GPS Clock Version 3 Part 7

Brightness Control

Sometimes you have to eat your own dog food. It ensures what you're putting out is decent quality; good enough to eat. By referring to GPS Clock Version 2 I put together the hardware and code for the brightness control in one go. The hardware change consisted only of a 5V supply onto one leg of an LDR, with the other leg grounded through a 100kΩ resistor. The middle point of the bridge is connected to Analogue 0 input on the Arduino.

The code changes are a direct steal from GPS_Clock_2.ino with only one consideration. The line led.setBrightness(getBrightness()); was placed into loop() where it would only be activated once every second - in the if (interruptComplete) block. This, and the 10-value averaging code results in a brightness that adjusts over a few minutes from full-dim to full-bright. This is my preference.


Now we need to box this lot up and, hopefully, make it look somewhat attractive. Here's the issue: it used to just fit into a translucent blue jiffy box. Now, with the RTC added, it still might fit but it's going to be even harder to squeeze it in. It all comes down to designing the Veroboard layout. There's probably an app for that!


The first link I grabbed off Google was VeroDes. Download. Install. Fail. Not a good start.

They have a link at the bottom of the page to install missing dependencies. Everything deserves a second chance. So here goes. Download. Install. Fail. You're out.

Yeah, it's an all too frequent problem. This and many other applications were written years ago and times have changed. This one's written in Visual Basic 5 by the look of the file names. Visual Basic 6 came out in 1998, it's amazing anything in the software industry has lived for 14 years. I've probably junked up my machine now with a set of DLLs and OCXs my system doesn't need. Bugger. Anyway, what else is there? Here's a review of a number of applications.

Stripboard Designer

The link goes to a GeoCities site. GeoCities was shut down in 2009.


They want 40 euros for it. Given the quality of what I've sampled so far I'm not betting that much. Next.


I used VeeCAD for 5 minutes and found it truly awful. When an application can't locate your mouse pointer on the screen and draws at an offset from that location it makes it impossible to draw anything. Added to that the z-order of objects on the screen was constantly wrong so while attempting to position anything it would usually go under other objects or event the checker board drawing canvas itself. Annoying!

Stripboard Magic

This one too is not in a readily-installable form. It can't find its own component files.

Veroboard Software Summary

Wow. What an astoundingly crap selection of software. I didn't find any good Veroboard design software among the first few search results on Google. That tells me either there isn't a decent application out there, or if there is, nobody knows where to find it. Do you have a recommendation? Please don't tell me "I keep a Windows 3.1 machine around just so I can run it!" Alternatively there's an obvious opportunity for someone who wants to develop something new. I don't know what the total demand is though. Veroboarding has probably been replaced by cheap and quick custom PCB fabrication I suppose.

Sorry, not a very successful post today. More soon.

That is all.