Tag Archives: electronics

Pimp and Retrofit your old Sewing Machine

DIY Retrofit your Sewing Machine

DIY Retrofit your Sewing Machine, image taken from micah.navi.cx/2010/01/diy-sewing-machine -retrofit/

Micah Elizabeth Scott, best known for her latest work on a tremine style wireless control for a popular vibra toy, also published a lot of interesting DIY hacking projects over the last years. One of these projects is a complete redesign of an old school Sewing Machine, Micah Elizabeth Scott originally bought to produce fabric based RFID tags. Micah soon found out that on her Singer Inspiration 4210 sewing machine she could update some low-end electronic parts, such as motor and sensors, in order to get better results.

Touchy-Feely Lamp with Arduino Starter Kit Tutorial Video

In his 8th tutorial video, Massiomo Banzi explains how to build a touch sensitive lamp, by using the electronics parts from his Arduino Starter Kit, which is available on RS Components (see my Arduino Starter Kit unboxing article). Banzi also explains how to use libraries within your own Arduino development project, in order to speed up development of Arduino program code. External Arduino libraries are available for many different purposes and since the Arduino community is larger than any other maker and DIY electronics community there are a plenty different libraries available for free.

Did you ever wondered what’s inside a low-cost digital camera?

kahn academy explains what's inside a low-cost digital camera

The Kahn Academy shows in a step-by-step process what’s inside a low-cost digital camera and why these cheap cameras are providing such a bad quality. Through this tutorial video each of the electronics components of a digital camera is shown and explained in detail. Components such as the CMOS chip, CPU as well as the digital memory and their purpose within the image capturing process are explained. A really useful video tutorial if you would like to know what’s inside your camera without opening your own 🙂

Build a magic Crystal Ball with Arduino Starter Kit

In this weeks episode of Massiomo Banzi’s official Arduino tutorials he shows us how to build a magic crystal ball by using his recently released Arduino Educational Starter Kit (The Arduino Starter Kit). Banzi’s electronic version of a Magic 8 Ball is built by using an LCD screen and a tilt sensor. Everytime the user is shaking the tilt sensor, the Magic 8 Ball will return a randomly generated answer.

Arduino Tutorial Video: How to design a motorized Pinwheel

In his latest Arduino tutorial video, Massimo Banzi explains how to control a motorized pinwheel without damaging your Arduino board. As DC motors can generate power spikes, that can damage electronic circuits, Massimo Banzi explains how to use a diode to overcome this issue. A DC motor works at a higher voltage than the Arduino. This means that it requires more current that an Arduino pin can provide. Within this video tutorial Massimo will also explain how to provide enough current to drive the DC motor.

A Maker’s Dream: Unboxing the new Arduino Education Starter Kit

Today, i received one of the first samples of the new Arduino Educational Starter Kits by RS and i have to admit that beside it’s cool design this educational starter kit is one of the most exiting collections of electronics i have ever tested. It comes in combination with an Arduino Projects Book that gives a detailed description of each Arduino experiment on more than 170 pages. For each project, Massimo Banzi, co-founder of Arduino gives an online video instruction, in which he explains the details. The tutorials start from the very beginning, how to set up your Arduino development environment and explain in simple incremental steps how to build more complex examples, that include all kinds of sensors, motors and even a LCD display (all part of the Arduino Starter Kit).

Unboxing my new Arduino Starter Kit

The entire Arduino Starter kit really contains an impressive collection of electronic components and all parts you need to start immediately. It consists of following major parts:

  • Arduino Projects Book
  • Arduino UNO Board
  • USB Cable
  • Breadboard
  • Wooden base
  • Jumper Wires
  • Photoresistor
  • Temperature sensor
  • Tilt sensor
  • LCD screen 16×2 characters
  • Lots of LEDs
  • DC Motor
  • Servo Motor
  • Piezo
  • H-bridge motor driver
  • Optocouplers
  • Transistors
  • Capacitors
  • Diodes and resistors
  • Poti
  • Buttons

Here are some pictures i took during the unboxing of the Arduino Starter Kit.

Connect an Arduino to a $7 Bluetooth Serial Module

Today, i connected my Arduino Uno board to a really cheap Bluetooth serial module ($7 at ebay) in order to communicate with my Android smartphone (tribute to Massimo Banzi for this fantastic piece of engineering, see a tutorial video about starting with Arduino). The image below shows my $7 Bluetooth serial module. It offers 4 pinouts (5V, Ground, RX and TX), that you have to connect with the right pins on your Arduino Uno board. No additional electronic parts are necessary.

Cheap Bluetooth Serial Module for Arduino

So if you have already written a simple Arduino Blink program (equivalent to a typical HelloWorld program), it should be an easy task to connect your Bluetooth serial module to your Arduino Uno board.

You will need to identify the 5V and Ground Arduino pins on your Arduino, in order to provide the power source for activating your Bluetooth serial module. Connect the Bluetooth module’s RX pin to the Arduino’s TX pin. Connect the Bluetooth module’s TX pin with the Arduino’s RX pin.

Connect Arduino to Bluetooth serial module

After connecting the Bluetooth serial module with your Arduino you are able to pair the Bluetooth module with any Bluetooth enabled device. Use ‘1234’ as pairing key.

Arduino Education Starter Kit with free Video Tutorials

This new Arduino Starter Kit offers an UNO board along with a huge collection of sensors and actuators to learn to experiment with the Arduino board from the scratch. The Arduino StarterKit was intended by it’s creators with the precise intent of learning how to use an Arduino and the base of electronic by discovering. The starter kit contains everything a beginner needs to build simple to complex electronic experiments without additional hardware costs.

As an additional benefit one of the initiators of the Arduino movement, Massimo Banzi, is giving stepwise video tutorials. These video sessions were started today with a brief session, how to setup your Arduino development environment and to get an introduction into your new Arduino educational development kit:

Twine: The Internet of Things for your own Use

Twine - eine kleine Box mit Sensoren und WLAN zum Einbinden von beliebigen Dingen ins Internet (Bild: Supermechanical)

Twine, one of the first Kickstarter projects dealing with specific hardware to connect sensors and aktuators with the Internet, is starting to ship the first bundles these days. For around $100 you can buy a Twine box, that is shown above, that offers WLAN and a multitude of different sensors to check the status of your house or any other real world object you can think of. It runs on two batteries that should offer enough energy to keep Twine up for more than two month.

Another interesting feature is the Web interface Twine offers for specifying event condition action rules for reacting on user defined situations, without programming. The Web interface and ECA rules look quite similar to Microsoft’s On{X} Android App, which we discussed some month ago.

Magnetic Lego whiteboard eraser robot

 Despite the fact that it is a really simple and cheap design, i really love this creation of a magnetic whiteboard eraser bot that’s built with Lego parts and a simple Atmel microcontroller, which acts as brain controller. Le Zhang and Michael Lathrop, both senior students at Cornell had this nice idea how to efficiently clean your professors whiteboard 🙂 The entire robot consits of a magnet that holds the robot ontop of the whiteboard, an accelerometer sensor for controlling the direction of movement and some microswitches to sense the edge of the board.
I wish i had such a robot for cleaning the windows for my house or for removing the dust of solar panels to get more energy out of them. If you know such robots please comment below this post and give us your information!