Building a Custom OLED Display

Ever have the need to display real-time data with custom hi-res graphics and text? Super-user Majenko recently built up a cool green OLED display to fit inside a standard hard drive bay on his PC.

A custom mount inside the drive bay

The OLED display is backed by a chipKIT Lenny running the DisplayCore library. Take note of the hi-res scrolling graph along the bottom edge of the display. Not bad for a modest board like the Lenny running Arduino-compatible code. Check out this post that explains exactly how he did it.

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Private Voice-Control of Philips Hue Bulbs with chipKIT Wi-FIRE and Audeme MOVI Shield

The combination of the Arduino-compatible chipKIT Wi-FIRE board and Audeme’s MOVI speech recognition shield lets users voice-control their Philips Hue bulbs without leaking private information into the cloud (i.e., voice recordings to Amazon or Google, Philips Hue hub data to Salesforce and other data brokers). It also allows for better control and customization of the light bulb configuration compared to using Alexa or Google Home.  Here is a short video of the experimental system:

This is an uncut, unedited video. The system works by connecting to the Hue hub via WiFi. It is powered here by a 9V block battery and a small 8ohm speaker for acoustic responses. Both voice commands and responses are fully customizable and MOVI can also speak and understand Spanish and German. 

The delay between the actual light switch and MOVI’s response is introduced by the Hue hub. It is not clear why but one possible cause could be the Hub’s necessity to wait for a timeout as it is not able to send data to the cloud.

Audeme will present the system at this week’s Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA (May 19th – 21st) and they are happy to let you play around with it. In fact, their plan is to create an Instructable and possibly a home kit solution. So stay tuned!

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Serial seven segment LED display shield for chipKIT

Seven segment LED displays are brighter, more attractive, and provide a far viewing distance as well as a wider viewing angle compared to LCD displays. This project describes a serial seven segment LED display shield for chipKIT Uno32 or compatible boards. The shield consists of eight 0.56″ seven segment displays that are driven by one MAX7219 chip. The shield also features a light dependent resistor (LDR) to implement adaptive brightness control to the LED displays. The chipKIT Uno32 board can sense the surrounding illumination level by reading the LDR output through A0 or A1 analog input channel, and use that information to adjust the brightness of the LED displays. A demo code and Eagle CAD files are also provided.

Find more details here!

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HelveKit Robot: A chipKIT Robot Design

HelveKit Robot

There are plenty of “how to design a robot” tutorials out there; this is not one of them. Why is this one different? Because the author, GastonLagaffe, doesn’t want to tell you what to do, as he doesn’t want to limit your creativity. 🙂 His personal goals for this robot were for it to be small, autonomous, cheap, easy to solder, easy to program, with plenty of holes, and swarm capable, and although the journey to get from concept to implementation took him 12 months, he learned a lot along the way.

So if you want to make a robot, why not dream big as you read about how Gaston took what started as a small wish and made it a reality, Gaston-style. To see his journey, check out this HelveKit Robot Design Journey on Instructables. You may smile as you see his approach and decide you would have done it differently, but that’s exactly what Gaston would want you to do!

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BME280 Weather Station

BME280 is a fully integrated environmental unit from Bosch that combines sensors for pressure, humidity, and temperature into a single tiny 8-pin metal-lid LGA package. Because of its compact size, ease of use (BME280 supports standard I2C and SPI interfaces), and availability of supporting open-source Arduino libraries, BME280 is very popular among hobbyists and weather enthusiasts.

This project describes how to read barometric pressure, relative humidity, and temperature measurements from BME280 using a chipKIT Uno32 to make a standalone weather station. The sensor readings are acquired over an I2C bus and are displayed on a Nokia 5110 LCD display.

Continue reading details of this project!

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Meet the chipKIT uC32

chipkit-uc32-01

The chipKIT uC32 has been around a while, but Fábio Souza at Embarcados has just published a brand new Overview which is worth a look. The article is written in Portuguese; you should be able to use the “Translate” option in your browser to get the English version if needed.

Fábio’s article borrows some diagrams from Digilent’s excellent Resource Center, and also explains how to load chipKIT-core into the Arduino Boards Manager.

Thanks Fábio!

Note: The chipKIT uC32 is our full-featured, Uno-style board with 512K of Flash, 32K of RAM and 47 available I/O lines. It’s fully compatible with Arduino IDE and MPLAB X IDE.

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chipKIT-core v1.3.0 and v1.3.1 Released and Clicker 2 Support

Clicker 2 for PIC32MX

The chipKIT development team is happy to announce the chipKIT-core releases: v1.3.0 and v1.3.1, the former being the main release, with the latter simply updating the compiler from v1.40 to v1.42.

These two new releases don’t necessarily add any enormous new features, but they do have several nice bug fixes and some good improvements in the functionality available to a sketch. One noteworthy fix in v1.3.0 is the update to the bootloader host application “pic32prog” to support MikroElektronika’s Clicker 2 for PIC32MX. This amazing board provides two mikroBUS sockets for click boards — MikroE’s little peripheral add-on boards — providing for an endless range of project possibilities. Check out the release notes for all the details.

You can obtain the release of your choice in a couple of different ways depending on how you’ve installed chipKIT core in the past. You can either use the Boards Manager inside the Arduino IDE, or you can download the zip file for your platform (Arm Linux, Linux32, Linux64, MacOSX or Windows).

We hope you benefit greatly from these updates!

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chipKIT QuickIO Shield

chipKIT QuickIO Shield

Have you ever wanted to test something out very quickly, but dread pulling out the breadboard and wires? If you’ve ever needed a QuickIO Shield, it’s here! Majenko Technologies—creator of UECIDE and the chipKIT Lenny—has released this new shield.

This incredibly useful accessory snaps right onto your Arduino or chipKIT board, instantly giving you all the handy IO you need, as the name says, quickly. With four pushbuttons, two 10KΩ potentiometers, and eight LEDs, there is no more messing around with a breadboard and wires just to add a couple of buttons to your design. Plus, using a potentiometer for a variable-voltage analog input has never been easier; and with LEDs nicely arranged as a bar-graph, you can create simple visual feedback in seconds.

The QuickIO Shield is truly an essential component of every Arduino user’s kit. For more information on this neat board, check out the QuickIO Shield Product Page on Majenko’s website!

Happy IOing!

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chipKIT Drum Set with MikroE Clicks

chipKIT: TouchClamp Click Drum Machine

Drum sets are fun to play! Now you can make your very own noise (or shall we say ‘music’) maker, and all without soldering a thing. All you need are a handful of bottles and cans (which will act as the drum pads) with some alligator clip wires (clips on both ends) connected to a chipKIT Uno32 via an Arduino Uno click shield and two MikroElektronika click boards with audio and touch sense capabilities. The TouchClamp click acts as the input for the drumming, and the MP3 click provides the audio for each “drum.” A clever little idea, we thought.

Why not make some noise with your own drum set. For all the details, check out the chipKIT drum set tutorial!

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