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First Look – the Arduino Leonardo

by Posterous

Introduction  Recently the Arduino Leonardo was released, and I’ve finally got my hands on one. Some have claimed that the Leonardo as the successor to the Arduino Uno board, however that is somewhat subjective.  In this article we have a look for ourselves and examine the differences between the Uno boards that we’re used to and the new Leonardo. The board Here it is unwrapped from the cardboard packet: It uses the same physical footprint as the Uno, so no surprises there:  Now to travel around the board and see what’s new. First is the microcontroller – we have the Atmel ATmega32U4: There are..

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Interact with Arduino over the Internet with Teleduino

by Posterous

Introduction Recently a new method of interacting with an ethernet-enabled Arduino board and the Internet was brought to my attention - a new system called Teleduino. In this article we test a few of the basic features and see what is possible. Please note that this is my own experiments and that Teleduino is a work in progress. So follow along and see for yourself. Getting Started You will need an Arduino Uno (or compatible) board and Ethernet shield with the Wiznet chip - or a Freetronics EtherTen (a much neater solution). At this stage Teleduino doesn't support other boards such as the Mega...

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Project: A pillow clock

by Posterous

Introduction In this article we describe how to build a different type of clock – using the “lilypad” style of Arduino-compatible board and components designed for use in e-textiles and wearable electronics. As the LilyPad system is new territory for us, the results have been somewhat agricultural. But first we will examine how LilyPad can be implemented, and then move on to the clock itself. The LilyPad system The LilyPad Arduino boards are small versions that are designed to be used with sewable electronics – in order to add circuitry to clothing, haberdashery items, plush toys, backpacks, etc. There are..

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RF Wireless Data with the Seeedstudio RFbee

by Posterous

Introduction In this article we examine the RFbee Wireless Data Transceiver nodes. An RFbee is a small wireless data transceiver that can be used as a wireless data bridge in pairs, as well as a node in mesh networking or data broadcasting. Here is an example of an RFbee: You may have noticed that the RFbee looks similar to the Xbee-style data transceivers – and it is, in physical size and some pinouts, for example: However this is where the similarity ends. The RFbee is in fact a small Arduino-compatible development board based on the Atmel ATmega168 microprocessor (3.3V at 8MHz – more on this later) and..

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JeeLabs Ethernet Card Clone

by Marcus Schappi

By Matt This article describes the construction of an Ethernet shield , which is essentially a “ clone “ of Jean-Claude Wippler’s (JeeLabs) Ethernet Card. You might ask, well the JeeLab’s card is already out there, so why construct another one? Initially, I had purchased a Freetronics Ethernet Shield with PoE Support and intended to use this with a Hope RFM12B/BP wireless shield. I thought this wouldn’t be too much of a problem and came across a couple of blogs describing how this could be achieved. Please see JEELABS.NET FORUM, “ Pin Changes to RFM12b board (edit RF12 library) “ and “ [SOLVED] Arduino +..

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Tutorial: Analog input for multiple buttons – Part Two

by Posterous

Welcome back fellow arduidans! A while back I described how to read multiple buttons using only one analog input pin. However we could only read one button at a time. In this instalment we revisit this topic and examine an improved method of doing so which allows for detecting more than one button being pressed at the same time. This method is being demonstrated as it is inexpensive and very easy to configure. (For a more exact and expensive method please consider the use of the Microchip MCP23017 which allows for sixteen inputs via the I2C bus). As you know the analogue input pins..

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Review - Freetronics EtherMega

by Posterous

In this review we take a look at what is possibly the most fully-featured Arduino compatible board on the market today - the Freetronics EtherMega. This board combines the functionality of an Arduino Mega2560, a microSD card shield, and an Ethernet shield that supports power over Ethernet with optional 802.3af standard. So instead of having these three mashed together at a great expense: ... you can have this: Which saves space, time and money. Firstly, the specifications: 100% compatible with the Arduino Mega2560. So you have the ATmega2560 microcontroller, 54 digital I/O pins with 14 PWM-capable, 256KB of flash memory, 8KB..

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Review – Freetronics Module Family

by Posterous

Welcome readers In this article we examine a new range of eleven electronic modules from Freetronics. When experimenting with electronics or working on a prototype of a design, the use of electronic components in module form can make construction easier, and also reduce the time between thoughts and actually making something   So let’s have a look at each module in more detail… PoE Power Regulator – 28V This is a tiny switchmode voltage regulator with two uses – the first being regulation of higher voltage up to 28V carried via an Ethernet cable to a Freetronics Ethernet shield or EtherTen to power the board itself. The..

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Review: Mayhew Labs "Go Between" Arduino Shield

by Posterous

Hello readers In this article we examine one of those products that are really simple yet can solve some really annoying problems. It is the "Go Between" Arduino shield from Mayhew Labs. What does the GBS do? You use it to solve a common problem that some prolific Arduino users can often face - how do I use two shields that require the same pins? Using a clever matrix of solder pads, you can change the wiring between the analogue and digital pins. For example, here is the bare shield: Now for an example problem. You two shields that need access..

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Review: Mayhew Labs "Go Between" Arduino Shield

by Posterous

Hello readers In this article we examine one of those products that are really simple yet can solve some really annoying problems. It is the "Go Between" Arduino shield from Mayhew Labs. What does the GBS do? You use it to solve a common problem that some prolific Arduino users can often face - how do I use two shields that require the same pins? Using a clever matrix of solder pads, you can change the wiring between the analogue and digital pins. For example, here is the bare shield: Now for an example problem. You two shields that need access..

