Tag Archives: tutorial

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.

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]

Using OV7670 Camera Sensor With Arduino

Developing a hardware project became much easier thanks to the growing number of the various sensors and actuators modules, which give you the ability to shift your ideas into a wider range of applications. This tutorial presents the steps of how to use OV7670 Camera Sensor Module STM32 with Arduino.

To follow the tutorial, you will need these parts:

  1. Arduino Uno Board and USB
  2. OV7670 Arduino Camera Sensor Module STM32
  3. Resistor (2x10K & 2×4.7K)
  4. Breadboard

The OV7670 image sensor is a small size, low voltage, single-chip VGA camera and CMOS image processor for all functions. It provides full-frame, sub-sampled or windowed 8-bit images in various formats, controlled through the Serial Camera Control Bus (SCCB) interface.

fka3gubiuiyu30t-medium

The camera module is powered from a single +3.3V power supply, and external clock source for camera module XCLK pin. The OV7670 camera module built-in onboard LDO regulator only requires single 3.3V power and can be used in Arduino, STM32, Chipkit, ARM, DSP, FPGA and etc.

This is pin definition table of the module:

OV7670 Pin Definition
OV7670 Pin Definition

OV7670 module specification:

  • Optical size 1/6 inch
  • Resolution 640×480 VGA
  • Onboard regulator, only single 3.3V supply needed
  • Mounted with high quality F1.8 / 6mm lens
  • High sensitivity for low-light operation
  • VarioPixel® method for sub-sampling
  • Automatic image control functions including: Automatic
  • Exposure Control (AEC), Automatic Gain Control (AGC), Automatic White Balance (AWB), Automatic
  • Band Filter (ABF), and Automatic Black-Level Calibration (ABLC)
  • Image quality controls including color saturation, hue, gamma, sharpness (edge enhancement), and anti-blooming
  • ISP includes noise reduction and defect correction
  • Supports LED and flash strobe mode
  • Supports scaling
  • Lens shading correction
  • Flicker (50/60 Hz) auto detection
  • Saturation level auto adjust (UV adjust)
  • Edge enhancement level auto adjust
  • De-noise level auto adjust

The connection between the module and the Arduino uses 6 analog pins and 8 digital pins, and they have to be connected as shown in this figure:

fe4v64ciukf37jh-medium

The software requirements are the Arduino IDE and Java Development Kit (JDK). To run the project, you have to execute a java code through the command line. The script will search for images received from Arduino and then saves them on the PC.

Source code, additional needed files, and setting up instructions are all available at the tutorial page.

Building A Quadcopter For Newbie

Drones are one of the rising technologies in the world and it became very popular that we see it in news on places that have armed conflicts, aerial photography like GoPro drones and even for customer care like the Prime Air delivery system from Amazon which is designed to get packages to customers using small unmanned aerial vehicles (aka drones).

If this is the first time to read about how to build a quadcopter, then this post is for you. Boris Landoni from OpenElectronics made a detailed how-to tutorial on how to build a quadcopter in two parts.

quadcopter

As the name implies, the quadcopter has four propellers and to control them we need a lot of electronics parts and with no doubt a control board. The control board which Boris Landoni build is based on Arduino Mega and manages the engines of the drone with up to eight outputs, receives commands from a remote controller and supports the telemetry function via smartphone using HC-05 Bluetooth module.

mainboardquad

GY-86 flight control sensor module is used on top of main board (the small blue board) which combines MPU-6050 (3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope), a digital 3-axis compass HMC5883L form Honeywell and the pressure sensor MS5611 MEAS.

Boris talked about the firmware that could be used to control the main board, but chose MultiWii firmware which is a general purpose software to control a multirotor RC model.

