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I have recently received the following question from a reader:

I’m looking for a circuit board design that will need to turn on an array of LEDs when motion is detected during the day time, and also stay on continuously during the night time; using the Arduino would be nice. The project that I am working on is just a picture frame with my artwork in it. The art is actually an embossed piece. The light that I am placing within the frame will shine across the embossed art, and reflect off the raised areas of paper and make the picture appear more three-dimensional. So, the picture acts as a night light when it’s dark, and then turns on for a moment during the day time when some approaches the picture.

I suspected there had to be a simple circuit to accomplish this without having to program a microcontroller to take care of triggering the light. I could see that was overkill; after all, it is just a way to switch lights on/off. Still, I had no idea how to do it, if not from a software point of view.
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Wire messBack in April I posted about a goal I had for this year: setting up a decent workbench for myself in a corner of my (minuscule) home office. As the year comes to an end, I think it’s time for an update.

Did it happen exactly as planned? No…

Did I make progress? Yes!

So what happened?

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When I posted the “LED Control Using DIP Switch” sketch last year (a simple setup the turned on the LED corresponding to that switch position), I also had a slightly modified version of it in which the DIP switch controlled six different light patterns on the LEDs (scroll right, left, in, out, back and forth and random). It presented a “cleaned-up” version of the code using for loops and compared it to the “long-hand” version, showing the trade-off between ease of understanding and conciseness. Except that… I forgot to post it.

Last week someone contacted me asking a question about a similar project he is working on and when I wanted to refer him to this modified sketch I realized it wasn’t on the blog. (Here’s the original sketch and schematic for reference). [click to continue…]

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Lumex GLCDThis is a review of the Lumex LCR-U12864GSF-WH which was recently sent to me by Newark as part of their Product Road Testing program.

The Lumex LCR-U12864GSF-WH is a graphic LCD display (pardon the redundancy) with white backlighting and screen measuring 128 pixels in width and 64 pixels in height. It uses the standard KS0108 chip by Samsung, and a well documented Arduino library is available for download.

The viewing area is 38.8mm x 70mm (1.5″ x 2.75″) and the entire display fits the palm of your hand. [click to continue…]

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GLO216 Serial OLED DisplayThe GLO-216 2×16 Multifont Serial OLED allows you to translate 9600bps serial data into bright, high-contrast text on a compact screen. This low cost, low power serial display comes in two font colors (yellow and green) and is made and sold by seetron.com, owned by Scott Edwards of Electronics Now and Nuts & Volts fame.

Think of the GLO-216 as a “mini terminal” that displays text and custom characters and responds to control characters such as tabs, linefeeds, carriage returns, backspace, etc. It is compatible with RS-232, Stamps, PICs and Arduino; pretty much any serial out, really.

The display uses less than 50mA, so it can be connected straight to the Arduino’s power supply. [click to continue…]

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Since I started playing with hobby electronics I’ve been making do with somewhat of a makeshift workbench, which consists of some space of my desk combined with a tray table that I stole from my husband. The table is small and wobbly. The space on the desk is not permanent, so I have to put things away when I’m done working with them, and take them out again when I’m ready to work. I need easier access to my parts: some are stored in a plastic cabinet that sit on a bookshelf, some are scattered throughout the room.

Makeshift workbenchMy goal for 2011 is to create a decent dedicated working area, a workbench of sorts where I can leave my unfinished projects even when I’m not actively working on them. In order to do that I need to buy a long narrow table that will serve as the workbench. The problem is that the space where I envision the table to go is currently occupied by a shelf with tons on books and other junk. The plan is to get rid of the books and the junk, get rid of the shelf, and clear the area around it to accommodate the table. [click to continue…]

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