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30Sep/090

ATTINY13A Automated Dog Stairs

ATTINY13A Motion Dectector Dog Stairs 

So I finally got my next shipment of PCB boards from BatchPCB.com. The boards were perfect, not one mfg issue (I suspect this is mostly thanks to what I learned from SparkFun.com). It's fantastically rewarding to see your ideas come to life, I posted here originally about the Arduino controlled dog stairs I had built but I wasn't satisfied. I wanted to free up the Arduino, it's not what a development board is for anyhow. I have since crossed the hurdle of building my own code in C using AVRStudio. I decided upon the ATTINY13A chip because it was small and really had just enough functionality to make this project work as I had wanted it to. The Arduino was overkill; an ATMEGA328 is WAY overkill for this project. I've learned so much about AVR programming I can't even believe how far I've come. I've posted the AVR source code, high resolution pictures and the eagle files so you can build your own. I figure I've got no more than $10 invested in this not including the stairs!

ATTINY13A Dog Stairs

And here are the boards I got from BatchPCB.com the other day.

BatchPCB.com Boards

Images and AVR Code
Title: AVRDogStairsSmall (336 clicks)
Caption: Images and AVR Code
Filename: avrdogstairssmall.zip
Size: 220 KB

Images and AVR Code
Title: AVRDogStairsSmall (336 clicks)
Caption: Images and AVR Code
Filename: avrdogstairssmall.zip
Size: 220 KB

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21Sep/090

LED Fire For This Year’s Jack-O-Latern

Anyone who knows my wife knows that she loves to "fall-ify" as much as she loves to decorate for Halloween! This year I found an example using LEDs toSimulated Fire With LEDs and ATTINY13A simulate a flickering fire. I decided this would be perfect to put inside our jack-o-latern and as soon as I got home today from work, I whipped up a working version for myself. I've attached a ZIP file which contains a few high-res pictures and the embedded C code you can use to program any AVR. I've used an ATTINY13A for this as I have a bunch laying around and they work perfectly for this project. They are also very cheap, I got mine from DigiKey for .87 each. The whole project cost me about $3.50 excluding the batteries. I think I may expand on this design a bit to include a photo-transistor and a small solar panel to only turn the circuit on at night and recharge the batteries during the day...Once I get the updated version, I'll update this post. Check out the video below of the LED Fire in action!

 

 

 

[youtube]OhWhZjwBKAQ[/youtube]

LED Fire
Title: LEDFire (321 clicks)
Caption: LED Fire
Filename: ledfire.zip
Size: 809 KB

LED Fire
Title: LEDFire (321 clicks)
Caption: LED Fire
Filename: ledfire.zip
Size: 809 KB

16Aug/090

Anyone for some homemade butter?

Yup, that's right! My wife had been reading some cool crafty blogs and I am always up for learning about something new so I got involved. We headed out to JoBeth to find a book that all the online blogs say is a must-have for DIY cheese and butter making (they had it, much to my surprise)! It's called the Home Creamery and it's a fantastic book to get you started making your own cheeses and butters!

It was sooo easy and far better tasting than store-bought butter. I even had Natalie cut some fresh chives from the garden and I added that with some garlic powder to make a more savory butter! Fantastic stuff!

Whole whipping cream getting smooth now!

Butter Getting Smooth

Right Before the butter starts to form!

Right before the butter starts to form!

Ah, time for some elbow grease!

My butter is nearly done!

Getting rid of the remaining buttermilk.

Getting out the rest of the butter milk.

Salted and ready!

Salted and ready

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2Aug/090

Do we really need a bathroom exhaust fan?

Broan Bathroom VentI was at Lowes a few weeks back to exchange out our propane tank and pick up a few misc items and as I walked up to the store I couldn't help but notice they were having an annual clearance event (never knew they had one). Anyhow, the isle ways were full of junk and most of it was pure junk but I thought I'd find some little golden nugget in the piles of junk somewhere...

That's when I noticed this sitting on top of some busted doors. The box was ripped open but after a quick examination it appeared to be not only fully intact, but no missing parts (even had the owner’s manual). With no price listed, I asked one of the sales associates and he said that this was not supposed to be on clearance because they still stock them but he'd give it to me for 60% off. 2 scones and 140CFM,  SOLD! WOOT! Not sure we need one but I think my wife will appreciate it, she always gets upset that she can't stay in the bathroom to do her hair while I'm in the shower because the bathroom quickly builds up with steam.

It'll be a few more weeks before I can get this project off the ground, I've been researching already but I have to work the next few weekends so all my plans are on hold...bleh.

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