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Topic: Your latest purchase (Read 169331 times) previous topic - next topic


I just got one of these HP LED displays, for no reason other than I think they're cool and remind me of my HP-35 that I got as an undergrad in '74....
Gone for good


I don't know what you paid for those transistors, but as a word of advice, stay away from NTE anything.  They are overpriced relabeled generics.  NTE261 is an NPN power darlington.  TIP142s would be a generic common replacement.  You can get these very cheaply on eBay:


Thanks for the advice! I'm quite sure i overpaid for the transistors, but that's my own fault for not doing any research.


Sep 09, 2014, 05:22 am Last Edit: Sep 10, 2014, 02:21 pm by JimboZA Reason: 1
Splashed out on a scope.

EFT'd yesterday, collecting collected it this morning.

(4000ZAR is ~370USD, 290EUR, 230GBP.)

Edit.... great stuff, this 'scope.

Nice automatic setting, so easy to get going. Been looking at Blink doing its thing on pin 13. Setting PWM output according to a pot, nice to see the duty cycle and 'scope automatically gives the mean voltage. Also see the different PWM freq on the 2 odd pins. Noise on a bouncy switch.... It has a one-shot setting so a switch opening or closing freezes on the screen.

So all in all a good buy. Justified due to my daughter starting her BSc in engineering next year.....

edit... it came with EasyScope for my laptop, so just testing to see what the output looks like when attached here as abmp
Gone for good


ARM Cortex-M3 STM32F103C8T6 STM32 Minimum System Development Board
I'm having an interesting discussion off in another forum, on how you can start working with ARM chips for about $1 worth of hardware and 1 minute of tool download time.  (In assembler.  Ouch.)  Using this particular chip (which you can get bare at about 10/$10 and protoPCBs for about 10/$7) (and numerous pre-built boards on eBay for about $7.)  So I ordered this one to see how it works.  (Even though I have other ARM development boards.)


Sep 09, 2014, 10:20 am Last Edit: Sep 09, 2014, 10:21 am by JoeN Reason: 1
I'm having an interesting discussion off in another forum


My latest is to order a couple of INA125Ps from DigiKey to attempt a project similar to this one:

I will never ask you to do anything that I wouldn't do myself.


Sep 12, 2014, 04:42 pm Last Edit: Sep 12, 2014, 04:44 pm by mrburnette Reason: 1
A few months ago, I posted about my PSoC Pioneer 4200 board. I was impressed then and I still am; but I am now ready to reveal the however...
Entire post here: http://www.hackster.io/rayburne/psoc-4-the-arduino-killer

Summary of my 90 days at the current time:

UPDATE: My view after 90 days...

I am a hobbyist; I am not presently working on any commercial projects.  Essentially, I am retired and just playing with the PSoC.  I have a couple of years of PIC experience and 3 years of Arduino experience and the following summary must be cast in that light.

After 3 months, I am still impressed with the PSoC 4200.  The Cypress Creator 3 programming tool is excellent for a no-cost development environment.  However, even after exploring many parts of the environment over the past months, there are still areas in which I have not ventured. The tool is massive and for a hobbyist spending only a few hours a week, it may be too daunting. Unfortunately, I do not know of much that Cypress can trim because a good portion of the tool is required to utilize the PSoC. Also, the tool integration into the back-end store of component PDF files is necessary. Way too much time must be dedicated initially in reading the various PDF files. The sheer volume of documentation is a two-edged sword; the information is available, but the datasheets on the component configurations can be heavy reading. As I stated earlier, this is a professional development environment and the documentation is professional, too.

Note to anyone following my footsteps: spend the $25 and get the PSoC 4200 Pioneer Kit. You cannot use the internal breakpoint debugger on the $4 Prototype boards. I nearly drove myself crazy trying to use the Arduino serial debugging philosophy; it is simply too crude for the PSoC capabilities. The Pioneer evaluation board shines and the integrated debugging capabilities will return your $25 investment many times over. Additionally, and I consider this important, the Pioneer board is jumper selectable between 3.3 Volts and 5.0 Volts. The $4 Prototype board is always 5V when used with USB and can only be 3.3V when used with an external power supply. If you have 3.3V sensors connected to the Prototype board, you MUST disconnect all 3.3V components before using USB to reprogram the PSoC. The Pioneer board jumper settings for V+ is an efficiency tool and may well save a few 3.3V sensors from cremation.

