Dodecahedron with LEDs and Infinity Mirrors

Neil Merchant has made a pretty awesome dodecahedron with LEDs and infinity effect.

The dodecahedron, named Carl, uses a Teensy 3.6, OctoWS2811 adapter, SK6812 RGB LEDs, and 1-way mirrors to make the magic happen.

Neil is planning to take Carl to different festivals.  It will be making an appearance at Electric Forest, Lost Lands, and maybe Ever After Fest.

You can follow the the story of Carl’s development on this Twitter thread.

Squareinator – SN76489 Monosynth

Alex Davis made Squareinator – a SN76489 Monosynth.

After being handed an old package of the SN76489 sound chip, Alex wondered if could be used as a synthesizer.  After a bit of research he was inspired to make the Squareinator.

Squareinator drives a SN76489 vintage soundchip as a monophonic
synthesizer, using all three squarewaves plus pseudo-random noise to
deliver a fat synth sound. A multi-mode 12 db/oct VCF adds additional
character and is playable at full oscillation. All synth functions are
exposed as MIDI CCs. The ATMEGA32U4 in the Teensy 2.0 allows us to use
the high-speed timer PLL to provide the 2 mHz clock required by the
SN76489 with no extra parts.

You can find the code for the project as well as a schematic on GitHub.

RF Power Meter Using AD8307 Log Amplifier

Loftur Jónasson built an RF Power Meter.



Lofture says that it was simple to build.  It uses a Teensy ++ to sample from an AD8307 logarithmic amplifier from Analog Devices, 200 times per second. A Rotary Encoder with a built in Pushbutton is used to navigate the various displays and to access a settings/configuration menu..

The project web page has a detailed write up and includes the code for the project.

Birthday Card and Treasure Map Printer

Andrew Ashe built a birthday birthday clock and treasure map printer.

This creative clock has birthdays of friends and family stored in it.  The clocks picks up GMT date and time from GPS satellites by using Mikal Hart’s GPS code and prints a birthday greeting at 8 am on the morning of the birthdays.  On Andrew’s 100th birthday the clock has an added bonus of printing a map to locate treasure he’s buried somewhere.

Commodore C64 Emulator

Frank Bösing has achieved the ambitious goal of emulating The Commodore C64 on a Teensy 3.6.

C64 Emulator for the IL9341 Display

Boulder Dash is being played on the emulator in this video.

There are 2 versions of the emulator – one for the ILI9341 display and the other for a VGA display.

C64 emulator for VGA

The list of working games is lengthy, including these favorites:

  • Boulder Dash
  • Galaxian
  • Dig Dug
  • Donkey Kong
  • Mario Bro
  • Paperboy
  • Zaxxon

The project stated a few years ago someone asked Frank if it was possible to emulate the C64’s Sound Interface Device (SID) chip on the Teensy 3.2.  He found a good reverse engineered SID (reSID) and ported it to the Teensy 3.2.  Unfortunately the current reSID versions require a lot of RAM, so he had to switch to an older version.  Then Teensy 3.6 was announced.  The 256KB of RAM, more than enough flash memory, SD slot, and 180 MHz speed made Frank think it was possible to emulate a complete Commodore C64.

In order to make the emulation happen, challenges with the display needed to be addressed.  With current libraries there was no way to control a display fast enough for the emulation.  Frank wrote a new display library for the well-known ILI9341 TFT display using DMA and overclocking the SPI interface to 60 MHz, to achieve full screen DMA-based refresh.

It’s been *a few* years since the Commodore C64 has been around (released in 1982, discontinued in 1994) and Frank had forgotten about it’s technical details.   Luckily the documentation is still around and he was able to read up on it.  He admits that he underestimated the video chip on the C64 (VIC-II), but that turned out to a good thing. Had he known what he was in for he might not have started the project.  In the meantime, he has rewritten the code for the VIC-II a few times.

The C64 emulator currently sports the following list of features

  • Supports Commodore Serial IEC Bus
  • For ILI9341 SPI Display
  • USB-Keyboards (wireless too)
  • 31kHz reSID Audio emulation
  • Audio Line-Out
  • Compatible to SD2IEC
  • Simple drive emulation included
  • Supports original joysticks
  • Small, compact size
  • Hotkeys (e.g. “LOAD “$”:LIST)

Most computer enthusiasts “of a certain age” probably have fond memories of the Commodore 64.  It’s pretty awesome that Frank has been able to bring back this piece of nostalgia.

There are more features planned.  Be sure to check out this thread on the forum for the history of the development and what features are planned for future.

The project is Open Source and code for it can be found on Git Hub.


Digital Warrior MIDI Controller

Tomash Ghzegovsky developed Digital Warrior, a DIY open-source MIDI controller.

The Digital Warrior was inspired by the Abelton Push and NI Maschine.  It has a 16 voice 32-step sequencer along with many other features. It also integrates with Traktor and Abelton.

The Digital Warrior web site has a good amount of documentation including comprehensive build instructions.  You can find some additional information on it’s development on Thomash’s blog.

The project is open-source with the code available on GitHub.