Arduino Pro Mini Sensor Board

I often use Pro Mini format Arduino Boards in my projects, especially when the processor is embedded as a ‘set and forget’ controller. They have a small form factor and are very inexpensive.

However, as I prototype systems using standardized breakout modules (see this past article) it has been annoying not having a sensor-type board for this processor footprint. So I decided to make my own.

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Parola A to Z – Handling non ASCII characters (UTF-8)

A question that I am asked on a regular basis is why particular characters in messages are not displayed ‘as-expected’ by the Parola library. These characters, often typed in from the Serial monitor or embedded within strings, contain non-ASCII characters. Here’s what is happening.

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Making music with a Yamaha YM2413 Synthesizer – Part 3

Part 1 and part 2 of this series set up the hardware and software infrastructure to support end-user applications using the YM2413 synthesizer. These are discussed in this final instalment.

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Making music with a Yamaha YM2413 Synthesizer – Part 2

The first part concluded with the YM2413 hardware and an amplifier on a test Arduino Uno shield. In this and the next part we explore the interface to the device and how to control the hardware to make music.

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Making music with a Yamaha YM2413 Synthesizer – Part 1

When researching material for the SN76489 sound generator (documented in these previous articles) I discovered that many early microcomputer systems incorporated both the SN76489 and a YM2413 FM synthesizer. The Yamaha synthesizer looked like an interesting piece of hardware to explore. Here’s the result.

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A Glockenspiel Music Box

My project ‘to-do’ list has for a long time included automating a percussion instrument. I recently decided that a xylophone or glockenspiel type instrument would be a good idea … until I saw the cost of one of those things!

So to fulfill my ambition in an economical way, I downsized to automating a toy glockenspiel. Here’s how it went.

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An RTTTL Parser Class

Ring Tone Text Transfer Language (RTTTL) was developed by Nokia in the 1980’s as a format and mechanism to manage ringtones on cell phones. As Nokia was leader brand at the time, this method was quickly adopted by many other manufacturers and became the de-facto standard for ringtones.

As cell phone hardware became more capable, the use of RTTTL has diminished in favour of more advanced sound production – today most ringtones are simply ordinary sound files. RTTTL files, however, are still useful in may applications.

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A simple Command Line Interface (CLI)

When developing libraries and other complex applications, I find that I often need to exercise specific parts of the library/application as it is being developed.

One way to do this is to write specific test code to exercise functionality. Another is to provide an interactive command line interface to achieve the same.

Until recently I hard coded these testing code CLI for each application. I now have a simple class that enables a flexible and consistent CLI.

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Easy Neopixel bitmaps using Excel

Digitally addressable LEDs allow you to control large numbers of LEDs using digital communication to integrated control chips that manage all the rest for you. Matrices of these LEDs can make attractive displays but it can be somewhat of a pain to create bitmaps for display.

I use an Excel worksheet to marshal the data, needing me to just fill in numbers in a worksheet matrix.

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Making noise with a SN76489 Digital Sound Generator – Part 3

In the first part and second part we examined the basics of the SN76489 hardware and the development of a library to manage sound production from this IC.

So, after all this effort, what kind of sound does this hardware produce? In this final post I run a few tests and dig into the resulting waveforms.

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