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Daniel Spilker

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November 17th, 2012

USB Status LEDs for Media Center PC

Several months ago I replaced my broken digital video recorder with a home theater PC running Windows Media Center. Overall I was quite satisfied with the outcome, but it had two shortcomings. One was that visitors sleeping in our living room were complaining about the bright HDD LED flashing at night when the PC was recording. The other one was that we were frequently asking us if the PC was running because we forgot to turn it off or because it was recording something. The first problem can be solved with a simple resistor. The second problem was not so easy to solve since the case which I bought for the PC has no fancy display but only two status LEDs on the front, one HDD LED and one power LED.read more »

June 1st, 2012

USB Micro Connector Breakout Board

Nowadays a lot of devices have a USB micro power plug which means that USB wall charger and cables are everywhere. So why not adding a USB power supply to a DIY project? The 5V and 500mA delivered by USB are sufficient for most projects. To ease prototyping I created a breakout board which carries a USB micro receptacle and a breadboard compatible 2.54mm header.read more »

April 25th, 2011

ISPtouch for AVR Microcontrollers

When I started designing PCBs which should fit under Märklin C-Track, I soon realized that a standard 6-pin ISP header for AVR microcontrollers exceeds the height limitation of 4.5mm. My first idea was to press a 6-pin SMD header on the PCB pads for programming. But this method does not ensure sufficient contact for all pins. After searching the internet and browsing serveral print catalogs, I found the AVX 9188 Staggered SOLO Stacker in DigiKey’s print catalog. Its spring-loaded contacts provide a good connection for all pins. The idea for the ISPtouch was born.read more »

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