I am not a professional C/C++ programmer although I have attended professional classes back during the days I was working for 'the man'. Using the Arduino, I never had many issues but the SoC is going to drive a stake into your heart. By default, the PSoC is C-code. There are a few internet articles on how to use C++ with the PSoC but this should not be taken to assume that you can use Arduino libraries... you cannot, unless you rewrite them in C or unless you rewrite a significant amount of Arduino code to interface with the PSoC. I found the Internet articles to be of little value. Most of the time, sections of Arduino libraries (Example: Adafruit GPS) can be extracted and used directly in your own C inline or put into a simple function. For the most part, the Types between the two environments translate at the 16-bit level but the ARM has extended Types to manage the 32-bit variables. So, be forewarned that you will spend some time dealing with type casting.

Praise be to the Arduino team for making things easy for novice programmers and hiding complexity. PSoC will hide nothing from you, so be prepared for a shock. Hardware Pins in the Arduino world are all converted for our convenience to aliases such as D1 and A0. PSoC uses route-able physical pin technology where signals are (for the most part) simply assigned to an arbitrary external pin number and then the whole collection is given a cute name (alias) for code use. This is ultimately flexible but does not automatically transcend from project to project. As your knowledge grows with PSoC you will find yourself evolving your usage of external pins. Unfortunately, few of us actually take the time to return to past projects to bring them in-line with our current knowledge level.

Getting a handle on all of the PSoC configurable hardware, such as Universal Digital Blocks (UDB), can be overwhelming. Everything has a separate datasheet but the TRM (Technical Reference Manual) is the king-book. For the PSoC 4200 series, this document is a 16M Byte PDF file... 678 Pages. Many Arduino users have never opened the Atmega328P reference manual but you will open the PSoC TRM.

The single item that impacts programmer productivity (or ability to just complete a project) is the lack of library support from the community. Remember, libraries are C-centric and not C++, so some of the everyday magic used in Arduino does not translate into PSoC. Critical libraries for Nokia GLCD and TFT Color SPI displays exist and Cypress has an embedded software component for 2x16 Hitacahi LCD but I have found nothing as complete as the Adafruit or Henning Karlsen software. With enough research, you can likely find pieces of the puzzle, but you will likely need to work diligently to complete or perfect the code.

In my opinion, the Cypress PSoC 4 users forum is nothing to write home about - I'm not sure it has reached critical mass and should even be called a forum. The active members are few and because of the nature of the PSoC product, most inquiries generally require uploading a complete ZIP of your project for inspection by others. There are no 'code tags' for the forum and the overall feel is "rough' in my opinion: no edit and no delete at present: to Cypress's defense, I have spoken with one of the EVP and have been informed that improvements are forthcoming. Cypress is a professional company and have a staff of engineers that answer questions relating to product; technical or otherwise, but these inquiries are managed through "case numbers" submission. Cypress sell PSoC in huge quantities to large corporations that demand no-nonsense support. This is not a hobbyist market. If you venture into this world, know that there is no hand-holding like the Arduino forum.

So, my overall summary is mixed: fantastic technology, free development tools, reasonably priced development products, reasonably priced IC's. I am delighted that I have spent a few months in this environment and I have created a few projects but I did cheat somewhat and followed work that I had previously done on the Arduino AVR platform. GPS Clock & Calendar, TFT Color Terminal, Nokia B/W SPI Terminal, 6 channel A/D, etc. I used very little of the overall capability of the PSoC 4200 in the area of configurable hardware; for example, I did not use a single OpAmp. But, I have gotten a taste of the hardware resource editor, the schematic project template, the bootloader, the UART, and the UDB. I really like the concept of PSoC and I have assembled enough of the PSoC 4200 prototype boards ($4) to continue to experiment. I have my 4200 Pioneer board for real-time debugging of my C code and examining the internal workings of the PSoC. (I really, really like this board.) I expect to continue my learning, but I am ready to go back to Arduino for my everyday playtime. Remember, I am a hobbyist and I am not working on commercial "stuff", so I can play with the Arduino and accomplish something in a short matter of time. At $3 each, the Atmega328P-PU are affordable and I have a tube of chips here on the workbench for my own designs. I also like to play with the Attiny85 chips. And then there is the 1284P-PU that I also love in my Bobduino board. Oh, that 8-bit vs 32-bit stuff is way overrated: only a few mathematical functions actually benefit from the 32-bit architecture. Mostly, I found myself having to cast variables to uint8_t in the PSoC. The 48MHz clock is very nice, but it takes more manipulation in many cases. When working with GPS or serial at 19200 BAUD, I saw no differences in human perception between the PSoC and the 8-bit 16MHz Arduino. In the case of the GPS, all of the character gathering from the GPS, the string parsing, the display arrangements, the display output were all accomplished and the Arduino was waiting on the next NEMA sentence to come in from the GPS. Hurry-up and wait in the Arduino translated to hurry-up and wait longer in the PSoC.



PSoC 4200:  I bought a 10 of the chips at $1 from Cypress and also bought 3 of their $4 CY8CKIT-049 development USB sticks.  One thing that pisses me off is that the "programmer" on the USB sticks cannot be used to program bare chips.  The bare chips have to be flashed with a bootloader first which requires a "real" programmer.  The cheapest programmer is the MiniProg3 which is $90 and it doesn't look like there are cheap clones on eBay (as there are for so many architectures).  That really irritates me.  I thought I was going to be able to get away with using the  CY8CKIT-049 as a programmer (not as a debugger or emulator though) and I didn't understand the whole bootloader B.S.  Honestly, I thought bootloaders more of an Arduino thing than a normal professional strategy and frankly I have used real programmers/debuggers for everything else other than Arduino.  It's just that I have always been able to get super cheap programmers before.  I don't want to pay $90 just to evaluate a chip.  Not happy.  Did get it to change the blinkenlights speed, though (i.e. the IDE works for me fine with the  CY8CKIT-049).  Still, I would rather work off the board I built out of these now useless bare ICs.
I will never ask you to do anything that I wouldn't do myself.


One thing that pisses me off is that the "programmer" on the USB sticks cannot be used to program bare chips.  The bare chips have to be flashed with a bootloader first which requires a "real" programmer.  .

Now, now...http://www.cypress.com/?id=4&rID=98796

Disclaimer... Have not tried it!



One thing that pisses me off is that the "programmer" on the USB sticks cannot be used to program bare chips.  The bare chips have to be flashed with a bootloader first which requires a "real" programmer.  .

Now, now...http://www.cypress.com/?id=4&rID=98796

Disclaimer... Have not tried it!


Thanks.  I will give this a shot tomorrow to program a dev board that I made via these pins and I will get back to you all on if it worked or not.
I will never ask you to do anything that I wouldn't do myself.


Some cheap (from China) USB/Serial converters of new types (for debugging/etc) (2102, CH340), and one of the pro-mini clones.


An EL wire "Party Pack" from Amazon for $14-some. It's got 4 9 ft. EL wires with battery pack controllers. Think real thin high efficiency neon. The controller has 1 button to make steady glow, slow flashing, faster flashing. This Party Pack comes in 4 colors.

I read the wire can be cut and spliced. It's a solid copper core coated in phosphors with a real thin wire spiral wrapped around that then clear plastic sheathed and finally a color filter outer layer. AC (IIRC 10KHz) applied makes it glow, and it does look good.

Nick Gammon on multitasking Arduinos:
1) http://gammon.com.au/blink
2) http://gammon.com.au/serial
3) http://gammon.com.au/interrupts


An OEM copy of Windows 8.1
The kids have moved on to 7 or 8.1 quite a while back, but my VMs are still running XP.
I'm not really looking forward to increasing all the VM disk sizes; are there any instructions people have successfully used for minimizing the disk consumption of W8?  (I want to run Atmel Studio, or CCS, or Keil, or PSoC designer.  I don't need a bunch of consumer-oriented apps with "live tiles.")

Nick Gammon

I recently received my Saleae Logic Pro 16.


This has support for analog channels. For example, on a 8 MHz clock signal:

At 50 MHz capture on the analog channel it is struggling slightly with getting the timing right (it saw 60 nS when it should be 62.5 nS).

The second screenshot shows it measuring a 125 kHz signal:

It still supports protocols like SPI:

And now you can search for a particular piece of data, like where in my capture there is MOSI signal with the (ASCII) letter "b" in it:

Please post technical questions on the forum, not by personal message. Thanks!

More info:


Nick, bought a Saleae logic 16 a year ago on your recommendation.
I very much like the new beta software that has been released for it.

Got a DSO for analog stuff as this Saleae version has limitations you alluded to.
Not sure the analog venture is a good one.
The way you have it in your schematic isn't the same as how you have it wired up!


Should be NA
A slight problem with 768.6 Gs  ;)
The way you have it in your schematic isn't the same as how you have it wired up!

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