Mar 12 2014

Ardu Companion

Ardu Companion 3In the last couple of month I’ve been involved in the development of an iPhone app, Ardu Companion, that finally it has been released on App Store.

Ardu Companion is an extremely, powerful and complete companion tu use in your daily projects and experiments with electronics prototyping. In fact, Ardu Compaion provides a complete set of tools to help you in developing with 8 bits Atmel micro-controllers and developing platforms, like the Arduino boards.

These tools include: calculators for Timers, PWMs, ADCs (these three tools are for free and 100% functioning), other tools include: sample codes for timers, PWMs, ADCs, watchdog, debouncing and serial-data management, tools to obtain the values of resistors and inductors from the color codes on the components, the Ohm’s law, calculators for RC/RL/LC/RLC filters, voltage dividers, the series/parallel resistor circuits, the time for charging capacitors, the usage of op-amps, how to calculate the resistor for LEDs, how to configure an LM317 voltage regulator, how to use an NE555, and how to calculate the heat of a silicon junction (these tools are offered with in-app purchase).

When using the calculators for timers, PWM, and ADC, if you tap on the “?” button you’ll get a brief explanation on how that peripheral works and what are the registers to configure it (tap on the floating info window to close it). Fill the required fields and tap on the Compute button to calculate the values you need. Tap on Clear all to clear all the fields.


Ardu Companion 1 Ardu Companion 2 Ardu Companion 4


Ardu Companion is available for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux platforms too.

Download_OSX Download_Win Download_Linux

For the desktop version only, you can purchase the additional functionalities from here:

Jan 06 2014

The computer’s bug

Computer bugIn computer science an error in a software is usually named as bug. It can be serious or not, from an undesired behavior to a crash of the software itself. If, aftwerward, the bug affects a notable part of the system, it can compromize the security of the computer. The web attacks that use bugs discovered into the web servers that host internet sites are well known. But where does the term “bug” from?

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Nov 24 2013

Let’s schedule our jobs with millis()

Millis() is a function provided by the Arduino core that returns the number of milliseconds since the board has been powered on. Millis() is based on a counter that is automatically incremented by an interrupt attached to the timer 0, for the value it returns constantly increases not being influenced by the user’s code.

We can use millis() to schedule the execution particular actions, like it was a timer that give the starting signal at our code without blocking the execution of the same code awaiting the right moment to do jobs.

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Nov 19 2013

ATmega644P/1284P core updated for IDE 1.5.4

ATmega644I’ve updated the additional core that supports the ATmega644P & ATmega1284P microcontrollers to work with the IDE 1.5.4.

Just download the attached package (click on “Read the rest of this entry”), uncompress it and copy the folder /megax4 into the folder /hardware of the IDE 1.5.4. More details in the README.txt.

Nov 11 2013

How to use the tinyAVR MCUs with the Arduino IDE 1.5.x

attiny84New version of my guide to program the ATtiny MCUs from Atmel with the last version of the new Arduino IDE 1.5.x branch. This new release of the guide has its roots into the Arduino forum and was possible due to the help of the user PaoloP. The guide illustrates how to program the ATtiny chips supported by the Tiny core (at the moment, the chips ATtiny25/45/85, ATtiny24/44/84, ATtiny2313/4313 are supported) with the IDE 1.5.4.

Nov 08 2013

10 ways to destroy an Arduino

10 ways to destroy an Arduino is an interesting article published by Rugged Circuits, the creators of the Arduino compatible Ruggeduino, illustrates several accidental events that can electrically destroy your Arduino board.

If you’ve received your Arduino recently, I reccomend you to read it before to start torturing your Arduino ;-)

Thanks to Rugged Circuits, for letting me translate in italian his article.

Nov 03 2013

Arduino, how to exchange serial data with a computer

Arduino UNO R3

Arduino UNO R3

One of the most annoying problems of the newset Arduino users is the serial communication, mostly the data exchange from and to the computer. People that start working with microcontrollers for the very first time doesn’t understand how datas are sent over the serial line.

In the rest of the article I’ll try to explain how to send datas from and to the PC and how let the Arduino interprete what’s coming from the external environment.

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Oct 19 2013

Let’s learn how to use the Watchdog (2)

Watchdog (Atmel Atmega328P)

Watchdog (Atmel Atmega328P)

In a previous article on the use of the watchdog we have seen how to use this peripheral to reset the microcontroller if the CPU gets into a dead-lock code.

With this article we’ll instead analize another use of the watchdog, namely a simple interrupt generator, that you can for example use to raise up the MCU from a power saving mode without the need to use external interrupt signals or the timers of the microcontroller.

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Oct 02 2013

The “FUSE” bits

FusibiliAtmel chips have present some internal registers that can be used to set up several particular features of the microcontroller, i.e. the options to choose the clock source, to reserve a part of the Flash memory to the bootloader, to activate internal circuits like the WatchDog (WD) or the Brown-out Detector (BOD), to set the behavior of the reset pin and so on. These registers are called Fuses, like the fuses used in electronics, even there’s nothing that is burned inside the memory of the microcontroller: they are so called because they are stored into Flash, a non volatile memory of the chip, so that they don’t loose their  value when the micro is powered down. Moreover, user can change them only by using an external programmer so that they cannot be modified by the software of by accidents (to be honest, they should not be..).
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Sep 26 2013

The Gundam Syndrome!

Mobile_Suit_GundamDo you know the Gundam Syndrome? Don’t smile, it really exists! Or maybe not… :-)

The Gundam Syndrome is a funny expression that is mainly used on robotics forums (Gundam is a mecha robot, to find more infos, please visit the Wikipedia) but can be used in other ambits, necessary condition is the presence of “something to make”.

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