ESP8266 PlaneSpotter

@ has published his latest project.

After many hours of work I’m very happy to finally publish all the sources for the ESP8266 PlaneSpotter project. It is not yet really in a V1.0.0 state but I’m sure with the help of the community it will quickly get better. While this post is more a “making-of” you can find build instructions on Github:

ESP8266 PlaneSpotter – [Link]


SmartPID, The New Open Platform For Your Projects

ARZAMAN Smart Engineering is a small innovative Italian startup company that develops smart hi-tech solutions, by working on specific ideas for a specific hobbyist market. ARZMAN has just launched a new product: SmartPID!
SmartPID Controller is a hi-tech product that facilitates temperature and process control. It has the ability to control any thermos-regulated process, heating or cooling, and also it can control any application in your home. In addition, it is compatible with Arduino, so you have the chance now to move your applications to the next step!

It is provided with two apps: smart thermostat app and the smart brewing app. The smart thermostat app can be used for any thermal regulated process, while the brewing app is is a vertical application that is dedicated to brewing process automation from mashing to boiling.

SmartPID is IoT-ready,cloud-connected, and runs PID algorithm. In addition, it has the  following features:

SmartPID is powered by SAMD21 32-bit ARM® Cortex®-M0+ by Atmel and it has 8 Mb EEPROM and ESP8266 WiFi module with many other specifications and advantages as shown in the picture.

It is totally compatible with Arduino since it
has SAMD21 processor, a dedicated USB bootloader and board definition, can be programmed with Arduino IDE and can use the libraries available.

SmartPID comes with a mobile app to control and monitor the project installed. Check this video to see the app in action.

“SmartPID is not a simple controller or thermostat, is more an “open platform” powerful and flexible where the resources and I/O can be used for different applications, different environments and integration. My idea is to develop an ecosystem of “vertical” applications on top of a common set of features” -Davide Arzarello, founder of ARZAMAN Smart Engineering.

SmartPID is now live in a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo and it has only one week to go. You can pre-order it now preloaded with the thermostat app for around €89. Check SmartPID website and the campaign page to know more details and specifications. You can see SmartPID in action in this promo video:

Control a stepper motor using Raspberry Pi

Here is a nice tutorial @ on how to control a DC motor using Python.

In this guide, you’ll be controlling two motors from your Raspberry Pi using Python on the desktop. First, it’s best just to learn how to control the motor. Then, once you have it working, you could easily use your code to drive a Raspberry Pi-powered robot by detaching the monitor, mouse, and keyboard and building a robot around a chassis.

Control a stepper motor using Raspberry Pi – [Link]

Control Nema Stepper Motor With Arduino

@ have an article describing stepper motors and how to drive them using Arduino. They write:

Lots of People want to build Them own small Cnc machine . they started with drives stepper motor but they stacked in controller Programming . In this instructable Robokits will provide a resource to control your Stepper motor with Arduino. Before Programming we have to learn some basics Related to Stepper motor .

Control Nema Stepper Motor With Arduino – [Link]

BrainBox Arduino: A ‘tough’ Arduino with screw terminals writes:

Have you read the BrainBox Arduino article in the latest edition of Elektor magazine? BrainBox Arduino is a rugged version of the Arduino Leonardo. Thanks to its sturdy screw terminals, a number of different power supply options, an on-board buzzer and a motor-driver IC that connects directly to motors, there is usually no need for breadboards, extra ICs or shields in most applications.

BrainBox Arduino: A ‘tough’ Arduino with screw terminals – [Link]

Arduino-Based Two-Way Pager

This Arduino-based pager by  Mike Schaus will allow you to send and receive real SMS text messages. This messaging device has its own SIM card and phone number.

In order to build this project you need the following parts:

And you will need to use this software to run the project: Hologram Data Router.

This project was made possible as part of Hologram’s Hacker-In-Residence program, The Hologram Global SIM Card allows you to connect you IoT device everywhere. Paired with a powerful device management platform and API. It provides a cellular data service that works with any device that accepts a SIM card. In addition it is totally inexpensive.

GSM shield, the Hologram things, and Arduino stacked on top of each other made a good combination to build such a project. For powering the project, Mike had used a 9V battery as an option, and still, powering from USB is possible.

Mike had designed this project so it could be used by children instead of a real cell phone, or it could be used as an “SOS” button for someone working alone outdoors or even exercising.

Check this video to know how this project works:

The amazing thing about Adafruit LCD shield that it only uses 2 pins of Arduino since it works over the I2C bus, which results with many places left for future features.

This is the schematics of the project: It is super easy, the wires mean putting the pieces on top of each other.

