August 27, 2014

Make an LED "Pac Man" Ghost

If you're looking for a fun project to share with children, or you really enjoyed the "Pac Man" computer games of the 20th century then the following project by the NextFab hackerspace in the US will be of interest. They've laser-cut some "ghosts" which are not dissimilar to Pac Man characters and left space to fit various LEDs around the outline of the character.

With some simple wiring and coding it's easy to create various animations with the LEDs, such as the moving eyes or even motion by scrolling the LEDs along the bottom of the character. Although this may seem very straight-forward, projects like this are great for inspiring people to learn more about electronics and programming.

For all the details including the Arduino sketch, visit the project Instructabie page. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you're looking for an Arduino Uno-compatible board for various projects, choose what tens of thousands of others have done and use our Freetronics Eleven - the Arduino-Uno compatible with low-profile USB socket, onboard prototyping space and easy to view LEDs: 

August 27, 2014

Build an electronic "Sapo" game with Arduino

Orginally from South America, the "Sapo" game consists of a group of holes that players will toss coins into from a distance, with the score proportional to the amount of coins that reach the desired hole. This classic game has been brought into the 21st century by Colin O'Hara who has designed an electronic version of the game with an Arduino and various display technologies.

The board for the game has microswitches in each coin hole that will report to the Arduino of a succesful coin entry, with the player's score being displayed either on a typical LCD module or in this case one of our large Dot Matrix Display units, as demonstrated in the following video:

This is a fun game of skill that has been translated well into an electronic form. For more information including the Arduino sketch, check out Colin's project page. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well. 

As used in the project mentioned above, check out our Freetronics Dot Matrix Displays. They're simple to use, yet very bright for indoor and outdoor situations. Available in various colours, the 32 x 16 LED matrix can display text and graphics quite easily - and can be daisy-chained together for extended displays. For more information, see our range of Dot Matrix Displays here

August 27, 2014

Simplify using RGB LED modules with the FastLED Arduino library

Using RGB LEDs is not only fun, but the huge variety of colours possible can also be used for more serious purposes and also saving space when compared against using separate LEDs for status indication and so on. However the coding can get a little out of hand, and especially when working with difference chipsets.

However this is no longer a problem thanks to Daniel Garcia and his FastLED library. Not only does it work with a wide variety of chipsets (such as the WS2801 used in our own RGBLED: module), it uses an accelerated form of SPI interface to increase data speed to the LED controller and supports 8-bit math for RGB colour manipulation.

If you're interested in giving the FastLED library a try, it's available for download from github. And for more, we're on facebook, twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you're looking to make your own colourful LED-based project, consider our Freetronics RGBLED: full colour 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.

August 26, 2014

Make your own Calculator with an Arduino

After being given a previous example of an Arduino-based calculator, Instructables member Kale_3d took the challenge to rebuild and reprogram the calculator into a newer and more powerful version. And it has been a success, with a neat enclosure it's quite workable and the programming experience helps the end user learn about Arduino and coding in general.

Apart from simple functions the calculator also has trigonometric, and although the keypad used only has sixteen buttons a clever menu system is used to select the required operation. This is a fun project for the coding and calculator enthusiasts, and a quick demonstration is shown in the following video:

For complete details visit the project Instructable page. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

Looking for a rapid-use LCD for your Arduino or compatible projects? Save time and move forward with the Freetronics LCD & Keypad shield which contains a bright 16x2 character LCD and five buttons that can be read from only one analog input pin:

August 26, 2014

An Arduino-powered Sign Language Translator

There are many serious and futuristic uses of the Arduino platform, and an award-winning example of this has been created by young enthusiast Roman Kozak. His sign language translator sounds complex but in reality is somewhat simple. A glove is fitted with force-sensitive resistors, which allows the movement of each finger to generate a numeric value with the Arduino.

Then the combination of values can refer to a predetermined letter - and thus the translator is born. Roman has extended the project with an Android device app and connection to a PC for speech synthesis is also possible. Check out the following video for a demonstration:

Fantastic work, and we look forward to Roman's next efforts. In the meanwhile you can review this project including the code from the project website. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you need to add external hardware or devices to your next Arduino project, you'll need a protoshield to mount the external circuitry. In doing so, consider our range of ProtoShields. From the tiny LeoStick to the Mega we have a wide range to suit your application.

August 25, 2014

Add a countdown start timer to a washing machine with Freetronics LeoStick

The electricity cost in some homes is determined by the time of day, and with this is mind it can be much cheaper to run large appliances in the cheaper off-peak or night-rate tariff times. However sometimes it's easy to forget to turn something on and thus a day is lost waiting for the cheap power, or you have to run it on peak.

