Affordable pH meter

Our home vineyard delivers about 1000 liters of wine every year. It takes some effort to keep good quality and pleasure for all friends tasting the must, new wine and “senior” wine reserves. One of the most important tasks in wine quality management is controlling the biological and chemical state of the wine. The wine can be monitored in special laboratory or in home lab. Of course home lab become rational when quantity of the wine is high enough to justify expenses in special equipment.  There is some low cost equipment available for wine analysis, mostly with titration techniques, but chemical lab equipment is rather expensive and many hobby wineries avoid buying such equipment. I hope this post can contribute a bit to change that. I will describe the development of simple pH meter in detail.

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Electric penny board

Penny skateboards are available on every corner for something under 20€. They are a lot of fun to ride on and are very useful when someone has to travel a great distance in pedestrian only area. But what happens when a 2.5 kW electric motor is attached on it? Scroll down to find out.



Finished electric penny board

Finished electric penny board

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USB/RS485 converter on a double sided PCB

USB/RS485 module on a single sided board worked successfully for several months. The code is now stable and I decided to order small batch of double sided PCBs for this project. Here is documentation:

RS485/USB interface on a double sided board

RS485/USB interface on a double sided board

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LED shades

Light Emitting Dance shades – general purpose party accessory.

LED shades v0.1

LED shades v0.1

About this project

I believe many young adults like to party and with the rapidly growing EDM community a lot of people attend parties with electronic music. I am one of them and you can probably tell where I got the idea to make the LED shades. Projects like this one don’t just keep me occupied in my free time but are also designed to broaden my knowledge in electronics and programming. Continue reading ‘LED shades’ »

Having fun with kill-o-watts

Here is our new power supply having fun:


Soldering TQFN with a distance

The MCBs (Machined Circuit Boards – an alternative to DIY printed circuit boards) are now jumping out from the mini-CNC like in high volume production. This is new revision of RH/Temperature sensor with RS485 interface with Si7013:

New revision of Si7013 sensor module - machined boards

New revision of Si7013 sensor module – machined boards

The boards are solder “plated” and prepared for assembly process. However, there is one issue with Si7013. It comes in SMD housing without leads. This is no big trouble, but the thermal pad is, because there is trace routed under the Si7013, which is not GND:

The "problematic" trace is white hatched.

The “problematic” trace is white hatched.

That means it must not be soldered to thermal pad. The good thing is, the thermal pad can be left floating.

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PCB footprint for TAG-connect

This is altium PCB layout for TAGconnect TC2030-MCP-NL 6-Pin No-Legs Cable.


Tag-connect layout for connector without legs

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UV index sensor with RS485 interface

This is another sensor in weather-sensor series. It is based on silabs Si1133.



Si1133 Sensor schematic with RS485 interface

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Source code generator for Command Line Interpreter (CLI)

Microcontroller with serial bus or USB CDC (virtual COM port) is usually connected to some terminal. User then type commands and firmware in the microcontroller interprets entered commands.

Developing simple interpreter is not very scientific task, more like PITA with repeating chunks of the code. After couple of successful projects with such interpreter I can say my code is somehow tested and proven in the practice. Now I prepared one application which can shorten development process and make my life easier when I start application in new device.

The source code generator generates only command line interpreter. It provides all identifiers for selected commands, provides function prototypes for each command and text template for help. Finally only the functions for executing specific commands should be then implemented.

The final application can be either multi-threaded with RTOS, or flat single thread. In both cases, there should be some function or ISR checking for new char and feeding this char to the command line editor. When new line “arrives”, the function cmd_proc() is called and then the magic happens.


General structure of the caller thread or application

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