Archive | September 2012

DIY Wireless Motion Sensor Array

Matthew over at the code|hack|create site needed to be aware of movement in many places at once, in order to detect the arrival of the courier and movement in other areas of his building. Although placing passive infrared sensors around and wiring them back to a main unit sounds simple, in reality all that wiring is inconvenient and a mess. Therefore Matthew instead connected each PIR to an Arduino and an inexpensive wireless data transmitter. At the receiving end another Arduino to a matched receiver which can then take action once motion in any of the areas has been detected.

For more information about this project, click here. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you’re interested in using wireless data links with your Arduino project, we have twoconvenient receiver shields – both 315 MHz and 433 Mhz. Combined with the Getting Started guide you’ll be up and going in no time. For more information check out theproduct page

┬ÁSpeech – Speech recognition toolkit for Arduino

Although you’re not going to replicate the voice recognition system in that popular smartphone, with µSpeech you can have up to ten words that are recognised in order to execute various commands and so on. Unlike other systems µSpeech doesn’t require any training, instead it uses a mathematical algorithm to analyse the sounds’ numerical representation and return what was said. Hopefully! According to the website the accuracy is up to 80% for words, so again considering the level of hardware it’s a great effort.

For more information, the library download and tutorial visit the project page. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

To test out the µSpeech you’ll need an simple electret microphone board, and our Freetronics MIC: microphone and sound module is perfect. 

 

The MIC: contains an integrated dual signal amplifier converts the sound to separate channels for pulse / frequency measurement, and sound volume (pressure) level. Designed to connect straight to an Arduino compatible microcontroller, Analog to Digital converter, or many other circuits. For more information and to order click here

 

The “Ultimate Arduino Doorbell”

Software developer John Montgomery has experimented with an Arduino board, an inexpensive doorbell and a variety of odds and ends to come up with what he has termed the “Ultimate Arduino Doorbell”. Perhaps the title is subjective, but John has documented his exploration from the start, culminating with a wireless doorbell that rings an actual bell using a servo driven by the Arduino. Here it is in action:

 

Apart from resulting with a different doorbell, it’s always interesting to watch how people experiment and discover. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

 

 

When making your own doorbell or other project, increase reliability and project lifespan by using a protoshield instead. In doing so, consider our range of ProtoShields. From the tiny LeoStick to the Mega range, we offer a complete range for you to work with.

Compile and Upload Arduino sketches without the IDE

 If the Arduino IDE isn’t your preferred code editor, you really enjoy command line operations or you need to integrate the Arduino build process into another application, check out the inotool project. It’s a command-line toolkit for Arduino hardware and supports all boards supported in the Arduino IDE and the latest revision sketches. At this stage the took is only supported in Linux and MacOS, and required python on the machine, however it’s an interesting start. inotool will take care of the entire process including upload to the board. 

For more information and to download the latest version, click here. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

 

 If you’re an experienced Arduino user and interested in more advanced Arduino projects and usage – get yourself a copy of “Practical Arduino” by Jonathan Oxer and Hugh Blemings:

 

Create your own Arduino-based designs, gain an in-depth knowledge of the architecture of Arduino, and learn the easy-to-use Arduino language all in the context of practical projects that you can build yourself at home. Get hands-on experience using a variety of projects and recipes for everything from home automation to test equipment. For more information and to order, click here

DIY Arduino-controlled router lathe

Now for a project on a grander scale, a router lathe that’s controlled by an Arduino. Using a variety of motor controls, some heavier duty circuitry and a lot of work, Chris now has a router lathe with a ~14 cm swing over the bed and ~83 cm between centres. Considering the magnitude of this project, it’s great to see him succeed and have a working product, for example:

 

With some preplanning and careful measuring you could automate many wood-turning designs for some fascinating hand-free work. For more information, follow Chris’ series about the lathe from here. And we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

 

When experimenting with your Arduino board and larger projects, it can be difficult and time consuming to mess about connecting wires of various sizes to the board. To make this easier, consider using our Freetronics Terminal Shield for Arduino – which neatly solves 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

New Product – the Experimenter’s Kit for Arduino

If you’re interested in the Arduino world but not too sure where to start, or looking to give someone a great head start – check out our new Experimenter’s Kit for Arduino. The package includes a wide variety of parts, sensors and modules including: a servo motor, lights, buttons, switches, sound, sensors, breadboard, wires and more. 

Furthermore a Freetronics Eleven Arduino-compatible board is included to make this an extensive hobby experimenter, inventor and starter kit. However we don’t leave you alone to figure it all out, included is a great project and instruction booklet, plus access to a  supporting web page and software examples. In other words – this is everything you need to get started for a fun range of electronics and Arduino related projects!

So to get started or for more information and to order, check out the product page. And we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

Or if you’re an experienced Arduino user and interested in more advanced Arduino projects and usage – get yourself a copy of “Practical Arduino” by Jonathan Oxer and Hugh Blemings:

 

Create your own Arduino-based designs, gain an in-depth knowledge of the architecture of Arduino, and learn the easy-to-use Arduino language all in the context of practical projects that you can build yourself at home. Get hands-on experience using a variety of projects and recipes for everything from home automation to test equipment. For more information and to order, click here

Make your own Arduino-controlled robotic drum kit

Instructables staff member Randy Sarafan has documented one of the largest Arduino-based projects we have seen for some time, his Robot Drum Kit. It isn’t a bunch of robots playing the drums, instead each drum is played by an Arduino with two drumsticks controlled by car door lock motors and motor shields. Making the system play is a sequencing program for MAX MSP which controls the Arduinos via USB. The entire project is simply amazing and worth a look here:

 

For complete instructions, check out the project page. And we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

 

If you’re interested in more advanced Arduino projects and usage – get yourself a copy of “Practical Arduino” by Jonathan Oxer and Hugh Blemings: 

Create your own Arduino-based designs, gain an in-depth knowledge of the architecture of Arduino, and learn the easy-to-use Arduino language all in the context of practical projects that you can build yourself at home. Get hands-on experience using a variety of projects and recipes for everything from home automation to test equipment. For more information and to order, click here

Hijack IR remote-control signals for fun and mischief

Now for something completely different – an infra-red remote control hijacker. By using an Arduino of almost any type, a 38 kHz IR receiver and a matching infra-red transmitter LED a lot of fun can be had. How? Simple – when the Arduino receives an command from any infra-red remote control – it transmits a random command to the units to be controlled. So if someone (for example) tries to change the TV channel, the volume might drop or some other random function be activated. Perfect for annoying people as a practical joke. 

 

However be careful, you don’t want to be caught out. So hide your hijacker well! To get started, click here. And we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you need to hide your Arduino board – size is important. And one of the smallest complete boards out there is the 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 which can be used a knock sensor and various tune and sound effects. Plus you can add extra circuitry with the matching protostick! For more information and to order, click here.

Digital to analogue conversion with resistor ladders and Arduino

Although many users may consider pulse-width modulation a form of analogue output with their Arduino (and when controlling the brightness of an LED it is a simple solution), it is not DAC at all. However even though we don’t have one as standard with our Arduino boards, a form of DAC can be created with a little time by making our own with what is called the “R/2R” resistor network. This allows you to create a voltage output that is relative to a number on the Arduino. In summary, it consists of eight resistors each connected to a digital output, which are then meshed in with another eight resistors, for example:

 

This type of circuit can be useful to create forms of audio or other variable signal outputs. To learn more about digital to analogue conversion, and making your own using an Arduino – visit this useful tutorial by Ikalogic. And we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

 

When making your own DAC, you’ll need a protoshield to mount the external circuitry. In doing so, consider our range of ProtoShields. From the tiny LeoStick to the Mega range, we offer a complete range for you to work with.

The Naked Espresso and Arduino

In an effort to show how wonderful their coffee machines are, Breville hacked one of their more expensive double-boiler units with a variety of sensors to measure temperature, boiler pressure and flow rate through the machine. These paramaters were then captured via an Arduino board and sent to a PC to be displayed using processing. Furthermore, the data was also used as seed to create visualisations that were printed out and used as a surround for the coffee it was a product of. Although it’s a bit of spin, the ability to do so is quite interesting and possibly unheard of before. The process is demonstrated in the first part of the following video:

 

For more information about this check out the project page. And we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

 

When experimenting with various items and an Arduino, it can be difficult and time consuming to mess about connecting wires of various sizes to the board. As you can see the coffee machine hacker 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