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Alberto's Electronics Designs

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The Witness Camera

The WITNESSCAM is an autonomous, self-recording surveillance camera you can build at home!

It looks liike an ordinary alram detector, but when it detects movements, it silentrly starts recording.

  • embedded PIR sensor for movement detection
  • VGA camera, up to 50000 snapshots on a 1GB card
  • records snapshots on SD cards
  • PC compatible format, JPEG compression
  • interactive voice-prompts menu system
  • remote control

This design awarded the Grand Prize at Atmel's AVR 2006 Design Contest

Go to the Witnesscam page

The Silicon Wallet

This palm-sized device stores hundreds of IDs, passwords and codes; the legitimate proprietary can browse them on the LCD at the turn of a knob.

  • Amazing data-entry system, can receive data from any web browser just "looking at the screen"
  • Stores data in hardware-protected memory
  • Single-chip project based on the Programmable System On Chip architecture (PSoC)
  • C source code available
  • Prototype for a visionary class of devices that can be enabled just exposing them to web pages

This design awarded the Cypress Semiconductors' "High Integration Challenge - Honourable Mention Prize"

Go to the Silicon Wallet page

PC thermometer

jump to PC thermometer designA simple yet accurate thermometer that adds a "temperature icon" to the Windows taskbar.

  • Measures one or two (indoor and outdoor) temperatures.
  • Simple design, no microcontrollers
  • No calibration needed
  • No batteries, no external power supply needed
  • It connects to PC serial port
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Full source code in Visual Basic.
  • Expandable up to 8 sensors.

Study the code and learn how to control IIC bus devices from high level languages!

This one of the most popular designs of this web site.

Go to pcTHERM page

wireless mousetrapA compact monitoring station controls up to 20 tiny transmitters placed inside mousetraps - or anything you need to keep under observation!
  • up to 20 transmitters per system
  • ultra low power, transmitter batteries last for years
  • reports sensor activation, transmitter battery level and lost transmitters
  • C source code for the free Metrowerks compiler

This design awarded the Motorola "Flash Innovations Distinctive Excellence Prize"

Displays temperatures on your TV, with crisp, high quality pictures. You can add animations and CD-quality audio too!
  • customizable graphics (e.g. add logos and advertisements...) stored on CD or DVD.
  • modular C source code (compiler is free!)
  • only 2 ICs needed.

This design awarded the Motorola "Flash Innovations Distinctive Excellence Prize"

Go to DVD-therm page

Video DVM

jump to Video DVM designA digital volt meter that displays voltages on your TV screen, with both giant digits and an analogue bar display. Maximum and minimum peaks are displayed, too. Serial output for use as a data logger in conjunction with your PC.

  • Try doing better with only 512 words of assembler!

This design awarded the third international prize at the Elektor Electronics 1997 microprocessor & microcontrollers design contest.

Go to Video DVM page

Scriptable thermometer

jump to Video DVM designA thermometer with a computer built-in. It can be programmed in a basic-ish language (the editor is built in, too).

  • very simple, surprisingly few parts
  • graphic LCD, serial comm to PC
  • simple and powerful language interpreter
  • C source code
  • scripts for making a graphing thermometer and a GSM cell-phone connected vending machine are provided

This design awarded the "application of the day" international prize at the National Semiconductor's COP8FLASH design contest.

Go to Scriptherm page

RF pad

Differently from the usual combination locks, this circuit replaces RF remote controls. Enter the correct combination to transmit a code compatible with the popular remotes based on the MM53200, UM3750 and UM86409 - and, of course, Nutchips.

  • professional design
  • battery operated
  • key-bleep
  • customizable keys, codes and combinations
  • full 'C' source code provided
  • rf & serial outputs

Go to RF pad page

Bingo! (on your TV)

jump to Bingo!!! designA bingo or lottery generator.
Besides drawings numbers randomly, it displays them on your TV screen.

  • last number drawn diplayed with big. easy-to-read characters
  • full number table always on-screen
  • numbers taken are in white, remaining in green
  • internal eeprom memory keep the numbers just in case of black out.
  • dirt but effective assembly programming, uses all the tricks to squeeze out all the power from the AVR micro (AT90S1200)

Go to Bingo!!! page

Slot car video cronograph

jump to video cronograph designAnother variation around the theme of video generators based on the Atmel AT90S1200. This triple TV-chronograph is triggered by photocells: gives you a "ready - set -go" sequence through red and green semaphore lights (with impartial random timing), reveals jump starts, takes times with one hundreth of a second precision, and finally -surprise surprise- send those times to a computer (not required) via a serial link, just in case you want to write a tournament/timing program.

Go to Video Cronograph page 

Tiny Planet SMS control

Control your home automation system, switch the burglar alarm or any other equipment with your cellphone.

Be alerted with an SMS when the input triggers.

Cheap: just one IC and a transistor.
A joint design with AVR guru Claudio Lanconelli - and another popular Circuit Cellar article!

Go to Tiny Planet page

"Good old" parking sonar

jump to Parking Sonar designAn ultrasonic sonar that shows distances from obstacles with both a LED bar graph display and an alarm buzzer. It was one of my first designs, and does NOT use special components nor microcontrollers, since the "good old" name.

Go to Parking Sonar page

A simple, yet effective alarm system.
  • Control it at the touch of a remote control
  • Wireless immediate and delayed sensors
  • Customizable without knowing how to program: just modify its truth table to change its behaviour
  • Compatible with RFpad combination lock

The relay switches on as long as the correct card is in. Converts pirate-smartcards to pacific and legal use

  • Very few parts, no programming skills required
  • Truth-table driven, you can cange the truth table to suit your needs.
  • Card codes can be reprogrammed in-circuit (in case a card gets lost or stolen)

Casio LCD graphing data logger

go to Casio design pageAn handheld data logger that uses a Casio Graphing Calculator as its main display, calculus and backup unit, connected to the external world thanks to a PIC16F84 and a 12 bit A/D converter!

  • "see" your data while sampling
  • apply all that powerful statistical and math functions of the Casio calculator.     
  • run it from batteries (runs for month from a 9V battery)
  • costs 20 times less of any PC based solution of comparable power

This design awarded the best overall prize at the Circuit Cellar's Design '98 international design contest.   I'm very proud of it: with all these top-quality international entries, I feel like winning the Designer's Olympic Games!

Go to Casio page

How To: PCB fabrication
without special materials

Hands-on tutorial for making printed circuit boards at home, using magazine paper to replace expensive toner-transfer paper.
Fast and easy: you can start with a great idea at 11:00 pm and have your prototype working by midnight!

Go to PCB how-to page

phone charger

How I made my phone charger to disconnect from the mains when not in use.

A proof-of concept design showing how to apply affordance to improve existing devices (usability and planet-friendliness) without sacrificing costs

Go to Greenbox charger page


How To: Reverse-engineering with Photoshop

Additional content: more simple designs...  
Please note: the above designs are copyrighted. You are allowed to realize them for personal use only. Any commercial or industrial use (including also publishing on paper, networks or CD Rom) requires the written authorization of the copyright holders.



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