Mark Fischer

1 minute read

I got my first printed circuit board (PCB) design in the mail today. This is for a pretty simple blinking LED project.

When UITS got its new logo, the dancing circuit people just screamed out to be made into a real PCB somehow. This is what I came up with. I realize using a full Arduino ATMega168 is a bit overkill for driving some LEDs, but I decided that I’d rather get a prototype working this year instead of deciphering datasheets for the smaller ATtiny series for the next 6 months.

Mark Fischer

6 minute read

After nearly a year, I finally finished up putting LED ‘stars’ onto our bedroom ceiling. See this earlier post where I talk about getting it started.

After a lot of soldering and taping, I managed to tape 32 white LEDs to the ceiling of our bedroom, and get stars working. I tried a bunch of different wiring ideas out before settling on simple bare buss wire. I just put some white electrical tape to keep it in place, and tape over any place where the lines have to cross.

Mark Fischer

2 minute read

Playing around with silly electronics again. This time the idea is to put twinkling stars on the ceiling of our bedroom. I’m using two TLC5940 chips to drive LEDs. The chips are capable of 16 channels of PWM, so the stars can fade on and off nicely.

Mark Fischer

3 minute read

I’ve always been a programmer. However, the world of hardware has always intrigued me. I’ve always been somewhat interested in the ability for electronics to actually do something in the real world, and not just push pixels around a screen.

I first heard about the Arduino micro-controller world on an episode of MacBreak Weekly. Andy Ihnatko was talking about it for an upcoming talk he was giving. Basically the Arduino is an open-source micro-controller. It connects to your PC via a USB port. There’s a custom IDE built for it that runs on Macs, Windows and Linux. The basic idea is that you can now easily control simple voltages on pins. Connect them to sensors, motors, LEDs etc, and control the real world from a very easily accessible starting point.