In this episode Shahriar takes a close look at programming the popular NeoPixel RGB LEDs using a PIC microcontroller and C-language. A close-up of the NeoPixel (WS2812) LED is shown with attention to identifying various semiconductor elements inside the package. The principle operation of the LED is the described along with a detailed explanation of the pins and the one-wire communication protocol.
A simple evaluation board for the PIC18F4550 is used to drive a circular array of 60 NeoPixel LEDs from Adafruit. After presenting the difficulties of providing an accurate pulse-shape using the C-language, the measured waveform is shown on a Tektronix MDO4000B. Finally, the code for a circular color rotating pattern is presented and demoed. The code for the experiment can be downloaded here.
There is also equipment giveaway! A TPI Scope Plus 440 and a Tektronix TDS2232 are being given away at no charge! Please leave a comment on the video or on the website. You must be a resident of the USA to receive the giveaway. A winner will be chosen at a later date and notified via email.
In this episode, Shahriar investigates the theory and experimental results of the impact of extreme low temperatures on passive and active components. Liquid Nitrogen in used in a transparent glass Dewar where different components can be fully submerged in the liquid. Various types of resistors are compared for their temperature stability. An electromagnet which uses Copper coils is used to generate a magnetic field at a constant power consumption at both extreme temperatures. The impact of liquid nitrogen on the junction voltage of an NPN device is measured as well as the frequency shift of a CMOS ring oscillator. Finally, the wavelength shift of an LED submerged in liquid nitrogen is studied. There is a puzzle at the end of this video, please share your thoughts in the comments section. All documents can be downloaded from here.
In this (experimental) episode Shahriar demonstrates two embedded-electronic circuits available for purchase from Sparkfun Electronics. The demos illustrate some of the capabilities of these circuits along with a short instruction on how to interface and operate them. All the code for the AHRS demo and the RGB Matrix demo are available to download.
The first demo is of a 9-degree of freedom (9-DoF) sensor board equipped with three dimension of linear acceleration (accelerometer), angular acceleration (gyroscope) and magnetometer. Using the combined information from these sensors an Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) data can be extracted. The demo shows this system in action using customized Matlab functions.
The second demo demonstrates the ease of use of an RGB LED Matrix equipped with an SPI interface. A sample C code written for a Microchip PIC18F2455 is used to draw some simple animations.
This is an experimental episode to judge the level of interest in these type of demo videos. Please leave feedback!
As our first episode Shahriar will review two products from Saleae: “Logic” and the brand new “Logic16”. The video review also features USBee SX which is a direct competitor to Logic. Logic ($149) and Logic16 ($299) can be purchased directly from Saleae’s website or from one of their distributors.
Make sure you watch the next episode where we take these units apart to see what makes them tick!
The Signal Path (TSP) is an electrical engineering video blog for industry professionals, students and hobbyists. TSP is a non-for-profit website dedicated to provide free education spanning a wide range of electrical engineering topics. Equipment reviews, tutorials and repair videos are posted regularly.