MultiWii Configuration GUI - Image Source eng.ucsd.edu
MultiWii Configuration GUI – Image Source eng.ucsd.edu

He used six-channel remote control operating on the 2.4 Ghz frequency. Each channel controls one surface or component in the quadcopter.

tablercchannels

flightglossary

 Main Board Assembled on the Frame and Connected with RC Receiver (the black box in the left of the main board)
Main Board Assembled on the Frame and Connected with RC Receiver (the black box in the left of the main board)

You can do both the telemetry and the control via Bluetooth from your smartphone using EZ-GUI Android application, which is a Ground Control Station (GCS) for UAVs based on MultiWii and Cleanflight.

ez-gui

Boris talked about PID parameters calibration, a control loop feedback mechanism used to control systems. He shared an interesting video showing how changing these values changes the behavior of the quadcopter.

 

The full assembly instructions and other important notes by Boris are found in the two part how-to tutorial: Part1Part2.

Bill of Material
Bill of Material

Zener Diodes In Theory and Practice

ZenerDavid
David Jones made a tutorial on the fundamentals of zener diodes over his EEVblog youtube channel.

ZenerDiode

David started the tutorial comparing between zener and regular diode. Both have the same characteristics and same I-V chart, but zener is designed to work in the negative voltage region.”In theory” the regular diode can work in the negative voltage region, but the breakdown voltage, Vb the minimum reverse voltage that makes the diode conduct in reverse, is really high. For example, 1N4148 Vb=75v and this value it is not usable in practical circuits, while Vb in zeners is designed to meet our needs. So diode effectively stops current in negative region until the voltage reaches Vz where it starts to contact current.

1N4148Vb

David highlighted the difference between Avalanche breakdown and zener breakdown. When you use zener with Vr (aka Vb)<5V then you will have zener breakdown effect and above that you will have Avalanche breakdown effect.

Zener_model

Most important electrical characteristics of zener is Vz (breakdown voltage, aka Vb or Vr), Iz and Zz ( internal impedance of the zener) that you must take them in account when you use a zener in your design.

David demonstrated the main applications of zener:

First One: Regulation To 5.1V

Zener_regulation

This is because the nature of zener. Zeners have a stable voltage when the reverse voltage reaches the Vz.
David calculated the current limiting resistor Rz value first without attaching the load.

Zener_reg_r
Note: Iz and Zz value are from the datasheet of 1N4733.Vin is 12V.

Then he demonstrated in numbers how the regulation output will change when we change Vin from 12V to 15V.

Zener_reg_v

Beside the problem of output voltage variation, we can see that the zener will consume about 70mA to regulate Vin to 5.1V which is a quite considerable amount of current. So using zener for main power regulation in your circuit is not advisable. You can use some well known voltage regulation ICs like LM7805, which have a stable output and a very low quiescent current.
Zener regulation feature still very useful for low power signals.

The high current needed for zener regulation operation will also produce a high power dissipation, P= U*I = 5.1 * 0.05 = 0.255 W which is a considerable power value.

Second One: Clipping/Clamping

clamping

In the end of David’s video tutorial he hocked up a zener with an oscilloscope probe and showed how zener behave in practice.

IN-4 Nixie Clock using ATmega168

FBRONSFHQ70VV3B.MEDIUM

andrea biffi @ instructables.com has a detailed tutorial on how to build your own Nixie clock using IN-4 tubes and Atmel ATMega168 microcontroller.

Nixies are neon valve tubes, where ten cathodes have shape of digits and are lighted up by plasma when high voltage flows through them. I love these old era displays, which have been employed in last century before I was born.

In last year I’ve been slowly collecting components and knowledge to build some nixie clocks as Max Pierson’s beautiful creation, I like the old style, the roundness of glass tubes, the rough wood case, the simplicity of the design. That clock has definitely inspired my project. Even though I really love vertical digits arrangement I keep that original feature for my next clock.

IN-4 Nixie Clock using ATmega168 – [Link]

A beginner’s guide to Arduino

FH1HRFEIJSV0EIM.MEDIUM

tttapa @ instructables.com has posted a detailed introduction to Arduino, mainly focused on beginners. It starts from the basic concepts of electronics and goes through different Arduino examples such as LED blink to stepper motor drive.

After some years of experimenting with Arduino, I decided that the time has come to share the knowledge I’ve acquired. So I here it goes, a guide to Arduino, with the bare basics for beginners and some more advanced explanations for people who are somewhat more familiar with electronics.

A beginner’s guide to Arduino – [Link]