Archive | April 2013

DIY Arduino-controlled Egg-drawing robot

For something completely different, consider making a device that can draw patterns on an egg. Although the concept isn’t new, Arduino forum member “Msquare” has demonstrated their own version using a stepper motor, a servo or two and some basic hardware. Once the motor control and servos have been aligned properly some interesting effects can be created on the surface of the egg with a felt-tip pen controlled by the device, for example:

 

And doing your own is much cheaper than a commercial kit. So for more information and the sketch, log in 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 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:

Motorise your window blinds with Arduino

 It can be quite expensive to order custom motorised window blinds – however with an Arduino, motors and some time you can do it yourself. With the use of a simple motor, control circuitry and the right sketch you can make your own blind controls that are sensitive to light, temperature or operate to a schedule. To get started, consider the tutorial published by Instructables user “cgmalantonio” wwho used a motor from an old VCR, a motor shield and some hardware to hold it all together. It’s a simple method but gets you started on the hardware side of things:

 

Once you have the motor working effectively, so much more can be done. Visit theInstructable to get started. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you found the project above interesting – but not sure how to start with Arduino – then the best way to learn is with our 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. 

Control many LEDs with few I/O pins via Charlieplexing

If there’s one thing people enjoy it’s using lots of LEDs for data displays, games and other general blinky fun. However the more LEDs the use the more I/O pins you’ll need – unless you use a method called “Charlieplexing”. A term coined Charlie Allen at Maxim Integrated (where the MAX7219 comes from), it uses the concept that current only flows in one direction to illuminate an LED, and thus with some directional current control you can control two or more LEDS with relatively few I/O pins – for example, six LEDs only require three pins:

This has been demonstrated very well by “Andy” who explains the method of connecting one or more LEDs for this process. Then with some simple I/O functions you’re in business – his examples work around the ATmega328 that’s the heart of Arduino boards and alsoavailable separately. To get started, visit his blog. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

 

If you want to control 512 LEDs at once – have you considered using a Freetronics Dot Matrix Display? Available in a variety of colours, they consist of a 32 by 16 matrix of LEDs. Included with the DMD is a cable to directly connect with an Arduino-compatible board, and at low brightness (which is still fine to read indoors) you can power one DMD from the Arduino. However by connecting 5V at 2.5A for each board they operate at a brightness which is visible anywhere. Furthermore you can daisy-chain (with the included cable) six or more displays for great effects. So for more information head over to the DMD pages today.

Using TEMT6000 light sensor modules with mbed

Instead of using a light-dependent resistor to measure light levels with his mbed board, Alfonso Martone instead uses the much more reliable TEMT6000 light sensor module which give consistent and repeatable readings even between different units. It’s incredibly easy to do so and gives you the ability to calibrate light readings against other data without worrying about the variability of the sensor. The code has been provided and it’s as simple as reading an analogue input pin. 

For more information and the demonstration code, visit Alfonso’s mbed notebookAnd for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.


As well as our TEMT6000 light sensor module – you can use our range of sensors, including accelerometerstemperature,humiditylightsoundknockIR temperature and more – with many more plaftforms than just Arduino. So check out our wide range of Freetronics modules today. 

Local browser control of an Arduino with “Webduino”

If you’re prototyping with Arduino-controlled hardware and get frustrated or don’t have much time to keep writing test sketches to test the hardware, Webduino might be the answer. Developed by Cooper Maa, it allows simple control of the I/O pins including PWM, input and output modes via a web browser. The Arduino needs to run the firmata sketch, and can update around 50 ms intervals. You’ll also need to run Node, NPM and CoffeeScript on the host PC, however the resulting interface is worth it, for example:


For more information and code, check out the project githubAnd 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:

Build an Arduino-powered CyberGlove

For a new an interesting method of receiving user input, this “CyberGlove” by Instructables user ‘aloishis89’. Although the concept may seem complex, the construction is surprisingly easy. By using fitting analogue joysticks near the knuckles on the glove, and then wire to the fingertips back to the joysticks, you can easily measure one or two directions of movement with an Arduino’s analogue input. That data can then be fed back to a PC for control via processing, or even mouse/keyboard emulation with an Arduino Leonardo or compatible boards

And the whole thing could be done for less than $100… 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. 

This project is the ideal candidate for our LeoStick – the Arduino Leonardo-compatible board that’s cheaper and smaller than the original:

 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.

Learn piano with the help of Arduino

Learning to play the piano can be easy for some, difficult for others. However with the device described by Instructables user “tcone”, you’ll not only get started with the piano but also make a fascinating project. It comprises of a long acrylic strip which is placed over and to the rear of the piano keys – that holds an LED over each key. Then the order and timing of each required key press is illustrated via an LED controlled by the Arduino. There’s 88 LEDs so the use of the MAX7219 LED display driver is used, which saves a lot of trouble. Review the following video for a demonstration of the system:

 

Fantastic. With a little work you could also adapt this to organs or harpsichords. For complete instructions on making your own, visit the project page. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you found the project above interesting – but not sure how to start with Arduino – then the best way to learn is with our 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. 

Interfacing an Arduino with MySQL via python

If you’re interested in taking data from an Arduino and running it through some hard-core analysis, then a tutorial by Instructables member “mangopeach” will be of interest. They’ve demosntrated how to create a software link between an Arduino connected via USB to a PC and then to MySQL via python to allow data capture and analysis. The tutorial assumes some python knowledge, however code examples are provided for Arduino and python to get you started. 

Great for more permanent installations or laboratory use – and this type of interfacing holds some interesting potential, so visit the Instructable 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:

Liven up car interiors with Arduino and RGB LEDs

Many car enthusiasts enjoy adding extra lights or upgrading the interior bulbs to LEDs, however with the Arduino platform you can enjoy a greater level of control and detail by controlling high-powered LEDs and lighting strips. Doing so is easily done with an external power supply, an N-MOSFET for switching the higher current and a compact Arduino-compatible board such as our LeoStick. Hyundai Veloster enthusiast “Tokra” did just that, by building a system that generates various lighting effects when the car door is opened and closed, for example:

 

What a great way to liven up a car’s interior – find out more at the Veolster forum. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you’re making a similar project and need to control large currents with your Arduino digital outputs – you’ll need a MOSFET. We’ve got you covered with out NDRIVE: N-MOSFET driver/output module:

This high-power N-MOSFET module lets you switch high-current loads using a tiny microcontroller. Perfect for controlling that set of traffic lights mounted in your living room! Works brilliantly for automotive projects such as switching high-power 12V lights and high wattage LEDs. For more information and to order, visit the product page

Build an Arduino-controlled FM radio

Building one’s own radio was often a rite of passage for many electronics enthusiasts, however in the digital age this may have passed to one side as people often start their learning with microcontrollers and of course Arduino-based projects. Nevertheless it’s possible to make your own Arduino-controlled FM radio with the inexpensive Philips TEA5767 tuner IC which is available for a few dollars with a few minutes searching the Internet. This has been demonstrated by Lithuanian enthusiast Darius who explains the I2C commands for the module and an Arduino sketch for a basic radio with LCD module display, with the results as follows:

 

With the addition of a basic audio amplifier a portable solution could be built. Or with anRTC perhaps a clock radio? Visit Darius’ blog 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: