Controlling Hardware with PIC Micros

Being an engineer and hobbyist since the seventies I've seen electronic techniques evolve. From the vacuum tube to microcontrollers- been there, done that. And yes, I have the T-shirt.

I found out that while for many electronic projects a microcontroller is not necessary (for example, I built many audio amplifiers, every single one of them, from the 100 W TV line output tube amp to the 300 W MOSFET subwoofer amplifier, ran fine without any logic circuitry) sometimes it is unavoidable. Especially controlling modern RF synthesizer chips (I2C bus, anyone?) can only be done using digital logic.

When a friend came to me with a design challenge I knew I had to enter the digital age. The problem involved a lightshow with a couple of LEDs that moved around in a particular pattern. The existing solution used a plethora of CMOS chips and was way too heavy for the intended purpose. So I decided to perform the functionality with a PIC16LC84, running on a watch resonator (32 kHz). Current was delivered from a single lithium cell, and it worked like a charm. When not in use the battery lasted for months. Didn't even take me all that long to figure out how to write assembly code. Then came a remote controller clone for the then very hip Archos Jeukbox 6000 MP3 player, the one with the huge 6 gig harddisk. I also started to use PICBasic, a BASIC compiler that generates PIC assembly code. While the result is bulky, being able to write a high level programming language makes writing applications a lot easier. OK, I know, I know... Then, after building two DCF clocks, one with those lovely retro Nixie tubes and another with a HD44780 LCD, using PICBasic, I went back to assembly to write some cool real-time code.

Below are the projects that have been successfully completed and also the WIP (Work In Progress) ones.

WIP Projects

Jammerdan is an attempt at an automatic FM portable radio jammer. You know, the nagging tunes from the workers messing up the street... It tunes a small transmitter across the FM band (highly illegal, of course) and when it detects itself it stays locked on that frequency. Status so far: the tuning part works, todo: the detector and the lightshow.

TETRA Detector: proof of concept done, now in prototyping stage. Killed due to patent troll. Sorry, no support.

Completed Projects

Pentax "F" remote controller
What people do to save a measly four bucks...

DCF Clock with LCD (

Nixie Clock (50 Hz Timebase, via, now defunct)

RFID Card Detector
Not satisfied with the "griddipper" type detectors I built an RFID head that just sends out a REQA command and detects the returned response.

RFID Zapper
This is another interpretation of the various RFID Zapper ideas floating around the internet, and not PIC related (except for the RFID Card Detector).

Various Tone Generators

Remoclone, remote control for Archos Jeukbox 6k MP3 player

Magnetic Door Lock Timer

Electroluminescent Backlight Controller

Dublin Pedestrian Crossing Lights Sound Emulator

Shower Timer

USDT Fan Noise Killer to fix HP's sloppy design

Netzlupe, a grid frequency monitor. Now also with its analog brother!

My GTI is just too crude so I PICified it!

Saturation Current Tester for inductors

3x5 Matrix LED Display DCF77 Clock UPDATED!

RC-5 Arbitrary Code Transmitter (remote emulator)

Cyrus AM/FM Tuner Controller (and display) Replacement

A new signal meter for my Nikko NT-790 tuner

A 24 LED Peak Program Meter (2 dB steps per LED)

A 4-digit energy display for my GTI

(The first project is lost in the digital hunting fields...)


Other Projects!

Not PIC related, but very much hardware oriented are the following pages:

Casemods show my work on various computer systems, including my 6 (six!) terabyte fileserver (I'm now almost at 100 TB...)

Led Lighting, as I'm an avid fan of solid state light sources this just has to be included!

HID Bike Lite documenting an attempt at getting better illumination on those dark, nightly bike rides

Logper describes my successful attempts to receive DVB-T broadcasts (digi-cough-tenne) with a FTA (Free-To-Air) digibox and a UHF logarhythmic periodic antenna

SMPS describes how to change the output voltage of a laptop power brick

Tesla has always been a great inspirer for me, so it figures to start experimenting with Tesla Coils.

I finally got tired of getting stung by annoying mosquitos. Not wanting to leave an ugly red stain on my wall, I just explode them instead.

Some fun with vacuum tubes and vintage TVs.

Online Real Time Geiger Counter.

I'm a sucker for headphones. Two amps.

Homebrew Grid Tie Inverter.

Fixing my Pentax K-r date-time issue (6 December 2017)

Retro Tech: Bulb Stabilized Wien Oscillator (10 January 2019)

HP 8590 Series PSU Fix (17 March 2019)

Fixing Sony VFET amps by replacing them with MOSFETs! (2 December 2019)

Building Chua's Circuit (6 December 2020)

Modding a Philips 22AH180 Tuner (2 January 2021)

Non-technology related stuff

Digital photography scrapbook

Hole in the Wall (UK) screenshots

De Tony Klaproos Pagina! (mp3z)


Last Update: 24 April 2021 (4-digit energy display bugfix)

This software is licensed under the CC-GNU GPL.