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Tutorial: Maximising your Arduino’s I/O ports

by Posterous

Welcome back fellow arduidans! In this article we discuss how to use the Microchip MCP23017 16-bit serial expander with I2C serial interface. This 28-pin IC offers sixteen inputs or outputs – and up to eight of the ICs can be used on one I2C bus… offering a maximum of 128 extra I/O ports. A few people may be thinking “Why not just get an Arduino Mega2560?” – a good question. However you may have a distance between the Arduino and the end-point of the I/O pins – so with these ICs you can run just four wires instead of a lot more;..

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Tutorial: Arduino and Push-wheel switches

by Marcus Schappi

Welcome back fellow arduidans! In this article we go back to the past via the use of push-wheel/thumb-wheel switches with out Arduino systems. Here are some examples sourced from somewhere on eBay: For the uninitiated, each switch is one vertical segment and they can be connected together to form various sizes. You can use the buttons to select from digits zero through to nine. There are alternatives available that have a wheel you can move with your thumb instead of the increase/decrease buttons. Before the days of fancy user interfaces these switches were quite popular methods for setting numerical data..

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Tutorial: MP3 Player Shield

by Posterous

Welcome back! In this article we explore using our MP3 Player shield. Please read the entire article before starting work. Here is an example as delivered: Using this shield we can initiate playback of various audio files that can be fed to a pair of earphones, or other audio devices. Some of you may be thinking "oh wow!, let's make our own MP3 player" - which is a pretty normal thought after seeing this shield for the first time. However due to the size of the system, portability may be an issue. However, after some thought there are many uses..

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Tutorial: Arduino and the NXP SAA1064 4-digit LED display driver

by Posterous

    Welcome back fellow arduidans!  In this article we investigate controlling the NXP (formerly Philips) SAA1064 4-digit LED display driver IC with Arduino and the I2C bus interface. If you are not familiar with using the I2C bus, please read tutorials (parts one and two) before moving on. Although the SAA1064 is not the newest on the market, it is still popular, quite inexpensive and easy to source. Furthermore as it is controlled over the I2C bus – you don’t waste any digital I/O pins on your Arduino, and you can also operate up to four SAA1064s at once (allowing 16 digits!). Finally, it has..

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Learn to solder with David L. Jones!

by Posterous

Hello Readers How is your soldering? Have you always wanted to improve your soldering skills, or never heated an iron in your life and didn’t know where to start? No matter your level of skill you could do a lot worse than review the video blogs shown below by fellow Australian David L. Jones. Who?  [David] shares some of his 20 years experience in the electronics design industry in his unique non-scripted naturally overly enthusiastic and passionate style.Bullsh!t and political correctness don’t get a look-in. Dave started out in hobby electronics over 30 years ago and since then has worked in..

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Tutorial: Arduino and a Thermal Printer

by Posterous

Welcome back fellow arduidans! In this article we introduce the inexpensive thermal printer that has recently become widely available from Little Bird Electronics. The goal of the article is to be as simple as possible so you can get started without any problems or confusion. In the past getting data from our Arduino to a paper form would either have meant logging it to an SD card then using a PC to finish the job, or perhaps viewing said data on an LCD then writing it down. Not any more – with the use of this cheap and simple serial printer...

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Project – Single button combination lock

by Posterous

Hello Readers Time for something different  - a single button combination lock. Allow me to explain… Normally a combination lock would require the entry of a series of unique numbers in order to unlock something or start an action. For example: (image information) A more contemporary type of lock could be controlled electronically, for example by a keypad where the user enters a series of digits to cause something to happen. Such as the keypad on this dodgy $30 safe from Officeworks: As you can see there is a button for each digit. You would think that this would be..

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Tutorial: Arduino timing methods with millis()

by Marcus Schappi

Welcome back fellow arduidans! In this article we introduce the millis(); function and put it to use to create various timing examples. Please ensure you are running version 13 or upwards of the Arduino IDE. Millis? Nothing to do with lip-syncers… hopefully you recognised milli as being the numerical prefix for one-thousandths; that is multiplying a unit of measure by 0.001 (or ten to the power of negative 3). Interestingly our Arduino systems will count the number ofmilliseconds (thousands of a second) from the start of a sketch running until the count reaches the maximum number capable of being stored in the variable type unsigned long (a 32-bit..

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Imaginary Marching Band

by Posterous

By Mad_z   Check out this awesome project by Scott Peterman - The Imaginary Marching Band is a set of gloves that can be worn which allow the user to imitate playing a musical instrument. "The Band currently consists of six Imaginary Instruments - Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Snare Drum, Bass Drum, and Cymbals. All six mirror the functionality of their real world counterparts, and can reproduce their full range of notes using MIDI data output from the gloves via USB. This allows them to be used with any audio editing software, from Garageband to Logic to Pro Tools."   3,024 ..

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Tutorial: Arduino and the SPI bus part II

by Posterous

    Welcome back fellow arduidans!  This is the second of several chapters in which we are investigating the SPI data bus, and how we can control devices using it with our Arduino systems. If you have not done so already, please read part one of the SPI articles. Again we will learn the necessary theory, and then apply it by controlling a variety of devices. As always things will be kept as simple as possible. First on our list today is the use of multiple SPI devices on the single bus. We briefly touched on this in part one, by showing..

