How to Set Up and Program an LCD Display on an Arduino

circuitbasics.com has a tutorial on how to setup an LCD with Arduino.

In this tutorial, I’ll explain how to set up an LCD display on an Arduino, and show you all the functions available to program it (with examples). The display I’m using here is a 16×2 LCD display that I bought for under $10 on Amazon. LCDs are really useful in projects that output data, and they can make your project a lot more interesting and interactive.

How to Set Up and Program an LCD Display on an Arduino – [Link]

HPS140MK2, The New Handheld Oscilloscope

Velleman Inc., a producer and a distributor of electronics, has produced a new handheld oscilloscope with the same power of its HPS140, but with smaller size and modern design.

HPS140MK2 is a 11.4 x 6.8 x 2.2 cm versatile component tester that fits in your pocket. This small oscilloscope features a real time 40 MS/s sampling rate with up to 10 MHz bandwidth and 0.1 mV sensitivity.

HPS140MK2 features:

  • 40 Mega samples/sec in real time
  • Bandwidth up to 10 MHz
  • Full auto range option
  • Sensitivity down to 0.1 mV
  • Signal markers for amplitude and time
  • Memory hold function
  • Direct audio power measurement

The device is powered by 4 AAA batteries. On the front panel you can find four buttons; menu, up, down, and hold. The display is used to menu options and received signal. On the top side you will find an on/off switch and a BNC input connector that can accept maximum input of 100Vp.On the bottom side there is an X10 probe test signal.

Specifications:

  • Bandwidth: up to 10 MHz (-3dB or -4dB at selected ranges)
  • Input range: 1 mV to 20 V / division in 14 steps
  • Input coupling: DC, AC and GND
  • Real-time sample rate up to 40 MS/s
  • AD resolution: 8 bits
  • Time base: 250 ns to 1 h per division
  • Auto set-up function (or manual)
  • Probe x10 readout option
  • Readouts: DC, AC + DC,True RMS, dBm, Vpp, Min-Max. (±2.5%)
  • Audio power measurement from 2 to 32 ohms
  • Hold & store function
  • Time and voltage markers readout
  • Max. 100 Vp AC + DC
  • Monochrome OLED
  • Power supply: 4 x 1.5 V AAA batteries (not incl.)
  • Operating time: up to 8 hours on quality Alkaline batteries
  • Dimensions: 114 x 68 x 22 mm
  • Weight: 166 gr
  • Current consumption: max. 150 mA

The product is available for $150 on Velleman store. Additional parts will be available soon including component tester ‘HPS141’ to receive all useful information about resistors, transistors, diodes and more, including their pin out identification, and the ‘HPSP1’ protective pouch.

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DIY Arduino-Based Desktop CNC Router

Inspired by machines like the Nomad 883 from Carbide3D, Carvey from Inventables and more, Thimo Voorwinden had come up with a new tutorial for building a desktop CNC router powered by Arduino.

This CNC budget is around €200 and you don’t need a workshop to build it up, basic tools will do. It is designed to be modular, Arduino powered, and with a tolerance of (±0,1 mm). It has Ø8 mm linear rods, M8 thread lead screw and uses NEMA 17 stepper motors and drv8825 drivers. Plus, 250 watt flexible shaft is needed to drive the spindle and it has a work area of 200 x 250 x 100 mm (x,y,z).

Here you are the Bill of Materials that Thimo made based on his research in German and Chinese web-shops:

The tools Thimo used to build this CNC are listed here:

  • Homemade router table
  • Old ‘cordless’ drill
  • Ø22 mm wood spade drill
  • A rusty collection of old metal drill bits
  • Hammer
  • Metal saw
  • File
  • Screw drivers
  • Clamps
  • Try square
  • A soldering iron

Thimo shared this experience as a 5 HD video tutorials on Youtube to explain all the steps he went through: setting X and Y axis, the frame, Z axis and spindle, electronics and a video where the CNC is in action while milling a jigsaw piece. He added two extra videos for foam milling and testing the plotting function. Check them out here:

“For about €200 I’m now capable to CNC machine wooden parts. Not at a high speed, or without any bumps along the way, but having this option is still great. I will definitely try to machine some gears, specific parts for projects and engrave signs with this in the future.”

