DIY category

Master Your Arduino Skills With Arduino Playground Book

Are you an experienced maker who are looking for more advanced Arduino skills to get?

Warren Andrews, an experienced engineer and journalist, wrote a new book that walks makers through building 10 outside-the-box projects, helping them advance their engineering and electronics know-how. With this book, makers will delve more deeply into hardware design, electronics, and programming.

The “Arduino Playground: Geeky Projects for the Curious Maker” book is published by the Geek book publisher, No Starch Press. Projects inside the book provide a way to build new things that vary between practical and fun.

Content of the book

The book has 11 chapters, the first one is a warm up, it contains a quick guide to get the Arduino ready, prepare the IDE and try some sketches, making DIY PCBs, and using SOICs. Each chapter of the other 10 chapters is a project chapter that starts with listing the required tools, components, and software, followed by detailed instructions of the build containing all sketches and board templates. There are also author’s design notes, which are sure to provide inspiration for your own inventions.

  • Chapter 0: Setting Up and Useful Skills
  • Chapter 1: The Reaction-Time Machine
    A reaction-time game that leverages the Arduino’s real-time capabilities
  • Chapter 2: An Automated Agitator for PCB Etching
    A tool for etching your own printed circuit boards
  • Chapter 3: The Regulated Power Supply
    A regulated, variable-voltage power supply
  • Chapter 4: A Watch Winder
    A kinetic wristwatch winder decked out with LEDs
  • Chapter 5: The Garage Sentry Parking Assistant
    A garage parking assistant that blinks when your vehicle is perfectly parked
  • Chapter 6: The Battery Saver
    A battery saver that prevents accidental discharge
  • Chapter 7: A Custom pH Meter
  • A practical and colorful pH meter
  • Chapter 8: Two Ballistic Chronographs
    A ballistic chronograph that can measure the muzzle velocity of BB, Airsoft, and pellet guns
  • Chapter 9: The Square-Wave Generator
    A square-wave generator
  • Chapter 10: The Chromatic Thermometer
    A thermometer that tells the temperature using a sequence of colored LEDs

Reviews

“Arduino Playground is not for the faint of heart. Unless the faint of heart person plans to build a pacemaker with Arduino!” —ScienceBlogs

“This is a book designed for Arduino enthusiasts who’ve mastered the basics, conquered the soldering iron, and programmed a robot or two. Warren Andrews shows you how to keep your hardware hands busy.” —I Programmer

The book is available for $30 on No Starch Press and Amazon. You can view the detailed table of contents and the index, and also you can download Chapter 4: A Watch Winder, and the sketches, templates, and PCB files used in this book.

10km ESP32 WiFi Using Directional Antenna

[Jeija] was playing with some ESP32s and in true hacker fashion, he wondered how far he could pull them apart and still get data flowing. His video answer to that question covers the Friis equation and has a lot of good examples of using the equation, decibels, and even a practical example that covers about 10km. You can see the video below.

Of course, to get that kind of range you need a directional antenna. To avoid violating regulations that control transmit power, he’s using the antenna on the receiving end. That also means he had to hack the ESP32 WiFi stack to make the device listen only on one side. The hack involves putting the device in promiscuous mode and only monitoring the signals being sent. You can find the code involved on GitHub (complete with a rickrolling application).

Of course, antennas are nothing new–look at all the Pringle can antennas we’ve seen in the past. However, the use of a long range receive-only module is interesting and we can see this technique having applications to remote drone video or telemetry and — of course — wardriving. If you don’t have a big boss antenna lying around, you might try some duct tape. If you want a more detailed refresher on decibels, we did that last month.

Source: Hackaday

DIY Arduino Soldering Station

GreatScottLab @ instructables.com writes:

In this project I will show you how to create an Arduino based soldering station for a standard JBC soldering iron. During the build I will talk about thermocouples, AC power control and zero point detection. Let’s get started!

