Tag Archives: DIY

Learn Arduino Easily with The Arduino Inventor’s Guide

Are you looking for Arduino tutorials? Already over-whelmed by the guides and videos available on the internet? Sparkfun is making Arduino and electronics easier for you with its new book ” The Arduino Inventor’s Guide”!

First of all, the authors of this book , Brian Huang and Derek Runberg, are both working in the department of Education at SparkFun Electronics. Since they are experienced in electronics and educating engineering in schools, they are working towards making electronics easy and fun.

In fact, this 10-project guide is a project-packed introduction to building and coding with Arduino microcontroller. With each hands-on project, total beginners learn useful electronics and coding skills while building an interactive gadgets. Accordingly, this guide is within the introductory-level educational series introduced by No Starch Press and Sparkfun.

“We wanted to share the magic that happens when you build something interactive with electronics,” says Huang. “The goal is to teach real, valuable hardware skills, one project at a time,” adds Runberg.

Content of the book

  • Introduction
  • Electronics Primer
    101 electronics
  • Project 1: Getting Started with Arduino
    Blinking an LED
  • Project 2: A Stoplight for Your House
    A miniature traffic light
  • Project 3: The Nine-Pixel Animation Machine
    An LED screen that displays animated patterns and shapes
  • Project 4: Reaction Timer
    A fast-paced button-smashing game to test your reflexes
  • Project 5: A Color-Mixing Night-Light
    A light-sensitive, color-changing night-light
  • Project 6: Balance Beam
    A challenging ball-balancing game
  • Project 7: Tiny Desktop Greenhouse
    A temperature-sensing mini greenhouse with an automated fan and vent
  • Project 8: Drawbot, the Robotic Artist
    A motorized robot that you can control
  • Project 9: Drag Race Timer
    A racing timer for toy cars
  • Project 10: Tiny Electric Piano
    A tiny electric piano that you can actually play!
  • Appendix: More Electronics Know-How

Reviews

The Arduino Inventor’s Guide will appeal to the gadget freak as well as those who like to put their own spin on things.” —Microcontroller Tips

“This is probably the best Arduino starter book out there! I highly recommend it for every library and classroom.” —Sequential Tart

To sum up, the book is available for $30 on No Starch Press as a printed book and for $25 as an Ebook. In addition, you can check this page for more insights. Also download Project 2: A Stoplight for Your House, and the sketches, templates, and diagrams used in this book.

Turn Your Fidget Spinner Into A Vision Display

Fidget spinner became a popular toy earlier in 2017. Most of us have one or at least have tried it. Consists of a bearing surrounded by a three-lobed flat structure, it can spin along its axis with a little effort.

Makers and hardware hackers always try to employ different tools to make innovative ideas. Some of those makers hacked a fidget spinner to display custom text while it is rotating. The concept is using a vector of LEDs and turn them on and off at each degree according to the required text. Then, when it rotates very fast our eyes will see the full text as it is displayed together.

At this project on HackadaySean Hodgins created a fidget-shape PCB that fits into the spinner. It consists of an 8-LED vector, a 32-bit microcontroller, an 8-bit shift register, and other electronics parts. It is powered by three 3.6 LiPo cell batteries and can be connected with PC through a micro USB connector.

Component needed for this project:

The total cost is about $20 for all parts, and here is the bill of materials. Also the design of the fidget is available for 3D printing for both the body and the caps. In addition, the microcontroller can be programmed simply with Arduino IDE.

Since this project is fully open source, all resources and files are available for download. The github repository includes the CAD files, firmware code and libraries, PCB design, and some pictures.

Although it is a brilliant project, similar projects had been developed before and had started  funding campaigns. But unfortunately, they weren’t successful and didn’t reach their fund goal.

Finally, if you like this idea you can make it by yourself with the help of this video, which describes how to make it and how it works:

A Compact Camera Using Raspberry Pi A+ And Adafruit TFT Display

PiJuice at instructables.com designed an interesting compact camera project with raspberry pi. Raspberry Pi A+ is used in this project as it is the cheapest and smallest available Raspberry Pi. The real challenge in this kind of portable Pi projects is powering the Raspberry Pi. This issue is solved using PiJuice—an all in one battery module for the Raspberry Pi.

Required Parts

Required parts to make Raspberry Pi compact camera
Required parts to make Raspberry Pi compact camera

Set Up The Raspberry Pi

Download the latest version of the Raspbian image from the Raspberry Pi Website and burn it on your blank SD card. You can use win32DiskImager or your favorite software to get the job done. Now, you need to install the drivers for the TFT screen by running the DIY installer script, explained on the Adafruit page. Connect the TFT to the Raspberry Pi, attach the PiJuice with a charged battery, and switch it on. Your screen now should display boot up messages.

Connect The Camera

Insert the ribbon cable of your camera module properly ensuring that the blue side of the ribbon is facing away from the HDMI port. Now, go to the terminal and type the following command,

sudo raspi-config

Enable the camera in the menu and then reboot the Pi. The camera should work properly after a successful reboot. To test the camera, enter the following command:

raspistill -o pic.jpg

This will take a snap and save it in the /home/pi directory.

Connect A Push Button

You need a push button to simulate a shutter action. Locate the pin 17 on the GPIO breakout on the top of the TFT screen. Now, solder two wires to the terminals of the push button. You can either solder a right angle header to the pin 17 or you can directly solder one wire from push button to that pin. There is a pad labeled WP on the board. It is actually connected to the ground. Solder another wire from the push button to this pad.