For more information, a detailed guide, and some notes check the project’s page at Thimo website.

Make Your Own Laser Scanning Microscope

A laser scanning microscope (LSM) is an optical imaging technique for increasing optical resolution and contrast of micrographs. It permits a wide range of qualitative and quantitative measurements on difficult samples, including topography mapping, extended depth of focus, and 3D visualization.

A laser microscope works by shining a beam of light on a subject in an X-Y plane. The intensity of the reflected light is then detected by a photoresistor (LDR) and recorded. When the various points of light are combined, you get an image.

Venkes had built his own DIY laser scanning microscope with a DVD pick-up, an Arduino Uno, a laser, and a LDR. He had also published an A-Z tutorial about making a similar device.

The result image consists of 256×256 pixels with resolution of 200 nm, about 1300 time enlargement, and it will not cost you a lot because you may have most of the parts. However, the scanning process is a bit slow, it may need half an hour for one image, and it is not crispy sharp.

The parts needed for this DIT LSM are:

  • 2 lens/coil parts of a laser pick-up (DVD and/or CD)
  • a bit of PCB
  • a piece if UTP cable (approx 15cm)
  • An Arduino UNO
  • An LDR
  • 2 x 10uF capacitors
  • 1 x 220 Ohm resistor
  • 1 x 10k resistor
  • 1 x 10k pot
  • 1 x 200 Ohm trim potentiometer
  • 1 breadboard
  • 1 switch
  • 1 3,5 mm jack plug
  • 1 audio amplifier
  • 1 laser with a good collimating lens
  • 1 piece of glass, a quarter of a microscope object glass or so to act as a semipermeable mirror
  • The under part of a ballpoint casing to put the LDR in

For the software side, an Arduino sketch is used to steer the lens, to read the LDR values, and to send information to a Processing sketch which will receive the data and translate it into an image.

You can find more details of this project with the source files at the project’s Instructables page. This video shows the device in action:

5V to 12V @1.2A regulated power supply using LM2587

This circuit is based on LM2587, a simple boost converter from Texas instruments. It produces a 12V regulated output for a input of 5V. It can also be used as a multiple output regulator, forward converter and as a flyback regulator. This regulator requires minimum number of external components, which makes it cost effective.

Features

  • Input(V): 4.5VDC to 5.5VDC
  • Output(V): 12V DC
  • Output load: 1.2A
  • PCB:38mm X 30mm

5V to 12V @1.2A regulated power supply using LM2587 – [Link]

Send Touch Over Distance With HEY Bracelet

HEY is an innovative bracelet that really makes you feel connected to a loved one. It uses a unique technology to send your touch as far as needed. It’s the first bracelet that mimics a real human touch, not by producing a mechanical vibration or buzzing sensation, but an actual gentle squeeze.

On Valentine’s Day the stylish piece of smart jewelry was launched on Kickstarter and within one hour it was already ‘trending’. Check the campaign video:

The bracelet incorporates advanced technology that communicates through Bluetooth with your smartphone. The ingenious design  ensures that a touch wouldn’t be sent accidentally. In order to send a message you should touch the bracelet in two places and it will be transferred directly to your phone and from there to the connected HEY bracelet anywhere in the world.

Via Bluetooth HEY is connected to an app on your smartphone. This app makes sure all your little squeezes reach the other bracelet directly. It also helps you pair the bracelets easily, fast and without any hassle. And last but not least it keeps track of your love stats. For instance the distance between you and your loved one or the last time you were together. If desired, these features can be turned off. In the future more features will be added to the app.

HEY is invented by Mark van Rossem. He looked at the current world of communication and saw that one thing was missing. And that thing was touch. People communicate through technology 24/7, but there is always a physical distance separating them. So Mark set himself the seemingly impossible goal to send touch at great distances and came up with the idea for HEY. Together with successful entrepreneur, David van Brakel, he gathered a team of creative and technical professionals that have all earned their credentials in their field of expertise. Together they want to build products that bring people closer.