DIY Arduino Soldering Station – [Link]

Educational Biomed Shield for Arduino 101

Orlando Hoilett has built his new biomedical Arduino 101 shield: Biomed Shield, in order to allow students, educators, and hobbyists to learn about bio-medicine by monitoring heart rate, temperature, and other physiological metrics.

To build this shield he used the following components:

  • AD5933
  • MLX90614
  • Microchip Rail-to-Rail Input/Output Dual Op-Amp
  • MAX30101: a specialized integrated circuit that is able to perform reflectance photoplethysmography
  • Photocell
  • Thermistor
  • AD8227

Orlando measured heart beats using transmission photoplethysmography using MAZ30101, where a light shines through an extremity such as a finger and a detector measures the amount of light that passes through. When the heart pumps blood through the body,  a momentary increase in blood volume in the fingers happens. As a result, the amount of light that passes through the finger changes with this changing blood volume and is detected by the photodetector.

Bioimpedance Measurement

Bioimpedance is can be another class of bioelectrical measurements where we measure the impedance of the body instead of measuring the electrical signals produced by the body with the help of AD5934 impedance analyser chip. He is also measuring body temperature with the MLX90614 and measuring the amount of light using  a CdS Photocell.

Orlando built this shield for education purposes not as a medical device, and his work on this shield is still in progress. Follow his project on hackster.io to know more details and updates. You can check source files at Github.

Hack Your Car With Macchina M2

Car hacking applications have been growing during the last few years, making it faster and cheaper to get into automotive tinkering. A new device was launched recently on kickstarter called M2 by Macchina.

M2 is an open-source, versatile development platform which can be wired under the hood for a more permanent installation or plugged into the OBD2 port, enabling you to do virtually anything with your vehicle’s software.

It is a tiny device (56.4mm x 40.6mm x 15.7mm) that is compact, modular, wirelessly connectable, and based on the popular Arduino Due. It consists of a processor board with a SAM3X8E Cortex-M3 MCU, a USB port, some LEDs, an SD card slot, and built-in EEPROM, as well as an interface board with two channels of CAN, two channels of LIN/K-LINE, a J1850 VPW/PWM, and even a single-wire (GMLAN) interface.

M2 is universal as its libraries and protocols are compatible with any car that isn’t older than Google. Macchina also aims to make the M2 compatible with as many existing open source software packages as possible.It is already compatible with SavvyCAN, CanCAT, MetaSploit, and CANtact.

Working with M2 is easy for Arduino users. Here is a summary of the steps needed to duplicate our shift light project on a CANbus-equipped manual transmission car that also illustrates the basic workflow when car hacking with M2:

  • Step 1: Download the latest Arduino IDE and install the Macchina boards add-on; test everything is working by blinking an LED.
  • Step 2: Download and install one of several open source “Sniffer” applications to your computer and upload the corresponding “sketch” to M2.
  • Step 3: Use the “Sniffer” application to identify the piece of data you are looking to use. In this case, engine RPM
  • Step 4: Write a “Sketch” to watch for RPM data and light up some LEDs proportionally and flash when it is time to shift.

You can also check this video to see an example of simple car hacking:

Macchina has partnered with Arduino, Digi and Digi-Key to develop M2, and it believes that its highly-adaptable hardware will most benefit hot rodders, mechanics, students, security researchers, and entrepreneurs by providing them access to the inner workings of their rides.

As it is an open source project, you can get its 3D files, schematics, BOM, and source files on the github repository. M2 will be available for $79 and it may cost about $110 if you build it yourself. Visit Macchina’s Kickstarter page to learn more or pre-order yours today. You can also check out Hackaday’s review about M2.

Macchina M2 tutorial introduction:

DIY Arduino Nano

Make Your Own Arduino Nano In The Simplest Way (DIY – Arduino Nano)

In today’s post, we are going to learn how to make an Arduino nano at home. Electronics enthusiast Pratik Makwana designed this project in instructables.com. Every step in this project is well-explained. If you already don’t know what Arduino Nano is then here is a brief introduction: Arduino Nano is a tiny yet strong member of the Arduino family. It’s powered by an ATMega328P microcontroller running on 16MHz. But, the main strength is its very small form factor.

