The World of TI’s Tiva C MCUs

Most of us who work with electronics know the name of Texas Instruments (TI) as a manufacturer of several important digital and analogue ICs as well as fancy sophisticated scientific calculators. However many people don’t know that TI is also a manufacturer of some of industry’s best microcontrollers. TI’s portfolio of micros is pretty large. ARM micros are getting popular day-by-day and on that family of micros TI has some of the best devices one can imagine. One such family from TI is the Tiva C series. Enter the TM4C123x Tiva C micros – one of the best possible combination of high-end hardware ever integrated with an ARM Cortex M4.

launchpad-tivac-01

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DIY Bike GPS

This DIY bicycle GPS can convert any bike into smart bike by adding navigation support. This bike GPS connects to the user’s smartphone GPS via Bluetooth and receives the navigation data from a GPS application on the smartphone. The project uses an Arduino board and a Neopixel LED ring. The destination is set on the GPS application on the smartphone and the directions are shown on the LEDs.

DIY GPS bike

DIY GPS bike

In this project, we will use a GPS application available on Android or IPhone, OsmAnd, a mapping application and navigation with access to free data OpenStreetMap. This application is available offline, that is to say that one can use this application without using the cellular data (3G or 4G).

We use an Arduino micro type microcontroller as it is quite simple to use and is inexpensive. It is connected with a Bluetooth headset.

This headset is the link between the Arduino board and telephone. To indicate the direction to the user, we use a ring of 24 LEDs connected to the Arduino board. These are Neopixel LEDs, they are the most efficient LEDs. We can control the color and light intensity of the LEDs.

Microchip Announces a new Graphical User Interface Composer Tool

Microchip announces MPLAB Harmony Graphics Composer, a free development tool for engineers to easily develop and design professional graphical user interfaces.
Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP), a leading provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, today announced the MPLAB® Harmony Graphics Composer (MHGC), a modern and flexible graphical user interface (GUI) composer tool. MHGC is a free development tool for developing GUIs for all PIC32 microcontrollers through Microchip’s Harmony Configurator and MPLAB X Integrated Development Environment (IDE). The software allows anyone to create branded content using the Harmony Graphics Library, in conjunction with their custom assets, to create GUIs in a What-You-See-is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) design model, without complex and cumbersome coding.
MPLAB® Harmony Graphics Composer (MHGC)

MPLAB® Harmony Graphics Composer (MHGC)

Si4844 and Arduino make a full-featured AM/FM/SW radio

Raymond Genovese from All About Circuits has shared his idea of making a full-featured AM/FM/SW radio using SiLab’s Si4844-A10 radio chip, which is the first analog-tuned digital-display digital CMOS AM/FM/SW radio receiver IC integrating the complete receiver function from antenna input to audio output. It works with Host MCU through I2C-compatible 2-wire control interface.

AM

AM/FM/SW radio using Si4844 chip

The idea of a single chip radio is intriguing. The prospect is especially interesting to me because, frankly, I envy the analog skills I associate with building a radio receiver. When I browsed the circuit literature in the area, I came across the Silicon Labs collection. One of their chips, the Si4844-A10 caught my attention. This receiver has AM/FM/SW capability with all the bells and whistles and it is designed to work with a microprocessor. Best of all, the support components required are mainly associated with the microprocessor display and control functions with only a small amount of antenna support needed. I couldn’t resist taking the plunge.

EasyEDA: A free cloud-based tool for schematic capture, PCB layout, and circuit simulation

I have been using Eagle CAD for many years now and it’s still my favorite tool for circuit layout and PCB designing. Eagle has been around for more than two-and-a-half decade, and during this time it has built an impressive set of component library, which is a huge time saver for PCB designers. Today, we live in a golden age of cloud-computing and the tools available to us now are more versatile than ever. A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to try a new electronics design automation (EDA) tool called EasyEDA. It is a free web-based tool for schematic capture, PCB layout, and circuit simulation. The best part of any cloud- or web-based development tool is that it runs on a remote server (no worries to install on local machines), always up to date, and is accessible from anywhere through internet. EasyEDA is a zero-install cloud-based EDA application; all you need is a web-browser and internet connection and you are ready to draw circuits, run SPICE simulation, design PCBs, and even place an order for fabricating PCBs. I have a very pleasant learning experience playing with it for a couple weeks and I found the learning curve wasn’t too steep.

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EasyEDA offers free schematic capture, SPICE Simulation, and PCB design

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