How to get rid of your prototype board

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The ATmega328 microcontroller, just removed from the Arduino board, ready to start living on its own.

When you started discovering microcontrollers, you probably bought some kind of evaluation or prototype board. The microcontroller chip itself is placed in a nice socket on a PCB, surrounded by power circuit, some I/O, and RS232 or USB connector for programming. But after a while you want to remove the chip from the board and place it in your first own application. What do you need to get the chip running? — more →

CW keyer for foxes and beacons

Introduction

Beacons and foxes have to identify themselves. Although I could sit along all day with my morse key, transmitting my call, I wanted to have some automatic keyer. Since I recently bought a PIC development kit (Velleman K8048), I thought that it would be a nice idea to create my first PIC application by building a CW keyer.

I never wrote PIC source code yet, but I have done some assembly for 68000 and x86 in the past. So it shouldn’t be to difficult to write a simple program, keying one of the outputs of a PIC. On the CD of my PIC development kit I found some sample programs, including one for a flashing LED (this appears to be the “Hello, World!” application for microcontrollers). I modified the source code and finally build the bunch of code which you can find on the bottom of this page. I’m sure that this code is not the best PIC program of the world, but it works and at least I understand how it actually works. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to send them to me! — more →