Circuit Cellar Ink 235
February 2010

Table of Contents


CJ Abate

HTML Task Manager

Choose Your Own Design Adventure


John Gorsky

HTML New Product News


Brian Millier

RFID-Based Liquid Control

Part 1: Working with Off-the-Shelf Components

With this article series, you'll learn how to build an RFID-based controller for monitoring dispensed liquid nitrogen from a tank. Operated in a laboratory setting, the system also bills customers for what they use. This article details how to get started with some off-the-shelf components and simple code.



John Clayton

FPGA Embedded Microcontroller Environment

If you want to set up a simple custom microcontroller development environment, this article is for you. As you'll see, all you need to get started with FPGA-based embedded design is a PC, some HDL coding/synthesis tools, and an FPGA board.


Silicon Update


Tom Cantrell

A Winning Hand

Betting on the ARM Cortex-M3

Thirty-two-bit flash MCUs are the hottest game in town. The stakes are high, but so is the opportunity presented by billions of sockets to fill. Top MCU suppliers are placing their bets on ARM Cortex-M3 and putting their chips -- of the silicon variety, naturally -- on the table.

Above the Ground Plane


Ed Nisley

Totally Featureless Clock

WWVB Simulator

Ed began constructing a Totally Featureless Clock for a friend by first building a WWVB simulator. That's mostly a simple matter of software. But there's also the analog chain: a crystal oscillator, a steep filter built around a MAX274, and a feeble power amp driving a bar antenna.



Bruce Land

Floating Point for DSP

For DSP and other fine-grained parallel operations, you need to pick a floating-point representation and implement five basic operations. The 18-bit floating point described here allows up to 70 floating-point multipliers and around 150 floating-point adders to be placed on an FPGA.



Monte Dalrymple

Advanced Encryption Standard

Understanding AES Without Math

Does the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) confuse you? Try taking the complicated math out of the picture and approaching it from a hardware point of view. This will make the encryption/decryption process a little clearer and help you ensure your data is protected.


The Darker Side


Robert Lacoste

Living with Errors

An Introduction to Forward Error Correction

Forward error correction (FEC) algorithms are commonly used in disk encoding, RAM chips, GSM mobile phones, and more. But what is FEC? This article introduces the topic of FEC, and Hamming FEC encoding and decoding in particular. With this information, you'll be knowledgeable enough to use FEC algorithms in a future project.


From the Bench


Jeff Bachiochi

Sun Tracker

Part 1: Create a Directional Light Sensor

You can check your watch, cell phone, or the Internet for the time. But if you want a more interesting time-keeping device, try building a "sun tracker." That's right. You can tell the time with the sun and a directional light sensor. The sun's readily available; you just need to build an efficient system around an MCU and light sensors.


Crossword Puzzle


Advertiser's Index / March Preview


Steve Ciarcia

HTML Priority Interrupt

Feature Creep

Bonus Article


Michael Chan

Using USB for Computer Interfacing Projects

Are you ready to use the power of USB technology for computer control? You can convert a Microchip Technology PIC18F4550 and a few other parts into a plug-and-play control device in parallel or serial mode. This project will simplify your next computer control application. It's time to revive your favorite printer port control projects!
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