Arduino Nnao
Arduino Nano

Now, let’s get started and make your own Arduino Nano in no time.

Requirements:

  • Copper clad board (Double-sided)
  • Ferric Chloride (FeCl3)
  • Acetone (Nail polish remover)
  • Glossy Paper
  • LASER Printer
  • Marker Pen
  • Scissors
  • Plastic container
  • Sandpaper
  • Safety gloves (Optional)
  • Latex gloves
  • Saw – For copper board cutting
  • Laminator or iron
  • Components of Arduino Nano (Given later)

PCB Designing:

This is a very important step of this tutorial. You need to draw the circuit of Arduino Nano first. Then you’ll design the PCB using the schematic. Design the schematic diagram in an EDA tool (Electronic design automation Software).
Here is a list of EDA Tools:

EAGLE is the most widely used PCB and schematic design software. Though my personal favorite is Proteus. You can use any software from the list.

Importing the Schematic File to PCB Editor
Importing the Schematic File to PCB Editor

To make the schematic, use the Arduino Nano Circuit Diagram and Arduino Nano Components List. Once it’s drawn completely, open the PCB designing part of the software and you’ll see that schematic is imported there. Now place the components in correct places and connect them using traces. If you are using EAGLE then you can simply download the Arduino Nano Schematic File for EAGLE and Arduino Nano PCB File for EAGLE. Open the .brd file (PCB file) to print the PCB. You can also modify it if you wish.

Place the parts in correct position
Place the parts in correct position
Connect the components and the PCB is ready
Connect the components and the PCB is ready

Note:

  • Use Only Laser printer only.
  • Use glossy papers to print.
  • Set scale factor to 1.
  • Before top layer printing, you need to mirror the image of the top layer layout.

Cut The Copper Clad Board:

Now, cut the copper clad board according to the dimensions of the PCB. You can use a hacksaw to cut it off. Be precise about the dimensions. If it’s smaller than the actual PCB then you have to do it again. Also, cut the printed glossy paper as per the size of PCB.

Cut the copper clad board using a hacksaw
Cut the copper clad board using a hacksaw

Toner Transfer and Etching Process:

In this step, the PCB design from glossy paper will be transferred to the copper board. All you need to do is place the printed side of the glossy paper on the copper board and apply both pressure and heat. You can use a modified laminator machine or an iron for this purpose. Why “modified”? Because toner transfer method requires a temperature of 210°C, where a laminator can provide 150°C maximum.

Put the board in FeCl3 solution for a while
Put the board in FeCl3 solution for a while

Make your copper clad board as clean as possible beforehand. You can use sandpaper and alcohol to do this. When the toner is transferred successfully, prepare the ferric chloride (FeCl3) solution. Before putting the board into the solution check carefully for any broken path. If found, draw it with a marker. After the etching process, use the acetone to clean the board.

After washing the PCB with Acetone
After washing the PCB with Acetone

Drilling & Soldering:

Drill the PCB using PCB drill machine. Choose the drill bit wisely else components may not fit. Now, place the components on the PCB and solder them. You can use a helping hand device to get it done nicely.

