Top 10 Stamp Tips

by Al Williams WD5GNR

Free Stamp Projects

bulletMake a CW Keyboard
bulletStamp to PC Frequency Counter (Visual Basic or Visual C++ required)
bulletPong game (on the Scott Edward's site)
bulletTemperature sensor
bulletServo-driven Robot
bulletDigital clock
bulletConnecting a UART

In true David Letterman style, I present my own top 10 Stamp tips:

10. Want to measure humidity? Electronic Goldmine sells a humidity dependent resistor (hygristor) from surplus radiosondes for $1.89 (really). The thing looks like a microscope slide with some black gunk on it and a special holder. You can also get the whole radiosonde, if you like for a few more bucks. or call at 800-445-0697 or 602-451-7454. They have a $10 minimum and the part number you want is G5069. [These are probably gone by now.]

9. The Sound command (or FreqOut) is not useful in many situations because you have to tie up your program while the sound is generated. Another approach is to just manually toggle an output line in a loop while you do other things. If you want to increase the pitch, just toggle it more than once in the loop. Not perfect but it does allow you to do things while you are making sounds.

8. Sometimes you can drive a buzzer instead of a speaker and sidestep the whole sound issue anyway.

7. I like to put Stamp I's in sockets, but SIP sockets are hard to find and expensive. Instead, just take a 28 pin DIP socket (the open frame kind) and cut the ribs away. Wow! Two SIP sockets for about 5 cents each.

6. Watch for CompUSA (or Fry's or ???) to have a special on printer cables. Computer City (now defunct) often has them for $1 or for $2 with a $2 rebate. Buy 'em up. Cut off the Centronics part and you have a Stamp 1 programming cable (well, half of one) for $1 or less.

5. Speaking of cables, I like to build a 1/4" phone jack into my projects. Put a plug on the end of one of the $1 printer cables and you are ready to program the part in situ.

4. You can make a quick and dirty A/D with the PWM command, an RC network, and an op-amp configured as a comparator. Think about it.

3. Use an 8870 and an old phone to make/decode touch tones. See Michael Gray's article in the August '97 Nuts and Volts.

2. Get both a Stamp I and a Stamp II. Try to make your projects work with the Stamp I which is cheaper and smaller. Only use the II if you can't get the I to work.

1. Use a solderless breadboard. This allows you to build prototypes almost effortlessly without soldering or wirewrapping. Our ASP-II is perfect for this purpose (see