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Noob: Help getting started on a project?

 
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chubbard
Newbie


Joined: 24 Apr 2009
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:19 pm    Post subject: Noob: Help getting started on a project? Reply with quote

Hi,

I'm a software developer interested in doing a small hardware project. I think it would be pretty simple, but I just need some help getting started. What I'd like to do is build a simple light sensor that will take measurements periodically and save those to a file on a USB flash drive.

Here's what I know so far, or so I think. I can use a CdS photoresistor to measure the light. USB flash come with a simple microcontroller that can be reprogrammed to run custom code. How would I modify a typical USB flash drive to run code to periodically take measurements from the photoresistor and write them to the flash RAM? Are USB flash microcontroller a standard MCU? Say PIC32?

Ideas?

Thanks
Charlie
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Alan
Site Admin


Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 1399
Location: Winnipeg, MB

PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Noob: Help getting started on a project? Reply with quote

chubbard wrote:
Hi,

I'm a software developer interested in doing a small hardware project. I think it would be pretty simple, but I just need some help getting started. What I'd like to do is build a simple light sensor that will take measurements periodically and save those to a file on a USB flash drive.

Here's what I know so far, or so I think. I can use a CdS photoresistor to measure the light. USB flash come with a simple microcontroller that can be reprogrammed to run custom code. How would I modify a typical USB flash drive to run code to periodically take measurements from the photoresistor and write them to the flash RAM? Are USB flash microcontroller a standard MCU? Say PIC32?

Ideas?

Thanks
Charlie


Hi Charlie,

Welcome to the forum! I don't think reprogramming a USB to save data to itself would be simple.

What I would do is use a simple microcontroller to read the analog value of your sensor and save it to an SD memory card. I have seen lots of projects that save to SD card so you won't be reinventing anything there. I can't say that I have seen a project where a microcontroller saves directly to a USB thumb drive though. Not that it matters since you can purchase a SD card reader inexpensively and then you basically have the same thing (a dongle that can be plugged into a USB port and read).

Here is an example if an Arduino SD card interface
http://www.arduino.cc/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1206874649/8
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friendlyzookeeper
HG Junior


Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 10
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you go the line of Arduino, there is a LilyPad Arduino and
photoresistor instructables about a coin slot detector (that can be
helpful to you). I don't know if it a cadmium sulfide cell.

http://www.instructables.com/id/SB2NSVAFMMD0QJA/

I love these Arduino, makes a great board with the atmega328 chip.
Here is a tutorial;

http://www.ladyada.net/learn/arduino/
and store own by her;

http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=17

Thanks,
Friendlyzookeeper
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There aren't any mistakes, just a learning curve.
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Alan
Site Admin


Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 1399
Location: Winnipeg, MB

PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I forgot about this device which allows a simple interface to USB thumb drives.

http://www.parallax.com/StoreSearchResults/tabid/768/txtSearch/27937/List/0/SortField/4/ProductID/434/Default.aspx
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