BE Maker Kit Campaign on Indigogo

The guys at Borderless Electronics are kicking things up a notch with the launch of their BE Maker Kit project to accompany their recent $9 Arduino compatible board.

The most interesting thing here is their “Learning System” which includes 10 hours worth of electronics-related learning materials in the form of video-based tutorials which can be used in conjunction with their kits.

More information about the project can be found on their campaign page.

Handy Link: Programing an AVR with a Bus Pirate

The guys over at HintShop have published a tutorial on using a bus pirate as an In-Circuit Programmer to flash firmware to an AVR Microcontroller using SPI.

As if that wasn’t cool enough, they also include instructions showing how multiple Mircocontrollers can be flashed by one Bus Pirate on the same board, in their tutorial! Is there anything this little gadget can’t do?

Handy link: Arduino Ethernet Bumper Pack

Georg Kaindl, over at has developed a collection of libraries for the Arduino environment which allows developers to make use of the  DHCP, DNS and Bonjour (Apple Computers’ implementation of Zeroconf) protocols in their network-enabled Arduino projects. Documentation for each individual library (including installation instructions) can be found on Georg’s site.

If anyone is using these libraries in their own projects already, then feel free to share you experiences in the comments section. I’d love to hear about some of the cool stuff other people have made with them.

Handy Link: Using the AVR EEPROM in GCC-AVR

EEPROM memory can be extremely useful in Microcontroller projects, either as a fail-safe mechanism (to stores the state of your outputs so you can restore them if power is lost) or as a non-volatile storage area for data gathered via sensors.

This tutorial from AVR Freaks explains how to read from and write to EEPROM memory using AVR-GCC. Hope its useful to someone.

From Single Button Code Entry System

Forget keypads and RFID tags, the guys over at have come up with the simplest possible user interface for a code entry system: a single button. Sold in kit form via their online store and incorperating a PIC 16F628A microcontroler and relay, this kit allows you to program and input a four-digit code using only one button.

Details and a video explaining how the kit works can be found here.

Simple LAN Controlled Stereo Audio Switch

Audio Switch (Main Board)

I needed an idea that I could use to teach myself about using a relay with Microcontrollers and solve that age old problem: Switching between speakers and headphones on my PC without having to actually get up and mess around in the rats nest of wire’s behind it.

The solution: Use a 5v DPDT relay, a few 3.5mm stereo sockets and an Ethernet-capable Arduino to create a simple audio switch which would allow me to switch one audio source (my PC’s Soundcard in this case) to one of two outputs (headphones or speakers) via a web interface running on the Arduino from the comfort of my web browser.

Continue reading Simple LAN Controlled Stereo Audio Switch

Handy Link: AVR Timer Calculator

Ok, here’s another little gem I came across on the web that I think you’ll find useful: A web-based Timer calculator, courtesy of Frank at

Just put in your clock frequency and the time (in seconds) you need to count to and let the calculator do the rest.

8 bit and 16 bit timer resolution values are catered for and he even includes a prescaler function so you can experiement with different prescaler values.

Note, You’ll need to make sure that you have Javascript enabled in your browser to use it.

AVR C Bit Level Operations Guide

Found this very comprehensive guide (Link is a PDF document), during my travels on Google, showing how to perform bit-level operations in AVR C. Hope it’s useful to someone.

If you’ve not got a PDF reader to hand, then you can use Google’s Quick View link to this guide to view it in your browser

From extremeelectronics: AVR USART Tutorial

Ok, yet another link to another site, but screw it, I’m bored so here it  is!

Here’s another resource that should be useful to anyone getting to grips with the black art of AVR USART comms. The guys at extremeelectonics have published  a very comprehensive tutorial on the various registers related to the AVR USART peripherial, how to set them, etc.