Thursday, 20 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

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

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

Monday, 17 December 2012

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

Sunday, 16 December 2012

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.

DIY Arduino-controlled Noise Machine Jacket

As part of a subject at university, Instructables user "jromanofski" was required to make something with an Arduino (what a great idea) and their response to the request was the creatoin of a "Noise Machine Jacket". Although simple in principle, the jacket is an interesting exercise in wearable electronics and may help you be the life of an end-of-year party. After hiding two speakers, an Arduino and control buttons behind the cuff buttons, the results were quite successful, for example: 

 

With a litte change in the code all sorts of tunes or effects could be created, 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. 

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:

Friday, 14 December 2012

Experimental cat trainer and repeller with Arduino

After being harassed by their cat in the early sleeping hours, Instructables user 'briannaw' built a device whose purpose is to detect movement and make an annoying noise once detected. It is a simple, easy-to-build example using a motion detector, Arduino board and a buzzer fitted to a nicely-crafted enclosure, for example:

 

The success of this project will be predicated by the tenacity of a cat, so your "mileage may vary". Nevertheless, click here for the instructions and design notes. 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 interested in working with piezos for various noises we have a neat little SOUND: sound and buzzer module:

It can be used as a noise-maker driven by your microcontroller for audible feedback of events, and it can also be used as a knock-detector input to sense events and react to them. Includes a built-in 1M resistor to allow the piezo element to detect shocks. For more information and to order, please visit the product page here

Arduino-controlled RGB LED Christmas Lights

After getting interested in the world of Arduino, Andrew Tuline turned his hand to controlling a length of RGB LEDs for a Christmas decoration. Not content with simply blinking the LEDs or displaying a pattern, he used an MSGEQ7 spectrum analyser IC which accepts analogue audio and outputs the levels of each frequency band, perfect for an interactive light show - for example:

 

Each LED is controlled by a WS2801 IC, which individual control of the LEDs. Not bad at all! So click here for more information. 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.


DIY Spiral-drawing robot with Arduino

Matthew Venn and members of the Bristol (UK) Hackerspace have published details of a fun project that uses an Arduino board and the contents of old floppy disk drives. The combination of the two results with spiral-drawing devices that can create an interesting variety of circular artworks. The Arduino controls the stepper motor previously used to rotate the disk, and a market pen is mounted on the read-write head. With some extra work you could control that to allow for more detailed drawings. Nevertheless, the project is explained and demonstrated in the following video:

 

So next time you see an old PC on the side of the road, grab the floppy drive then visithere. 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

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Arduino-controlled Raspberry Pi Pandora Radio

Australian hacker and Arduino enthusiast Steve Dalton has created a simple and useful interface for the Pandora Radio service which is streamed using a Raspberry Pi. He has used a Freetronics Eleven Arduino Uno-compatible board, and by replacing the bootloader with a human-interface the Eleven can be used with the piano bard application as a simple like/don't like/next track controller. Although the hardware is at the minimal stage, with some buttons and an enclosure it would make a great product. 

To replicate this yourself, visit Steve's project page here. 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 going to reproduce the project above, check out our Freetronics Eleven - the Arduino-Uno compatible with low-profile USB socket, onboard prototyping space and easy to view LEDs:

Arduino based Split-Flap game

Dutch enthusiast and Instructables, member "the_anykey" aka Richard has designed and build a fascinating game as a present for the upcoming season. It is a basic quiz-style game, however the display is not an LCD module - instead, a large custom-made split flap display. Controlled by a stepper motor it is fast and quite entertaining - in the same way as watching the old flight display boards at the airport.  Nevertheless it's a great project - and described in detail during the following video:

 

As well as the original game, another video about making the split-flap display is provided and all the design files. 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. 

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:

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Magnetic Levitation Demonstration with Arduino

Defying gravity is always a rewarding challenge, from the Wright Brothers' first flight through to Sputnik and beyond. And with an Arduino you can create a more down-to-Earth example of this by creating a magnetic levitation device as described by Arduino forum member "ea123". They have build a simple demonstration using a permanent magnetic which is suspended below an electric coil. A hall sensor is used to detect the distance from the magnet, and using this data the Arduino can control the current through the coil to keep the magnet at a set distance. Check out the following video to see it in action:

 

That's a pretty cool weekend project, and not too much hardware to worry about. For the details including sketch and schematic, login to the Arduino forum. 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 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

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

avr-os: Multitasking on Arduino

Chris Moos has published a new Arduino library - avr-os, that enables an Arduino to multitask. in Chris' words

The library uses pre-emptive multitasking to switch tasks and each task has its own stack that is restored when a task is resumed. An AVR timer is used to provide ticks and this interrupt is used to switch tasks. 


This looks promising and adds a new dimension to the possible uses of an Arduino board. Chris provides demonstration sketches and the complete code download so you can try it out for yourself.


For more information, click here to visit the project 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. 

If you're an experienced Arduino user and interested in more advanced Arduino projects and usage - get yourself a copy of "Practical Arduino" by Jonathan Oxer and Hugh Blemings:

 

Create your own Arduino-based designs, gain an in-depth knowledge of the architecture of Arduino, and learn the easy-to-use Arduino language all in the context of practical projects that you can build yourself at home. Get hands-on experience using a variety of projects and recipes for everything from home automation to test equipment. For more information and to order, click here

Using Vintage DL1414 LED displays with Arduino

Some of use enjoy locating, using and ... hoarding vintage electronic devices and components - and a popular category of these contains LED displays. Ed Nisley shares this passion in his article explaining how to use DL1414 alphanumeric LED displays with an Arduino. The DL1414 contains four characters that can display numbers and letters to help reminisce from a bygone era. However if you have some, they can easily be controlled by using two 74HC595 shift registers, for example:

For more details including nicely documented code, visit Ed'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. 

Instead of using DIP-format 74HC595s, consider our Freetronics EXPAND: Expansion/Shift register modules. They contain 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!

 

Add WiFi to your Ethernet-enabled Arduino

Recently there have been several WiFi Arduino shields introduced to the market, however the cost of them can be close to the $100 mark. However if you already have an existing Arduino-Ethernet solution such as an Ethernet shield, EtherTen orEtherMega (etc) there is a much simpler and cheaper method of converting it to WiFi. Luca Dentella has documented how to use the inexpensive TP-Link TL-WR702N router as a WiFi client - and then by simply connecting it to the Ethernet socket of your hardware - you're done. 

Furthermore, a quick Internet search finds these routers for less than $20. So to find out more, visit Luca's page here (Opens in Google Translate). 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 putting together your next Internet-enabled Arduino project - save time, space and money with the Freetronics EtherTen. Apart from being fully Arduino Uno-compatible, it has onboard Ethernet, microSD socket, full USB interface (so you don't need a costly FTDI cable just to upload a sketch!) and supports optional Power-over-Ethernet.

Monday, 10 December 2012

DIY Proximity-sensing trackball scroll wheel

 In order to add the equivalent of a mouse's scroll wheel to a trackball, Instructables user "hilukasz" has used an Arduino and a Sharp infra-red distance sensor to read the location of a hand above the trackball. The data received by the Arduino from the IR sensor is then sent back to a PC running processing, which takes care of the scroll action. Here it is in action:

 

So that's a different and somewhat obtuse method of adding another form of an interface to a computer. Click here for the tutorial, 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 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

Receive mobile push-notifications from your Arduino

Although it is relatively simple to broadcast information from your Arduino board to the Internet, the resulting broadcast is either public via twitter or the connection can difficult to setup due to needing a static IP address. Thus this new method described by Clement Storck is refreshingly easy and quite usable. Their method uses the "PushingBox" cloud-based notification system, which can send an email, SMS or tweet. In this example, when the doorbell is pressed, the Arduino triggers PushingBox which requests an image from an Internet-connected IP camera aimed at the door. Then the user receives a photo of who's at the door. For example:

 

Very well done. Click here for the tutorial. 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. 


Want to get started with your own system? Our Freetronics EtherTen is the perfect board for enabling your PushingBox projects. Apart from being fully Arduino Uno-compatible, it has onboard Ethernet, microSD socket, full USB interface (so you don't need a costly FTDI cable just to upload a sketch!) and supports optional Power-over-Ethernet.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Control servos over the Internet with teleduino

Once again Nathan Kennedy has created more features for his online Arduino-control system - teleduino. In this instalment he demonstrates how to control a servo - remotely - using http simple commands. The system really is very simple, and after a few minutes you can control the servos without any complex middle-ware or external services. Plus the servos can be set at a pre-defined angle, to avoid problems when the host Arduino board is reset. 

Click here for Nathan's tutorial and here for more on the teleduino service. 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. 


Our Freetronics EtherTen is the perfect board for enabling your teleduino projects. Apart from being fully Arduino Uno-compatible, it has onboard Ethernet, microSD socket, full USB interface (so you don't need a costly FTDI cable just to upload a sketch!) and supports optional Power-over-Ethernet.