“From a simple touch like squeezing someone’s hand, to hugging, social touch is important in the way we maintain healthy and happy social relationships with the people that we care about most.” – Gijs Huisman, who collaborated in developing bracelet, is an expert at the University of Twente in the field of Social Touch Technology and has been researching haptic technology (touch by tech) for five years now.

No need to worry a lot about the safety of the bracelet electronics since the design is weatherproof. With only 30 minutes of charging, you will be able to send touches for around 3 weeks!

HEY adds a completely new dimension to relationships and more haptic products will be developed in the near future. For more information and updates, check the official website and the Kickstarter campaign. 35 days are left to pre-order 2 HEY bracelets with the Kickstarter deal for €83 which is 30% of the retail price.

Raspberry Pi Zero PiE-Ink Name Badge

Maker Josh King has introduced the PiE-Ink Name Badge.

Introducing the PiE-Ink Name Badge – a Raspberry Pi Zero Python Powered E-Ink Linux Name Badge (what a mouthful!). A full wearable linux computer system on your chest!

Raspberry Pi Zero PiE-Ink Name Badge – [Link]

4Duino – An Introduction and a Weather API Demo


We covered 4Duino in one of our previous blog posts. 4Duino is a 2.4” Arduino based programmable display module. In our article today, we are presenting a hands-on experience with this product by building a simple project. Many thanks to 4D Systems for sending us a sample and giving us a chance to try this new product.

4Duino – An Introduction and a Weather API Demo – [Link]

Tinusaur, $3 ATtiny85 Microcontroller Board And Assembly Kit

Tinusaur is an Atmel ATtiny85 microcontroller board that comes in parts, as a kit, so you can solder it yourself and then program it. This small microcontroller board can run Arduino and its goal is to have a simple, cheap and quick-start platform for everyone interested in learning and creating things.

Tinusaur comes as an assembly kit, in parts, all in a small plastic bag, so you have to solder it yourself. In order to program this microcontroller board you will need a programmer like AVR ISP programmer, you can also use an Arduino to program the ATtiny microcontroller.

These are the components of Tinusaur standard kit:

  • PCB: Tinusaur PCB
  • MCU, Attiny85: Atmel AVR ATtiny85 microcontroller
  • Socket, DIP-8: DIP-8 socket for MCU
  • H1, Header: Header 2×4, Female
  • H2, Header: Header 2×5, Female
  • ISP, Header: Header 2×5, Male, for ISP
  • RESET, Button: Tactile push button, for RESET
  • Power, Header: Header 1×2, Male, for external power
  • Battery, Header: Header 1×2, Male, for battery power on/off
  • Battery, Jumper: Jumper, 2-pin, for battery power on/off
  • C1, Capacitor: Capacitor 100uF, Low profile 5×5 mm
  • C2, Capacitor: Capacitor 100nF, Small
  • R1, Resistor: Resistor 10K, Small, 1/8W
  • Battery holder: Battery holder for CR2032
  • Battery 3V: Battery 3V, CR2032

There is also the Tinusaur Starter – another kit that has everything included in the Tinusaur Board plus a USBasp programmer, plus few other useful things.

Tinusaur was launched 3 years ago and it is now used  in schools and universities to educate young people in both hardware and software. The team behind Tinusaur had launched an Indiegogo campaign to produce more of Tinusaur boards and bring the cost down to $3 per basic board and allow more people to be able to get them. A recent crowdfunding campaign was held by the team, it didn’t meet its goal plus it had the price multiplied by 3!

With just $3 you can get now the Lite edition of Tinusaur, the same components as the standard kit excluding the battery and its holder. You can get the Standard one for $4 and the Starter one for $6.

This Tinusaur is open source, both the hardware and the software, and you can check out the source files right here https://bitbucket.org/tinusaur. 3 days are left to end this crowdfunding campaign, so if you are interested in getting your own Tinusaur with that amazing price you should hurry up! More details can be found at the official product page, getting started page and tutorials.