Monthly Archives: June 2012

LCD Breadboard Adapter with Backlight Driver

LCD breadboard adapter with display

LCD breadboard adapter with display

This is a breadboard adapter I designed for the CFAF320240F TFT display from Crystalfontz. It breaks out the 0.5mm pitch connector to 0.1″ for use on a breadboard, and has a Fairchild FAN5333 LED driver circuit to power the backlight. All of the components were hand-soldered including the connector (using the flood-and-suck technique). It was designed for my PIC32 3D engine project, shown being used below:

LCD breadboard adapter used in my PIC323D project

This setup also uses the joystick (seen in the lower left) to rotate the 3D object on the screen around.

Crystal Binary Clock

Crystal Binary Clock

Crystal Binary Clock

This is a binary clock I made for my girlfriend’s birthday. It uses 6 jumbo red LEDs which illuminate quartz crystals to display the minutes in binary. Two servo motors are used in the bottom half to display AM/PM and the hour. All of this is controlled with a PIC16F690 microcontroller assembled on a breadboard.

Internals of clock showing circuit, servos, and connections to the LEDs above

The clock does not use any sort of timekeeping chip or even an external crystal for the microcontroller, so it relies on the internal RC oscillator and tends to lose a few minutes each day. There are only two buttons on the clock, an “IM” button (increase minutes) and “DM” (decrease minutes) which allows the time to be set/adjusted as needed.

A couple of BEAM robots

For anyone unfamiliar with the acronym, BEAM stands for Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics. The idea behind these robots is to use the fewest number of parts possible while achieving the greatest functionality. This is a picture of two BEAM robots I’ve built within the last few years as weekend projects.

Two simple BEAM robots, a photovore and a flasher

The one on the left is known as a “Photovore” due to it’s tendency to move toward the brightest light source. It uses two circuits called a “solar engines” to charge the capacitor on the back using the solar panel, and then discharge it into a motor once it reaches a certain voltage level. The motor chosen depends on which of the phototransistor “eyes” on the front is receiving more light. It is based on the Photopopper from solarbotics, and uses this circuit from the photopopper PDF:

Photopopper schematic from Solarbotics

The one on the right is a flasher. It simply discharges it’s capacitor into the two LED “eyes” on the front repeatedly, causing it to flash at different rates depending on the brightness in the room. It uses the solar engine below, found at BEAM Online:

BEAM solarengine