Direct your questions to info@nutchip.com. See also FAQ-Robot for answers to most commons questions regarding Robots and Basic Stamps



Can I use a wall transformer to power my Nutchip?

Yes, if it is a DC power adapterwith output in the range from 8 to 15 volts.You need to add the regulating stage (see left) based on 7805 type stabilizer. Connect the wall transformer between A and B leads: always check voltages with a multimeter, input must be in range 8...15V, output 5V ±0.5V

if your dealer offers a "replacement" in place of a true 7805, please add a 100 uF/16V electrolytic capacitor in parallel to 5V output (ensure capacitor's negative lead connects to IC1 pin 2)

Are Nutchips different compared to Basic Stamps™?

Yes, very different. Basic Stamps are true microprocessors working thanks to a comlete - yet relatively complex - programming language. They were used also in Space missions! Basic Stamp are suitable for decoding remote controls, but you need to write an intricate program to get the job done.
Nutchip are much simpler, and work based on an intuitive truth table. To receive a remote control command all you need is to click on key's number to enter it to the truth table. They have also an analog comparator, very useful should you read the ON/OFF state of sensors like photocells and temperature sensors. Nutchip let you think as a programmer, and are the most natural place to start learning the fascinating world of digital electronics.

*Basic Stampis a registere trade mark of Parallax Inc.

I cannot program the chip

Ensure you downloaded the latest Nutstation. If this is your case, continue reading the "Troubleshooting Guide"
Check your interface, cable, and connection. A very common mistake is to connect pin2 from connector CN2 to pin2 on the Nutchip (wrong) instead of Nutchip pin3 (correct). The second most common mistake is a faulty PC serial port configuration.
Verify all the 4 combinations as follows, power-cycling (that is, removing the re-applying 5V power) the Nutchip after every change.

COM1 selected
cable plugged to first PC connector
COM1 selected
cable plugged to seconf PC connector
COM2 selected
cable plugged to first PC connector
COM2 selected
cable plugged to second PC connector

From time to times, we get reports of readers that are unable to complete programming because they are using "X-MODEM" or "CROSSED" serial cables. Such cables have pins 2 and 3 reversed (crossed), therefore are not suitable for Nutchip programming.

I cannot program the chip, but Nutchip Commander works properly

The virtual remote control (Nutchip Commander) and Nutchip programming environment (Nutstation) have spearate configurations. Set Nutstation to the same serial port as used by Commander.

How can I control light intensity with a Nutchip?

Turn the lamp repeatedly on and off. connect the lamp as "low voltage lamps": lamp must be a DCi lamp. The example turns the lamp ON for 15 mS and OFF for 5 mS. Human eye will perceive a 75% light intensity, according to the formula:

% luminosity = 100 * timeON / (timeON + timeOFF) = 100*15 / (15+5) = 75%

in order to make the flashing undetectable, alway set times in the range from 5mS to 30 mS. Times less than 5mS cause a detectable jitter effect. Note that this technique does not work for AC lamps, which require very low jitters (in the order od 100 millionths of a sec)


Do infrared transmitter modules exist?

No, current infrared remote controls use one or two infrared LEDs. A speciliazed IC encoder or a PIC microcontroller is often used to drive the LEDs by means of a transistor stage. After taking in account the cost for a battery holder, plastic case, keys, printed circuit board, etc., the best solution is to opt for a ready-made infrared remote control as the Visa Simplex ®.
Note: if you want to build yourself your remote control, follow our design based on a PIC microcontroller, and download picrmt.hex.

Nutchip part names

NUT-01-AK for Visa Simplex remote controls, NUT-01-DEA DeAgostini Robot remote control and Basic Stamp compatibility (works also with Visa Simplex when set to Sony mode). Both parts are identical as regards radio frequency remote controls.

Virtual remote + real remote control: can I use both at the same time?

Yes, because the virtual remote control (Nutchip Commander) works using Nutchip's serial port, while the real remote control uses the REMOTE input pin. So the can work together: for example, you can use the PC and a radio remote control to control your laboratory's light.


My laptop/PC lacks a serial port!

