July 29, 2014

Experimenting with Arduino and electric go-karts

Many of us have been known to experiment with remote-control cars, robotic tanks and other smaller devices, but rarely expand this work into life-size projects. With that in mind we're excited to show an electric go-kart built by Instructables member gizzmotronics

Instead of a simple speed control, this kart has some neat Arduino-controlled lights, indicators, and also interfaces with the electronic speed controller to easily alter the speed from the chain drive and twin fan-cooled motor. It's an amazing effort and can reach speeds of over 45 km/h.

Bear in mind the safety aspects of working with and driving such a kart, however we're sure the effort would be more than worth it. To learn more about the project, visit the 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: 

July 29, 2014

Build a mechanical "Parkour" game with Arduino

After the popularity of the mobile app "Flappy Birds" a few derivatives have been presented in various forms, and one example has been documented by Arduino fomrum member kathyelecfreaks. Her version is a physical game in the very sense, in that the player controls a physical "person" that is above a constantly-rotating belt of surface. An interesting exercise of bringing computer games to life, as demonstrated below:

The game is also an interestingd demonstration of integrating motor control, various sensors and inputs in a more complex Arduino sketch, so log in to the Arduino forum to learn more. And for more, we're on facebook, twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

 If you're looking into starting with Arduino and motor control  - check out our new HBRIDGE: DC/stepper motor shield. Based around the powerful Allegro A4954 H-bridge driver IC you can control two DC motors with complete ease, or one bipolar stepper motor. With connections for external power management, a complete beginners' guide and documentation - motor control couldn't be any easier. For more information and to order, visit the HBRIDGE: page.

July 28, 2014

Build a simple counting timer with Arduino

Sometimes a task or exercise will require a simple timer, and a neat example of this has been documented on the WTH blog. They've used a small Arduino-compatible board to drive a double-digit LED display, and with a little work the entire unit can become portable for gym or other use.

Even without a real-time clock IC an Arduino can keep time quite accuraltey, and for this purpose solves the problem neatly. You can always modify the code for various counting options or add a few more buttons to create a customisable count up or down timer. A demonstration of the unit can be seen in the following video:

You can find the Arduino sketch and details in the timer project page. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well. 

Have you been reading about Arduino and would like to understand more so you can work with projects like the example above, but not sure where to start? Then order one of 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.

July 26, 2014

Build an interactive Infinity Mirror Clock

With some colour or RGB LEDs and some simple woodwork many hobbyists have made themselves an infinity mirror, a neat device that gives the effect of an infinite distance into the future. However enthuisast Dushyant Ahuja has taken this concept one step further and created a mirror that also functions as a clock.

The RGB LEDs in his version can be controlled to display various colours which represent the time, and the alterations can be done remotely thanks to the use of a Bluetooth receiver in the clock circuitry. Futhermore with the use of an infra-red distance sensor - the clock can detect the presence of a user and turn off the LEDs, allowing use of the mirror for reflective means. It's a relatively simple yet quite outstanding project and demonstrated in the following video:

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

The most important part of any clock project is the inclusion of an accurate real-time clock IC. Here at Freetronics we have the Maxim DS3232 real-time clock IC module:

Apart from keeping accurate time for years due to the temperature-controlled oscillator and having a tiny coin-cell for backup, it is very simple to connect to your Arduino project. A driver library allows your program to easily set or read the time and date. Perfect for clock projects, dataloggers or anything that needs to know the date and time. Furthermore it contains a digital thermometer and 236 bytes of non-volatile memory to store user settings and other data. For more information, check out the module page here.

 

July 26, 2014

Emulate a Commodore 64 tape drive with Arduino

Fans and users of the classic Commodore 64 computers will find this project by Peter Edwards of great interest. Peter has created an Arduino-powered device that can emulate the tape deck for a Commodore 64, which will increase the reliability of playing tape-based software and reduce wear on original tapes.

The "Tapuino" converts the MP3 files of orginal tape recordings back into signals which are fed through an interface cable from an original datasette unit. With some work Peter has added compatibilty for "fast load" software and also created a neat user interface with an LCD so the unit can be reduced in size and portable. It's an amazing hack and a great way to keep the old 8-bit games alive

For complete details, visit Peter's interesting website. 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: 

July 24, 2014

Reverse-geocaching with Arduino

For a fun gift that relives memories of places in personal history, Theo Meyer has worked with previous examples and built his own geocaching box. For the uninitiated this is a device that needs to be taken to various locations, and once the journey has completed the box can be opened to reveal a gift or suprise of some sort.

In theory it may sound complex, however with the use of an Arduino, GPS module and a large battery it's quite easy. The sketch checks that required GPS coordinates have been received, and then controls a servo or solenoid to release the latch in the box.

This is a fun project that can be made by beginners and experts alike, so for details including the sketch and hardware schematic - log into the Arduino forum. 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 GPS receivers, servos and and much more, you can't go past "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.

July 24, 2014

Add an "Unwashed Hands" alarm to a bathroom with Arduino

If people at your location are having problems following normal procedures with regards to using the water closet, an interesting and humouros solution by the DIY Hacks website. They've created an alarm that checks that three actions have been completed, and if not a bright matrix of LEDs flashes with an appropriate warning.

Two piezo sensors are used to detect hte actions - the first detects vibration caused by water flowing through a pipe to the cistern, and another detects water flow to the hand basin. Then a reed switch and magnet indicates to the Arduino that the door has been opened. Thus if sensor two (the hand basin) hasn't detected water flow - the alarm appears. A demonstration is shown in the following video:

A great project to use as a joke or for more serious purposes - and all the detaila are in the Instructable page. And for more, we're on facebook, twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well. 

If you're interested in detecting vibrations or working with making sounds and tunes for various reasons, 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

July 23, 2014

Hacking old rackmount equipment displays with Arduino

Over time hackers and others come across older electrical equipment which may be completely outdated, such as control panels, test equipment and so on. However there can often be some fun life left in these - not for the original purpose but the functions within.

An interesting example of this has been demonstrated by Evan on his blog, who has repurposed the front display from an old video processor device. The digits are driven with a classic BCD to 7 segment converter IC which can easily be controlled by an Arduino. With a little investigation Evan managed to control the display and also read the buttons - and thus the device lives again and a simple numeric input/output device:

So next time you see something that's past the use-by date, think again and have some fun tearing it apart. For more information on Evan's hack, check out his interesting 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.

July 23, 2014

ROBOTSHOP - our new Freetronics reseller for the United States, Canada and the European Union

We're really excited to announce another new reseller of Freetronics products - Robotshop.

Robotshop are e a multi-national supplier of all things robotics and have an incredible range of robots, parts, kit, domestic robots through to UAVs and exoskeletens. Robotshop have online stores for the United States, Canada and the European Union - reducing delivery time for those after Freetronics products down to a few days. Furthermore customers in the EU will no longer have to worry about import duty or slow inbound Customs inspection times.

Visit out distributor page for a complete list of Freetronics resellers, and if you're interested in becoming a reseller please email support@freetronics.com. And for more, we're on facebooktwitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

July 23, 2014

Mr Hobbyelectronics reviews the Freetronics EtherTen

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 checks our our EtherTen 100% Arduino Uno-compatible board with Ethernet, microSD card socket and more.

In his video Nick shows just how easy it is to control an Arduino-connected device from a web browser, and you can literally have it working in under five minutes. Check out the following video to see what we mean:

Kudos to Nick 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!