Circuit Cellar Ink 133
August 2001

Table of Contents


Rob Walker

Task Manager

Fixing What Isn't Broken


Rick Prescott

New Product News

  • MZ104 x86 PC/104 SBC from Tri-M Systems Inc.
  • 0603-profile SMT SurfLEDs from LEDtronics, Inc.
  • 2.4-GHz spread-spectrum transceiver modules from AeroComm, Inc.
  • VS3 series miniature retroreflective sensors from Banner Engineering Corp.
  • PCM1608 eight-channel audio DAC from Texas Instruments, Inc.


Reader I/O

Letters to the Editor


Praveen P. Deshpande

Implementing a Two-Wire RS-485 Network

Wouldn't every engineer welcome a highly configurable, flexible, and reliable system? Praveen knew the answer, so he wants to talk about his distributed control system. With the persistent advances in microcontroller technology, he says this is the way to go.

Download: deshpande


Juan Herrera

Magnetic Position Tracker

Juan takes us into the realm of virtual reality as he figures out a way to hold atoms in the palm of his hand. By experimenting with magnetic field source arrangements and sensors, he designed a simple 3-D position tracker. Check in with Juan to get the rest of the details.

Download: herrera


Brian Millier

My fAVRorite Family of Micros

This month, Brian shows us that Atmel's AVR family is just the ticket to complement his old boards. If you're someone who uses microcontrollers in a small work environment, this should lend some insight for designing a simple but intelligent peripheral device.

Embedded PC


Fred Eady

Applied PCs

Linux, All Grown Up

Fred ponders the growth of Linux and its ability to run well with few resources. What started out as a tool that seemed unlikely to dazzle is now "a new and refreshing addition to the world of computing." Read on to hear more about how Linux will measure up in real-time applications.


Daniel Ramirez

Optimize Your PIC

Robotic designs today involve everything from chemistry to art. As many of you know, the foundation for many of these projects is the '18C452 board. Daniel's here to discuss his robotic PIC project with helpful tips for both hobbyists and professional developers.

Download: ramirez


Dennis Nagel

PIC Floating Point

Car instrumentation can be electronically driven with a simple ROM module plugged into the common meter-drive electronics, providing the most controllable way to indicate engine speed. If you feel the need for speed (and accuracy), come along for the ride.

Download: nagel


Loren Hunt

Poolside in April

Building a Solar-Powered Pool Heater

Throw in some temperature chips, an LCD, and an SSR, and you too could be poolside most of the year. Just in time for fall, Loren has devised a way to extend those short summer months without increasing energy costs. Don't put away that bathing suit yet!

Download: hunt


Ed Nisley

Above the Ground Plane

Mic Check, A Communication System for Cyclists

It's all about communication. Despite their mode of travel, Ed designed a way to remain in contact with fellow bicyclists while on the move. This month, he'll explain how he uses an electret microphone hooked into his helmet to chat with cycling companions.

Download: nisley


Jeff Bachiochi

PDF HTML, HTML From the Bench

MSP430 News Flash, Recognizing the Flexibility of Reprogramming

When you think of microprocessors, does TI come to mind? If you're open to learning something new, you can start experimenting with TI's power flash MCUs this month.


Tom Cantrell

HTML Silicon Update

Listening Chips

Delving into voice recognition and chips that listen, Tom takes a look at the current state of development. With pioneer Sensory leading the way, he discovers there's potential for designing unique applications.


David Tweed

HTML Test Your EQ


Advertiser's Index / September Preview


Steve Ciarcia

HTML, HTML Priority Interrupt

Reset Registers

Note: Additional comments by R. LaRagone in Ink #136 Reader I/O.

Circuit Cellar Online

Doug Criner

PDF HTML Monitoring the Health of your Electronic Power Grid

Precision PC-Based 60-Hz Frequency Counter

This month Doug asks the question, "Would you like to know in advance if your electric power grid is on the verge of collapse?" Well, an important indicator of power grid health is the system frequency, and the project he has in mind uses only three parts -- not a lot to ask for early problem detection.

Circuit Cellar Online

John Hughes

PDF HTML A Eulogy for Individual Innovation

The New Generation of Programmable Logic

This month John mourns the bygone days when you could easily acquire the tools and materials to set up shop for digital electronics design. The trend these days has moved in favor of programmable logic, which has both good and bad points. Reduced production cost and enhanced functionality are at the top of the pro list, but the high cost of tools make that lone person building in the garage a thing of the past.

Circuit Cellar Online

Fred Eady

PDF HTML Fine-Tuning an Embedded Idea

Part 2: Ethernet-Equipped RabbitCore Modules

We're still in the land of Z-World's BL2000. Inspired by one of his music mates, Fred moves us into networking, where he shows us how to use the resources of the Dynamic C Premier source code. In this second part, he approaches things from the software point of view, because the hardware speaks for itself.

Circuit Cellar Online

James Antonakos

PDF HTML Patterns in Numbers

A State Machine Design for Binary Pattern Recognition

James thinks ones and zeroes have it all over crossword puzzles. What's not to like? They have patterns within patterns, are interesting to look at, and are, to put it simply, fun. When he asked one of his classes to take on a digital hardware problem, he translated his interest in binary numbers into the article for this month. Pull up a chair and take notes.

Circuit Cellar Online

Steve Ciarcia

PDF HTML Take My Computer, Please!

Part 5: Computer on Guard

The feeling of panic was coming over me as I beat on Ken's back door. I needed help and Ken was the only person I could trust - the only person that would understand that I wasn't crazy. As I knocked on the door, I glanced over either side of my shoulders to make sure no one else was around. I stood next to the door in a shadow which the moonlight failed to illuminate. It was a cool spring evening. While the stars shown brilliantly in their quiet elegance, I couldn't help but fear that this would be the last quiet moment of the evening if I failed ...

Circuit Cellar Online

George Martin

PDF HTML Lessons from the Trenches

Detective Story, Testing Problem Parts

Some mysteries are never solved. This month George takes on a parts puzzler with one of his customers and takes the roundabout route to a solution. What, exactly, was the problem? Well, some questions are forever left unanswered, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun playing detective.

Circuit Cellar Online

Tom Cantrell

PDF HTML Silicon Update Online

Core War

Infringing patents, pressing the advantage, slinging mud. Welcome to the world of trench warfare, Xilinx and Altera style. Reaching near religious heights, the architecture battle is one for the books, or at least Tom's article for this month. The soft-core combat will eventually bring you to NIOS and MicroBlaze, but neither player is down for the count.

Circuit Cellar Online

Jeff Bachiochi

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

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

HTML 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.
FTP Directory for INK 133
Follow this link to order a copy of INK 133

<<< Ink 132

Ink 134 >>>

Main Index

Author Index