You need and USB-to-serial converter (available from any decent computer shop). These converters are supplied together a driver CD. Most driver install a COM port whose number is 5 or 6, which are supported by Nutstation. The huge number of manufacturers and drivers commercially available makes it immpossible to predict a 100% succes using such devices: better to ask your dealer to try before buy.

Were to buy Nutchips

Buy it on-line or from our official dealers

What are those symblos +5V, Vcc, Vdd, Vss, GND,,

In ordere to make our schematics easier to read, we folowed the common practice of not to draw the power wires. A symbol representing the "connection" to power supply lines is used instead. Alway connect equal symbols together. The picture picture below shows how power lines connect to main power lines (a stabilized 5Vdc power supply):





0V, GND,

Please follow the standard convention of using RED cables for the positive supply, and BLACK for nagative. This line is also often referred as "ground" (GND), as it is often connected to shields and metal cases which are grounded.
Most integrated circuits mark positive power pins as Vcc or Vdd, and negative power pins as Vee or Vss. This does not necessarily mean the work at 5Vdc, so care is required.

Infrared receivers: alternatives?

We recommend model TSOP1836 as infrared reciver,as this performed best during tests. If you are unable to find it, or have different parts at hand, you can use also an IS1U60 (Sharp), SFH506 (Sharp), TSOP1736 (Telefunken). Receiver's carrier frequency must be 36kHz per il NUT01-AK ( 38kHz for NUT01-DEA). A 38 or 40 kHz receiver will work as well on a NUT01-AK, at expense of reduced range!

Replacing a 7805 with LM2940

Yes, but you need to add an electrolytic capacitor (at least 10 uF/16V ) between the output pin Vout, and the negative pin. The capacitor is required by the '2940, which otherwise can start to oscillate. A few among our designs have this capacitor already added, so that you can use either IC.

Powering a Nutchip from the PC's serial port

A Nutchip require a 5 volt stabilized power supply. Power consuption is minimal, and most PC serial port are strong enough to accomplish this task with ease -at least, in theory. A special low-dropout power regulator (e.g.National's LM2926-5). This kind of applications is not for beginners. We recommend to start with an external power supply, totest the circuit, later to remove the external power and verify if everything continues to work OK.

What differences between Nutchips and PIC?

Lots of. PICs are true microcontrollers, featuring an "assembly language" instruction set. Assembly instructions are fast, powerful and flexible, but require careful insight, knowledge of microprocessor internal working, and repeated debugging sessions. In case you already master programming concepts, just skip Nutchips and try one of the high-level languages available for PICs; don't expect to become familiar with PICs overnight; however
Nowadays PICs can be found embedded in many products, ranging from cars to satellites.
Like Nutchips, PIC are state machines. Nutchips, by converse, are much easier, and they work according to a simple truth table. A mouse click is all that is required to receive a remote control, and they sport also an analog comparator to read a sensor's ON/OFF signal (like a photocell or thermistor). Nutchips provide a smooth path for thinking as a programmer does, and are a fascinating introduction to the wonderful world of digital electronics.

Is my TV remote control compatible?

Unfortunately, you need to test your remote with a Nutchip to be 100% sure. Alternately, you can use a programmable remote control like the Visa Simplex to perform an indirect test. Following manufacturer's instruction, set your universal remote as "Philips (RC5) compatible". Try using it with your TV. If it works, it will work also with NutchipNUT01-AK - almost certainly.
If it does not work, try setting the remote for "Sony mode", which is the encoding compatible with NUT01-DEA.

How to assign arbitrary remote-control key codes?

Keys/codes bindings are availble as Nutstation's presets for infrared TV and Visa Simplex remote controls only. To link another code to any one of Nutchip keys key1...key6, without knowing the code number in advance, you need a working prototype (like the Nutchip BOE-NUT01 board).

Connect the prototype to a PC running Nutstation (the interface is not required if you're using the BOE-NUT01 circuit). Click on the remote control selection button, then on the appropriate "custom" remote control button. Click on the key you want to assign from the on-screen remote control picture bring the self-learning window. Now direct your remote control towards the prototype and press the key you want to be recognized by Nutchip. Clicking on "Learn" button will automatically enter the relevant keycode in the "code" field