No Shave November

Tomorrow marks the first day of my 30 day journey of not shaving. This should be a rather easy mission to accomplish however I will have to try and find a way to disguise it if I have to meet anyone important or if I have an interview. I know my girlfriend will probably be upset about this as well but, it’s a guy thing and she just wouldn’t understand… I wish every man good luck on their quest of beard epicness and I would love to compare beards at the end of the month. Happy November!

Digital Logic: 4-bit Binary Adder

A 4-bit Binary Adder is actually quite interesting when you get down to how it really works. Before the carry look ahead adder was created a ripple adder would be used to make simple binary calculations. However, this was inefficeint in that a ripple adder relies on a completed summation in order to continue, this in effect would take much longer to compute and in a fast paced world made very little sense.

Fast forward, a few very intelligent people devised a way to make an adder that would look ahead at previous carries and would be able to preform calculations where all of the results could be summed and a correct answer would be outputted all at the same time.

In this lab we were asked to not only add two 4bit binary values but to also subtract, increment and decrement a number using the 4bit adder circuit. I found it to be very simple and was able to complete it within about 30 minutes. It was a cool lab and I definitely recommend to others to try it for themselves.

Protoboard: Gray Code to Binary and Back

Awesome Protoboard work pt. 2.

In Lab we had to design an Encoder and Decoder to switch from binary to gray code. Now, gray code binary is very simple with only needing two XOR Gates from a 74LS86, but to encode binary to gray code takes a little more work.

In order to accomplish this you would need 3 MUX IC chips (Multiplexer – 74LS151). Basically a multiplexer is just a series of possible inputs where depending on the binary input you would in turn receive an appropriate output. It’s really cool and was a lot of fun to make, if you ever come across this chip you should definitely try messing with this project, it’s not that valuable in the sense that this can easily be done by hand, but rather to just get a basic sense of how multiplexers work.

Red LEDs Binary Output / Green LEDs Gray Code Output

LOL Shield – Starting Things Easy

While I was over at the Maker Faire the other week I finally decided to take my arduino work more seriously. With that in mind I bought the simplest most annoying shield ever found across the net. The LOL Shield, lol standing of course for, Lots of LEDs. It was a fun project for a Thursday night. I finished soldering all the connections in about 1.5 hours and it was up and running almost instantly.

I must say this project is not for the feeble handed, it takes a lot of patients to solder 126 LEDs, yes you heard right more LEDs then would be ever necessary for any project, but then again the 8x8x8 LED cube  requires 512.

So what do I do now… Well, since I’m done with this I guess I could start manually programming it to do cool animations, except you cant really do much with 126 pixels. So for now I guess I’ll just leave it with Conway’s game of life running and see the interesting patterns it creates.

One possible idea could be to hook an inferred sensor onto it and measure how often my Betta fish chase each other, since I really have nothing better to do with my time.

A test of the LOL Shields font capabilities can be seen below: