Archive | January 2013

Central heating and HWS monitor system with Arduino

One excellent and relatively simple project you can create with Arduino systems is temperature monitoring, and this has been demonstrated very well by Arduino enthusiast Jonas. He has published details on his system that monitors “both indoor and outdoor temperatures, radiator inlet/outlet temperature, wood furnace heat transfiguring and effect and the hot water storage tank temperature”. In other words, a complete view of the vital statistics to get him through a European winter. The control system is very well done, with a great display – for example:

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

 

When making your own system. consider our TEMP: temperature sensor, which uses the Dallas DS18B20 1-wire digital temperature sensor, which has a range of -55 to +125°C at an accuracy of +/- 0.5°C:

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Analyse Arduino data with “ArduinoMonitor” software

Arduino enthusiast Stefan Hölzl has published some interesting and useful software – his “ArduinoMonitor”. It is another tool that allows monitoring and graphing of data received from the Arduino via USB. You can also use this for two-way communication as a replacement for the Arduino IDE’s serial monitor function. It’s simple to use and Stefan has included the documentation and example sketch showing how to make use of his software. 

So for more information and downloads,  visit Stefan’s github page. 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:

The Arduino light-seeker

When experimenting with an Arduino for the first few weeks, it’s amazing what you can come up with using a small amount of hardware and some imagination. One example of this is by Instructables user “aze1337” who used two light sensors mounted on a servo horn to create their light-seeking device. By measuring the light levels the Arduino can determine which direction has more light, and move the servo accordingly. This may seem simple, but could used as a step towards greater devices such as robots or guidance for solar collectors. Nevertheless, here’s the project at work:

 

This is a great demonstration of what can be possible with an Arduino, so click herefor more information. And 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.

Generate better Arduino audio output with dual-PWM

It’s no secret you can generate tones and simple audio with pulse-width modulation, but it isn’t the best. However using the methods described by the Open Music Labs, you can use two PWM outputs and some simple analogue circuitry to create reasonable audio output. This is accomplished with 16-bit audio by sending the high bit to one digital output and the low bit to another, then mixing them with external circuitry. 

An interesting extension of what’s possible with Arduino, and can be found hereAnd 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.

DIY CPU and memory meter with Arduino

Using an Arduino you can easily interpret data coming in from the serial line, and with that in mind enthusiast “kraegar” created a system to display the memory and CPU usage of his PC with easy-to-read LED bar graphs. The Arduino simply listens to the serial line for the values from the PC then converts the values suitable for driving the LEDs via 74HC595 shift registers. It’s simple and it works. 

That’s a fun and interesting project, you can follow the instructions from hereAnd for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.


When working with 74HC595 shift registers and solderless breadboards (or more permanent solutions) consider using the Freetronics EXPAND: Expansion/Shift register module. It contains the 74HC595 shift register on a small board with standard 0.1″ spacing holes that are perfect for soldering header pins into for breadboard use, and a small “power on” LED. By doing this you have a robust vehicle to insert and remove easily without tools or the risk of bending the IC pins. This is only one of our large range of prototyping modules – check the full range today!

Controlling four LCD modules with one Arduino

Generally people only consider an Arduino capable of driving one parallel-interface LCD at any one time. Some people get around this by using external I2C-interface backpacks, however this can increase the cost somewhat. Another method without any extra external circuitry has been published by Thomas Flummer – allowing four HD44780-interface LCDs to happily coexist at once. His method involves controlling the enable pins for each LCD and sharing the data line, with success:

Visit Thomas’ website for complete instructions. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

 

If you only need one LCD for your Arduino, save time and move forward with the Freetronics LCD & Keypad shield which contains a bright 16×2 character LCD and five buttons that can be read from only one analogue input pin:

Arduino-controlled FDD emulator for Spectravision MSX Computer

Fans of 1980s home computers may (or may not) fondly remember the MSX systems, however if you do and are looking to get one working – this project by Raul at codinglaboratory may be of interest. He has created a created a replacement floppy-drive system for his Spectravision SVI-728 computer using some clever hacking. The disk bios has been acquired and burned to an EPROM which is controlled by an ATmega128 and fitted to an original cartridge. This then connects to an Arduino which accesses data to and from a PC – behaving as the replacement for the original floppy drive. It’s serious hacking, but it works – for example:

 

Kudos to Raul for his efforts, and click here to find out how it works. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

When your projects outgrow the normal Arduino-compatible boards, running out of program and flash memory space, need more I/O pins or you’re stacking on Ethernet and microSD shields, or all at once – it’s time to upgrade to the Freetronics EtherMega:

Quite simple the EtherMega is the fully-loaded Arduino-compatible board on the market today. Apart from being completely Arduino Mega2560-compatible, it includes full Ethernet interface, a microSD card socket, full USB interface, optional Power-over-Ethernet support and still has a circuit prototyping area with extra I2C interface pins. So if your project is breaking the limits, upgrade to the EtherMega today.