Circuit Cellar Ink 128
March 2001

Table of Contents


Rob Walker

Task Manager

Aye, Robot


Harv Weiner

New Product News

  • DK4000-C167 Development Kit from Waferscale Integration
  • STB self-checking optical touch button from Banner Engineering Corp.


John Piccirillo

The Phoenix Rises to Victory

For the UAH team, bringing the Phoenix to life was not a matter of studying a myth; it took many hours of hard work fueled by intense enthusiasm. The result was an award-winning design that used a variety of techniques to navigate the course and deposit the goods.


Ken Boone

Building Organic Robots with Students

A How-To Lesson

Getting people interested in robots is not a hard task, but most people don't realize just how easy it is to build a robot of their own. Since the Organic Robot came along, students of all ages have learned basic robotics techniques and methods. Now it's your turn!


Michael Dvorsky

Fighting Fire with Robots

How to Build a Mobile Robot Base

Putting together a fire-fighting robot requires a fine blend of knowledge on a variety of topics ranging from motor control to navigation software to sensor capabilities. All that and long-standing interest in building such a robot went into Mike's firefighting robot, Chipper.

Download: dvorsky-128.ZIP Dvorskyfig2.tif


David Penrose

From the Oil Field to Your Home

The Geo-Mite's Sensitivity Can't be Beat

Here's a project that picked up some good vibrations from our Design2K judges. The Geo-Mite won't bring you any of the oil industry's money, but its potential as an alarm device can bring you a barrel of security (which is probably worth more than a barrel of oil anyway).

Download: penrose-128.ZIP Penrosefig2.tif


Ron Jesme

Building Your Own Lightweight R/C Receiver

Building an R/C receiver for a lightweight aircraft was a new experience for Ron, but it certainly wasn't a painful one. The best part about this project was the fact that it not only met the design requirements, but it also cost less than the commercial alternatives.

Download: Jesmefig2.tif


David Tweed


Fundamentals of Second-Order Systems, Part 3: Active Systems and Servos

There are plenty of practical applications for the information in the final part of this MicroSeries on second-order systems, so pay attention as Dave jumps into the last two aspects that he's going to cover for now -- servomechanisms and active implementations.



Mike Baptiste

Embedded Living

Wire is Passe

Home automation has evolved to include a lot more than just lighting control, but that's only because home-control technology has evolved to requrie more interaction and networking among devices. This month, Mike shows us how to wire it all up, minus the wire.

Embedded PC


Harv Weiner

Nouveau PC

  • VL-CFA-1 CompactFlash to IDE interface from VersaLogic Corp.

Embedded PC


Fred Eady

Applied PCs

Launching E-Mail

Only in politics is appearance more important than functionality, so this month Fred takes a look at how complex the process that most of us refer to as "just sending e-mail" can be. Beneath the skin of any device that sends e-mail is a bundle of working-class beauty.


Jeff Bachiochi

PDF HTML, HTML From the Bench

Getting a Grip on Complex Integration, Looking at FPSLIC

With $8000 up for grabs in the FPSLIC category of Circuit Cellar's Design Logic 2001 contest, Jeff decided to take a closer look at Atmel's field-programmable system-level IC.


Tom Cantrell

Silicon Update

SoC Hop

The latest in the SoC business is a new branch off of the Cypress Semiconductor tree. With an affordable PSoC in the Cypress MicroSystems lineup, it's clear that the new guy doesn't intend to ride the pine for long.


David Tweed

HTML Test Your EQ


Advertiser's Index / April Preview


Steve Ciarcia

HTML, HTML Priority Interrupt

One Man's Junk

Circuit Cellar Online

George Novacek

PDF HTML The Power Factor

Power quality has become increasingly critical for all commercial equipment. The regulations are looming and traditional 400-Hz generators are gradually being replaced by 400-Hz variable frequency generators, delivering power at frequencies between 320 and 780 Hz. Efficiency, weight, and economics dictate in this area of AC electric power distribution.

Circuit Cellar Online

Liu Kai

PDF HTML Using Perl in Embedded Software Development

The PicoWeb design inspired Liu to use Perl for embedded software development. Because Perl is fully open-source, you can modify the code to your demands. Using Perl may not be a new idea, but why not try using it in embedded software industries? You'll find it useful in almost every session of development.

Circuit Cellar Online

Fred Eady

PDF HTML An S7600A/PIC16F877 Journey

Part 3: Hot-Wiring the System

Using a PIC to communicate over the Internet? Fred is just as surprised as you, but nevertheless, that is the task at hand for this month. With in-circuit programmable flash memory and four times the I/O space of the old PIC16C55, he started the ball rolling with SMTP. Once you know how to send e-mail with small embedded devices, you've hit guru status.

Circuit Cellar Online

Chad Gallun

PDF HTML Selecting the Right Microcontroller Unit

It's a personal choice, but there are many factors to consider. This month, Chad takes us through the ins and outs of choosing the right MCU. His chief goal, of course, is to reduce cost while still satisfying the specifications for performance and reliability. The first step is determining your needs, then just follow this guideline for mapping out criteria for the optimal decision.

Circuit Cellar Online

George Martin

PDF HTML Lessons from the Trenches

Structured Design, Part 1: An Introduction to Structured Techniques

George was betting that he wouldn't be at a loss for words this month, and he was right. Structured programming as it pertains to flowcharts and Nassi-Schneiderman charting holds his interest and ours, as he shows us why we can put the nightmare of debugging spaghetti code on the back burner. All you need is sequence, selection, and iteration and controlled code will follow.

Circuit Cellar Online

Tom Cantrell

PDF HTML Silicon Update Online

Analog Bit Bomb

This month, the hardware wizards are defending their spot in what Tom refers to as the "battle of bloat." Even though there is a slowdown in PC sales, older PCs still have the horsepower to get the job done, so why upgrade? Still, we've come a long way, as Tom shows us TI's ADS1216, a complete data acquisition subsystem that deals in precision as opposed to speed. Is relief is just a new chip away?

Circuit Cellar Online

Jeff Bachiochi


Got Questions? Want Answers? Browse Q&As from other engineers or submit your tough technical questions to the ASK US team and let us help keep your project on track or simplify your design decision.

Circuit Cellar Online

David Tweed

What's Your Engineering Quotient?

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

Circuit Cellar Online

Jenn Belmonte

Resource Links

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

Circuit Cellar Online

Rick Prescott

New Product News

New Product submissions may be sent to Rick Prescott, 4 Park St., Vernon, CT 06066.
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