October 15th, 2007

Cool Battery Meter

Cool Battery Meter     Keith’s presents us a project easy to build and sometimes useful around the house. I had my moments when I wished I had a battery meter. If you had the same.. maybe now its time to build your own battery meter.

    The main piece of the meter is the “meter board” which you can buy from an electronics store.. or you can recover it from an old multimeter. I recommend you use a new one. You will avoid trouble. If you decide to build it go to Keith’s electronics blog for details on construction.

    I found this project on Kifo’s electronic website and I consider it very accessible to beginners. Although it’s really easy to build, it can be impressive to you and to your friends. Nokia 3310 has a LCD with 84*84 dots, that isn’t that hard to get and can be very useful in DIY (do it yourself) electronics. The LCD supports two modes of operation (normal and inverse); the jumper placed on the back of the device is used for changing modes.Negative temperatures are given a “minus”, the bar shows temperatures normally but with an added minus.

thermometer using Nokia’s 3310 LCDthermometer using Nokia’s 3310 LCD

    The first thing you need to do is to get yourself a Nokia 3310 and start extracting the LCD. You should be very careful and patient during this process, because as you know the display is just a thin piece of glass that is very sensitive. There is an 8 pin connector on the back of the display, in our case it’s glued to the glass (Nokia 3210 has “rubber” connectors so this one is much easier to use). This is a Phillips PCD8544 display, it can be easily found on the net if you want more information about it.

thermometer using Nokia’s 3310 LCD

    The next step is making the board which is small and easy to build. You should place some plastic edges on the board so the display rests on them and not on the solder points.

thermometer using Nokia’s 3310 LCD

    Next step is to assemble the board, and it should look like in this picture. Notice the sensor is in a socket, it is also possible to connect it at distance by wire.For more detailed instructions and downloads of needed files go to Kifo electronic.

thermometer using Nokia’s 3310 LCD

Here is a list of technical characteristics:

  • Voltage ………………….. 3 – 3.3 V
  • Range………………..-55 to 125 C
  • Min. temp. step ………… 0,1 ‘ C
  • Max. error ………………. +/- 0,5 ‘ C
  • Max. resolution …………. 0,0625 ‘ C
  • Temp. refreshed every…. 1,2 sec.
  • Dimensions ………………. 40 * 38 mm
  • 2 modes of display ………normal/inverse
  • LCD………………………. 84*48pixela
  • Amperage…………….. 0,2 mA – 0,8 mA

Another cool robot gadget The Hexapod     The hexapod is another cool gadget from Active Robots, for those of you who like robots and DIY you should buy this and see how it goes with the assembly of the robot. The Extreme Hexapod 1 Walker Kit really walks using a simplified version of the alternating tripod gait. The robot’s six legs are controlled by three servos to provide full stride, (horizontal motion), and 1″ of leg lift, (vertical motion).

    The middle legs use a parallelogram design to make the lifting operation much more efficient. With a payload of more than 12 oz., this robot has no trouble getting around. The robot is supplied with control electronics. A host PC is required to download programs to the robot. Everything you need to get on the move is included in this kit. You can buy this kit for about 350 $ from Active Robots page

Some of the features are:

  • Precision Laser cut structural components
  • Autonomous operation once programmed
  • Sample programs for the Basic Atom are provided
  • Preassembled electronics
  • Full Tripod gait using only three servos

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