And here is the Arduino code used:

#include <GSM.h>

#define PINNUMBER ""

// include the LCD library code:
#include <Wire.h>
#include <Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.h>
#include <utility/Adafruit_MCP23017.h>

// The shield uses the I2C SCL and SDA pins. On classic Arduinos
// this is Analog 4 and 5 so you can't use those for analogRead() anymore
// However, you can connect other I2C sensors to the I2C bus and share
// the I2C bus.
Adafruit_RGBLCDShield lcd = Adafruit_RGBLCDShield();

// These #defines make it easy to set the backlight color
#define OFF 0x0
#define ON 0x1

// make the arrow special character on the LCD
const byte arrow[8] =
 B00000, B00000, B01000, B01100, B01110, B01100, B01000, B00000

// initialize the GSM library instance
GSM gsmAccess(false); // include a 'true' parameter for debug enabled
GSM_SMS sms;

// char array of the telephone number to send SMS
// change the number 12125551212 to a number
// you have access to
char remoteNumber[20]= "12125551212";

// Array to hold the number a SMS is retreived from
char senderNumber[20];

// char array of the possible outgoing messages to choose from the menu
char* responses[]={"Mike=Awesome!", "Yes", "No", "Howdy!"};
//#define NUMRESPONSES 4 // if someone knows how to calculate this instead, I'm all ears
#define NUMRESPONSES (sizeof(responses)/sizeof(char *)) // thanks to Steve Kemp's comment!

int position=-1; // this way the first button press will always show first option of the menu

int inByte = 0; // incoming serial byte for keyboard interface

boolean backlight = true; // track backlight status for toggling

unsigned long previousMillis = 0; // will store last time messages were checked
#define CHECKINTERVAL 1500 // how often to check for text messages

void setup() {
  // put your setup code here, to run once:

  // initialize serial communications
  Serial.println(F("SMS Message Sender -- starting up..."));

  // set up the LCD's number of columns and rows: 
  lcd.begin(16, 2);

  // Print a message to the LCD
  lcd.print(F("Hello, Hologram!"));
  lcd.setCursor(0, 1);
  lcd.print(F("Starting up..."));

  // set up the arrow character for display
  lcd.createChar(0, arrow);

  // connection state
  boolean notConnected = true;

  // Start GSM shield
  // If your SIM has PIN, pass it as a parameter of begin() in quotes
    if(gsmAccess.begin(PINNUMBER)==GSM_READY) {
      notConnected = false;
      Serial.println(F("GSM is connected because you are so awesome"));
      Serial.println(F("Waiting for messages, or send with \"s\""));


      Serial.println(F("Not connected"));
      lcd.print(F("Not connected"));

// this is the menu system function
void showResponses() {
//  Serial.println(position); // only for debugging menu system

  // make sure cursor position is legal
  if (position<0) position=0;
  if (position>NUMRESPONSES-1) position = NUMRESPONSES-1;

  // write current selection and next option if there is another option
  lcd.write(0); //arrow character
  if (position < NUMRESPONSES-1) {
    lcd.print(" ");

void homeScreen() {
  lcd.print("SMS Messenger!");
  lcd.print("Ready; up/dn snd");

  position=-1; //reset response selection

void receiveSMS(){
  char c;

  // If there are any SMSs available()
  if (sms.available()) {
    Serial.println("Message received from:");

    // Get remote number
    sms.remoteNumber(senderNumber, 20);

    backlight = true;

    // An example of message disposal
    // Any messages starting with # should be discarded
    if (sms.peek() == '#') {
      Serial.println("Discarded SMS");

    // Read message bytes and print them
    // because only returns one character at a time
    int i=0;
    while (c = {
      if (i==17) lcd.setCursor(0, 1); // move to next line if needed
      if (i<33) lcd.print(c); // don't try to print more than 32 chars just in case

    Serial.println("\nEND OF MESSAGE");

    // Delete message from modem memory
    Serial.println("MESSAGE DELETED");

    // wait for right button to acknowlege before letting program continue
    boolean acknowledged = false;
    while(!acknowledged) {
      uint8_t buttons = lcd.readButtons();
      if (buttons & BUTTON_RIGHT) acknowledged = true;
      delay(50); //short delay for troubleshooting -- without this it behaves strangely
    delay(400); // prevent multiple presses in a row

// function to show message options in the serial monitor
void printResponseOptions(){
  for(int i=0; i<NUMRESPONSES; i++){

void sendSMS(const char* txtMsg){

  Serial.print("Message to mobile number: ");

