Sunflower Shield – A 3.5” TFT Touch Screen Display for the Arduino

The Arduino has been a household name in the hardware market for a long while now and many vendors have released various add-on devices usually called Shields to expand the functionality of Arduino. One such add-on device is the newly launched Sunflower shield that will allow users to add a touchscreen display to any Arduino project.

Sunflower shield

A touchscreen is one of the most intuitive and straightforward way of adding user interaction to a project allowing one to remove the need for buttons or some other form of input, and this could be achieved with the Arduino in several ways. Combining a display and a touchscreen to use with an Arduino has been somewhat challenging and tricky, but the Sunflower Shield from creator Paul Bartek and his team will make this easier to achieve.

The Sunflower Shield is a 3.5” capacitive touchscreen that plugs into any standard Arduino board as a normal Arduino shield. The board is a 5V dependent board so it won’t work with any 3.3V based Arduino boards like the 3.3V Arduino Pro. The shield is made up of a 5-point Multi-touch Capacitive Touch Screen making it capable of building gesture control applications. It also supports a portrait and landscape display orientation, a temperature reading through a K-type thermocouple that is shipped with it, provides support for audio output and comes with an 8-ohm speaker.

The Sunflower shield is slightly larger than an Arduino Uno and comes with four mounting holes so you can easily secure the device to an enclosure. It comes with onboard micro SD card slot for application storage.

The following are some of the features of the shield:

  • Premium Multi-domain Vertical Alignment (MVA) TFT Display
  • Easy to use 5-point Multi-touch Capacitive Touch Screen
  • High Brightness White LED Backlight (660 cd/m2)
  • Supports Portrait and Landscape Display Mode
  • Smooth Animations at up to 60 frames/second
  • LED Driver with Pulse Width Modulation (PWM)
  • True 24-bit Color
  • On-board Bridgetek FT813 Graphics Controller IC with Display, Touch and Audio Functionality
  • On-board Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) Audio and Speaker Amplifier
  • Terminal Block with Push-Buttons for Driving an External 8Ω 1W Speaker
  • Micro-SD Socket for Application Storage
  • On-board Maxim MAX31855 K-type Thermocouple Amplifier (-200°C to +700°C with an accuracy of ±2°C)
  • On-board Thermocouple Contacts to Accept a Standard Thermocouple Connector
  • Terminal Block with Push-Buttons for Solid-State Relay (SSR) Control
  • 4 x 3.2mm Mounting Holes Enabling Standard M3 or #6-32 Screws

The shield is currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter with campaign already exceed their minimum amount requirement and is available for pre-order starting at a $90 pledge level. It is estimated that the board will be available for delivery around September 2018.

The Sunflower Shield will allow makers to add a 3.5″ (QVGA) TFT LCD Display with capacitive touch to their Arduino projects.

Gen 4D System LCD Touchscreen Display for the Raspberry

The gen4-4DPi range of LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) touchscreen modules was recently released by 4D Systems. The modules support the Raspberry family of single board computers (SBCs), which means that the modules work with all versions of the raspberry that supports the 40-pin header which includes Pi A+, B+, Pi2, Pi3, Pi3B, Pi Zero and Pi Zero W. The display will serve as the primary output of the Raspberry Pi, and they come in three different screen sizes which are 4.3-inch, 5.0-inch and a 7.0-inch.

Projecting from the Raspberry Pi has mostly been with the use of the HDMI connection to an external monitor or through the official Raspberry pi touch display which comes only in 7-inch display size and supports 800 x 600 display resolution. The 4D System is expected to provide different display size options to the user. The 4.3 sized screen has a 480×272 resolution while the 5.0 and 7.0 screen sizes have an 800×480 resolution.

The gen4-4DPi range connects to the Raspberry Pi’s 40 pin header using the gen4-4DPi Adaptor, which then connects to the gen4-4DPi display module using a 30-way FFC Cable. The adapter board conforms to the Raspberry Pi expansion header pin-out and Pi’s HAT device identification standard.

The communication between the gen4-4DPI display and the Raspberry Pi is through a high speed 48MHz SPI connection which is made possible by an onboard processor and also features a customized DMA enabled kernel, a combination that allows the display to output high frame rate as compared to other SPI display solutions.

The Gen4 display is designed for the Raspbian operating system and is capable of working with other applications like Pixel and Scratch. The module is built with a capacitive or resistive touch control options depending on the variant. There are 4*4.0mm mounting holes on the resistive touch modules and adhesive on the bezel for the capacitive touch modules. This simply means then a person can mount the gen4-4DPi by using the mounting holes for the resistive touch modules or through the adhesive provided on the Cover Lens Bezel (CLB) for the capacitive touch modules.

The following are some of the features of the Gen4 Displays

  • The range is RoHS and CE compliant.
  • The modules are a universal primary display for the raspberry pi.
  • There are resistive touch display modules which also have a capacitive touch version.
  • The resistive modules come with a TFT Screen with integrated 4-wire Resistive Touch Panel (T), while the capacitive versions have a Capacitive Touch Panel (CT) with Cover Lens Bezel (CLB).

The Gen4 Display comes in six different variants as shown below:

  • gen4-4DPi – 43T: This 4.3inch variant cost $49.95
  • gen4-4DPi -43CT – CLB: This 4.3inch variant cost $59.95
  • gen4-4DPi – 50T: This 5inch variant cost $65.95
  • gen4-4DPi – 50CT – CLB: This 5inch variant cost $69.95
  • gen4-4DPi – 70T: This 7inch variant cost $75.95
  • gen4-4DPi – 70CT – CLB: This 7inch variant cost $79.95

More information about the product is available on the product page. The product is also available for purchase on Digikey here with a slightly higher price.

Touch Screen Thermal Camera with Adjustable Temperature Range

Lenin @ movingelectrons.net writes:

This project was inspired by the Thermal Camera with Display project from Adafruit. Ever since they announced the AMG8833 IR Thermal Sensor, I wanted to use it to build a thermal camera for checking hot spots on electrical panels around the house and looking for rabbit nests in the backyard.

Although the project is very similar to Adafruit’s on the hardware side, I modified the Arduino (C language) code extensively to adapt it to my needs. Some of the added features:

  • Battery status/charge.
  • Min./Max. temperature values represented by light blue areas (min.) and dark red areas (max.) on the LCD screen.
  • Temperature range adjustment by tapping on the screen’s lower right corner. There are 3 temperature ranges to choose from:
    • 28C to 30C
    • 20C to 80C
    • 50C to 100C

When switching between ranges, the min. and max. temperature values are shown on screen.

I’m also including the files of a 3D printed case I designed to hold all components in a relatively small package.

Touch Screen Thermal Camera with Adjustable Temperature Range – [Link]

With ECC Memory, the COM-APLC6 can be Relied On to Perform in any Environment

(Taipei, Taiwan – July 3, 2018) – AAEON, a leading manufacturer of embedded controllers, launches the COM-APLC6, a powerful COM Express Type 6 module. Responding to customer requirements and market trends, the innovative tech giant has fitted its latest module with a series of features designed to strengthen applications and speed up development processes.

Powered by an Intel Atom E3900 Series processor, the COM-APLC6 can reliably handle huge amounts of data and is therefore well suited for modern IoT applications. The module features two SODIMM sockets that support DDR3L-ECC memory. Most competing products have non-ECC memory, which is less stable and more prone to data loss, especially in harsh environments. By providing a more dependable solution, AAEON is ensuring that your systems run smoothly even when they’re deployed in the field or harsh, factory environments.