Upper layer of PCB
Upper layer of PCB
Lower layer of PCB
Lower layer of PCB

Burning The Arduino Bootloader:

In this step, you’ll need another Arduino board (e.g. Arduino UNO) to burn the bootloader to your newly made Arduino Nano for the first time. Open Arduino IDE and upload the ArduinoISP sketch to the Arduino UNO from examples option. Now, connect your Arduino Nano with Arduino UNO over SPI bus following the given instructions:

  • Arduino UNO     >>    Arduino Nano
  • ——————————————-
  • SS (Pin 10)         >>     RESET (Pin 29)
  • MISO (Pin 11)    >>     MISO (Pin 16)
  • MOSI (Pin 12)    >>    MOSI (Pin 15)
  • SCK (Pin 13)       >>    SCK (Pin 17)
  • 5V                         >>    VCC
  • GND                    >>    GND
Follow this instruction to burn bootloader
Follow this instruction to burn bootloader

After making the connections, go to Arduino IDE and follow the given instructions:

  1. Select Tool  >>  Board  >>  Arduino Nano
  2. Select Tool  >>  Port  >>  Select your Arduino UNO COM Port
  3. Select Tool  >>  Programmer  >>  Arduino as ISP
  4. Select Tool  >>  Burn Bootloader

Wait for the “Done burning bootloader” message to appear.

Testing:

Well, your Arduino Nano is now ready for a test run. This time you won’t need another Arduino to upload codes. Follow the instructions and connect a USB to TTL converter (a.k.a USB to UART converter) with the Arduino nano to upload sketches.

  • USB to TTL Converter (CP2102)  >>  Arduino Nano
  • —————————————————————-
  • VCC        >>     VCC
  • TX          >>    RX (Pin 30)
  • RX         >>    TX (Pin 31)
  • DTR      >>    RESET (Pin 29)
  • GND     >>    GND
  1. After making the connections, go to Arduino IDE and perform the following tasks:
  2. Select File  >>  Examples  >>  01.Basics  >>  Blink
  3. Select Tool  >>  Board  >>  Arduino Nano
  4. Select Tool  >>  Port  >>  Select your Arduino UNO COM Port
  5. Select Tool  >>  Programmer  >>  AVRISP MKII

After that, upload Blink Sketch to Arduino Nano and wait for the “Done Uploading” message. LED connected to pin 13 should blink if everything is OK. Now you can upload any sketch you wish to your home made Arduino Nano.

Conclusion:

So, this is how you can make your Arduino Nano. All you need for this project is PCB designing skill and a pretty good soldering skill as you have to deal with SMD components. This way you can make custom Arduino Nano that will fit your project perfectly. Watch the video to have a more clear idea:

RELATED POSTS

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:

Building A Tiny Portable Time-lapse Camera

Using a mini spy camera module, Ruiz Brothers had built a tiny portable camera that is used to take time-lapse videos and for all sorts of photo based projects.

This project consists of these parts with an estimated cost of $39:

The mini spy camera module has an integrated driver and is easy to use without an Arduino or Raspberry Pi. The camera sensor can take 1280×960 photos and captures video at 480p. The module uses a microSD card to store data and it has a maximum support of 32GB. For a higher image quality and adjustable settings, you can use other camera modules such as the Wearable Raspberry Pi Zero Camera.

To take a time-lapse, an intervalometer remote control is needed to trigger the camera for capturing a photo within a constant interval. The Adafruit Trinket microcontroller is used here, and you can also make your own following this guide.

The circuit will be powered by a 3.7V 100mAh Lithium Ion battery via JST connection. The battery plugs directly into the Trinket Backpack, which allows the recharging over the microUSB port on the Trinket.

The circuit is connected as shown in the diagram; the slide switch to Lipoly backpack, VCC from camera to 5V on Trinket, GND from camera to GND on Trinket, BAT from Lipo backpack to BAT on Trinket, G from Lipo backpack to GND on Trinket, and 5V from Lipo backpack to USB.

The code is very simple and can be uploaded to the controller using the Arduino IDE. The setup loop will initialize the pins, and the loop will turn on and off the trigger with a chosen delay.

int trig = 0;
int led = 1;
 
void setup() {                
  // initialize the digital pins as output.
  pinMode(led, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(trig, OUTPUT);         
 
  digitalWrite(led, HIGH);  
  digitalWrite(trig, HIGH); 
}
 
// Hold HIGH and trigger quick (<250ms) LOW to take a photo. Holding LOW and trigger HIGH starts/stops video recording
 
void loop() {
  digitalWrite(trig, LOW);   
  digitalWrite(led, HIGH);
  
  delay(50);               
 
  digitalWrite(trig, HIGH);    
  digitalWrite(led, LOW);   
  
  delay(5000);               
}

The case in 3d printed, the design with a detailed description and the full making guide is available here. This video is showing how to make this tiny camera and how it works.

