DIY Soldering Station Controller

It’s been quite a while that I wanted to treat myself to a new soldering station, and recently I found out about the Weller RT active tips which are great for building a soldering station. The whole station from Weller is really expensive, but the tips cost only around 25€. They are active, which means that they contain the heating element as well as a thermocouple temperature sensor. I got inspired by several similar projects on the web, like this one, this one or this one.

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BLEthingy part 1 - hardware

BLEthingy is a battery-powered, wireless sensor node device. The device is powered by a CR2032 coin cell battery and is designed to consume as little power as possible. Wireless connectivity is provided via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), which allows for low-power transmissions e.g. as a so called Beacon. The BLE functionality is provided by a RN4871/I module. It communicates via UART with the main microcontroller. The microcontroller used is an ATtiny3216 which is part of Microchip’s new tiny-1 series. Despite the name, it’s very different than the previous ATtiny’s (like the ATtiny85, ATtiny13 etc.) and has a lot more features and peripherals. Another feature I wanted to include is motion detection, for this purpose an accelerometer ADXL345 is used. In this post I’ll talk about the hardware design of the device.

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W25Q64JV SPI flash memory chip as external memory

In the last blog post, I showed how we can create audio sginals using PWM on a STM32F1 microcontroller. But since the memory space available on the microcontroller is really small, we can’t store a significant length of audio recordings. Thus I decided to use an external meory and went for a SPI flash memory chip, the Winbond W25Q64JV. In this post, I’ll explain how to use it and read/write it with a microcontroller, in my case I use the STM32F103.

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create audio signals with PWM

In this post I’m going to show how we can use PWM to playback audio on the STM32F103 microcontroller. In the previous post I explained some theory about how to generate analog signals with PWM, now we’ll see an example of how to realize it.

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PWM centered vs. left-aligned mode

Puls-Width-Modulation (PWM) can be used to implement a simple digital-to-analog converter to create analog signals with a microcontroller. There exist two modes of PWM, a left aligned asymmetric mode and a centered symmetric mode.

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a tiny software UART TX for the AVR ATtiny

The serial port is a very commonly used interface for communicating between a microcontroller and a PC for debugging or sending or receiving some values. Most microcontrollers include a hardware peripheral called UART (Universal Asynchroneous Receiver Transmitter) which handles the serial communication, but some especially small microcontrollers (like the ATtiny24a that I am using) don’t have one.

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