Category Archives: Embedded Lab Projects

A very simple DIY solar-powered USB charger


Yesterday, I built a very simple DIY solar-powered USB charger for my TP-link 10400mAh USB Power Bank. All I needed was a 6V/3.5W solar panel and the TD1410-based 5V buck converter module. I bought both of them on Aliexpress for less than $8. It was one of the easiest projects I built. All I needed to do was to connect the input of the 5V step-down buck converter to the output of the solar panel using two wires. From TD1410 datasheet, The TD1410 is a 380 KHz fixed frequency monolithic step down switch mode regulator with a built in internal Power MOSFET. It achieves 2A continuous output current

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Making a simple ESP8266-based clock synchronized to NIST server

ESP8266 WiFi clock

Internet has made it quite easy for computers to synchronize their clocks to an accurate clock value generated by a remote server. In the United States, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides official time. NIST disseminates the time using several methods, which include broadcasting over short-wave and long-wave radio, telephone dial-in services (ACTS), and Network Time Service (NTS) over the internet. This article describes a ESP8266-based clock project that utilizes NIST’s NTS service to retrieve accurate time information and display it on a 4-digit seven segment LED display. The time is synchronized to the NIST server after

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Programmable relay switch using PIC MCU (revised version)


Programmable relays are key elements in numerous automation applications such as automatic street light control, watering and pump control, HVAC, home automation, power plants automation in industries, etc. This article describes a DIY programmable relay switch using PIC16F1847 (PIC16F628A can also be used) microcontroller. It is a revised version of my previous PIC-based relay timer project with added features and some improvements in the circuit design part. Like my previous version, it also allows you to set both ON and OFF times. The maximum time interval that you can set for ON and OFF operations is 99 hours and 59 minutes. The new version features

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Development board for PIC16F1938


The PIC16F1938 is a versatile 28-pin MCU belonging to Microchip’s extreme low power microcontroller family featuring nanoWatt XLP technology, 28KB of programming memory, 1KB of RAM, 11 ADC channels, and tons of other peripherals. A while ago, I designed a development board for this MCU and I thought it would be worth sharing this design here. The development board features an onboard USB-UART bridge to support the ds30 Loader for easy programming of the PIC MCU. All I/O pins are accessible through 2×5 headers. Summary of Features: On-board 5V and 3.3V regulators Support both 5V and 3.3V MCUs. The power

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Portable Bluetooth-enabled scrolling LED matrix display- Part 1

My 3 year old son uses this often to learn alphabets and numbers

LED matrix displays are great fun. They are visually charming, and readable from a far viewing distance with a much wider angle of view as compared to many other types of electronics displays. They can display all kinds of information, including text, graphics, and animation. This project is about making a portable Bluetooth-controlled 8×64 monochromatic LED matrix (total 512 LEDs) for displaying scrolling text message. I made this display to use at home parties or other occasions for displaying greeting messages. The text data to be displayed can be sent from a smartphone using the Bluetooth connection. The display is Arduino-controlled and uses the

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