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Review – nootropic design defusable clock kit

by Posterous

  Hello Readers In this review we examine an interesting, fun and possibly a prankster’s delight – the “Defusable Clock Kit” from nootropic design. The purpose of this kit is to construct a clock that counts down in a similar method to “movie-style” bombs, and it has terminals to connect four wires to the board. When the countdown timer is beeping away, you need to choose which wire to cut otherwise the “bomb” (alarm) goes off. Furthermore, it also functions as a normal clock with an alarm, so you can use it daily normal activities. And finally it is based on the Arduino..

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Project – Ultrasonic Combination Switch

by Posterous

Hello Readers Time for a follow-up to the Single Button Combination Lock by creating another oddball type of switch/lock. To activate this switch we make use of a Parallax Ping))) Ultrasonic sensor, an Arduino-style board and some other hardware – to make a device that receives a four-number code which is made up of the distance between a hand and the sensor. If Arduino and ultrasonic sensors are new to you, please read this tutorial before moving on. The required hardware for this project is minimal and shown below – a Freetronics Arduino-compatible board, the Ping))) sensor, and for display purposes we have an I2C-interface LCD module: The combination for..

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Initial Review – Arduino v1.0 IDE

by Posterous

Hello Readers Recently the Arduino team have released version 1.0 of the IDE (integrated development environment) that we all know and love. This is a significant milestone as the IDE has previously been in alpha release since 2005. For the platform to have survived and thrived this long is a credit to the community and especially to the Arduino team themselves. Arduino? Not sure where to start? All you need is right here! Moving forward, let’s have a look and see what has changed: Installation is quite simple. As always, download the IDE from the Arduino website. Before installing the new..

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Tutorial – Parallax Ping))) Ultrasonic Sensor

by Posterous

Welcome back Whilst being a passenger in a vehicle with a ‘reversing sensors’, I became somewhat curious as to how the sensors operated and how we can make use of them. So for this chapter we will investigate an ultrasonic sensor from Parallax called the Ping)))™ Ultrasonic Distance Sensor. It can measure distances between ~2cm and ~3m in length. Here is our example sensor: (Memories of Number Five …) Parallax have done a lot of work, the board contains not just the bare sensor hardware but controller circuitry as well: Which is great as it leaves us with only three pins – 5V, GND..

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Using an ATtiny as an Arduino

by Posterous

Welcome back In the last few weeks an article about how to use either an Atmel ATtiny45 or ATtiny85 microcontroller with Arduino software took my interest. The team at the High-Low Tech Group at MIT had published the information and examples on how to do this, and it looked like fun – so the purpose of this article is to document my experience with the ATtiny and Arduino. All credit goes to the interesting people at the MIT HLT Group for their article and of course to Alessandro Saporetti for his work on making all this possible. Introduction Before anyone gets too excited – there are a few limitations to doing this…..

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Tutorial: Arduino and Numeric Keypads – Part Two

by Posterous

Welcome back fellow arduidans! This is the second part of our numeric keypad tutorial – in which we use the larger keypads with four rows of four buttons. For example: Again, the keypad looks like a refugee from the 1980s – however it serves a purpose. Notice that there are eight connections at the bottom instead of seven – the extra connection is for the extra column of buttons – A~D. You can order a similar keypad from here. For this tutorial you will need the data sheet for the pinouts, so download it from here (.pdf). To use this keypad is very easy,..

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Yet Another Alarm Clock

by Marcus Schappi

This article was written for Little Bird Electronics by Matt Hodge.   This article describes the construction of a Digital Alarm clock which was inspired by Sparkfun’s ClockIt. ClockIt  My wife is always saying to me, “if you like playing with this Physical Computing stuff, why don’t you build something useful”...  deja vu, anybody? Well, as a consequence I went and bought a ClockIt kit and cobbled it together without too much trouble. My wife’s next question, “why does the ClockIt keep losing time compared to the other clock’s in the house?” On investigation, this really left me with no alternative other than..

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Tutorial: Arduino Port Manipulation

by Posterous

Welcome back! In this article we are going to revisit the I/O pins, and use what is called “Port Manipulation” to control them in a much faster manner than using digitalWrite(). Why? Speed! Using this method allows for much faster I/O control, and we can control or read groups of I/O pins simultaneously, not one at a time; Memory! Using this method reduces the amount of memory your sketch will use. Once again I will try and keep things as simple as possible. This article is written for Arduino boards that use the ATmega168 or ATmega328 microcontrollers (used in Arduino Uno, Freetronics Eleven/EtherTen, etc). ..

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Kit Review – the LoL Shield

by Posterous

Hello readers Another month, so time for another kit review. In this article we exame the LoL Shield by Jimmie Rodgers. So what’s all this about? Simple – the Lol Shield is a shield with nine rows of fourteen 3mm diameter LEDs, available in red or green. The shield has many uses, from being another form of hypnotising blinking LEDs, to displaying messages, artwork, data in visual form, or perhaps the basis for a simple computer game. More on that later – first, let’s see how it goes together. As is becoming the norm lately, the kit arrives in a resealable anti-static bag, and..

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Tutorial: Arduino and multiple push-wheel switches

by Posterous

 Welcome back fellow arduidans! This article continues with the push-wheel switch introduced recently. In the previous article, we learned how to read the value of a single digit using the digital pins of our Arduino. With this instalment we will examine how to read four digits – and not waste all those digital pins in the process. Instead, we will use the Microchip MCP23017 16-bit port expander IC that communicates via the I2C bus. It has sixteen digital input/output pins that we can use to read the status of each switch. Before moving forward, please note that some assumed knowledge is..

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