October 20, 2014

Experimenting with Raspberry Pi and Push Notifications

Now that many of us are using Anrdroid or iOS-based mobile devices, the ability to receive push notifications from our own projects is certainly something of interest, however doing so may have seemed quite difficult. However nothing could be further from the truth, and the process has been demonstrated by Mike Haldas.

Doing so requires using a service from the site instapush.im, which offers the required connectivity between your Raspberry Pi and mobile device. Then it's a simple matter of some python code to monitor GPIO, or take action based on your own parameters which can then trigger the instapush service and thus receive the push message on your device.

To learn how to do this yourself, check out Mike's excellent tutorial. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you need to connect external circuitry to your Raspberry Pi, consider our PiBreak board. It provides labelled breakout pins for all GPIOs, a large prototyping area with solder pads, and power rails for easy power connection:

Furthermore the PiBreak also includes mounting hardware to firmly attach it to your Raspberry Pi using a nut, bolt, and spacer - and is compatible with all revisions of both model A and B Raspberry Pi computers. For more information about our PiBreak board, our Getting Started guide, and to order - visit the product page.

October 21, 2014

Using mbed and the Freetronics LCD Keypad Shield

The mbed development platform is an interesting online method of working with boards based around the ARM style of microcontrollers, and several of these boards have I/O pins laid out in the same way as the Arduino Uno and compatible boards, which opens them up to wide variety of hardware.

One example of this is out LCD Keypad shield, which is now very easy to use with ST Nucleo boards and mbed thanks to the work by Mihail Stoyanov and his mbed LCD library. With this integrated into your project it's possible to simply drop in our LCD and use it without any effort.

For more information about the mbed library and environment, start with the library 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 such as the mbed above? 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:

October 19, 2014

Combine the power of Raspberry Pi and Arduino with our new PiLeven

The Raspberry Pi is much more powerful than an Arduino, but it has a few limitations of its own. Its I/O is much more limited, it can't use common Arduino shields, and it needs a regulated 5V power supply such as a USB connection. All those problems are solved with the PiLeven: The PiLeven is an Arduino-compatible board based on the Arduino Uno, but with a few changes. Obviously it's a bit of a strange shape! The PiLeven fits right on top of a Raspberry Pi (either model B or B+) using the Raspberry Pi expansion headers.

The PiLeven also has a high-current switchmode power supply, so you can plug in anything from 7V to 18Vdc using the standard 2.1mm jack. The PiLeven can power the Raspberry Pi, so you don't need a regulated 5V USB connection anymore.

Serial communications on the PiLeven is linked through to the Raspberry Pi, so your Pi can upload new sketches straight to the PiLeven or send/receive data and commands. We've included level shifters so the 3.3V Pi can talk safely to the 5V PiLeven. And you can plug standard Arduino shields right into the PiLeven, giving your Raspberry Pi access to the huge range of shields already available.

For more information about the PiLeven, including our tutorials - and to order yours today, visit the PiLeven webpage. And for more news and product announcements, follow us on facebookGoogle+, and twitter.

October 19, 2014

A remote-controlled doorbell with Raspberry Pi and node.js

Thanks to the ease of adding Internet-based connectivity to a Raspberry Pi, it lends itself to all sorts of remote-control and data gathering applications. One example of this is by Arvind Ravulavaru who has documented controlling a Raspberry Pi not only as a local doorbell, but one that can be controlled over the net via node.js and python.

The resulting project simply controls a GPIO pin from a remote, web-enabled device - however thanks to the clarity of Arvind's work you can use this as a framework for all sorts of applications. A quick demonstration of the remote doorbell is shown in the following video:

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

If you need to connect external circuitry to your Raspberry Pi such as the project above, consider our PiBreak board. It provides labelled breakout pins for all GPIOs, a large prototyping area with solder pads, and power rails for easy power connection:

Furthermore the PiBreak also includes mounting hardware to firmly attach it to your Raspberry Pi using a nut, bolt, and spacer - and is compatible with all revisions of both model A and B Raspberry Pi computers. For more information about our PiBreak board, our Getting Started guide, and to order - visit the product page.

October 17, 2014

Control an Arduino with the TI ez430 Chronos Watch

Wearable technology is all the rage at the moment, and you can also join in the fun without going to ridiculous levels of expense. One interesting example that has flown under the radar so far is by Instructables member laxap, who demonstrates how to use the Texas Instruments ez430 Chronos watch with an Arduino equipped with a USB host shield.

