Project Nixie Tube Clock

Originally posted on xyzio:

I become interested in Nixie tubes after I bought a Netduino and tried out the ArduiNIX.  From that I decided to make my own Nixie Tube clock.  My clock, besides showing the time, also shows the date, year, temperature, has an alarm, and can communicate with a PC via USART.


The clock is built on two PCB boards connected by two 10 pin IDC cables.  I use stand-offs to screw the two boards together, doing that makes the clock free standing and eliminates the need to build a separate case or stand.  I would have done it on one giant board but that was not feasible due to size limitations in Eagle freeware.  The boards were manufactured through OSHPark.

I use four IN-17 Nixe tubes for the display.  Although they are small, IN-17 tubes are cheap and easy to source through Ebay.  Also I had several left over from my ArduiNIX experiment.


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Atmega328p Breakout PRO

Originally posted on MWH Projects Blog:

The Atmega328p Breakout Board has been out of stock for a while. I have half of the new components in hand, and the PCBs have been shipped and are on their way. The rest of the components will be ordered in the next couple of days and, if it’s like the last time I ordered, it will arrive the next day. Friday is Good Friday so I have to keep that in mind, and hope that everything comes in by then. I’ve made the decision that I will no longer sell unassembled kits so I hope I can use this long weekend to put them together so I have a decent stock ready for the next week.

Anyways, while I’ve been waiting for the new batch, I’ve been working on something else…

draft1To the right is the first draft of the Atmega328p Breakout Pro. The current base version will likely drop the ISP header…

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Tech Tear Down – Computer Mouse

Originally posted on Electrothoughts:


1_computer mouse artsy PCB shot

I had the sudden urge the other day to tear apart another electronic device, the victim being the computer mouse that I use for my Raspberry Pi that happened to being lying so very innocently on my desk. The picture above is an ‘artsy’ flash shot of the inside of the mouse.

Taking it apart was easy. There was only one screw in the center of the undersided that I removed with my trusty old mini Phillips screwdriver. The bottom and the top plastic pieces easily came apart, revealing a PCB pressed into the bottom, connected to the wire coming out of the mouse. The PCB itself wasn’t attached with glue or screws, so it popped out easily.

2_computer mouse parts labeledYou can see the little red left and right click buttons in the image below. When you click the mouse, the plastic of the shell of the mouse hits the read button…

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Meet The Machines That Build Complex PCBs

Originally posted on Hackaday:

You can etch a simple PCB at home with a few chemicals and some patience. However, once you get to multilayer boards, you’re going to want to pay someone to do the dirty work.

The folks behind the USB Armory project visited the factories that build their 6 layer PCB and assemble their final product. Then they posted a full walkthrough of the machines used in the manufacturing process.

The boards start out as layers of copper laminates. Each one is etched by applying a film, using a laser to print the design from a Gerber file, and etching away the unwanted copper in a solution. Then the copper and fibreglass prepreg sandwich is bonded together with epoxy and a big press.

Bonded boards then get drilled for vias, run through plating and solder mask processes and finally plated using an Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold (ENIG) process to give them that shiny gold finish. These completed boards are shipped…

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How to install Groovy on a Banana Pi or Raspberry Pi

Originally posted on Johannes Lorenz - Coding Snippets:

The Raspberry or Banana Pi have already pre-installed Python.
If you like to stay with Groovy on these nice little devices, here are the instructions to install Groovy.
GVM makes the whole process very easy and convenient.

Open a terminal window and use these commands:

curl -s >
chmod u+x
source “$HOME/.gvm/bin/”
gvm install groovy

This will download and install the latest Groovy version.
Check the installed version:

groovy -version
Groovy Version: 2.4.2 JVM: 1.8.0 Vendor: Oracle Corporation OS: Linux

Happy Groovy coding on your Banana Pi,

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DIY Ultra Wideband Impulse Synthetic Aperture Radar And A MakerBot

Originally posted on Hackaday:


What could possibly be better than printing out a few low-resolution voxels on a MakerBot? A whole lot of things, but how about getting those voxels with your own synthetic aperture radar? That’s what [Gregory Charvat] has been up to, and he’s documented the entire process for us.

The build began with an ultra wideband impulse radar we saw a while ago. The radar is built from scraps [Greg] picked up on eBay, and is able to image a scene in the time domain, creating nice linear sweeps on a MATLAB plot when [Greg] runs in front of the horns.

With an impulse radar under his belt, [Greg] moved up the technological ladder to something that can produce vaguely intelligible images with his setup. The synthetic aperture radar made from putting his radar horns on the carriage of a garage door opener. The horns slowly scan back and forth along the linear rail…

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Roman Headgear Looks Less Silly With Lots of Blinky

Originally posted on Hackaday:


Look, it’s not Steam-Punk because the period is way out of whack. And we’ve never seen ourselves as “that guy” at the party. But it would be pretty hard to develop The Centurion Project and not take the thing to every festive gathering you could possibly attend. This sound-reactive helm compels party-going in a toga-nouveau sort of way.

[Roman] tells us that it started as a movie prop. The first build step was to remove the plume from the top of it. The replacement — seven meters worth of addressable RGB LEDS — looks just enough like an epic mohawk to elicit visions of the punk rock show, with the reactive patterns to make it Daft. The unexpected comes with the FFT generated audio visualizations. They’re grounded on the top side of each of the LED strips. Most would call that upside-down but it ends up being the defining factor in…

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