CircuitLab helps you sketch, simulate, and share schematics

In a previous post, we covered online IDEs for embedded software development. In order to run embedded programs you need to, well, embed them in something, so we also included a paragraph on Upverter, a tool for collaboratively editing and sharing circuit schematics.  Hardware design is an area that’s still relatively untouched by the web application revolution, and we always love to see new innovation.

More recently, we ran across CircuitLab, an alternative schematic tool with some unique features. On the surface, the site seems extremely similar to Upverter: fire up an online editor, create your circuit in the browser, then save it to your account. At any point in this process, you can share a link to your circuit to let others view it and collaborate.

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Data logging with Arduino

Super sweet sensor sexiness over the serial stream.

Tom Igoe’s blog code, circuits, and construction has posted a tutorial on how to log data from your Arduino and put it into your platform or format of choice. As Tom explains, there’s a few common pathways once you’ve read a sensor or accepted some other form of input:

  • Serial transmission to a personal computer, and serial capture to a file.
  • Saving data to an SD card mounted on the Arduino.
  • HTTP upload to pachube.com via an Ethernet shield or Ethernet Arduino.

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iPhone serial communication with external devices

Haxoring the iPhone with ancient but reliable protocols.HC Gilje has posted an excellent guide to serial communications with external devices using the iPhone. There are lots of resources out there for setting up serial devices, but the landscape is fragmented. And as always, Apple is not exactly falling all over themselves to let you hook up peripherals. As Gilje succinctly puts it:

Apple has not made it easy to let the iphone communicate with external devices. Basically, you need a jailbroken phone to do anything.

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Green DIY: Make a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) with 55 gallon plastic drums

GreenTerraFirma has some very cool links regarding DIY power generation and sustainability projects. This page deals exclusively with wind turbines, and posts several videos on how to make your own out of two 55 gallon drums. The project is dirt cheap if you can source parts well, and doesn’t take a lot of specialized tools either. The author machines gears out of some cheap cutting boards, but mentions that you can make an equivalent drive system out of belts and pulleys, which can be store-bought.

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