The CPU’s increased graphics capabilities mean this controller can also be used in advanced medical imaging applications. The module has three independent display outputs, including DDI, eDP/LVDS, and VGA interfaces. The COM-APLC6, which has an operating temperature range of 0oC to 60oC, houses a micro SD slot, providing additional, swappable storage. There’s also an interruptible GPIO and support for multiple USB slots and SATA slots, making this a highly expandable module.

We do everything we can to help customers cut the length of time their applications are in development,” said David Hung, AAEON embedded computing division product specialist. “In addition to developing cutting-edge hardware, we’ve also updated our EC firmware so users can quickly and easily implement new features.

Fully-integrated smoke detector reduces false alarms

With the introduction of the ADPD188BI, Analog Devices (ADI) kills two birds with one stone: First, this smoke detector meets the latest international regulatory standards. Second, the device that integrates two LEDs, photodiode, and analog front-end (AFE) in a single package, help reduce false alarms often caused by steam and dust.

The ADPD188BI is engineered to meet new UL217 requirements as well as EN54/14604 specifications. Its integrated design uses two colors to separate particle sizes, increasing the ability to detect and classify smoke types and reject nuisance sources.  The ADI solution enables a back-scattering design with closer proximity of the LED to the photodiode, reducing circuit board size and allowing for smaller smoke detectors that are more architecturally compatible for residential and commercial use.

[source: eenewsembedded.com]

Using Waveshare 4.3″ E-paper Display with Arduino

Screen technologies have evolved over the years since the cathode ray tube was first demonstrated in 1897, we have moved from plasma to LCDs, followed by LEDs, OLEDs, and more recently e-paper which is what we will look into today. Electronic paper/e-paper displays are display devices which were created to mimic the appearance of ink on a common paper. Unlike the other kind of displays which emit light, e-paper displays reflect light just like an ordinary paper. This gives e-paper displays a wider viewing angle, ensure they consume less power and makes looking at them easier as it gives the same feel as looking at an ordinary paper without the glare that comes from looking at a screen. The coolest feature of this display is its ability to display the last text or graphics uploaded to it even when it is not connected to power. This helps save a lot of power and is the key feature for most applications for which e-paper displays are deployed.

The popularity of e-paper displays is on the rise (used in Amazon’s Kindle) due to the unique features mentioned above, that’s why, for this tutorial, we will look at how to use e-paper displays in Arduino projects, to give the projects an extra layer of sophistication and coolness.

Using Waveshare 4.3″ E-paper Display with Arduino – [Link]

Infrared Thermometer with Arduino and MLX90614 Temperature Sensor

Most of the temperature measurement techniques around the world require some sort of physical contact between the temperature sensor and the object or environment whose temperature is to be measured, but as technology advanced, this changed too. The need to be able to measure the temperature of an object without physical contact arose. This need brought the measurement of temperature using infrared sensors.

The principle of operation of Infrared thermometers is simple, all bodies at a temperature above 0°Kelvin (absolute zero) emit an infrared energy which can be detected by the infrared thermometer sensor. It’s design includes a lens that focuses the infrared energy being emitted by the object in front of a detector. The detector converts the energy into an electrical signal which then can be passed to a microcontroller to interpret and display in units of temperature after compensating for the variation in ambient temperature.

Today, we will build a DIY Infrared based thermometer using an Arduino Uno, the MLX90614 IR temperature sensor, and a Nokia 5110 LCD display shield to display the measured temperature.

Infrared Thermometer with Arduino and MLX90614 Temperature Sensor – [Link]

LoraDunchy – Arduino Compatibile LoRa module

Lora board with Arduino nano compatibile pinout and simple battery management. Small board with arduino nano compatibile pinout with power management and Murata ABZ LoRa module with STM32L0 microcontroller

Features:

  • LoRa module: Murata ABZ
  • Single cell LiPo cell charger on-board with charging signal internally connected to PA11 (via jumper)
  • Buck/Boost switching power supply for delivering stable 3,3V regardless of the battery voltage
  • Battery fuel gauge on-board to control the real status of the battery

LoraDunchy – Arduino Compatibile LoRa module – [Link]

Get Paid By Sharing Your Technical Expertise With The Maker’s Community

PCBWay, is a leader in the manufacture of PCB and PCBA services and a friend of the community who always have interest of the maker’s community. We have seen PCBWay has put a lot of effort providing sponsorship for PCB based projects already, but they are not stopping there. PCBWay is continuing this community grooming with the PCBWAY PCB SHARE PLAN, an initiative to allow makers and engineers to give back to the community and get paid for their efforts.

