Sl-Alex home lab

GPS clock

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Projects

Translation: RU

About two years ago I decided to make something based on LED matrices. A bit later I bought a pretty cheap GPS module. That was the start of the GPS wall clock development. This clock does not have any buttons and does not require any settings. Time zone and automatic DST correction are should be defined just once, before the flashing. After that you just power it on and it works. In addition to the time you can see current temperature, humidity and pressure diagram. Display brightness automatically adjusts according to the information from the light sensor.

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Kicad - preparing a PCB for Seeed Studio

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Notes

Translation: RU

When I was busy with one of my projects, I decided to make a PCB. You can say that I could use a breadboard, but I had to make a lot of boards and I didn't want to spend a lot of time with the soldering iron, so my decision was quite predictable: I decided to order a PCB from the factory and place the order at the pretty famous chinese Seeed Studio and I wasn't disappointed with the result. It was pretty easy to prepare the files for the production and place the order.

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USB<=>UART/I²C/SPI/GPIO adapter

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Notes

Translation: RU

Accidentally I found one pretty interesting chip from FTDI: FT4232HL. This manufacturer is quite well known by it's USB<=>Serial solutions and their "driver" war against chinese clones. Nevertheless, this problem has a solution, so I will not go into the details.

FT4232HL is a 4-channel USB<=>Serial converter, which also supports I²C, GPIO and SPI modes. These features are the subject of the separate article, by default device works in the USB<=>Serial mode, which is more than enough for me.

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3D models for KiCAD. Part 3 - Import

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Articles

Translation: RU
3D models for KiCAD. Part 3 - Import

In this article I'll show how to use 3D models in KiCAD from either FreeCAD or OpenSCAD. It is possible even if you use a model from another source. As you remember, in the first article we used OpenSCAD to create 3D model, in the second article we used FreeCAD. Using FreeCAD seems to be much easier (almost like point'n'click), but don't forget about the flexibility of OpenSCAD: in some cases its parametrization functionality can be very useful. Maybe you are the laziest and you prefer using 3D model from the internet. It does not matter, anyway in most cases you have to convert this model to the KiCAD-understandable format. In this article I'll try to describe all important steps of these convertions and add more light to the darkest parts of this process.

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3D models for KiCAD. Part 2 - FreeCAD

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Articles

Translation: RU
3D models for KiCAD. Part 2 - FreeCAD

This article is a second article describing 3D models creation for KiCAD. In the previous article we've created complete 3D model with OpenSCAD. This way, despite of its simplicity, requires you to keep complete model in your head, thus you can make a lot of mistakes, which will be hard to find later. Moreover, in many cases it's much easier to create such things in your favourite 3D editor. There are not too much 3D CADs in open-source world, and from my point of view the best is FreeCAD. Of course, there are some proprietary alternatives, but I prefer KiCAD because of its simplicity and speed. Small bonus - both OpenSCAD and FreeCAD work like a charm in Linux.

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3D models for KiCAD. Part 1 - OpenSCAD

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Articles

Translation: RU
3D models for KiCAD. Part 1 - OpenSCAD

If you are hardware engineer and you spent some time for searching an open-source software then I'm pretty sure you know KiCAD project. This project is for creating schematics and printed circuit boards. It is cross-platform, easy to learn and stable project. One of its outstanding features is a support of a 3D models for components, so you have a possibility to view the complete board in 3D without assembling it. Unfortunately, many people think, that it's hard to create 3D model. Moreover, KiCAD supports only models created in Wings3D, which is quite hard to learn, especially for beginners. Fortunately, there are more clear and easy ways. One of them I will describe today. I talk about OpenSCAD.

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Em::Blocks - IDE for ARM Cortex.

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Notes

Translation: RU
Em::Blocks - IDE for ARM Cortex.

Once upon a time, when I was completely tired with slow CooCox and other Eclipse based IDEs, I've tried to search for a good alternative. Some of my projects are open-source, and it means that anyone, who have downloaded my project, should be able to build it without any license fees. Abilities of "light" versions of commercial IDEs were lower than I expected, so my search was limited only to free alternatives. Accidentally I found Em::Blocks.

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