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UART Based Networking for Microcontrollers

This article describes a simple networking system that supports multiple slave devices connected to a single serial port on the host system. The microcontroller side only requires a UART and can be implemented with a minimal amount of code. Background Almost two years ago I designed and built a small multi purpose bench testing tool to help with fault finding my electronics projects. The goal was to make it easier to measure voltages and currents at multiple points in a circuit without a desk full of multimeters. I wound up with a workable unit (workable enough for me to use at least) but the…

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The Benchtool - Where Now?

The competition I originally started working on the Bench Testing Tool is now over (see this post for details) but the project is far from complete and I would like to finish it off - mainly so I can use it myself but also because a number of people have expressed interest in building (or buying) their own in the future. I'm currently enjoying a few weeks break so I've had a bit of time to think about how I want to move ahead with the project and what changes I should make to the current design to improve performance and usability. I also have to give some thought to making it a bit easier to…

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Brisbane Makes Makercamp

Yesterday was the Brisbane Makes Makercamp at Hackerspace Brisbane and the culmination of the Make Anything competition I had entered. It was a very full day - the number of interesting people and interesting projects was incredible. The chance to talk with such a large group of like minded people was amazing - by the end of the day my voice was a bit croaky from talking so much but it was price worth paying though for such a great experience. It was also an opportunity for the Hackerspace to show itself at it's best and it did it great job of it - the number of people who turned up to look ar…

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Benchtool Sampling Firmware

The past weeks worth of work on the Benchtool Project has been focused on the firmware for the sampling module. I've used a Stellaris Launchpad for this part of the project. This update is just a quick rundown on how things have progressed so far. Developing for the Launchpad I've been very impressed with the Launchpad - building a set of make files and build scripts to compile and deploy the code turned out to be very useful. Rather than use the IDE provided by TI I chose to build up a GCC toolchain and use that instead. The process was not overly difficult - I followed the guides found here…

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Benchtool UI Demo

Here is a sample of the Benchtool UI: This is a simulated view, I'm using my QuickUI library with the VNC driver and the Java window manager library. Inputs are being simulated - it's not talking to any real hardware at this stage. It's not exactly the prettiest UI around but it's functional enough to be useful. A lot of the look and feel can be changed by updating some static icon images and the palette. The interface is touch driven so you won't see a mouse cursor. It gives you the option to save the current samples (the floppy disk icon), record data (the circle icon) and the ability to see…

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