The Newest IDE 1.8.0 Unites Arduino Family

The open-source Arduino Software (IDE) makes it easy to write code and upload it to the board. It runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. The environment is written in Java and based on Processing and other open-source software.

Arduino has just launched its latest software version: IDE 1.8.0! What makes this software special is that it can be used with any Arduino board whether you get it from Arduino.cc or Arduino.org.

You can use it to program your AVR boards like the Uno, Mega, Yun, and Micro, plus it supports these boards:  the Leonardo Ethernet, Yun Mini, Industrial 101, and Uno WiFi.

Thanks to updating the SAMD core, this IDE is ready to run the M0 and M0 PRO, Zero, MKR1000, and the newly-launched Primo and MKRZero.

If you are a Linux user, it is possible now to run the IDE directly using command line without the need of X11 display anymore.

Check the release note of this version:

ARDUINO 1.8.0 – 2016.12.20

[ide]
* Linux: running in command line mode doesn’t require an X11 display anymore
* “Save as” now clears the “modified” status
* builder: Paths with strange UTF8 chars are now correctly handled
* builder: .hpp and .hh file extensions are now considered valid sketch extension
* builder: core.a is not rebuild if not needed (improve build time in particular for big projects)
* Fixed swapped actions “Copy for Forum” and “Copy as HTML”
* Linux/osx: If an editor tab is a symbolic link it is no more replaced with a real file when saving (see #5478)
* Increased the upload timeout to 5 minutes (it was 2 min, but it may be not sufficient when uploading via UART a big sketch)

[core]
* Added Arduino.org boards
* Added Adafruit Circuit Playground board
* Added “-g” option to linker to keep debug information in the .elf file (see #5539)
* avrdude: Added fake configuration for EFUSE on atmega8 part. This solves a long standing issue with “Burn bootloader”.
Thanks @rigelinorion, @awatterott

The unified Arduino software can be downloaded here and more installation instructions are available at the Getting Started page.

This work has never been done without the efforts of the community. The entire revision log for a complete list of changes and credits is available here, and the full source code is on Github.

Apollo2 MCU Paves The Way For New Generation IoT Devices

Ambiq Micro, the leader in ultra-low power solutions, launched  the Apollo 2 Wearables and IoT Platform. The Platform offers breakthrough power consumption of under 10 μA/MHz, which allows for double the battery life in wearable devices. Apollo 2’s performance will lead to longer battery life, enhanced intelligence and improved functionality in wearables and IoT consumer electronics (CE) products. Ambiq Micro’s Apollo 2 Platform provides dramatic reductions in energy consumption through its patented Subthreshold Power Optimized Technology (SPOT™) technology.

“The incredible pace of Moore’s Law disrupted computing every year or two and took us from room-sized supercomputers to billions of pocket-sized mobile phones,” said Scott Hanson, founder and CTO, Ambiq Micro. “Ambiq Micro’s SPOT technology will bring a similar pace of innovation to the IoT. As the foundation of our Apollo MCU, SPOT allows us to drive energy consumption below what we previously imagined was possible. With Apollo 2, we extend the SPOT technology to achieve new efficiencies for the next wave of IoT and connected devices.”

Apollo 2 MCU key features and specifications

  • Ultra-low supply current
    • <10 μA/MHz executing from flash at 3.3 V
    • <10 μA/MHz executing from RAM at 3.3 V
  • ARM Cortex-M4 Processor up to 48 MHz with FPU, MMU, wake-up interrupt controller with 32 interrupts
  • Ultra-low power memory
    • Up to 1 MB of flash memory for code/data
    • Up to 256 KB of low leakage RAM for code/data
    • 16kB 1 or 2-way Associative Cache
  • Ultra-low power interface for off-chip sensors
    • 14 bit, 15-channel, up to 1.2 MS/s ADC
    • Voltage comparator
    • Temperature sensor with +/-2ºC accuracy
  • Serial peripherals – 6x I2C/SPI master,1x I2C/SPI slave,2x UART, PDM for mono and stereo audio microphone
  • Clock sources
    • 32.768 kHz XTAL oscillator
    • Low frequency RC oscillator – 1.024 kHz
    • High frequency RC oscillator – 48 MHz
    • RTC based on Ambiq’s AM08X5/18X5 families
  • Wide operating range – 1.8-3.6 V, –40 to 85°C
  • Package –  2.5 x 2.5 mm 49-pin CSP with 34 GPIO; 4.5 x 4.5 mm 64-pin BGA with 50 GPIO

You can check the product page to know more about Apollo2, but for further information and documentation you have to contact Ambiq Micro.

