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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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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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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Making noise with a SN76489 Digital Sound Generator – Part 2

In the first part we examined the basics of the SN76489 hardware and how to manage it at the hardware interface between MCU and IC.

To enable sound generation experiments, the first thing I did was create a library to allow me to write sketches without worrying too much about this underlying hardware management.

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Making noise with a SN76489 Digital Sound Generator – Part 1

Most computer games from the 80’s are recognizable by the bleeps and bloops they produced for sound. The easiest way to do this to toggle a single I/O pin to generate a square wave but there are some retro sound ICs that allow us to do much better for a minimal investment.

The SN76489 is one such IC that is still available at a very modest price and is easily interfaced to modern microprocessors.

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Solenoid Driver PCB

A part of a bigger project needed control circuits for up to 16 DC solenoids. Instead of wiring up a one-off prototype, I decided to design and manufacture a PCB to do the job in a scalable manner, and with a minimum of Arduino pins, so that the same circuits could be used for future high power on/off control tasks.

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Home Automation – Domoticz and Sonoff Mini

Since my earlier articles on establishing my home automation system (starting here), I have been looking for a retrofit solution to automate to my outside porch light. This light is turned on at dusk and off late in the evening to illuminate what would otherwise be a very dark front door.

Recently, using a Sonoff Mini, I was finally able to put this light on an automated timer managed by my Domoticz system.

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Using the MAX7219 in your Projects – Part 1

The MAX7219 is a common and inexpensive IC used for controlling up to eight 7-segment LED displays (or 64 individual LEDs).

Beginners are often intimidated by how to use this versatile component with a microcontroller, turning to libraries to help them solve the problem. In most simple cases, it is more efficient to run the IC directly. Here’s what you need to know to get the job done.

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YX5300 MP3 Player

The YX5300 MP3 module is easily interfaced to a microcontroller, creating MP3 player with a user interface. Using the MD_YX5300 library and an understanding of how the device works (see the previous posts here and here), this article describes the code for a simple MP3 player and a more complex player with an LCD module display.

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