Author Archives: Francois

Creating an Ubuntu Virtual Machine on VirtualBox

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In this post, we will see how to install and run an Ubuntu (Linux) virtual machine (VM) on our computer using a software called Virtual Box. A virtual machine is a virtual computer with its own operating system, disk space and memory that runs on a host computer. To run a virtual machine, you need a special software called a… Read more »

Milling a PCB designed in Eagle with a ShapeOko 3

This post explains how I am milling PCBs, designed with Eagle, using a ShapeOko 3. There are certainly many other ways of achieving this, like by using a probe. But this is the simplest, while reliable, way that I found so far. Design your PCB The first step is obviously to design your PCB in Eagle. I won’t go into… Read more »

Introducing the 4017 Decade Counter

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The 4017 decade counter is a chip typically used for 10 of its output pins. It turns them on, only one at the time, in a sequence from 0 to 9. The chip waits for an external signal to switch to the next pin. Pinout Power Pins: – Pin #16 (VCC): Connect to VCC – Pin #8 (GND): Connect to… Read more »

Using 555 Timer/Oscillator

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The NE555 timer is one of the most popular Integrated Circuit (IC) out there.  It is sold since 1971, so it’s not exactly a new IC but it still does his job very well!  Even today, over a billion units are produced every year! The 555 timer is an integrated circuit that can be used to produce different kinds of… Read more »

Programming an ATtiny with an USBtinyISP programmer

What is an ISP programmer about? In one of my previous posts, I explained how to program an ATtiny by using an Arduino Uno as an ISP programmer. Today, I will explain how to use an USBtinyISP programmer instead. An USBtinyISP is used to perform what is called In-System (ISP) Programming. In other words, it is used to upload a… Read more »

What are pull-up and pull-down resistors?

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Let’s take that example. If we try to read the voltage at v1, with our ATtiny micro-controller, surprisingly we can’t tell what the voltage will be. It may be at 0 Volts, sometimes, and 2.9 Volts or 4 Volts at other moments. It’s voltage is undefined and varies depending on what surrounds it, like any electromagnetic field. This is what… Read more »

Programming an ATtiny using an Arduino Uno

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Progamming an ATtiny micro controller can be done using an Arduino. Step 1: Prepare Arduino IDE Make sure your Arduino IDE is supporting ATtiny micro controllers. Look at this post for more details about how to configure your IDE to do that. Step 2: Prepare your Arduino Uno To use your Arduino Uno as a programmer, prostate you have to… Read more »

Setup Arduino IDE to program Attiny 13/44/45/84/85

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This post explains how to install the popular Arduino IDE (v1.6) on your computer and configure it so you can program Attiny micro controllers. Install Arduino IDE First, download the IDE from this location: Arduino IDE download site. Once it is downloaded, you can run the program. What you downloaded is the application, not an installer, so simply move that… Read more »

Plant Watering Indicator (Part 2)

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In part 1 of that post, I showed the PCB design for that project and how I produced it. This design relies on an Attiny13a: You will see that the following code is not done using regular Arduino functions. I used the registers directly instead. The reason for that is that you have only 1KB of space to store the… Read more »

Plant Watering Indicator (Part 1)

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If you are like me, you never think about watering your plants.  Well, you think about it but only when they look very bad because they didn’t had water for weeks…  🙂 I thought it would be fun to create a small prototype that would tell me when my plants need water.  Here it the final result:     The… Read more »