Source: Ambiq Micro, CNXSoft

DIY Breathalyzer Using Arduino UNO

Today I am going to discuss how to make a very simple DIY Breathalyzer using Arduino UNO and few external components. Ana Carolina designed this project as an instructable in instructables.com. This is a low-cost project and a useful one too. If you have no idea about what breathalyzer is, let me explain briefly: A breathalyzer is a device for estimating blood alcohol content (BAC) from a breath sample. Check the link given for more information.

Arduino Based Breathalyzer
Arduino Based Breathalyzer

Requirements:

  • Arduino Uno
  • MQ-3 Alcohol Sensor
  • 128×64 LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)
  • 7 × 330 Ohm Resistor
  • 7 × LEDs (1 Red, 2 Yellow, 3 Green and one other color)
  • Jumpers Wires
  • Breadboard
  • Soldering Iron (optional)
  • Solder Wire (optional)

Details:

This project is very simple. Here we are using an array of six LEDs and a 128×64 LCD to display the alcohol level. The presence of alcohol is sensed by an MQ-3 alcohol sensor and then analyzed by an Arduino board. We are using Arduino UNO in this project, but any model can do the job.

Three Green LEDs represent that alcohol level is OK and within the safe limit. Two Yellow LEDs are used to describe that safe limit is going to be reached, and you know it well why the Red LED is there. In fact, those LEDs are used just to give you a quick idea. If you want to know the exact value, the display is there for you.

You can tweak the program and re-calibrate the breathalyzer. But you must remember that breathalyzer doesn’t precisely measure your blood alcohol content, rather it estimates a value from the amount of alcohol in your breath.

Circuit:

Breathalyzer Circuit On Breadboard
Breathalyzer Circuit On Breadboard

You can make the circuit also on PCB or Veroboard. But for the prototyping purpose, the breadboard is the best choice. You can see how straight forward the connections are.

The Code:

Some part of the original code was in Portuguese. So I have translated it into English. Also, the original code shared by the author in instrucatbles.com is a buggy one. So, I recommend you to use my bug-free code instead of the original one.

Please note that you have to download and add the u8glib library in Arduino IDE beforehand. It is very important. You can either download the u8glib v1.14 library for Arduino directly or go to the site and choose what to download.

Follow the given steps to add a .zip library in your sketch: Open IDE and click on Sketch  Include Library  Add .zip Library. Now select the downloaded .zip library file. You needn’t unzip it.

When everything is done, verify and upload the code to Arduino.

Test It:

I must not recommend you to drink alcohol just for testing the breathalyzer. Rather get a towel and spray alcohol on it. Now hold the towel in front of the sensor. Move it back and forth to observe the change in reading. It may take a while for the breathalyzer to stabilize.

Consider watching the video for a better understanding:

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Replacing a dead iPhone battery

discuss his experience replacing an iphone battery @ edn.com:

About a week ago, in preparing to run some errands, I plugged my iPhone 4S into the charger in my car so that I could stream Pandora while I drove. Oddly, a “this accessory may not be supported” message appeared on-screen; when I unplugged and re-plugged the iPhone to the charger, it didn’t reappear, so I didn’t think anything more of it … until a half hour later, when the iPhone again alerted me, this time with a “low battery” message.

Replacing a dead iPhone battery – [Link]

PCB X-mas tree

Matthias created a X-Mas tree project using the DirtyPCB boards from dangerousprotorypes.com :

The project features an USB capable PIC16F1549 µC with:

  • USB FS device
  • 48 MHz internal Oscillator
  • 2 PWM modules
  • 10-bit ADC with Voltage Reference
  • Integrated Temperature Indicator Module

The LEDs are connected to the 2 PWM outputs via N-mos drivers. A Potentiometer is connected to one ADC channel for controlling the brightness of the LEDs or possibly the speed or variation of animations. Different modes of the X-mass tree can be switched by pressing a push button.

PCB X-mas tree – [Link]

How to Set Up the DHT11 Humidity Sensor on an Arduino

circuitbasics.com has a new tutorial on how to interface DHT11 humidity sensor to Arduino board. Sample code is provided

Because of their low cost and small size, DHT11 humidity and temperature sensors are perfect for lots of different DIY electronics projects. Some projects where the DHT11 would be useful include remote weather stations, home environment control systems, and agricultural/garden monitoring systems.

How to Set Up the DHT11 Humidity Sensor on an Arduino – [Link]

Nuclear physics applied in smoke detectors

by robertgawron.blogspot.com:

Not many people know, but in some smoke detectors, radioactive materials play an essential role. Today I will present one of those devices, and my -successful- attempt to reverse engineer it and get the circuit diagram.