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Tutorial: Video output from your Arduino

by Posterous

Welcome back fellow arduidans! In this chapter we will examine something different – the ability of our Arduino and compatible boards to create composite video output. In other words, displaying stuff from the Arduino on a TV. A lot of people were unaware of the ability to do this, however the process is very simple and not difficult to implement from a hardware perspective. Within this chapter we will learn to construct the minumum hardware required and demonstrate basic functions to get started. To whet your appetite, here is a quick video demonstration of what is possible: You can’t expect..

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Kit review – nootropic design Digit Shield

by Posterous

Hello readers Time once again to examine another kit. This week we have the nootropic design Digit Shield for Arduino Uno/Duemilanove andcompatible boards. Although a finger can be called a digit this shield is not some sort of biotechnological experiment – instead it gives us four seven-segment LED displays to show various forms of numerical data from our Arduino sketches. Although many people may be tempted to use a standard LCD unit, there are a few advantages to using an LED display – such as digit size, enhanced readability in daylight, and LED displays are generally much more robust than LCDs. Therefore there should..

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Job: Queensland Art Gallery

by Posterous

The Queensland Art Gallery is looking for someone like you  (ie - people reading this blog) They are looking for someone who is fairly handy with programming and electronics to build interactive exhibits for us at GoMA at the Queensland Art Gallery. This might be an interesting position for a practicing IT/Multimedia professional who has a keen interest in electronics - particularly Arduino. They have dozens of Arduinos, that have been used on all sorts of wild and interesting projects over the years. So check out the job ad hereQUEENSLAND ART GALLERY  |  GALLERY OF MODERN ART

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Tutorial: Arduino and the SPI bus

by Posterous

Welcome back fellow arduidans! This is the first of several forthcoming chapters in which we are going to start investigating the SPI data bus, and how we can control devices using it with our Arduino systems. The SPI bus may seem to be a complex interface to master, however with some brief study of this explanation and practical examples you will soon become a bus master! To do this we will learn the necessary theory, and then apply it by controlling a variety of devices. In this tutorial things will be kept as simple as possible. But first of all,..

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Kit review – nootropic design Hackvision

by Marcus Schappi

Hello readers Time for another kit review – the nootropics design Hackvision,  a nice change from test equipment. The purpose of the Hackvision is to allow the user to create retro-style arcade games and so on that can be played on a monitor or television set with analogue video input. Although the display resolution is only 128 by 96 pixels, this is enough to get some interesting action happening. Frankly I didn’t think the Arduino hardware environment alone was capable of this, so the Hackvision was a pleasant surprise. Assembly is quick and relatively simple, the instructions are online and easy to..

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Google picks Arduino for Android Open Accessory “kit” (via Make)

by Posterous

via blog.makezine.com

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Discovering Arduino's internal EEPROM lifespan

by Posterous

Hello readers Some time ago I published a short tutorial concerning the use of the internal EEPROM  belonging to the Atmel ATmega328 (etc.) microcontroller in our various Arduino boards. Although making use of the EEPROM is certainly useful, it has a theoretical finite lifespan - according to the Atmel data sheet (download .pdf) it is 100,000 write/erase cycles. One of my twitter followers asked me "is that 100,000 uses per address, or the entire EEPROM?" - a very good question. So in the name of wanton destruction I have devised a simple way to answer the question of EEPROM lifespan. Inspired by the Dangerous..

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Tutorial: Control AC outlets via SMS

by Posterous

Welcome back fellow arduidans! In this chapter we will continue with the use of the SM5100 cellular shield to turn digital outputs on and off via SMS. However please read chapters twenty-six and twenty-seven first if you are unfamiliar with using the GSM shield with Arduino. As an extension of chapter twenty-seven, we will use our Arduino to turn on or off AC outlets via a common remote-control AC outlet pack. Please note this is more of a commentary of my own experience, and not an exact tutorial. In other words, by reading this I hope you will gain some ideas into doing the necessary modifications yourself..

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Arduino for Primary School Kids

by Posterous

By Mad_z   Minibloq are working on a graphical programming enviroment that allows users to drag-and drop images which then helps to contruct code which is run by the arduino. This would be fantastic to get younger kids into electronics as well as programming. Their main features are: Features: Easy, just a few clicks and the first program is running. Fast: I'ts compiled with C++ (gcc), using wxWidgets. For this reason, Minibloq is suitable for small computers and netbooks. Free and ¡with sources!: The program will be available for free, in its full version. No fees for advanced features or the like. Just download and..

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Kit review – Evil Mad Science Larson Scanner

by Posterous

Hello readers Time yet again for another kit review. Today’s kit is the Larson Scanner from Evil Mad Science. What a different name for a company; their byline is “DIY and open source hardware for art, education and world domination”. Art? Yes. Education? Definitely. World domination? Possibly – you could use the blinking LEDs to hypnotise the less intelligent world leaders out there. Anyhow, what is a Larson Scanner? Named in honour of Glen A. Larson the creator of television shows such as Battlestar Galactica and Knight Rider – as this kit recreates the left and right blinking motion used in props from those television shows. For example: The..

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