Programmable Oscillator

  • Main application PCB includes mimic LEDs and control switches

  • Made with readily available parts, 89C51 8 bit microprocessor

  • Relay drivers, serial port, EEPROM and reed switch connector

Programmable Oscillator
J Dickens
J Dickens
Project (Short name: progosc)
Programmable Oscillator
Project Status
Design work Complete
PCB Number
Version Date
24 Feb 2004
Circuit diagram

Circuit Diagram

The brief with this project was to produce cost effective electronics that could be assembled by a small, informal PCB manufacturing plant based in India, repaired easily, and producible with the minimum of setup.

We used "jellybean" (common/generic/low cost) parts for this project whereever possible. While it would have reduced component count to place the A/D converter, watchdog, and EEPROM within the microprocessor, by keeping them external we could use a microprocessor that was very simple and basic, and for which very cost effective programmers were easily available. This project was all about making the board easy to manufacture with the least amount of setup and angst.

The A/D receives the signal from the matching psensor pcb which conditions and amplifies the pressure sensor signal. The A/D converter we chose is a very simple part using the +5V rail as the A/D reference and providing an 8 bit parallel output which is read onto a port of the microprocessor which is coincidentally also the data bus. While the A/D converter provides an interrupt output, it is not used.

A simple octal latch runs all the relays on the board, with the clock to the latch (continuously running when code is executing correctly) also feeding the watchdog circuit, and the output of the watchdog circuit also clearing the latch. In this fashion, should the code stop operating correclty, the watchdog will fire and clear the latch, clearing all the relays to the "off" state.

We have a standard I/O bus that you can learn more about called Picobus. This board uses circuitry that is very similar to Picobus to multiplex the LEDs it drives, however there are sufficient outputs on the CPU to run the multiplex select lines directly, so one 4017 chip is omitted. Using an octal flip flop and 3 transistors, a total of 24 LEDs are driven, 10 of them within one bar graph LED package.

The switches to operate the device are 12mm tactile push buttons assembled directly onto the PCB, and directly input to the microprocessor port pins taking advantage of the internal pullups within the CPU itself.

The power supply is simple, with VDR overvoltage protection and two reverse polarity diodes. VDR protection was added to the relay contact outputs to prevent inductive back emf problems. A very simple serial circuit was integrated onto the PCB - it was not intended for high speed or long distance operation, it just uses two transistors as the drive elements and does not swing to full RS232 compliant voltage levels.

Bill of materials

Parts list and notes

Programmable Oscillator Bill Of Materials
PCB overlay image

PCB design

PCB size H WH x W
Diameter of holes: 3.5mm

This board layout was deliberately kept simple, open and robust. 12 thou x 12 thou design rules were used, but often the tracks were made larger than required just because they could be, and it helps in production.

The majority of wiring connectors were kept along one edge. This project has emphasised low unit price and keep-it-simple engineering, so the wiring blocks used were plain 5mm type without plug / unplug capability - cheap but effective.

The reeds were connected using ribbon cable as this is a very cost effective way to do simple field wiring - at one end the IDC10 connector is crimped on, then at the other end the ribbon is stripped back and soldered permanently to each of the reed switches. The serial is a standard DE9.

There is a prototyping area at one side of the board, but all up the design is fairly compact for a Thru-hole board.

Gerber files

The PCB manufacturing files

Programmable Oscillator Gerber files

Final board

Programmable Oscillator Photo
Programmable Oscillator photo b
Programmable Oscillator photo c

Documentation package

Programmable Oscillator Documentation (PDF)
©2010 AirBorn Electronics Pty Ltd

©2010 AirBorn - Last updated 08 July 2010

Background Image Credit: IC 1396 H-Alpha Close-Up : Nick Wright (University College London), IPHAS Collaboration