This local website contains all information on the microcontroller-based projects that I have been running, with my eldest son Joost being involved sometimes as well. I use the PICAXE and ZBASIC microcontroller types, two quite different but excellent systems for building applications both based on BASIC language.
Everybody wants to make a space trip, so my son Joost and I joined as well, that is, a trip to near space (31 kms high), through the service offered by JP Aerospace. For the full story on how we built this tiny satellite that fits into a pingpong ball, how it was flown upwards, which measurement results we got and to follow current developments, see the following link towards our PICAXE-18X based NLSE-1 Pongsat project. It has most probably been the first electronics-based PongSat that has functioned the whole trip towards near-space and back to earth, with registered temperatures as low as -60 C, thanks to a special LiPo battery.
The Picaxe "SerialPower" Network combines power delivery and bi-directional communications between processes on intelligent, picaxe-based battery-less nodes. This can be implemented using just two interchangeable wires. Simple diode-mixing networks with separate power and communication wires are supported as well.
In a joint project my son Joost and I built an airport model a while ago (Joost built and painted the hardboard-based construction, I took care of the electronics part). The model includes 68 programmable LEDs, all of them in three main landing and departure tracks as well as the support tracks. This is probably the one-and-only remote-controlled airport available on the globe that can be steered by a Sony RC!
The Philips EE series of kits have been developed by Philips Electronics from the sixties (the EE5/EE10 and EE8/EE20) till the eighties (EE3000) in various forms, and became very popular in various European countries, notably Germany and the Netherlands. Initially these kits were used to promote Philips-produced electronic parts to hobbyists, but at the end of the sixties the focus shifted towards educational purposes: the kits were intended to interest teenagers in studying electronics. As a result the series gradually developed into the most advanced electronic experimentation kit type that has been available ever, with designs that include several superhet radios, an oscilloscope and even a TV! Tor Gjerde has presented a great and very detailed presentation of the complete range of series at his website that I highly recommend for a visit.
The following pages contain a lot of information on the EE2000/EE2001 series, including new designs, adaptations of existing designs, as well as error corrections: http://www.kranenborg.org/ee
The popular Mahjong game (4 players using ivory bricks) uses a points reckoning system that balances the individuals' scores in a certain way so that the net result always equals zero. This process is rather tedious and therefore a good candidate for automation. My oldest son and I undertook the project of implementing such a calculator in ZBasic hardware using a ZX328L and a simple matrix keyboard and an LCD display.
The project is a nice example of the flexibility and power of the ZBasic platform, as shown for example by:
- The use of the FirstTime command to show a welcome text only a few times (a concise and cleaned-up version is shown in http://www.zbasic.net/forum/about1864.html.
- The use of the AN105 code for interfacing the matrix keyboard, providing for a very fluid behavior of the keyboard in practice.
- Object-oriented programming as a useful way to easily include functionality (for example: LCD display routines are used through the mix-in concept).
More info (including the circuit diagram and the code) can be found here at the ZBasic site.