Archive | July 2012

Interfacing Arduino with commercial message boards

Ellen Sundh has demonstrated in her website how to interface a commercially-available Amplus LED message board with an Arduino. From a hardware perspective it’s pretty simple, and Ellen has written her own Arduino library to take care of the software side of the problem. Once again it’s great to see people finding ways of controlling items with an Arduino, and tihs is a great example.

For more information, hardware instructions and code, visit Ellen’s blog here. And we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well. 

Although interfacing with an existing LED display is pretty nifty, an easier way would be to get your hands on one or more of our Freetronics Dot Matrix Display units. Apart from being dead simple to use, they’re very bright for indoor and outdoor situations. Available in various colours, the 32 x 16 LED matrix can display text and graphics quite easily – and can be daisy-chained together for extended displays. For more information, see our range of Dot Matrix Displays here

 

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The 4-bit Maze Game

Computer scientist Todd Neller has created and documented his Arduino rendition of of Oskar van Deventer’s 4-Bit Maze game. Although very simple in principle, to win the game requires a keen short-term memory and a little patience. The “maze” consists of four LEDs (each with a matching button), that are on at the start of the game. The goal is to turn off all the LEDs. However, when you turn one of the off, others may turn on. Here is an example of a finished prototype:

To play an online version of the game, plus all the details to make your own – visit Todd’s website here. And we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well. 

 

If you’re working with Arduino projects like Todd’s that require some external circuitry, consider one of our range of Protoshields. From the tiny LeoStick to the Mega range, we offer a complete range for you to work with

Create a simple “Etch-a-sketch” with Arduino and Processing

Enthusiast Trevor Shannon has demonstrated the use of an Arduino sending data back to a PC to be used by a Processing sketch in the form of a simple rendition of an “Etch-a-sketch”. He has connected two potentiometers to the Arduino analogue inputs, whose values are relayed back to the PC and then graphed in a Processing display window. For example:

 

Although a simple example, it shows what is possible with Processing and an Arduino. For more information including the sketches, visit Trevor’s interesting website here. And we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well. 

 

If you are new to Arduino and looking to make your own projects, join in with our range of Arduino-compatible hardwareprototyping shields and module range. A good start is the Freetronics Eleven, the Arduino Uno-compatible board with onboard prototyping space:

Build your own Arduino-based movie props

Sooner or later someone who watches too many movies and has a numeric keypad, an Arduino board, and a technical-looking briefcase is going to make a movie prop that resembles an explosive device. However it’s fun, could have other applications – for example a time-delay door lock, or more fun. It’s up to your imagination. However – be responsible. Here’s a video of the example prop:

 

For more information, including the hardware design and Arduino sketches – visit theinstructable here. And we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well. 

When building your own Arduino-embedded projects, consider our Freetronics LeoStick. Apart from being one of the smallest Arduino-compatibles on the market with USB, it also has an onboard RGB LED and piezo for sound and knock detection:

 

DIY Arduino-powered Catalpult

Instructables user and Freetronics customer ‘unusualtravis’ has published details of his fantastic Arduino-powered catapult. Using some simple woodwork, a large servo and circuitry, a Freetronics Eleven board and the laws of physics – this great example of possible fun and games has been created:

 

Following the plans and instructions this would be a great weekend project, and something with great potential for use both indoors and out. For more information, including plans, circuitry and the Arduino sketch – visit the instructions site here. And we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well. 

 

If you are new to Arduino and looking to make your own catapult, join in with our range of Arduino-compatible hardwareprototyping shields and module range. A good start is the Freetronics Eleven, the Arduino Uno-compatible board with onboard prototyping space:

Simple Arduino-controlled LED Tree

Whether you’re looking for a basic Arduino project to share with some  youngsters, or getting in early on the festive season – this project will be of interest. By mounting thirteen LEDs and matching resistors on some prototyping board, the designer has created an illuminated LED tree that could be useful as a decoration of sorts, or another form of data output. 

To get started, head over to the project website for code, construction advice and inspiration. And we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well. 

 

 

When experimenting with your Arduino board by interfacing with all those LEDs, it can be difficult and time consuming to mess about connecting wires of various sizes to the board. As you can see the designer has chosen our Freetronics Terminal Shield for Arduino – which neatly solved the problem:

Apart from having a larger than normal prototyping area, there are terminal blocks for every Arduino pin, three LEDs for general use and a reset button on the shield. Great for experimenting and fast I/O connections – so order yours today

Amazing web-controlled Multi-user Interactive Light Display

Technologist Andrew Fisher has designed and demonstrated a beautiful multi-user interactive light display with a web-based control system, using a range of our products. The display comprises of three main components – an Ethernet-enabled board that accepts commands from the web server and controls RGB LEDs, a web interface that accepts user control of the different lights, and a web server that processes the web commands from the users and feeds them to the Arduino. The following is a short demonstration of the display at work:

The project may sound complex, however Andrew has published everything you need to get started with your own display. So for a project overview, along with links to the code and documentation – visit Andrew’s site here

To recreate your own display, apart from our Ethernet-enabled Arduino-compatible EtherTen board for the web server and hardware control – you’ll need some easy to use RGB LEDs:

 Our RGB LED modules as demonstrated include a bright RGB LED on the top of the board and a WS2801 constant-current, addressable, multi-channel LED driver on the back. This smart module can be daisy-chained, so you can connect a number of these together in a string and drive each of the module colours individually from your microcontroller. For more information and to order, visit the product page.