April 24, 2014

Make a huge Bluetooth-connected display with Arduino

We love large displays, and the following version described by Instructables member kenyer is quite original and useful once constructed. They wanted some very large 7-segment displays, and instead of using a commercial product - created their own with a 3D printer which allows for the segments to be displayed with groups of LEDs.

This allows for a large, bright display which is also controlled with a simple Android app that communicates between the display and Android device via a serial/Bluetooth link. A perfect method of control once the display has been mounted for normal use. A quick demonstration of the display is shown in the following video:

For complete details on how to make your own version, check out the display InstructableAnd for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

Need a large, Arduino-compatible display - but don't want to make your own from scratch? Then 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

April 24, 2014

Build an Arduino-powered RGB LED Cube

It's always great to see people building various LED cubes that are driven by an Arduino, and a new example has been published by Emiliano Valencia. His version is a full RGB LED configuration and driven by an Arduino-compatible circuit and TLC5940 constant-current LED driver ICs.

Building your own cube successfully requires a great amount of patience and accuracy, and this has been demonstrated by Emiliano in his tutorial as he explains how to keep the cube lined up during assembly. 

However as you can see from the image above, the final project is quite successful - so visit his Instructable for complete details. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you're interested in building your own cube - but from a convenient and proven design - check out our new CUBE4: RGB LED cube kit:


It's easy to construct and use, and with an onboard Arduino-compatible board the cube can be used to display all sorts of data or create visual effects. It's easily controlled via simple text commands via the USB port - or write your own Arduino sketch. It's incredibly customisable and there's so much more. For more information and to order, visit the CUBE4 page. 

 

April 23, 2014

Digitise books with a Raspberry Pi and LEGO Mindstorms

In what can only be described as a whole bunch of awesome, the folks at Dexter Industries have demonstrated a system to digitise books based on some simple and easy-to-find hardware, namely LEGO and a Raspberry Pi. The RPi can easily control the LEGO to flip and hold down the book pages, and then use a camera to capture each page as an image. Finally with some OCR software the page is digitised for digital storage - or used for text-to-speech. You can see this through the following video:

Apart from having a lot of fun, this would be an inexpensive method of creating audio files for the visually-impaired or blind. For more information, visit the project tutorial site. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you're looking for a more permanent way to mount circuitry to your Raspberry Pi, check out our new PiBreak - the prototyping board for the Raspberry Pi. 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 new PiBreak board, our Getting Started guide, and to order - visit the product page

April 23, 2014

Make an Arduino Multimeter Shield

It's always interesting to see people make their own test equipment based on the Arduino platform, and the following example by Milen Penev is a great workable example. Milen's shield allows for measurement of not only voltage and current, it also includes resistance, transistor beta and more. 

Even if you're not interested in making your own, this is an interesting tutorial that explains some theory behind test and measurement - and if you do wish to make your own, Milen has provided the EAGLE files to download and have your own shield PCB manufactured. Finally a quick demonstration is shown in the following video:

Kudos to Milen for such an great Instructable, which can be found here. 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.

April 23, 2014

Build a Spotify remote control with Arduino

Arduino enthusiasts who use the Spotify streaming music service via their Windows-based PCs will find this project by the Hackshed of interest. Their remote control involves a small .NET application that interfaces between Spotify and the serial port (USB) to which the LCD-equipped Arduino is connected. It can then send music data to the Arduino, and also listen for serial commands from the Arduino to be interpreted as control instructions. 

All the required code for .NET and the Arduino sketch are provided - so you can learn more about interfacing the two platforms at the Hackshed website. 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:

April 16, 2014

Using Arduino to automate iPad game-playing

And now for something completely different - Uli Kilian has used the Arduino platform to automate the paying of the iPad game "Jurassic Park". Although this may seem like a fruitless pursuit, success in the game requries a high level of interaction - or paying for in-app purchases.

Thus Uli's device is programmed to press the required areas on the iPad screen to simulate user input. The system is created from LEGO Technics parts, and deftly moves and touches the iPad as shown in the following video:

So if you're really into these sorts of games, a system such as Uli's could be run overnight to help your play move forward. For more information, visit the article on Wired. 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.

April 16, 2014

Program ATtiny85s from a Raspberry Pi

After wanting to get into AVR programming - but not wanting to buy a dedicated programmer, Instructables member prb3333 came up with a solution based on the Raspberry Pi. The software side is simple, as the required toolchain and drivers for the SPI bus can be downloaded. The hardware can simply be connected to the GPIO pins of the Pi board, or fitted to a neat prototyping shield with an IC socket. 

Just remember that the Raspberry Pi is a 3.3V board - in case you're doing some in-circuit programming. For complete instructions, 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.

If you're looking for a more permanent way to mount circuitry to your Raspberry Pi, check out our new PiBreak - the prototyping board for the Raspberry Pi. 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 new PiBreak board, our Getting Started guide, and to order - visit the product page

April 16, 2014

An Arduino-powered robotic camera dolly system

After receiving a set of parts for the Actobotics build system, Instructables staff member Randy Sarafan turned to the Arduino development platform to bring it to life. In his example Randy created a neat dolly system for cameras that can be controlled from a small touch screen. The system uses two Arduino boards, however they can communicate with each other via the I2C bus for full integration.

Furthermore by using two boards the device can travel along and tilt or pan the camera at the same time, which can offer some great photographic time-lapse or video effects - as shown in the following video:

A fascinating project, and also an interesting framework for dual Arduino systems. 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 into starting with Arduino and robotics, such as controlling a stepper motor (or DC motors) from your Arduino or compatible, 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

April 15, 2014

Build a wearable Arduino-powered message board

Before heading off to a robot festival, Matt Roy came up with a clever wearable message board device that's easy to build and quite fun. It's based on an Arduino-compatible circuit on some prototyping board and uses the typical MAX7219/LED matrix combination for a display unit. Once completed you can have a variety of text scroll across the display, or create your animations as shown in the following video:

Furthermore by adding Bluetooth it's possible to create a simple Android app to send the required text or commands from a smartphone for more interactive control. Either way, visit the project Instructable page to get started. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

Need a tiny 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.

April 15, 2014

Ardomotic - the open-source interactive web interface for Arduino

The process of creating Arduino-based automation systems is generally something tackled with great enthusiasm and a large amount of time, however with varying levels of success. This is why we're excited to learn about a new automation system called "Ardomotic" - and even though it's still in beta stage, it shows a lot of promise.

Ardomotic is a graphical interface for an Ethernet-enabled Arduino Mega or compatible board (such as our EtherMega), and allows the user to create automated systems that can turn device on or off, blink them, work with real time and timers, allow control via infra-red and much more. And just like the Arduino the Ardomotic system is open-source, so you can customise it even further if required. The creators introduce the system in the following video:

To learn more about Ardomotic, visit the website. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you're enjoying working with Arduino projects but find the Uno-sized boards somewhat constricting - it's time to move up to the Freetronics EtherMega:

Quite simple the EtherMega is the fully-loaded Arduino-compatible board on the market today. Apart from being completely Arduino Mega2560-compatible, it includes full Ethernet interface, a microSD card socket, full USB interface, optional Power-over-Ethernet support and still has a circuit prototyping area with extra I2C interface pins. So if your project is breaking the limits, upgrade to the EtherMega today.