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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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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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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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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Combining Arduino Sketches

Beginners love Arduino coding because there is so much of it available to just copy, load and go without too much thinking required.

Then they find that one thing they want to do is in one sketch and another in a second sketch. All they need to do is combine these sketches! This can be a big hurdle the first time it happens and many fail to get a satisfactorily working product.

There is a systematic approach to this that helps to ensure that things work.

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