Learning: AVR Assembly

AVR: An Introductory Course

I have been trying to learn AVR assembly for the past few weeks. Things are coming along, but it is tough to remember all of the 3 and 4 letter instructions and which registers they can work with. Here is part of an example project, which was really a series of exercises that I worked on through out the chapter. I’ve been reading a book from 2002 called AVR: An Introductory Course. While the reviews for this book haven’t been great, I’ve found it to be a reasonable book for learning. I’m sure it is outdated but I think much of it still applies.

Here is what I came up with for the first part of the Counter project from chapter 2.

Be warned: I am just learning so some of this may be incorrect. It is fun to learn new things. Don’t you think?

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Citadel r1 PCB on the way!

Citadel-Top-r1Citadel-Bottom-r1Citadel r1 is being printed and will be ready for assembly in the next few weeks. I am very excited to assemble and see this thing working. I decided to use OSH Park after listening to @Laen on The Amp Hour podcast. I hope it pays off. Time will tell.

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Movie Poster Light Box: Part 1

Building a Light Box for Amazon Coins Launch Poster

...and so begins the light box quest

…and so begins the light box quest

Initial set of materials

Initial set of materials

Here are the initial set of materials used to build the light box.

QTY Material
3 1" x 4" x 8' Poplar board
2 1" x 1" x 6' aluminum angle
1 3' x 4' x 1/8" sheet masonite
2 2' x 3' x 0.08" acrylic
1 2' x 15' UV treatment sheet
1 UV treatment application kit
1 1-5/8" drywall screws (Box)
2 White spray paint (these didn't work, at all) (Cans)
1 4oz Gorrila glue

top, bottom, left, & right sides as well as the top and bottom braces

top, bottom, left, & right sides as well as the top and bottom braces

The first task is to build a frame. I cut out the top, bottom, left and right sides as well as the top and bottom braces. I needed to account for the 3/8″ cutout needed for the 2′ x 3′ acrylic sheets and poster. The sides ended up being 36-3/4″ and the top and bottom cuts were 23-1/4″. The short lengths of the top and bottom boards is because I am using butt-joints and the side boards are 3/4″ each.

(board thickness * 2) + bottom|top cut – (single side poster cutout * 2) = 24″ ÷ 12″ = 2′
(0.75″ * 2 ) + 23.25″ – (0.375″ * 2) = 24″ ÷ 12″ = 2′

side cut – (single side poster cutout * 2) =36″ ÷ 12″ = 3′
36.75″ – (0.375″ * 2) =
36″ ÷ 12″ = 3′

Marking dado for cross brace

Marking dado for a brace

After the wall of the box were cut I moved on to cutting dadoes for the braces. I marked each dado to start 1″ from the end. This left a small gap between the corresponding top and bottom wall boards. In hindsight I think I would make these flush with the wall boards. It would have make fitting the wall boards much easier.

Cutting said dado

Cutting said dado

I used a band saw to cut the dadoes. I could have used a jigsaw, but I felt like I had more control with the band saw and could make smoother cuts than with the jigsaw.

Dadoes cut, braces in place

Dadoes cut, braces in place

I then took the braces, along with the walls, and put them all together to see if I had something viable or if I would need to head back to the hardware store for more supplies. Everything seemed to line up, so I continued on.

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Citadel 3D v0.1

Citadel Bottom RightHere is my 1st attempt at PCB design. These are renderings of the Citadel project I have been working on. I still have some traces to complete, but most of it is done. PCB layout isn’t easy. You have to think at least 5 moves ahead when placing a component or laying down traces. It is amazing how much effort it takes to layout a 4″x4″ PCB.Citadel TopCitadel Top Left

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Arduino Workshop Book

Arduino Workshop
Here is a book I just came across. It looks promising. John Boxall seems to have the book printed out on his website as well, complete with code and videos. Awesome! The book is a pretty great deal ($17.97+$5.60 shipping for me) with the 40% discount for using discount code: BLINKYTHINGS

Just so it is clear, I have nothing to do with tronixstuff, but I do enjoy the blog. Cool stuff!

