Circuit Cellar Ink 111
October 1999

Table of Contents


Elizabeth Laurencot

Task Manager

Open for Business


Harv Weiner

New Product News

  • PIC-X1 PIC testbed from microEngineering Labs, Inc.
  • Uni-Micro 8051 controller module from OS Systems Inc.
  • Model 232FLST Fiber-Optic Modem from B&B Electronics
  • Ring-It! central office simulator from Digital Products Co.


Reader I/O

Letters to the Editor


Bruce Winter

PDF HTML MisterHouse

An Open-Source Home Automation Program

If you thought that talking houses only existed in cartoons, it's time for you to meet MisterHouse. This Perl-based program can tell you who's on the phone, what room your kids are in, the latest weather forecast, and more.



Dave Lyons

The Java Virtual Machine

Is dependability more valuable than speed? When James Gosling created Java, he thought so. Dave agrees and wants to show us the Java Virtual Machine and how easy and how convenient working with Java can be.


Brian Millier

A Versatile Timer/Synchronizer

You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but you can use Visual Basic to trains a group of counter/timer devices. Brian shows us how to make a freestanding device that can read, write, load, and even learn new tricks.



Arthur J. Carlson

Calling on the Standards

Making Sure Your Modem Can Communicate

Modem testing may be about as exciting as putting up highway mile markers in Nevada, but in the long run it will be worth your time. Get in on this hand as Arthur deals out information on modem testing standards.

Embedded PC


Harv Weiner

Nouveau PC

  • SnapStik universal PC/104 board mounts from parvus Corp.
  • C2P3 dual Pentium III CompactPCI CPU board from General Micro Systems, Inc.
  • CRT-1260 high-speed PC/104 parallel DSP module from EuroTech
  • CoreModule/P5e Pentium PC/104+ SBC from Ampro Computers, Inc.

Embedded PC


Mal Raddalgoda

What's in a Name?

Windows CE vs. a Hard RTOS

Name recognition is important in today's software market, but it's no substitute for product performance. So, how does Windows CE stack up against some of the established RTOS technologies? Mal checks it out.

Embedded PC


Ingo Cyliax

Real-Time PC

Where in the World ..., Part 3: Fighting the Wind with GPS

Even the best GPS technology can't control the elements of nature, so Ingo had to compensate his data-acquisition system for the effects of crosswinds to make sure the ground-mapping camera shoots straight.

Embedded PC


Fred Eady

Applied PCs

GoAhead for Nothing -- Getting the Server Started

If the words "Free Internet download" make you somewhat skeptical, you're not alone. Fred took a magnifying glass to GoAhead's web server software and found enough evidence to satisfy even his Internet-freebie skepticism.


Jon Varteresian

PDF Hands-On PIC Trainer

Programming in Assembly

Sometimes it takes a simple project to learn the practical (and fun) applications of a basic technology. That's the idea behind Jon's assembly-coded device that provides immediate visual feedback without a simulator.

Download: Varteresian.ZIP


Hari Ramachandran

IrDA Technology

Part 1: An Overview

Cameras talking to PDAs, talking to PCs, talking over the Internet, talking to each other ...? Once you get the latest word on IR communication standards, your embedded designs will want to join the conversation, too.


Monte Dalrymple


Rolling Your Own Microprocessor, Part 2: Design Application with the Rabbit-80

Prick up your ears as Monte takes a detailed look at the ports, timers, interrupts, and other features that make this new microprocessor a hair (er, hare?) better than the Z80.


Jeff Bachiochi

From the Bench

Get SmartMedia, Part 2: Hands On

Your latest assignment: Follow Jeff as he goes undercover (under the embedded-device cover, that is) to investigate how to access the SmartMedia nonvolatile flash memory.


Tom Cantrell

Silicon Update


There are plenty of options when it comes to the hardware and software for getting an embedded gadget on the Internet. This month, Tom considers using the S-7600A as an entrance ramp to the I-way.


HTML Test Your EQ


Advertiser's Index / November Preview


Steve Ciarcia

HTML Priority Interrupt

Spreading the Wealth of Knowledge

Circuit Cellar Online

Tom Petruzzelli

PDF HTML A Remote Alarm Reporting System

If you want to be updated on events that your home security system notices, then the remote event/alarm reporting system that Tom designed is just what you're looking (er, listening) for. The next time your cell phone rings, you might want to take the call because it just might be your security system.

Download: c109tpcode.ZIP Petruzellis.ZIP

Circuit Cellar Online

Bruce Reynolds

PDF HTML Replacing 8051 RAM

with Dallas Timekeeping RAM

Wouldn't you like to give your system an upgrade without a complete redesign? Bruce offers the DS1644 nonvolatile timekeeping RAM and he recommends it for your 8051 applications needing nonvolatile external memory with timekeeping capabilities.

Circuit Cellar Online

Ian Agranat

PDF HTML Embedded Systems n-Formation

Implementing an n-Tiered Client-Server Architecture

In corporate environments, who knows what depends on who knows who, and who knows who depends on who who is. As Ian shows us, the n-tiered architecture was designed to make sure the right people have access to the information they need.

Circuit Cellar Online

George Novacek

PDF HTML Testing 1, 2

Part 4: Immunity Not for Circuitry

Your design needs to be rock solid regardless of what frequency is thrown at it -- and that's a lot these days with the proliferation of cellular phones, radar, and microwave technology. And, your design needs to keep its radiation of frequency to itself as well. Check in with George to find out what tests the lab will throw at your design to make sure it's ready for the real world.

Circuit Cellar Online

Lawrence Foltzer

PDF HTML A Switcher for Many Reasons

Need a quick solution for a variable high-voltage application? Using less than 300 words, two figures, and one listing, Lawrence shows us that the answer may be as simple as making a variable burst length, fixed duty-cycle switching power supply driven by an RC-clocked PIC microcontroller.

Circuit Cellar Online

Bob Perrin

PDF HTML Considering the Details

I/O for Embedded Controllers, Part 2: Analog I/O

Embedded systems are used in so many different applications, covering all possible analog I/O requirements is impossible. In Part 2 of this series on I/O, Bob offers a few circuits and components that have proven adequate for many applications in the past.

Circuit Cellar Online

George Martin

PDF HTML Lessons from the Trenches

Timing is Everything

If you've ever wanted to choke the person who made up a project design schedule, or if you are the one responsible for making the schedules, you might want to listen to what George has to say about the importance and benefits of making a realistic, achievable, and practical design schedule.

Circuit Cellar Online

Tom Cantrell

PDF HTML Silicon Update Online

16-Bits or Bust

If 8-bit chips are the MCU compact pickup truck and 32-bit chips are the Corvettes, what does that make the 16-bit chips? This month, Tom does some homework and hopes to find out exactly where 16-bit chips fit in the MCU market.

Circuit Cellar Online

Jeff Bachiochi

HTML Ask Us, The Engineer's Tech-Help Resource

Let us help keep your project on track or simplify your design decision. Put your tough technical questions in front of the ASK US team. In an engineering predicament? Read questions & answers from other engineers.

Circuit Cellar Online

Bob Perrin

What's Your Engineering Quotient?

Test Your EQ presents some basic engineering problems for you to test your engineering quotient.

Circuit Cellar Online

Bob Paddock

Resource Links

Each month Circuit Cellar's Resource Links provide helpful links and information on a variety of featured topics.

Circuit Cellar Online

Harv Weiner

New Product News

New Product submissions may be sent to Harv Weiner, 4 Park St., Vernon, CT 06066.
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