Category Archives: circuits

Surplus Center

Mike Olson likes to move heavy things.  So when he says something like this: Hands down the best site for finding cheap powerful motors is: You can’t search by torque, but they usually have an excellent seclection of powerful … Continue reading

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Using an Accelerometer to Sense Which Way Is Up

ITP just got some nifty flat panel mounts that can rotate 360 degrees. They’re very easy to move, it takes only one hand. When I saw them, I thought, “what good is a rotating mount if the content on the … Continue reading

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Converting an Arduino Diecimila into an ICSP programmer

Kimio Kosaka has made a way to program a virgin Atmega168 without a hardware programmer.  You use a modified version of the avrdude programming software that can access the extra pins of an FTDI USB-to-serial chip, do a little soldering … Continue reading

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How Much Electricity Is Dangerous?

This question comes up all the time in physical computing classes and workshops. Recently Zach Eveland posted a good informal but thorough answer to the ITP physical computing list. This isn’t an authoritative medical answer by any means, but it’s … Continue reading

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Microcontroller Shop

Microcontroller Shop has a variety of useful electronic and microcontroller parts. What they have that’s exciting are the XBee boards from They sell the XBee Simple board, the XBee Serial board, and the XBee USB board.

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Control Geek

Control Geek – John Huntington’s guide to all things in show control. John’s book on show control covers every show control data protocol you might need and then some.

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Circuit schematic symbols for Illustrator

ITP alum David Bamford has posted some Illustrator symbols for making circuit schematics, for those people comfortable in Illustrator. Thanks to David for the link and the symbols.
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XBee to USB modules

The USB board is nice, because in addition to having a built-in 5V-to-3.3V regulator and indicator LEDs, it’s got all the pins of the XBee broken out on the side of the board…. As the US dollar continues to sink, they’re a bit pricier for US customers, but still reasonable, for now.Thanks to Rob Faludi and Jeff LeBlanc for testing help, and to Luigi Carnevale for supplying sample boards.
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Startup Checks

Since this value is stored even when the Arduino is not powered, you’re going to get a new number each time it’s run.Thanks to Hans for the code./* EEPROM reset checker By Hans Steiner Reads a value from the EEPROM on startup, prints it out, and increments the value then stores it back in EEPROM…. Created 25 Oct. 2007*/ #include <EEPROM.h>int potPin = 5; // select the input pin for the potentiometerint motorPin = 9; // select the pin for the LEDint value = 0; // variable to store the value coming from the sensorint resetCountByte = 36;void setup() { // open the serial port Serial.begin(9600); // read the last value stored in the EEPROM: value =; // send it out the serial port: Serial.println(value); // increment it and write it back to the EEOPROM: EEPROM.write(resetCountByte, value + 1); pinMode(motorPin, OUTPUT); // declare the motor as an OUTPUT pinMode(13, OUTPUT); // declare the LED pin as an output digitalWrite(13,HIGH); // turn on the LED}void loop() { // you can do anything you want to here.}
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RFID Readers from SonMicro

Mike Kuniavsky and Tod Kurt of ThingM recommended these RFID readers from Son Micro. They’re some of the cheapest ones I;ve seen on the market, and relatively small.
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