Over the last few years I’ve been writing a few Arduino tutorials, and during this time many people have mentioned that I should write a book. And now thanks to the team from No Starch Press this recommendation has morphed into my new book – “Arduino Workshop
t r o n i x s t u f f

UPDATE: John mentioned, “…the book is different to the tutorials on the website and is a separate entity.” Even better! Thanks John.

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Citadel Breadboard

Here is what I have so far for my drum enclosure lighting system, code name: Citadel. :)

I will provide more documentation, when I get around to it. Cheers!

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Jeopardy Controllers are Easy

Hardware is easy…

according to the people that use many of the things I make, that is. They don’t actually say this, but I can tell. They see that you connected a box via usb to a computer and, Buzzerspresumably, think, ‘oh that looks simple, you just hook up this cable and it works.‘ It isn’t until they ask how it was made and I crack open the enclosure do they get an idea of how much work it really is to put something like this together. The project I am referring to here, as you might have guessed, is a of game buzzer button type controls.

While sitting and eating some lunch at The Wurst Place with my Amazon team we discussed what fun activity we could do at our next “Beer Friday” (which don’t happen every Friday, so we are clear). We had a bunch of harebrained ideas that would ultimately have little to know participation or bring down human resources on us within an hour. I then brought up that I had watched Defcon Jeopardy a while back and it looked like a lot of fun. This conversation went quickly to how we could make this happen in 7 days. We decided that is would be possible to build both the hardware buzzers and the software game-board and scoring system in those 7 days. This proved to be a time challenge for me.

Box for ArduinoI had to order the parts that I needed from Amazon with 2 day shipping to get them in time to complete the build. I should have used 1 day shipping.


Items from Amazon:

  1. Learning Resources Answer Buzzers – Set of 4
  2. Arduino Uno R3
  3. Protoshield KIT for Arduino R3
  4. Box for Arduino

Arduino UNO r3Proto boardI didn’t get my parts until Tuesday and the game was on that Friday. I drew up a simple schematic and mapped out pins to functional components.


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EE Learning

ee-stack-exchangeWhile browsing electronics.stackexchange.com, I found the following list of electronics learning sites:

I thought they might be helpful so I am re-posting them. Enjoy!


Build Break Alarm

Note: I meant to post this a long time ago. It is definitely an out of order project post.

A while back I changed teams at Amazon. While in an early meeting my new dev manager mentioned using lava lamps to indicate when builds break. I told my team that I could be interested in making something that would be similar and would accomplish the same result.

Build Break Alarm Schematic

Build Break Alarm Schematic

I deleted some code from this sketch that would display info on a television as I never got the timing down for managing both serial data and TV out. There didn’t seem to be enough CPU cycles available for both at the same time. As a result I would miss some of the serial data as it came in. If I turned off the TV out I got all of the expected serial data. Long story long this code may not compile as I haven’t tried since I removed the TV out bits. You’re smart, you’ll figure it out.

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Christmas Lights Hacked

GE Color Effects G35 Christmas LightsAfter working on my last hardware project, the Ara’Kus (a heavy metal opera) flickering/wireless lantern, I have moved on to hacking some Christmas lights.BJ Becker

I found that many people liked GE’s Color Effects G-35 lights. I happen upon this set of lights at Costco while shopping with my family. The price tag was ~$65 w/o tax. This seemed cheap for a string of 50 addressable rgb LEDs, but expensive for a set of Christmas lights. I didn’t buy them that day. Instead I sneaked over to Costco after work one day and picked them up under the radar.

I tried out the preset and found them less than desirable. Of course I needed to fix that. My plan was to be able to control the light via an Android app or web site or some such. I had the grand idea of allowing uses to write there own controller script (ECMAScript). I still think this is a good idea, but Read more »

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