Protect Your Home With a FPGA-based Alarm System

Welcome back again FPGA addicts! Today we have a very interesting and useful project for you: Build your own alarm system with your FPGA.

This work was carried out by a group of students and it could perfectly serve as a baseline for any alarm system.

The project is developed in 6 easy steps. All you need to replicate it is the following: a FPGA (they used an Altera DEs-115 Cyclone IV), an IR Beam Break Sensor, an Arduino LilyPad Buzzer, a breadboard, some wires and a pull-up resistor. As you can well infer there is some minor manipulation in this project which is always funny and distracting. Cool stuff.

The alarm system is comprised of three modules: the main module, the display one and the sound module. The FPGA runs all the code. It receives information from the IR Beam Breaker Sensor and controls both the LED display to show whether the alarm is armed or not and the buzzer. The functioning of the alarm is quite simple, if the alarm is armed the LEDs will display “ON”, during this state if the IR beam is interrupted then the buzzer will go off and make noise. In any other state the alarm won´t activate and so there won´t be any acoustic sign and you won´t know if someone broke into.

All three modules are explained in detail, thus this project represent a very nice learning document both for system design and coding, even though all the code is given (but you should only use it as a way to check your work).  You can find all the files here.

It´s interesting to highlight that the code for the noise of the buzzer is based upon the code of a Music Box developed using a FPGA.

Let´s get hand on and wire up your house!


By TeamCaffeine

All You Need Is 2 Wires And 50 Bucks To Get Video Out Of Your Arduino With Mesa-Video


In this post we want to introduce you a great article that describe the latest projects from Black Mesa Labs. These guys wanted to create a new approach to add video support to your projects with Arduino and other low cost microcontrollers. So the idea of Mesa-Video was born.

Mesa-Video is a fully open-source device that will provide real time video resolution of up to 800 x 600 pixels on a HDMI output to any device with a UART serial port.

Following Mesa-Video is Mesa-Bus, their solution to the shield stacking problems of Arduino. Issues appear if you want to get more than one. Therefore, they have come up with this small device which works as USBs for PCs. It´s also cross-platform and open source so you can easily disconnect your Arduino and connect a RaspberryPi without making any changes to the other devices on your design. Simpler and faster approach that puts together SPI and I2C saving a lot of decoding.

A lot more projects are on the pipe, so we recommend you to keep an eye on Black Mesa Labs Projects.

Read the full article here.


By Black Mesa Labs

Want a Logic Analyzer?? Then just get a Papilio!

Not long ago we published an article about using an Arduino UNO as a logic analyzer. As it couldn´t be otherwise, you can also do the same with a Papilio. And guess what? The Papilio-based logic analyzer is more powerful. No hype, just real numbers. You can achieve 32 channels, at 200 MHz, while you can only get up to 4 MHz with the Arduino UNO.

Fine, we have to admit that there might be a minor drawback. Papilio works with signals at 3.3 V. Easy to solve, all you need to do is add a level translator and then you are ready to play with 5V signals as well!

Enjoy this great tutorial and have fun with your logic analyzer. Read the full article and you will know why you can make such a great logic analyzer from your Papilio!


By Jan Cumps´Blog

Spit out VGA with non-programmable logic chips

Bitbanging a VGA can be a tough task due to the timing requirements. Nevertheless Sven gave it a go and not only he bitbanged a VGA on an arduino, but he managed to configured an array of 7400 logic chips to output a VGA signal.

Consisting of two parts, his project first consisted in outputting a VGA signal on a monitor then talking about adding circuitry to take care of frame counting, geometry and color.

A simulator was first used to plan out the graphics, then a 7400 chip configuration was designed for the display.


Do you have an Arduino UNO? Then you have a logic analyzer!

arduino_as_logic_analyzerThis tutorial shows, step-by-step, how to turn your Arduino UNO into a 6 channel SUMP.

This logic analyzer is able to sample signals with a speed varying between 4 MHz and 10 kHz. Best results are obtained below 1 MHz. Above this mark, there is too much of a lag between the trigger detection and the sample start.

Get hands on and have fun with your recently discover logic analyzer!

By Jan Cumps´Blog

Simple Infrared PWM on Arduino

Example 56kHz generated Infrared signal @ 50% duty cycleNice code walk through of how to generate a PWM in C code. This is a 3 part series showing how to generate IR commands in software.

We are often asked on discussion boards, about conflicts between IRremote or IRLib and other Arduino Libraries. In this post, we present a sketch for ‘Simple Infrared PWM on Arduino’. This is the first part in a 3 part series of posts. Part 1 shows how to generate the simple Infrared carrier frequency on Arduino, using any available IO pin and without conflicting with other libraries. Part 2 will show how to send a RAW infrared signal using this approach and Part 3 will show how to send a common NEC signal from the binary or HEX value.

Spin Brushless DC Motors Slowly

Spining BLDC(Gimbal) motors at super slooooooow speeds with Arduino and L6234

Here is some good reference material on spinning Brushless DC motors that should be applicable to the Papilio. We would just need to add some sensors to spin the motors faster…


I used specialized triple half bridge IC L6234 (~ 8$). You can make the same spending less money (but more time) with MOSFET transistors or other IC.

ESP8266: Full Arduino support now! Use it like it’s an Arduino!

The ESP8266 microcontroller with onboard WiFiEveryone’s favorite WiFi chip now has Arduino IDE support. This means that you can connect an ESP8266 via a serial port and choose it as a board type in the Arduino IDE now. Make a sketch, click upload and you are in business with a less then $5 IoT device. Pretty nifty!

What’s supported by the build? The short answer is quite a lot — basic functions like pinMode, digitalRead and digitalWrite work as you’d expect. As do interrupts, and the millis and micros functions, and sensible things done to delay to take account of the background activity of WiFi and TCP tasks, and there is a Ticker library for calling functions with a certain cadence.