  // print sms text info

  // send the message
  // next, add a signature to the chosen message
  sms.print(" --Be sure to connect with me on my blog");
  // call endSMS function to finish sending; it will return 1 if successful
  if (sms.endSMS()==1) {
  else {

void loop() {
  // put your main code here, to run repeatedly:

  uint8_t buttons = lcd.readButtons();

  if (buttons) {
    if (buttons & BUTTON_UP) {
      backlight = true;
    if (buttons & BUTTON_DOWN) {
      backlight = true;
    if (buttons & BUTTON_LEFT) {
      backlight = true;
    if (buttons & BUTTON_RIGHT) {
      backlight = !backlight; // toggle the backlight state
      if (backlight) lcd.setBacklight(ON);
      else lcd.setBacklight(OFF);
      homeScreen(); // have to write to screen after turning light off, otherwise it goes blank
    if (buttons & BUTTON_SELECT) {
      // make sure cursor selected position is legal
      if (position<0) position=0;
      backlight = true;
    delay(200); // prevent multiple presses in a row

  // this is for serial interface only, not related to LCD and buttons
  // send a message when I type "s" in serial monitor
  // then wait for my selection of the response number
  if (Serial.available() > 0) {
    inByte =; // get incoming byte
    if (inByte == 's') {

      while (Serial.available() > 0) {  // clear the keyboard buffer just in case
        char junk =;
      while (Serial.available() == 0) ;  // Wait here until input buffer has a character
      inByte = Serial.parseInt();
      // would want to check for valid choice here to be more robust

  // check for new messages only once every few seconds to keep interface more responsive
  unsigned long currentMillis = millis();
  if (currentMillis - previousMillis >= CHECKINTERVAL) {
    previousMillis = currentMillis;
    receiveSMS(); // takes about 26ms when there are no messages


More details about this project are available on and Mike’s own blog post. You can learn more about his projects on the same blog.

IkaScope – a new wireless oscilloscope probe launched “IkaScope” a new wireless oscilloscope probe that is able to make measurements directly on your mobile phone or your laptop. IkaScope transfers measured signals over high speed wifi connection and it will remember your home or office access points. It will work with iOS, Android and Windows devices (OSx will also be supported).


  • Input range 10 mV/div. → 10 V/divMaximum input voltage 80 Vpp
  • Bandwidth 25 MHz
  • Timebase 100 ns/div → 10 s/div
  • Input impedance 1MΩ
  • Input Coupling AC, DC, GND
  • Trigger Rising or falling slopes
  • Digital specifications
  • Sampling rate 200 MSPS
  • Resolution 8-bits
  • Buffer 4K pts (4 * 1K Pts)1

IkaScope is a wireless oscilloscope probe, all contained in an ergonomic stylus. It uses a wifi connection to transfer signals to be displayed on any connected screen (Laptop, Smart-phone, Tablet or Desktop Computer). It’s equipped with a battery that can be recharged via any USB port. Being battery operated, IkaScope always provides 4000V+ galvanic isolation from power mains (even when being recharged).

IkaScope – a new wireless oscilloscope probe – [Link]

Wembi – Closed Loop Motorupgrade for 3D Printer

TeamVenture-Bit tipped us with their kickstarter campaign. It’s about a closed loop motor upgrade kit that will enable your 3D printer to print faster, silently and more consistently. Check it out.

Boasting an advanced PID compensation system that detects issues while your 3D printer or other CNC based machine is moving,

Wembi readjusts itself to eliminate printing problems and help you get the perfect prints fast!

Wembi – Closed Loop Motorupgrade for 3D Printer – [Link]

Wide range of Hygrometers Compared

robert @ has a detailed article comparing the most common Humidity sensors. He writes:

Previous experiments looked at comparing a set of six Aosong DHT22/AM2302 and compared the Aosong DHT22/AM2302 with the Aosong DHT11 and Sensirion SHT71. Here I have added five new devices meaning this test now covers most commonly available low-cost digital hygrometers. This page will present only new results. For details of how the experiment works, please refer to the previous write-ups.

Wide range of Hygrometers Compared – [Link]

64 Key Infrared Remote Controller using PT2222M – NEC Code

64 channels Infra-Red Remote Transmitter circuit build around PT2222M IC, The IC is pin to pin compatible with NEC uPD6122 respectively, the remote is capable of controlling 64 functions keys and 3 double keys. The PT2222M Infra-red remote control transmission ICs using the NEC transmission format that is ideally suited for TVs, DVD Players, Audio Equipment, Air Condition, etc. By combining external diode and resistors, maximum of 65536 custom codes can be specified. The NEC transmission format consists of leader codes, custom codes (16 Bits), and data codes (16 Bits). It can be used for various systems through decoding by a microcontroller.


  • Low Voltage 2V To 3.3V
  • Low Current dissipation: 1uA Max (Standby)
  • Custom Codes: 65536 (Set by optional provided diodes and resistors)
  • 64 Codes (Single Input) , 3 Codes ( Double Input) , Expandable up to 128 Codes through J1 Jumper

64 Key Infrared Remote Controller using PT2222M – NEC Code – [Link]