Solar Array Progress - An Update

photovoltaic system - 275In my article on the Irradiance Meter, I showed a picture of my friend Orris's solar panel set up for evaluation.  I recently had a chance to visit and see the progress on this project.  It's most impressive!  Orris has been busy.  Although not a exactly a microcontroller project, I think you'll enjoy seeing what a DIY-er can do on a large scale.

The array consists of 24 panels of 4' x 4' with a potential output of about 4 kW.  The array features vertical tracking and will eventually include reflectors to direct more sunlight on to the panels.  The panels are shown nearly fully elevated for the winter sun in the Seattle area (47° N latitude).

Array - 674

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Why should coffee tables be limited to magazines and cups of coffee? All that precious space could be used for something far more exciting, like video games!

This DIY project allows up to four players to battle it out in a game of Pong. And it's named accordingly, "The Super Pong Table".

The Game

There is an Atari paddle controller for each player to move their respective 'bat' to the left or right. With five balls to start with, each of them project at different speeds and angles. From there it's just like old school pong; the object being you need to use your bat to 'bounce' the ball away. If a player misses a ball, the ball will re-appear in the middle of the screen.

Each successful hit awards one point to the player. Alternately, a miss will deduct one point. The object of the game is to reach 20 points. The first person to do so will receive a 'YOU WIN' animation. Here's a video of the table in use:

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Ten Buck Lab-Grade Variable Power Supply

(Republished from another web site by permission of the author - me)

A variable voltage power supply is an asset to any bench.  Even if a commercial lab supply is available, another power supply is always useful to operate those things that require an odd voltage or to check performance under different voltages.  When combined with the Power Monitor, this ten buck power supply will keep up with most lab-type power supplies.

power_supply

 

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LEDs

Want to bring your romantic candle lit dinners into the 21st century? Well you can now with this super simple LED candle hack!

All you need are a couple of tea light candles, some LEDs and a few button batteries. Watch the following video for more info!

Simple Signal Generator - Revised

main_screenI recently had use for the simple signal generator. I described before for testing out some piezo buzzers I got for next to nothing.  I reloaded the code onto a TAP-28 board I had handy, made the connections and was quickly rewarded with some noise.

 

 

sig_gen_smSince I find this really useful to have around, I decided to dedicate a TAP-28 board to the task and mounted it in an enclosure.  The the same time, I wrote a simple Windows (sorry Linux guys) application to control the signal generator.  No more button pressing and terminal emulator.  Just enter the desired frequency and duty cycle and away it goes.  Very handy.

The full details including a schematic diagram, Swordfish Basic source and compiled files and the Windows application can be found on the ThrowAwayPIC site.

 

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