Basic programming jig for STC15F104E and STC15F204E chips

The STC15Fx chips use a simple TTL/CMOS async programming interface that is suited to the common USB-RS232(TTL) adapters, some of which are less than A$2 on eBay (CH341 chip).

Above, the completed adapter. DIP-28 are located carefully so that the pins 10-18 are in the socket, the same connections are used for both chip sizes for STC15F104E and STC15F204E. Continue reading Basic programming jig for STC15F104E and STC15F204E chips

Trying to make sense of the STC U8W chip programmer

STC is a Chinese maker of microcontroller chips, mostly 8051 architecture. The whole environment is characterised by a lack of English language information, or unreliable information.

The U8W is a programmer for some of their chips, and works in concert with their ISP programming software (Windows).

Above is the U8W. It was supplied without any documentation by an Aliexpress seller. Requests from the seller and from STC have not yielded any information. Continue reading Trying to make sense of the STC U8W chip programmer

Fox flasher MkII – update 07/2019

Fox flasher MkII described a LED driver for an animal deterrent using a Chinese 8051 architecture microcontroller, the STC15F104E.

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Above, the schematic. A very simple circuit with just a handful of electronic components (one capacitor, two resistors, one LDR, one Polyswitch, 4 x LEDs and the MCU). Note the capacitor in shunt with the LDR, it is to reduce noise and to provide a level of RFI protection. Continue reading Fox flasher MkII – update 07/2019

Fox flasher MkII – high power 2 LED solar powered beacon – update 6/2019

Fox flasher MkII – high power 2 LED solar powered beacon described a LED driver for an animal deterrent using a Chinese 8051 architecture microcontroller, the STC15F104E.

FF100This article documents its failure  in June 2019 after five years service.  Continue reading Fox flasher MkII – high power 2 LED solar powered beacon – update 6/2019

Fox flasher MkII – high power 2 LED solar powered beacon – update 6/2018

Fox flasher MkII – high power 2 LED solar powered beacon described a LED driver for an animal deterrent using a Chinese 8051 architecture microcontroller, the STC15F104E.

FF100This article documents its failure  in June 2018 after three years service.

With the passage of time, the PV array surface has degraded until solar collection was insufficient to maintain the battery over several heavily overcast Winter days.

Above, a close up of the PV array surface. The pic is of about 8mm width, and one can barely see the silicon stripes which are about 2mm wide. Continue reading Fox flasher MkII – high power 2 LED solar powered beacon – update 6/2018

STC1000 firmware change

I have an inexpensive (~$10 inc post) digital temperature controller that was observed to have very high RF emissions and was unusable because it was incompatible with radio operations here.

There has been enhanced firmware for a STC1000 controller based on a PIC chip, but in my experience, most seem to be made with an STM8S003F3 chip. More recently, what appears to be a port of the PIC software to STM8 has been published at https://github.com/Emile666/stc1000_stm8.

The enhanced firmware is directed at home brewing for control of long running fermentation processes etc, incorporating storage for a number of multi-step programs (profiles). It is not really suited to more general applications like a fridge controller as for example it is more difficult for the common operation to set the set point.

I thought it might be entertaining to try it out.

Installation of the firmware was straight forward, I had the necessary programming adapter and software.

Interestingly, after updating the firmware, the device would not start on its original power supply. My suspicion is that the new firmware runs the LED display at higher duty cycle and the power supply could not withstand the load.

Since the power supply had RF emission problems, it was removed and the device converted to 12V DC.

Above, the large components of the switched mode power supply were removed, a Polyswitch protective device installed and input routed to the output terminals of the old 12V output switched mode power supply (white wire is -ve, brown wire is +ve). Continue reading STC1000 firmware change

ISP adapter for Arduino Pro Mini / Pro Micro

I have started using Arduino Pro Micros recently, and sourced inexpensive clones from China.

Experience is that all manner of inexpensive small microcontroller modules from China are likely to have issues with the bootloader: it isn’t there, it is back level, not suited to the actual clock speed.

I have come to routinely install a current / known / working bootloader to avoid wasting time down the track.

The Pro Micro does not have an ISP header, and the QFN package does not suit a chip adapter, so the next option is an adapter that can connect to the board with no pins, male or female headers, top or bottom.

Above is an adapter built on a small piece of Veroboard. If you are ging to copy it, make it one row of holes higher. I did initially, and in a miscount of rows, I incorrectly removed the top row. The black mark identifies the pin 1 of the Pro Micro, and the adapter connects to the side with the /RST pin.

 

The headers on the adapter engage JP6, preserving the pin ordering, pin 1 to the black mark on the veroboard.

Continue reading ISP adapter for Arduino Pro Mini / Pro Micro

IoT – exploration of LoRa – part 3

This series documents a set of experiments to explore LoRa for a telemetry application. Note this is simple multipoint to point LoRa, it does not use LoRaWAN.

IoT – exploration of LoRa – part 1 outlined a simple direct RESTful submission to Thingspeak from the LoRa – Wifi gateway.

IoT – exploration of LoRa – part 2 outlined a simple RESTful submission to Node-Red from the LoRa – Wifi gateway.

This article describes a direct MQTT submission from the gateway. In this case the gateway converts the binary LoRa payload into more friendly MQTT key,value pairs.

The block diagram above shows the information flow between the main elements. Continue reading IoT – exploration of LoRa – part 3