The PCBWay PCB Share Plan is a project sharing plan set up by PCBWay to ensure the growth of the community in general. This was done to make sure community members help each other reach their peak. Sharing of information is regarded as good practice by PCBWay and is therefore greatly encouraged.

Anyone who has a PCB (printed circuit board) project can share it with community. PCBWay is not trying to dig out the experts in the field as the goal is to help those experts get about their self-acclaimed peak. This means that both amateurs and professionals can share projects. This will be super easy because editors are always available to offer assistance with editing and publication.

Another interesting and amazing perk that comes with sharing your projects is that after releasing an Open Source PCB (printed circuit board) design, you can put it up for sale and when people buy, you get a 10% commission of the total PCB (printed circuit board) cost.

WHAT IS ACCEPTED?

Basically, everything based on Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) through different methods of teaching such as:

  • Tutorial: This method of teaching is such that even an amateur can create the same device just by following your instructions.
  • Showcase: Mostly done by professionals, this method simply shows the end and does not include the means. This means that only the result is shown and there are neither a detailed explanation nor a set of instructions.
  • Work in progress: Some people feel documentation is critical and so they release documentaries of their work as they progress. This is very helpful because the public can learn how to build or design step by step.
  • Protip: Showing and describing solutions of a single challenge. One can choose a specific problem related to printed circuit boards and solve it by describing what to do if a person is faced with that challenge.
  • Teardowns or Unboxings: Deep explanation about a specific software or hardware. This often involves continuous teaching for weeks to ensure there is enough knowledge passed on to others about the topic
  • Getting started guides: This method of teaching describes what to do when you are new to a software or hardware. It merely explains what to do when you’re an amateur.

HOW TO SUBMIT

Submission is very easy and can be accomplished by following these set of instructions:

  • Step 1. Create a PCBWay ID here, Log in on PCBWay.
  • Step 2. Click ‘PCB Instant Quote’ link on the header fill in PCB Specification Selection > Calculate > Add to Cart > Upload your PCB files.
  • Step 3. Click ‘Share & Sell’ button on the shopping cart/order list > Choose an excellent cover image for your project
PCBWay Project Sharing Process

OPEN MOTOR CONTROL – An open source motor controller for everyone

It is open source and based upon the ATmega32U4 microcontroller, and provided with drivers for two DC brush motors and a stepper motor. It receives commands via USB or serial ports, or via the I²C bus.

For those dealing with robotics, one of the problems to solve is the management of the motors used for the traction, that is to say: how to correctly power the motors needed in order to make your robot advance. If you work with Arduino, the first and immediate solution is to use a shield. Several of them can be found available for sale, from the simplest ones that allow to control separately the two small DC motors, to the most advanced ones that are able to measure the current drawn as well. Regardless of the manufacturer, the shields are all based on the usage of a power driver (usually the L298), that is directly interfaced to Arduino’s PWM outputs, and encircled by a few other components. Surely the usage of a shield is a valid solution, but then we need to use at least four Arduino outputs: usually two to adjust the speed and two for the direction. If, on the other hand, you use a generic microcontroller, or a stand-alone Atmel chip, or a board that is different from Arduino, things get a bit more complicated, since on the market it is difficult to find drivers with a more flexible interface, and the price starts to rise quickly.  If you then have the need to command two motors, things get very complicated, even for those using an Arduino board, because problems arise both on the hardware and on the device programming point of view.

[source: www.open-electronics.org]