Tag Archives: soldering

Video: Check out this dead-bugged GPS/GLONASS/Geiger counter

Maker creates a GPS/GLONASS/Geiger counter mashup dead bug-style with tiny 0402-sized parts.

Even if you’re a champ when it comes to soldering uber mini parts onto a PCB, you’ll be left scratching your head after watching the video below. That’s because, a Maker by the name of Shibata recently devised a GPS/GLONASS and Geiger counter mashup dead-bug style with tiny 0402-sized parts.


As our friends at Hackaday note, the device is comprised of an extremely small GPS/GLONASS receiver, an ATxmega128D3 MCU, a standard Nokia phone display and a Geiger tube with a mica window to track its location and the current level of radiation.

“The idea behind this project isn’t really that remarkable; the astonishing thing is the way this project is put together. It’s held together with either skill or prayer, with tiny bits of magnet wire replacing what would normally be PCB traces, and individual components making up the entire circuit,” Brian Benchoff writes.

While there’s not much detail around what’s actually going on in the build, the Maker’s soldering skills are certainly worth checking out… You’ll have to see it to believe it! (You can also read more on Hackaday here.)

Atmel’s ATmega645P goes tick tock

We recently talked about how there really is nothing like the comforting glow of a Nixie tube. But what if you felt like building something that glowed (not necessarily red) and could be carried around in your pocket?

Well, that is exactly what a Maker named Frank did when he wanted a classy (and rather different) way of telling the time by designing an LED pocket watch around Atmel’s ATmega645P. As you can see in the video below, the watch features 132 LEDs for displaying the time, two buttons to activate and change modes, along with a vibration motor and buzzer.

As the folks at Hack A Day note, Atmel’s picoPower ATmega645P controls the LED pocket watch, which is equipped with enough pins to drive the expansive array of LEDs as well as an internal real time clock. The device – housed behind a laser-cut acrylic face – sits in a 3D printed case and sips power from a rechargeable lithium coin cell battery. The charging circuitry is based on an MCP73831, while a USB connector provides power to the board.


“One of the bigger challenges of the design is driving the large array of LEDs,” writes Eric Evenchick of Hack A Day. “[So] Frank uses Charlieplexing to group the LEDs and reduce the number of pins required. Another trick he used was offsetting the ISP header pins. This allows for programming the AVR without soldering a connector to the board.”

Additional details, such as schematics, PCB layout, software design and case plans can be found here on Instructables.