Enthuisast Simon Jowett is exposed to the similar situation adn added an Arduino-compatible countdown timer to his washing machine that lets the user determine a period of time before the washing machine will start. It's a great way to load the clothes and soap, then let the machine wash when the power is inexpensive. Simon gives us a quick demonstration in the following video:

Apart from the main function, we really like how the modification is not obvious at all, and fits right in with the look and feel of the washing machine's control panel. For complete details visit the project's Instructable page. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

Need a small Arduino-compatible for use with your own projects? Then check out out our 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.

August 25, 2014

Add numeric keypad entry to your vehicle with Arduino

If you need a way to allow access to a motor vehicle without using the keys (for example to allow children to retrieve their belongings, without messing around the with radio etc) then the following project by Stephen Newberry solves the problem nicely. Stephen has documented how to add an Arduino-controlled numeric keypad that can activate the central locking and thus let the user open the doors.

The key (!) to a successful system is locating the circuit in the vehicle that activates the central locking, and the rest is quite simple thanks to the ease of working with an Arduino. Finally, a quick demosntration is shown in the following video:

For those interested in reproducing this, Stephen has made the schematic and sketch available on Google Docs. And for more, we're on facebooktwitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you're looking to learn how to use an Arduino with numeric keypads and much more, you can't go past reading a copy of "Arduino Workshop -  A Hands-On Introduction with 65 Projects” by John Boxall.

Arduino Workshop takes the reader from having zero knowledge about the Arduino platform, electronics and programming and leaves them with the know-how and instructions on everything from blinking an LED, to robotics, wireless data, cellular communications, motor control, sensors, Internet connected systems and more. For more information including a sample chapter and table of contents, visit the book page.

August 22, 2014

Display RSS news feeds using a Freetronics Dot Matrix Display

Our range of LED dot matrix displays are used for all sorts purposes, and one new example we'd like to share is by Mark Cohen who uses the DMD to display RSS news feeds of interest. The process is quite simple, and requires a PC running ruby code to extract the required RSS feed and send it as text to the serial/USB ouput.

The Arduino-compatible board then receives the text stream via USB and sends it to the DMD. A quick demonstration is shown in the following video:

This is a great example of using a DMD to display relevant information - many websites, services and even cloud-based email providers can offer an RSS feed which you can now harness for the DMD. You could also use two or more DMDs for a longer display!

For more information and the example code, visit Mark's interesting website. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well. 

 

As used in the project mentioned above, check out our Freetronics Dot Matrix Displays. They're simple to use, yet very bright for indoor and outdoor situations. Available in various colours, the 32 x 16 LED matrix can display text and graphics quite easily - and can be daisy-chained together for extended displays. For more information, see our range of Dot Matrix Displays here

August 21, 2014

Easily display remote data on a web page using Arduino

Now and again we see our products "out in the wild", and another example has been reviewed by a popular video blogger My Hobbyelectronics - who demonstrates how easy it is to display data gathered by an Ethernet-enabled Arduino board onto a webpage. In this example he uses our TEMP: digital temperature sensor for a source of useful data.

This can be a simple framework for monitoring all sorts of sensors from a distance over the Internet. Doing so is incredibly simple thanks to the examples included with the Arduino Ethernet library, and with our EtherTen board the physical size of the required equipment is reduced as well. Check out the following video to see how it's done:

Kudos to Nick once more for another interesting video. For this and other interesting videos related to the Arduino, Raspberry Pi and technology world - subscribe to Mr Hobbyelectonics' YouTube channel. And for more, we're on facebooktwitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

Have you used a Freetronics product and shown the world? If so - we'd love to hear about it - please email support at freetronics.com or show off in the Project Showcase!

August 20, 2014

Make your own Arduino-powered MIDI Bass Pedals

After purchasing an older Hammon M2 organ and being dissatisfied with the sounds from the pedals, Ron Czarnik refurbished and remounted them into the housing of a child's piano to create a fantastic MIDI-compatible instrument with the help of an Arduino.

Although the original pedal circuit design was somewhat daunting, with some research Ron has converted them to simple switches so they can be read by the Arduino's digital inputs - at which point the MIDI translation and output can easily be created. Finally the new enclosure is a work of art, as shown in the following video:

A great use of some older parts which have been converted into something new - for complete details visit the project Instructable page. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you're looking for an Arduino Uno-compatible board for various projects, choose what tens of thousands of others have done and use our Freetronics Eleven - the Arduino-Uno compatible with low-profile USB socket, onboard prototyping space and easy to view LEDs: