Archive | November 2012

Convert a toy piano into a MIDI keyboard

Using an Arduino board, a protoshieldshift register and a few hours tinkering, Jen Shen turned an aged Casio SA-47 piano into a MIDI keyboard that actually works. By determining how the keyboard is wired, Jen connects the matrix to the shift register and reads the keyboard using the parallel-out shift register technique. Then the Arduino can convert the signals into MIDI data and send it off to the outside world. Here’s a quick video of the keyboard in action:

 

That’s a fine example of hardware hacking and making something more useful from a toy. For complete instructions visit the project pageAnd for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.


 

When creating projects with external circuitry hacking existing devices – consider our range of ProtoShields. From the tiny LeoStick to the Mega range, we offer a complete range for you to work with

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Make your own line-following robot with Arduino

Robotics is always a fun topic, and the following project is a good example of this. By using two constant-rotating servos, three infra-red sensors and an ultrasonic sensor, the robot’s Arduino board can control and drive the robot to follow the line plus be aware of any obstacles it may face. Making this may seem like a simple project, but it’s a good foundation for greater things. For inspiration here is the robot in action:


For complete instructions and notes, visit the project pageAnd for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

 

If this type of project interests you and you’re new to the Arduino world, 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.

MariaMole – a new IDE for Arduino

To satisfy the desire to write their own IDE, and also improve on the Arduino-supplied version, enthusiast Alex went ahead and created his own – MariaMole. It has several new features and improvements over the original, such as multiple serial monitors, allowing multiple sketches to be open in one window, different colour schemes, and the ability to easily import existing sketches and libraries. And it looks pretty snazzy, for example:

Finally Alex has made the project open source, so everyone is free to download and improve on the IDE. So click here to get started, and for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you’re new to Arduino, the first step is a solid board for your projects – our Freetronics Eleven – the Arduino-Uno compatible with low-profile USB socket, onboard prototyping space and easy to view LEDs:

Control twenty servos from one Arduino

Not content with their previous efforts, the people at rcarduino blog have demonstrated a method of controlling twenty servos using only four Arduino digital pins, the two timer registers and some 4017 logic ICs. These decade-counter ICs allow for throwing signals to each of the ten servos in sequence very quickly. However they have created a serial servo library to make coding simpler, and the whole project is very much convenient. Just the thing for making your own motorised creatures with ten legs, or a huge analogue display board.

For more information, click here for demonstration code and the Arduino library. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

When creating projects with external circuitry or ten servos – consider our range of ProtoShields. From the tiny LeoStick to the Mega range, we offer a complete range for you to work with

More SMS messaging with Arduino and old Motorola handsets

A lot of inexpensive and aged Motorola GSM handsets might not be the latest thing, however they have one very useful characteristic – their ease of interfacing with an Arduino. You can connect the serial TX/RX lines straight into the phone using a hacked headset cable and control them with normal AT commands. This has been demonstrated once more by Matthew Sheffield with a Motorola c168i. He demonstrates the required wiring and Arduino sketch to send an SMS on demand, for example:

 

You can also use Motorola C261s for this type of project as well, so keep an eye on eBay or the discount stores for a cheap Arduino-SMS gateway. For the details – click here. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you find this type of project interesting, 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

Solving household pet dilemmas with Arduino

Arduino forum member ‘teckel’ has a few dogs at home, however they have a habit of doing their “business” indoors instead of out. In an attempt to combat this behaviour, teckel has used an Arduino-controlled ultrasonic distance sensor to detect their presence in the area that will sound a piezo siren when the dogs enter the forbidden zone. It’s an interesting … solution to the problem, or at least a blueprint for a new type of distance alarm. 

For more details and discussion related to this project, head over to the Arduino forum. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

 

If you’re interested in working with piezos for various reasons we have a neat littleSOUND: sound and buzzer module:

It can be used as a noise-maker driven by your microcontroller for audible feedback of events, and it can also be used as a knock-detector input to sense events and react to them. Includes a built-in 1M resistor to allow the piezo element to detect shocks. For more information and to order, please visit the product page here

Control Arduino digital I/O via an iDevice

Another example of controlling an Arduino’s digital I/O pins has recently appeared – the “iArduino” application for Apple iPod, iPhone and iPad devices. It is a two-part procedure, you need the software on your Apple device and also the matching sketch uploaded onto your Arduino+Ethernet shield combination board (or EtherTen). You add the IP address for your Arduino in the sketch, then enter this and the port number into the iDevice and away you go. Here’s a long video running through the process:

 

So if this is of interest to you, click here for more information and the software links. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

 

When putting together your next Internet-enabled Arduino project – save time, space and money with the Freetronics EtherTen. Apart from being fully Arduino Uno-compatible, it has onboard Ethernet, microSD socket, full USB interface (so you don’t need a costly FTDI cable just to upload a sketch!) and supports optional Power-over-Ethernet.