Easily send tweets from Arduino using cosm

Arduino team member Tom Igoe has found an interesting feature (or loophole? You decide) within the pachube/cosm online data graphing service that allows your Internet-enabled Arduino board to send a tweet. Although there are already a few Arduino-twitter solutions, this one is good as you don't need to muck about with third-party authentication. Thus your Arduino can now tweet with the stars or let you know more relevant data. 

For more information and a great tutorial, click here to visit Tom'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. 

When putting together your next Internet-enabled Arduino project - save time, space and money with the Freetronics EtherTen. Apart from being fully Arduino Uno-compatible, it has onboard Ethernet, microSD socket, full USB interface (so you don't need a costly FTDI cable just to upload a sketch!) and supports optional Power-over-Ethernet.

Create an awesome button with a Freetronics LeoStick

Some projects can be simple and fun, and this one by Instructables user "The Nerdling" is no exception. They've used the Freetronics LeoStick as a simple "Awesome Button" - a project that randomly types a word via USB keyboard emulation into your PC. They have created a true minimalist version, by using a loop of wire as a normally-closed button. However with some work you could enclose it with a normal button and so on.

 

So for some more fun, awesomeness and using a LeoStick as a USB keyboard, click here. 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. 

So what is a LeoStick? It's 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.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Visualize and use different wireless signals with your Arduino

As an exercise to make analysing and understand various wireless signals, both RF and infra red a simpler process, tarquinio  has created am Arduino sketch and matching PC software to extract and display the signal being received. In doing so you can understand the  data protocols and then create your own, for example to make your own remote controls or have your Arduino take over a few different wireless systems. 

The entire project is documented well, start here for information and downloads. 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 interested in receiving and decoding RF data over 315 or 433 MHz, check out our Receiver shields:

They're pre-assembled except for the headers, include two user LEDs for debugging or general blinking, and leave you plenty of space for prototyping circuitry. These shields can also be used in the the “Weather Station Receiver” project in the book “Practical Arduino” - it shows how to intercept the signals from a La Crosse weather station and decode them using an Arduino. For more information and to order, click here

Fetch - a new Arduino development tool

Another piece of software has appeared that works in conjunction with an Arduino system to display data from the board. It is also able to display the value of global variables from your sketch in real time. Although the software is only at the alpha development stage, it looks to be a promising tool in the kit of Arduino development. 

For more information, discussion and the download link, visit the Arduino forum (you'll need to log in for the download link). 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 find this type of project interesting, get yourself a copy of "Practical Arduino" by Jonathan Oxer and Hugh Blemings:

 

Create your own Arduino-based designs, gain an in-depth knowledge of the architecture of Arduino, and learn the easy-to-use Arduino language all in the context of practical projects that you can build yourself at home. Get hands-on experience using a variety of projects and recipes for everything from home automation to test equipment. For more information and to order, click here

Light Dependent Resistor Tester

Edward Comer bought a whole bunch of inexpensive light dependent resistors, and discovered that they were not exactly performing to specification. So to seperate the good and the bad, he concocted a few Arduino-controlled devices that shine an LED at various brightness levels, and log the value returned by the LDR under test. The data is sent to a PC via the serial/USB link and then recorded and can be analysed with various software.

For more about testing cheap LDRs and analysing the results, click here. 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 need a light sensor, you can maintain constant reliable results with our LIGHT: light sensor module:

 

Our tiny light-sensor module uses the very-reliable TEMT6000 light sensor, which gives consistent and repeatable readings even between different units - unlike cheapie light-dependent resistors, which can vary dramatically in their sensitivity. So for reliable light sensing - look no further

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Make your own Arduino Sound Alarm

If there's one thing that makes teaching difficult, it's a noisy group of students - and usually the definition of noisy varies between the two sides. This problem has been solved nicely by Eric Harris-Braun who has created a device that can measure sound levels, display them on an LCD - and once the sound level exceeds a pre-determined level, a strip of LEDs are illuminated to warn the student that they're too loud. The microphone and Arduino can sit at one end of the classroom, and the LED strip is controlled remotely via infra-red, which lets you place it near the students. What a great idea. Eric runs through his design in the following video:

 

Visit Eric's project page for more details and download links. 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. 

To test audio sampling yourself you can make an easy start with a simple electret microphone board, and our Freetronics MIC: microphone and sound module is perfect. 

The MIC: contains an integrated dual signal amplifier converts the sound to separate channels for pulse / frequency measurement, and sound volume (pressure) level. Designed to connect straight to an Arduino compatible microcontroller, Analog to Digital converter, or many other circuits. For more information and to order click here