Arduino category

Arduino Tutorial: Menu on a Nokia 5110 LCD Display Tutorial

In this easy Arduino Tutorial educ8s.tv is going to show us how to create a Menu on a Nokia 5110 LCD display.

This is the project we are going to build. In the display a simple menu appears, and with the help of three buttons I can navigate up, or down and select a menu item. Let’s select the first option. As you can see a new a UI screen is displayed and by pressing the up and down buttons we can change the contrast of the display. If we press the middle button again, we go back to the main UI screen. If we now select the second menu item and press the middle button we can turn the backlight of the display on or off. Lastly if we navigate to the last menu item we can reset the settings for the display to the default values. Of course this is just a demonstration project, you can modify it to build your own more complex menus if you wish. Let’s now see how to build this project.

Arduino Tutorial: Menu on a Nokia 5110 LCD Display Tutorial [Link]

SMART.IO, An Affordable Remote Control for Embedded Designs

Creating a smartphone application for your embedded products may be a high-cost process that consumes time and efforts. ImageCraft, a producer of high quality low cost embedded system tools, had developed “Smatr.IO” as a very cheap alternative solution that allows you to add a friendly user interface to any embedded project.

Smart.IO is a toolkit that helps you to create a compatible application with your product without the need of any experience in wireless technology or app development. It uses BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and it doesn’t require an Internet connection or data plan.

Smart.IO consists of three parts:

  • A Small Chip Module compatible with any microcontroller.
  • A Software API for creating Graphical User Interface (GUI) objects.
  • A Programmable Smartphone App that requires only a Bluetooth connection to use.

There is no need to write any wireless code, or write an app. All you need is to add the Smart.IO chip to your existing microcontroller-based design, then use the API to create GUI objects in your firmware.

The Smart.IO Chip Module

The Smart.IO chip module is only 25mmx14mm. It has a 10-pin headers which are easy to solder onto your PCB, or use in a prototype system. It interfaces with your host microcontroller using SPI pins, plus extra pins for interrupts for data notification. Smart.IO draws very little power, typically about 100mA, and much less during standby mode.

If you are an Arduino user, ImageCraft will provide an Arduino-compatible shield that comes with a Smart.IO chip module, so that Arduino users can start using it immediately.

The Smart.IO API

The API functions allow you to create GUI objects and to modify their values. A simple callback mechanism notifies your firmware of input changes. The API code will run in the Smart.IO chip firmware, and the host MCU only runs the API interface layer code, so it will not use the host MCU resources.

The Programmable Smart.IO App

The GUI elements incorporate solid, current user interface principles. The UI will look and work exactly the same way across all iOS devices, from the iPhone 5 to iPhone 7+, and all iPad devices, including the iPad Pro. An Android friendly UI is planned for Spring.

There is also a customized version of the app specific to your product and branding for an inexpensive one-time licensing fee including customized app logo and name and security key to ensure your product will only work with your app.

Smart.IO Security

Secret key encryption is used to ensure secure pairing of the device and customized app. As Smart.IO does not use the Internet, there is no risk of your device being used for DDOS or other types of attacks through the use of Smart.IO.

Through the Kickstarter campaign, Smart.IO reached about $9,500 and pre-ordering is still open here. ImageCraft will start work on the Android version of the programmable app and set up a forum for Smart.IO users. A use case example of Smart.IO is available on the official page.

Butterfly & Ladybug, STM32L4-Based Arduino-Programable Development Boards

Arduino boards are very useful for beginners to get started with building hardware projects. But at some point, more powerful controller than the Arduino’s 8 MHz one will be needed, featuring faster clock rate, floating point engine, and rich peripherals.

As Kris Winer found, the code editors and compilers for these controllers aren’t as simple as Arduino IDE. So using them may be a very frustrating experience.

Kris collaborated with Thomas Roell to solve that by developing new development boards that allow developers to use and program STM32L4 MCUs with the simplicity of Arduino IDE.

They started on Tindie with Dragonfly, a small (0.7” x 1.4”) development board for the high-performance, ultra-low-power line of 32-bit microcontrollers, STM32L4X6 family. Dragonfly uses the STM32L476RE 64-pin LQFP chip package with 512 kB of high-speed flash memory, 128 kB SRAM, running at up to 80 MHz with a single-precision floating point unit.

Dragonfly Development Baord

Two new boards are added to the Dragonfly family, the Butterfly and the Ladybug. These boards are small, low-cost development boards with simple, open-source designs that will allow approximately anyone to make use of the STM32L4 in their own custom applications. They rely on a single, inexpensive 32.768 kHz crystal oscillator and don’t require the ST-Link built into the STM32 Nucleo boards. Applications can be developed using the Butterfly and Ladybug development boards which provide access to all GPIOs and peripherals of the STM32L4.

Butterfly (Top) & Ladybug (Down) Development Boards

The Butterfly is 0.7” x 1.4” board and it uses the STM32L433 80 MHz ARM Cortex M4F 48-pin QFN package. While the Ladybug is 0.6” x 1.1” and uses the STM32L432 QFN package for more rational routing.

Technical specifications:

  • Microcontroller: STM32L4 ARM Cortex M4F
  • Clock speed: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 24, 32, 48, 64, 80 MHz
  • Operating voltage: 3.3V
  • I/O pin limits: most pins 5.0 V tolerant, 20 mA
  • Digital I/O pins: 22, with 11 PWM (Butterfly), 13, with 10 PWM (Ladybug)
  • Analog input pins: 6 (Butterfly), 5 (Ladybug), 12-bit ADC channels
  • Analog output pins: 2 12-bit DAC
  • RTC: 1 ppm accuracy
  • Flash memory: 256 KB SRAM: 64 KB
  • Voltage regulator: 3.3-5.5V input / 3.3V, 150 mA output
  • Dimensions: 1.4 x 0.7″ (Butterfly), 1.1 x 0.6″ (Ladybug)

A kickstarter campaign had been launched to increase the production volume to allow rock bottom pricing. But unfortunately, the campaign ended without reaching the specified goal.

Butterfly and Ladybug were designed for ultra-low-power applications and for small LiPo battery operation. There is a port for a JST battery connector on the board as well as a Vin at the board edge that connects to the battery anode so peripherals like haptic motors or displays can be powered directly from the battery, or the board can be directly powered from Vin.

Butterfly Board Pinout
Ladybug Board Pinout

The boards are fully open source so anyone can get the source files and make his own easily. To find more details about the project visit its page at hackaday, and at OSH Park.

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Turn Arduino into an AVR TPI Programmer

Elliot Williams @ hackaday.com show us how to use your Arduino to program AVR TPI enabled microcontrollers.

Turning an Arduino of virtually any sort into a simple AVR 6-pin ISP programmer is old hat. But when Atmel came out with a series of really tiny AVR chips, the ATtiny10 and friends with only six pins total, they needed a new programming standard. Enter TPI (tiny programming interface), and exit all of your previously useful DIY AVR programmers.

Turn Arduino into an AVR TPI Programmer – [Link]

Make the AVRISP mkII Clone from Arduino UNO

@kimio_kosaka shows us how to convert an Arduino UNO into an AVR programmer.

It will be able to make the AVRISP mkII compatible machine if you a little modifying to Arduino Leonardo / Micro PCB.
Below is an article on making Arduino UNO Rev.3  into AVRISP mkII clone.

Make the AVRISP mkII Clone from Arduino UNO – [Link]

Conductivity Shield for Arduino Uno

by PyroCat @ elektormagazine.com:

Conductivity is the ability of a material to transfer electrons. It is the opposite of the concept of resistivity which is well known to electricians. However, while we are used to address the topic of conductivity in the field of electronics, things get a little bit more complicated when we try to apply the concepts to chemical solutions such as salty water.

Conductivity Shield for Arduino Uno – [Link]

Control AC Voltages Safely And Easily with Sugar Device

Sugar Device is a tool designed to control AC Voltage and it promises to change the way you control AC applications forever.
Sugar team is targeting hobbyists, students, teachers and engineers to push their application to the next level, since it makes AC control easy, safe and compatible with a lot of development platforms. The mechanical case that comes with Sugar is offering protection to users while using AC voltages and preventing any electrical shock resulted by misuse.

You can control AC voltage using Sugar with two different ways: ON-OFF switch, and AC output voltage control. You can power Sugar using the AC C14 cable. This voltage provided is used to power the load connected and the internal circuits. The fuse holder is accessible, you can replace it easily whenever you need.

For the output, Sugar is providing a universal output socket to connect your load, and it is compatible with all AC power cable types. Sugar can work with 110V/220V and with 50Hz/60Hz. You can switch between the two options using a switch provided with two indicator LEDs.

Sugar Device also can be connected with 3.3V and 5V development boards like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Beaglebone using the RJ12 cable. Sugar had designed  a RJ Connector breakout to make it possible to connect your board and it will be available in all kits. Controlling the AC loads using your PWM pins and Sugar will be so simple.

This 150x120x47 mm size device supports WiFi and Bluetooth and is IoT ready. For example, ESP8266 can directly control Sugar Device since it has PWM output with Frequency of 1KHz.

Sugar Device comes in two editions: Sugar 300, a white device that control up to 300W, and Sugar 1000, a black one that can control up to 1000W. The second one is offered for hackers and professionals where the first is for newbies.

Sugar Device is now live on a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo and still has a month to go. You can pre-order your Sugar 300 with a Power cord C14, RJ12 Cable, Sugar RJ Breakout and two AC fuse for only $49! Check the campaign video for more information.

In this video you can watch Sugar Device in Action, check it out!

Sugar device is the tool you need to expand the scope of your projects and control AC loads safely. Your dream of making your home smart can come true now with the use of this device. This device had came to life due to a cooperation with Fablab dynamic in Taipei, Taiwan. Such a cooperation will make it uncomplicated for makers to produce their own devices. Mohannad Rawashdeh and his team had tested many applications and used different platforms to ensure that Sugar is safe, practical and easy for everyone to use.

“When I was looking  for FabLab in Taiwan, I found FabLab Dynamic. They offered me a free space inside the lab to work and offered me all help I need to find component resources, using machines and instruments and contact with designers I need for my project” – Mohannad Rawashdeh, founder of Sugar Device and an electronics engineer.

You can check the campaign page to know the offers and full specifications. More information are provided on Sugar Device website. Many tutorials are added to this page and source files will be added soon on Github.

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: