Are you experiencing designer’s block? Having a hard time starting a new project? You aren’t alone. After more than 11 months of designing and programming (which invariably involved numerous successes and failures), many engineers are simply spent. But don’t worry. Just like every other year, new projects are just around the corner. Sooner or later you’ll regain your energy and find yourself back in action. Plus, we’re here to give you a boost. The December issue (Circuit Cellar 269) is packed with projects that are sure to inspire your next flurry of innovation.
Turn to page 16 to learn how Dan Karmann built the “EBikeMeter” Atmel ATmega328-P-based bicycle computer. He details the hardware and firmware, as well as the assembly process. The monitoring/logging system can acquire and display data such as Speed/Distance, Power, and Recent Log Files.
Another interesting project is Joe Pfeiffer’s bell ringer system (p. 26). Although the design is intended for generating sound effects in a theater, you can build a similar system for any number of other uses.
You probably don’t have to be coerced into getting excited about a home control project. Most engineers love them. Check out Scott Weber’s garage door control system (p. 34), which features a MikroElektronika RFid Reader. He built it around a Microchip Technology PIC18F2221.
Once considered a hobby part, Arduino is now implemented in countless innovative ways by professional engineers like Ed Nisley. Read Ed’s article before you start your next Arduino-related project (p. 44). He covers the essential, but often overlooked, topic of the Arduino’s built-in power supply.
Need to extract a signal in a noisy environment? Consider a lock-in amplifier. On page 50, Robert Lacoste describes synchronous detection, which is a useful way to extract a signal.
This month, Bob Japenga continues his series, “Concurrency in Embedded Systems” (p. 58). He covers “the mechanisms to create concurrently in your software through processes and threads.”
On page 64, George Novacek presents the second article in his series, “Product Reliability.” He explains the importance of failure rate data and how to use the information.
Jeff Bachiochi wraps up the issue with a article about using heat to power up electronic devices (p. 68). Fire and a Peltier device can save the day when you need to charge a cell phone!
Set aside time to carefully study the prize-winning projects from the Reneas RL78 Green Energy Challenge (p. 30). Among the noteworthy designs are an electrostatic cleaning robot and a solar energy-harvesting system.
Lastly, I want to take the opportunity to thank Steve Ciarcia for bringing the electrical engineering community 25 years of innovative projects, essential content, and industry insight. Since 1988, he’s devoted himself to the pursuit of EE innovation and publishing excellence, and we’re all better off for it. I encourage you to read Steve’s final “Priority Interrupt” editorial on page 80. I’m sure you’ll agree that there’s no better way to begin the next 25 years of innovation than by taking a moment to understand and celebrate our past. Thanks, Steve.