Open Source DIY Laptop Kit By Olimex

Olimex Ltd is a Bulgarian leading provider for development tools and programmers for embedded market. The company has 25+ years’ experience in designing, prototyping and manufacturing printed circuit boards, sub-assemblies, and complete electronic products.

The latest amazing product by Olimex is an open source laptop DIY kit called: TERES I.
TERES I is open source hardware and software Do It Yourself laptop running Linux on 64- bit ARM processor. It’s very light less 1 kg and convenient to carry with when travel. The core of this laptop is built around an Allwinner ARM Cortex-A53, 1GB of DDR3L RAM, 4GB of eMMC Flash, WiFi, Bluetooth, a camera, and an 11.6″ 1366×768 display.

Back to history, Teres I was the first king of the Odrysian state of Thrace where Plovdiv – the city where TERES I laptop was designed. The Odrysian state was the first Thracian kingdom that acquired power in the region, by the unification of more than 40 Thracian tribes under a single ruler!

The stylish and elegant shape laptop is open source hardware and software, so people can learn and study how it’s done. The CAD files and source code is on GitHub and everybody can download and modify and use for their own need.

“If you want to implement new features nothing stops you. If you need another processor, more power, more memory, better LCD, you are free to do this and tailor this laptop to your needs! If you do not like the Linux distribution you have access to the sources and can generate any Linux distribution to your taste!”

The laptop is modular which means that there is number of possibilities to expand it for example by adding a FPGA expansion module in order to give the laptop some extra capabilities like Digital Storage Oscilloscope, Logic Analyzer and much more features. This expansion module and others are under construction now and will be launched soon.

You can also order any spare part of the laptop since all it’s components available for purchase, which makes maintenance easier and cheaper.

TERES I DIY kit is available for €225 in two colors white and black, and it contains the following parts:

 

  1. PCB1 A64
  2. PCB2 IO
  3. PCB3 TOUCH
  4. PCB4 BTN
  5. PCB5 KEYBOARD
  6. LiPo 7000mAh
  7. Bottom
  8. Keyboard
  9. LCD Frame
  10. LCD Back
  11. Power Button
  12. Touch Buttons
  13. Speaker Left
  14. Speaker Right
  15. LED pipe
  16. Screws Set
  17. Hinge Set
  18. Mats Set
  19. Magnet
  20. Camera
  21. Camera Lens
  22. Dust Protectors
  23. Touch Cover
  24. Touch
  25. WiFi Antenna
  26. LCD cable
  27. FPC IO Main
  28. FPC Power Main
  29. FPC Touch Button
  30. FPC Kbd Button
  31. Power Adapter
  32. Microphone

 

This laptop could be the next educational gadget for your kids or students. You can use it to explain for them in action how computers work and what do they consist of. It will give them the chance to think deeper in the fields of electronics and programming while assembling the laptop for the  first time and if any trouble occurred  and they have to help in solving it. This educational benefits of TERES I could not be available unless the laptop is completely open source.

It is true that the specifications of this laptop may not be perfect, but no one can deny that the price tag is cool making this laptop a consumable choice for some usages. This DIY kit is out of stock now as mentioned on the website, but you can register your email on the product page to be notified once it is available.

TERES I is completely designed with KiCAD FOSS, also hardware and software source files are available on Github. Also check this file to know more details about the laptop and the building instructions.

A few months ago, Tsvetan Usunov the brain behind Olimex had conducted a talk at Hackaday Belgrade conference about his upcoming DIY laptop kit. Check it out!