Archive | December 2012

Arduino to Android phone via Bluetooth dongles

As more people become proficient with developing and publishing their own Android apps, they can also take advantage of the ease of communication with Arduino projects for data analysis, remote control and other uses. However as there isn’t an Arduino Bluetooth board on the market, a cheaper solution is to make use of a board with a USB host shield. The people at Circuits@Home have thus described how to easily connect an Android phone with bluetooth an an Arduino board with a USB host shield adaptor, USB dongle and a library to make it happen.

Click here for the tutorial and notes. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

 

If you’re looking for an Arduino-compatible board with inbuilt USB host shield, look no further as we have the Freetronics USBDroid board:

Apart from being a fully Arduino Uno-compatible, it has onboard microSD socket and the full USB socket and host-mode controller. As well as the Bluetooth application described above, this is the ideal platform for developing peripherals or projects based around Android devices with ADK (Android Developer Kit) functionality, but without requiring a USB host controller shield stacked onto an Arduino. For more information and to order, visit the product page here

Programming Arduinos wirelessly via XBee

After creating an Arduino-based project and converting it to a finished project – it generally isn’t finished. Sooner or later you’ll want to update the sketch to add features or take care of the odd bug. However if the Arduino board is hidden away in an attic, across a field at a pump station or somewhere generally hard to access – it’s going to take time. With this in mind, Instructables user “Hitm_n” has described how to integrate XBee wireless data modules into your design to allow remote sketch uploading – a perfect solution. For example:

 

For detailed instructions and notes, click here. 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 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

Arduino LCD Game: “Arduinoid”

For those of you who remember playing “Breakout” on various home video game consoles – check this out. Professor Martin Mason has written a very compact and playable rendition for an Arduino that can be played using a 16×2 LCD module and some buttons. It’s a clever use of the custom LCD characters and the game is genuinely playable, for example:

 

Fantastic. You can learn more, examine the sketch and play yourself by visiting the project page. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

Returning very soon to the Freetronics store is our LCD & Keypad shield. Perfect for prototyping, games and projects, it contains a bright 16×2 character LCD and five buttons that can be read from only one analog input pin:

Plot data from Arduino with Dataplot3

It seems that PC-based data graphing for Arduino is all the rage this month, and thus we have another example by Arduino forum member  “zitron” who has published his data graphing software “Dataplot3”. Written in Microsoft Visual Studio, the main purpose is to display values over time. It relies on the Arduino sending numerical data seperated by commas and sent via the serial line back to the PC. It’s simple and it works, for example:

For more details, discussion and all the code, login to the Arduino forum here. 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:

Access Arduino I/O pins via serial commands with Softboard

Enthusiast Robert Epprecht has created an interesting software tool for an Arduino – a serial-based command line system that allows interrogating I/O pin status with simple text commands. Thus the Arduino can act as a real-time interface between sensors (etc) and your PC via the serial monitor. This can be useful when you want to quickly read values without writing a sketch. For example, if you want to monitor the value measured by analogue pin 3, you would enter “A3 v” into the command line, and the results would appear similar to the following:

There are many other options, so visit Robert’s github page for the sketch and more information. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you’re interested in sensors of all types, including accelerometerstemperaturehumidity,lightsoundknockIR temperature and more – check out our wide range of Freetronics modules

AR Transceiver display replacement with Arduino and LCD shield

Amateur radio enthusiast Joshua Mesilane was preparing for the popular activity of fox-hunting (not wiley canine-like animals, the “activity wherein participants use radio direction finding techniques to locate one or more radio transmitters hidden within a designated search area”). However before heading off the LCD on his Yaesu FT-857D turned out to be faulty, so instead of replacing the entire display unit Joshua instead decoded the output from the transceiver and used an Arduino  terminal shield and an LCD Keypad shield to display the frequency, for example:


And over a short period of time, he also added “arrays to store the hunt/frequency information and to allow automatic toggling between hunts so that when you get to the next hunt all you need to do is push a button”. That’s pretty awesome – he saved a lot of money by not paying for a new Yaesu display and programmed the whole thing in a short amount of time. For more information, including the full story and code – visit Joshua’s website hereAnd for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well. 

Want 10% off your next order? Use coupon code “DEC10” at checkout until the 20th of December 2012. 

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

Updated Wii Nunchuk Arduino Sketch

After finding existing sketches that used the Nintendo Wii nunchuck as a user interface, and finding them incompatible with the current Arduino IDE v1.0.2, Instructables user “animes25” has published an easy-to-follow sketch and instruction on how to read the values from the nunchuck and interpret them with the Arduino. Their example uses six LEDs to illustrate the axis that the nunchuck is being held to. And thus you can learn how to integrate the controller into your own projects.

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.

Want 10% off your next order? Use coupon code “DEC10” at checkout until the 20th of December 2012. 

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

New Arduino time-zone and DST calculation library

Arduino enthusiast Jack Christensen has published a new library that works in conjunction with the Arduino time library. The purpose of his “timezone” library is:

to allow a Real Time Clock (RTC) to be set to Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) and then convert the UTC time to the correct
local time, whether it is daylight saving time (a.k.a. summer time) or standard time. Whether a hardware RTC is present or not is immaterial; the Time library will function as a software RTC without additional hardware, although software RTC accuracy will be determined by the accuracy of the microcontroller’s system clock.

That’s really useful, and will help bring various clock and timing projects to life – including an adjustable world-time clock for radio enthusiasts or those with a distributed workforce. You can find the library download and instructions at Jack’sgithub page. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

Want 10% off your next order? Use coupon code “DEC10” at checkout until the 20th of December 2012. 

The most important part of any clock project is the inclusion of an accurate real-time clock IC. Here at Freetronics we have the Maxim DS3232 real-time clock IC module:

Apart from keeping accurate time for years due to the temperature-controlled oscillator and having a tiny coin-cell for backup, it is very simple to connect to your Arduino project. A driver library allows your program to easily set or read the time and date. Perfect for clock projects, dataloggers or anything that needs to know the date and time. Furthermore it contains a digital thermometer and 236 bytes of non-volatile memory to store user settings and other data. For more information, check out the module page here

Build an interactive Super Mario piranha plant

Fans of the “Super Mario Bros” Nintendo game franchise will love the following project. By constructing a larger-than-life piranha from styrofoam, pipe, cloth and other crafty object, Instructables user ‘Anirbas91′ has completed a worthwhile decoration on its’ own. However with the addition of a movement sensor, and a variety of LEDs the piranha can blink randomly (or however you like) once someone moves past.

So to make your own, click here to get started. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

Want 10% off your next order? Use coupon code “DEC10” at checkout until the 20th of December 2012. 

If you’re looking to make your own projects that could use different light effects, consider one or more of the Freetronics RGBLED: module. It includes 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

Simple Christmas tune and light show with Arduino

Programmer Rajkumar C Madhuram has demonstrated how easy it is to make your own music-playing device with an Arduino. His project can play five different Christmas-themed tunes and also control LEDs so they blink in relation to the music. This project would be easily embedded inside a variety of objects or decorations to add another level to the usual Christmas decorations. You can hear an example of the tunes in the following video:

 

For the circuit schematic, notes and Arduino sketch visit Rajkumar’s website. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

Want 10% off your next order? Use coupon code “DEC10” at checkout until the 20th of December 2012. 


If you’re looking to embed one or more full-sized Arduino-compatibles in your project but would like to save some money, consider the Freetronics KitTen. This has all the features of an Arduino Duemilanove-compatible without the USB interface and is in kit form, saving you money while staying true to the Arduino form. For more information and to order, check out the KitTen page.