Install And Test The PiCam Software

To install the software, the Raspberry Pi must be connected to the internet. Enter the commands given below to download and install PiCam.

sudo apt-get install git-core
sudo mkdir PiCam
cd /PiCam
git clone git://github.com/pijuice/PiCam.git

Once the software has been downloaded, navigate to the PiCam directory using the command:

cd /picam

You can run it by typing the command:

sudo python picam.py

Now, you can take pictures by simply pressing the push button. Once the button is pressed the picture will be taken. Once the captured image gets loaded, your photograph will be displayed.

Taking photograph with Raspberry Pi compact camera
Taking photograph with Raspberry Pi compact camera

Conclusion

Your Raspberry Pi camera is ready now. If you want to make it even more compact as well as portable, grab the official laser-cut compact camera case from the Kickstarter page by pre-ordering a Maker Kit. You can also build your own simple chassis for housing the camera.

ZeroPhone, A Raspberry Pi-Based Open Source Smartphone

Raspberry Pi is one of the most helpful innovations in the hardware industry. It has helped beginners and children learn programming and allowed the makers to develop powerful and cheap DIY projects. “ZeroPhone” is a new DIY smartphone that is built based on Raspberry Pi and cost about only $50.

ZeroPhone is an open source, Linux-powered smartphone, that has no carrier locks, bloated apps, or data mining. It is user-friendly and will have the typical features of a phone, but with more advanced features. It also can be modified and repaired easily.

The phone is built using widely available components, and its open source hardware and software  will give you as much control over your phone as possible.

ZeroPhone can be used for calling and SMS, SSH, pen testing, and experimenting in addition to all basic functions like calendar, phonebook, music player, and web browser. As it is a linux-based phone, you can run ARM compatible programs. SDK will be provided so you can then develop your own apps.

Features & Specifications

  • Based on Raspberry Pi Zero, ESP8266 and Arduino
  • Has Wi-Fi, HDMI, full-size USB and a 3.5 mm jack (Bluetooth as an option)
  • 2G GSM connectivity (3G coming soon)
  • 128 x 64 1.3” OLED screen
  • GSM/Wi-Fi/microphone hardware switch option
  • RGB LED and vibromotor
  • Uses of Extension Ports:
    • IR receiver/transmitter
    • Additional displays and buttons
    • 5 MP / 8 MP Pi Camera
    • Extended batteries
    • Various sensors, both analog and digital
    • Wireless radios for IoT
    • GPS, Ethernet and MicroSD expansion
    • …and much more.

The OS of ZerPhone is Raspbian Linux, which is currently based on Debian Jessie. This is because it is suitable for all functions, and will still be upgradable in the future. The user interface (controlling screen and buttons) is written in Python.

Compared with other open-source phones, ZeroPhone, as the maker said, is the only one uses affordable parts which are available on eBay, and its software will be always updated if the phone’s development will stop.

To make your ZeroPhone you will need:

  • Pi Zero
  • SIM800 modules
  • ESP8266-12E
  • Two-layer PCBs (two 4x10cm boards, one 4x6cm board)
  • ATMega328P
  • LCD screen
  • Battery
  • TP4056 battery charger
  • Buttons for keypad
  • 2.54 headers

More details about this project is available on its hackaday page, in addition to the project description and frequently asked questions.

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.

How to Make Your Own ARDUINO UNO Board

Being Engineers @ instructables.com writes:

Hello guyz, Welcome to Being Engineers. Hope you all are doing good. In this tutorial we will learn how to make your own Arduino Uno. We will gather the components, test the circuit in breadboard, then we will make the board itself. When it is done we will know how to program the Arduino IC AKA Atmega328p on board.

How to Make Your Own ARDUINO UNO Board – [Link]

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:

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.

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!

EEZ H24005, Two-Channel Programmable Power Supply

Envox Experimental Zone (EEZ) is an open hardware and open source development website, that creates and shares various open source hardware and software projects using as much as possible open-source tools and technologies.

One of their projects is the programmable bench power supply ‘EEZ H24005’. The goal is to make a reliable, modular, open and programmable power supply, that can be used for various tasks starting with powering breadboard, charge batteries of various types, or to be used as an educational tool and science experiments.

The EEZ H24005 is a DIY power supply unit consists of four PCBs and SMT electronics components except some power resistor, AC/DC adapter, and power regulators. Only two ICs need hot air soldering station to mount, while the remaining parts can be simply mounted with soldering iron.

Top Faces Of The Four PCBs
Bottom Faces Of The Four PCBs

To build this PSU you will need these tools:

In addition to modularity, programmability, openness, and DIY, reliability was one of the key features and design guidelines of the designing process. Because as a sourcing device, the PSU has to be designed in the way that no dangerous oscillation in voltage or current is present over the long period of deployment. That includes border case of turning the PSU on and off, applying or disconnecting load, etc.

Here is some of the main features of H24005:

  • Modular design that allows combining modules with various performance and capability and creation of multiple output solution
  • Voltage regulation (CV), 10 mV resolution
  • Current regulation (CC), 10 mA initial resolution
  • Various current single range operation (0-5 A default, 0-3 A or 0-4 A per channel)
  • 15-bit data acquisition resolution
  • Real-time clock (RTC) with supercap/battery backup
  • SD-card as an additional storage
  • Ethernet support for remote control
  • Simple DC output protection (reverse voltage, over-voltage)
H24005 PSU Block Diagram

Since it is an open source project, all files, designs, source codes are available at the Github repository. Also a detailed building guide is available at the official website. But if you want to get H24005 but not interested in making it, you can order yours through OSHPark. There is also a CrowdSupply campagin on going.