Included with the watch is a wireless USB dongle which is connected to the USB host shield. With this and the included code your Arduino can receive the three-axis acceleromter and button status data form the watch. With this datayou can then have your Arduino take actions based on the movement of and/or the buttons pressed on the watch. Neat!

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

Another way of interfacing devices such as the TI watch mentioned above is with a board that has an integrated USB host shield, such as our Freetronics USBDroid:

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

October 17, 2014

Easily check your home's public IP address with Arduino and Android

Home automation with Arduino is surprisingly easy, and remote-control via the Internet is also possible. However doing so requires knowing what the public IP address of your home connection. In most cases this address is dynamic, that is it changes at the whim of your ISP - and thus you need to change it in your remote-control app (etc) as required.

This can be a pain, however one solution is the use of an Arduino and a small Android app by Instructables member xlisus. They've provided a small sketch to run on an Ethernet-enabled Arduino which is connected to your home router, which broadcasts the public IP back to the Android phone via WiFi and the router. This is then accessed via the Android app.

You can check out the Android app in Google Play, and rest via the Instructable page. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

 

When putting together your next Internet-enabled Arduino or AVR 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.

October 16, 2014

The Arduino-powered "Experimental Form Radio"

Interaction and Industrial Design student Yaakov Lyubetsky has taken a look at how a radio is operated, and noted that although the technology behind how a radio works has changed - the user interface has remained somewhat constant. With this in mind he's created a new radio that functions as expected, however with an imaginative interface.

Yaakov's version of a radion works when it has been placed onto a custom wall bracket, adding a sense of occasion to using the radio. Then by sewing conductive thread into flexible fabric, he's created a touch-controlled volume and frequency-changing interface which could be quite intuitive and easy to use. For a full demonstration of the radio, check out the following video:

This project is a great example of what imagination and some simple hardware can provide, of which you can learn more through Yaakov'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 to embed into 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: 

October 11, 2014

New Tutorial - Bluetooth Pairing Guide

As part of our continuing efforts to provide guides and tutorials for our product, our latest is the Bluetooth Pairing Guide for our new Freetronics Bluetooth Shield for Arduino. Using this guide you can see how easy it is to connect your Bluetooth-enabled PC to our Bluetoosth shield, and we've explained the process for three major operating systems - Windows, MacOS and Ubuntu Linux.

Once paired, you can send and receive serial data between your PC and shield, making remote control and data gathering that much simpler using a wireless link. To learn more, check out the Pairing Guide (and also the Quick Start tutorial). And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

And this is what it's all about - our new Freetronics Bluetooth Shield:


 

We've made it simple to use - the Bluetooth Shield acts as a serial link between the other Bluetooth device. Furthermore there's a wide range of jumpers allowing you to select which digital pins to use for data transfer, increasing compatibility with other shields. And with our Quick Start guide it's easier than ever.

Our Bluetooth Shield for Arduino is now in stock and ready to ship, so for more information and to order - visit the shield's product page.

October 14, 2014

The home-made elevator powered by Arduino

Controlling motors and working with sensors and an Arduino isn't new, and we've all spent some time experimenting with these. However these skills can translate to projects on a larger scale to solve problems of a more expensive type. One though process lead to the creation of a home-made elevator, built by the team at usb-e-kits.

They designed and built the metal frame, drive system and Arduino-based electronics for a three-storey elevator for use in a private home. The car is moved via a classic 1kW motor with bidirectional control that was hacked with some relays for control by the Ardiuno, and the elevator has the required sensors to ensure the car stops at the required point. You have to see it to believe it, so check out the following video

That's incredible, and shows what you can make with the right motivations. For more details check out the project Instructable 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 - as used in many classroom and learning environments:

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.

October 14, 2014

Push data from an Arduino to Google Docs with PushingBox

It's always great to see more examples that show how easy it is to send data from an Arduino across the Internet without much effort, and this example by Instructables member ezoom404 is just that.

They show us how to capture data (in this example from a temperature sensor) and send it to Google Docs via an Ethernet-enabled Arduino or compatible board and the "PushingBox" cloud-based notification service. Apart from Google Docs you can create notifications for all manner of platforms and devices, allowing your Arduino to alert you directly of a pre-determined situation.

Getting started is easy, with the first step being the project Instructable page. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

 

When putting together your next Internet-enabled Arduino or AVR 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 .