Electronics

Since I was very young I have always been fond of electronics. In the beginning I would rig various appliances with extension cords and switches, to allow them to be "remotely" controlled. I also spent a lot of time taking apart broken radios etc., but at this point I had no clue as to how they worked.

When I got older I joined a local CB radio club called Tango. I bought a CB radio and got the callsign Tango-46. Every other week we would meet in the club and tinker with electronics. At this point it was mostly assembling different electronics kits, but from time to time the instructor would actually try to teach us some basic understanding of electronics.

I also joined the electronics classes at Ungdomsskolen. This was also mainly youngsters assembling various kits, but I got a few friends there, who were very interrested in moving up from the simple kits. When I discovered digital electronics I was finally able to design my own circuits, and the logic of the 40xx and 74xx series of digital ICs really appealed to me. I could make complicated circuits without needing to know a lot about analog electronics and formulas.

In school I chose electronics as an optional course, and while the other pupils were once again assembling simple kits, I was designing my own circuits. I had gotten acquainted with BoardMaker, which was a schematics and PCB design tool for DOS. As far as I know there was no connection between the schematics and the PCB design, and most of the time I wouldn't even bother making a schematics. Together with a friend I designed a system that would count the number of persons entering and exiting a room, and turn off the light when the last person left. We won first prize in a national young inventors contest and participated in a european contest in Germany called YEER - Young Europeans Environmental Research. With a lot of the other contestants being much older, and their inventions being far more complicated, we didn't win anything, but being in Dresden on our own was certainly a great experience.

Later we participated in a project with DSB (the Danish national train company) where we tried to expand our person-counting system to count passengers in the trains. Unfortunately at one point they decided to work together with HT (bus company), who were working on a similar system. As far as I know the counting system was never implemented, and they still have all passengers pick up and hand in small notes one day each year to count the number of passengers getting on and off at each station. Concerning my electronics knowledge, this project had made us venture into the unknown land of microcontrollers. DSB had actually sponsored an SGS Thomson ST6 development kit. I used this controller for various things, but now that I have learned about other controllers, I can't help thinking about how lousy the ST6 was.

When I started at the Technical University of Denmark I decided to start on the Informathics-line. Informathics at DTU is a mix of computer science and mathemathics. But since a M.Sc. student at DTU can choose almost any course held at DTU, I decided to have a few courses on electronics. In "Digitalteknik" I got 13 (the highest grade in the Danish system), and in the following years I was an assistant teacher in this course (until I finished my studies and graduated as M.Sc).

My introduction to Atmel AVR microcontrollers came through an individual course where me and a fellow student designed a datalogger for Bispebjerg Hospital. This was quite a big project, and a very good learning experience. I am doing my Ph.D. at the same institute where I had this course, and they still use AVR for anything. I don't have a lot of electronics design in my Ph.D.-project, but since I also have to teach as part of my education, I have been able to keep up my knowledge concerning AVR. Of course I also have a lot of crazy electronics projects I like to work on in my spare time, most of which use AVR microcontrollers. Some of the projects will appear on these pages over time. Be patient.

Projects

Last updated: 2007.05.30