specific language that also lets you do assembler). Now I usually use a C compiler for propeller (SimpleIDE) but in this case it was easier to get the altimeter module working in spin, going to take some doing to get that working in C. Anyway this program utilizes the speech module to speak, a telemetry module to get the temperature and a GPS module to get the time, longitude, latitude and altitude. Also it can display video to a standard display such as the one below (composite video). (I edited out my Latitude/Longitude)
GPS-Altimeter-2017-12-18-Img_8356SSSS.jpg

(robot on the left of the above pic is a kit robot, a boe-bot, that I have had great fun with including a program that lets you control it with an NES controller in various ways)

Here is the board that is running the above program. The GPS module is sitting on top of the nut container near the bottom of the pic. The smaller board that is plugged in to the lower right side of the breadboard is the altimeter module. The larger board plugged in right beside it is the speech module. Also there is a pair of continuous servos connected and the speaker is connected to the output of the speech module.
GPS-Altimeter-2017-12-18-Img_8359SSSS.jpg


Here is another prototype. I mainly put this together as a joke. It has an IR detector and when it fails to detect something in front of it it turns on a relay and also beeps loudly (depending how high you turn up the volume). This one is using an old BASIC2 stamp. It has an IR transmitter and receiver in the lower right corner of the breadboard, a small speaker just to the left of the chip and if you look closely you might notice a transistor next to the potentiometer behind the board. This is a very very basic audio amplifier I through together so the beeping can be louder than it would be if I just connected to the output of the pin directly. My plan is when a particular friend comes over I will place a radio that he always messes with in front of the IR detector and turn it on then just wait for the fun to happen. By the way, there is also a relay in the right of the pic (mostly hidden by the aligator clips) and that is wired to turn on a "tornado simulator" which is the jar of sand and water on top of the container (cut off at the top of the screen) with a motor and some wire on top to stir the water into a vortex.
IR-Detectors-BS2-2017-12-18-Img_8362SSSS.jpg