Nuclear physics applied in smoke detectors – [Link]

2.7V-4.2V input to 3.3V output Buck-Boost Converter

This project shows a DC-DC buck boost circuit which can produce an output of 3.3V for an input of 2.7V to 4.2V , for example from a Li-on battery. The Circuit uses LTC3440 Buck boost IC which is a fixed frequency boost converter. To get high efficient results, inductor with high frequency core material should be used.

Features

  • Input(V): 2.7V DC to 4.2V DC
  • Output(V): 3.3V DC
  • Output load: 600mA
  • PCB:23mmX15mm

2.7V-4.2V input to 3.3V output Buck-Boost Converter – [Link]

The Winkel Board, All-in-one Arduino Compatible Board

Mintbox Technologies is an Indian tech startup who build smarter connected devices for everyone. It is specialized in consumer electronics, open source software & hardware, PCB design services. Mintbox latest product is The Winkel Board, a powerful new Arduino-compatible, open source hardware platform for development and prototyping.

 

Based on the Atmel ATmega128 microcontroller, The Winkel Board is designed to be easy to use for both junior and senior makers including many popular peripherals such as WiFi, radio, and Bluetooth on board.

Check this video to know The Winkel Board features:

 

By providing an all-in-one compatible Arduino board, Mintbox team is working to solve the routine each maker does before starting a project, which they clarify in this list:

TODO for a maker while building something awesome:
-Prepare a list of right electronics components
-Prepare BOM
-Search them locally or online to fit the BOM
-Wait for the components to arrive if sourced online
-Getting started with prototyping
-Go online again studying libraries and figuring out how they can be interfaced on breadboard or etch a PCB
-Finally start building and actually working on your project and then try not to rage quit

The Winkel Board specifications

  • MCU – Microchip/Atmel ATmega128 MCU @ 16 MHz with 128KB flash memory, 4KB SRAM, 4KB EEPROM
  • Connectivity
    • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n via ESP12E module based on ESP8266
    • Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR via HC-05 module
    • RF Radio – NRF24l01 2.4 GHz ISM radio.
  • I/Os (through both Atmel MCU and ESP8266)
    • 38x Digital I/Os
    • 7x PWM Digital I/Os
    • 8x Analog Inputs
  • USB – micro USB port for programming and power
  • Misc – DS3231 Real-Time Clock + CR2032 battery slot, a few LEDS, reset button, jumper for OTA mode, ISP header, optional MPU-6050 Gyro+accelerometer mount
  • Power Supply – 5 V
  • Dimensions – TBD
Pinout Diagram

 

This board is said to be a one stop platform, that combines different communication protocols and allows a lot of I/O operations, thus you can do everything at once or choose specific on-board components to work with.

The Winkel Board is completely open source, you can check Mintbox’s Github once they upload all the source files soon. This board is now live in a crowd -funding campaign, you can pre-order your own Winkel now for around $21.

Human Motion Powered Nanotechnology Devices

Michigan State University researchers have came up with a new method for  harvesting energy from human motion using nanotechnology. They designed a low-cost film-like device, a nanogenerator, than can power a LCD display,  keyboard, and some LEDs without any source of electric power, by only using some human touching or pressing.

This device called FENG, biocompatible ferroelectret nanogenerator, consists of several thin layers of silicon wafer made of environmentally friendly substances like silver, polyimide, and polypropylene ferroelectret – which is introduced here as the active material of this device. To add the electrical powering feature, researchers added ions to each layer to make sure that each layer has its own charged particles. Finally the circuit works only once some pressure or mechanical energy is performed on the device. For example, by using this technology you will be able to power the LED lights with the pressure of your palm, while the pressure of your finger is enough to power the LCD screen.

In this video 20 LEDs are powered with hand pressing:

Researchers’ investigations had shown that the voltage and current generated by pressure can be doubled if the device is folded, means a high-frequency pressure is already demonstrated.

“Each time you fold it you are increasing exponentially the amount of voltage you are creating,” said Nelson Sepulveda, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and lead investigator of the project. “You can start with a large device, but when you fold it once, and again, and again, it’s now much smaller and has more energy. Now it may be small enough to put in a specially made heel of your shoe so it creates power each time your heel strikes the ground.”

Sepulveda believes that implementing this technology in real life will shift wearables to be completely powered by human motion. He and his team are working now on transmitting the power generated from the heel strike to be used for powering other devices like a headset.

In this video you can take a look at the flexible keyboard they designed:

This research was funded by the National Science Foundation. You can learn more about this project by checking the scientific paper, and the university official website.