Well, the day dawns sunny and bright.  Checking the BBC weather website this morning shows that apart from maybe a little light rain later this afternoon, the day promises clear blue skies.  The temperature may not be up to much, but an extra layer of clothing or two and the promise of a leaf clamp to empty, and I’m sure we’ll not get too cold.

So, today marks the ‘second official’ outing of the bike and electronics, and as I said earlier in the week (A- B Testing), we’ll be having two boxes tonight, but only one of them will have the electronics required to charge the battery.  This will be so I can check as to just how much is ‘taken out’ of the battery by having the lights on for about four hours.  I suspect quite a lot, but we’ll have to wait for the exact figures.

This week, I received more ‘good news’ from the lovely lads at Microchip in the shape of some free samples of their shiny new 16F707 processor chips.

These little beasties are virtually pin-for-pin compatible with the 16F877 and the newer 16F887’s I’m now using, but they have a superb feature in that 16 legs can be configured as ‘touch inputs’.

This means that after quite a bit of development work, I can finally realise my dream of making ‘Star Trek’-like controls.  No buttons or switches, just illuminated ‘touch areas’.

Of course, I’ll need an audible ‘bleep’ for when a function is selected.  Now, maybe a few years ago a ‘555’ oscillator circuit would be employed (…sorry to get technical, but anyone reading this with any electronics knowledge will just have to smile and shudder as soon as I mention this little chip…), but things have certainly moved on since then.  Thanks to the advances in electronics and software, I can sample the actual sounds from the series and incorporate them into my projects.

Oh, what fun!

Then, as I’ve hinted at before, we’ll have to think up as many ‘Star Trek’ buzz-words as possible.  Things like:- ‘Injectors’, ‘Relays’ and maybe ‘Plasma Flow Regulators’.

I know, I know.  ‘Big Kid’ springs to mind.

Still, at least we have blue LEDs…

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