Getting Started with Parallax. This is a really impressive wiki filled with examples, code and more. Parallax is hands down one of the best “documenters” of learning electronics – they’re also including Arduino code examples too…
Welcome to the Parallax KickStart wiki! Here you’ll find dozens of programming examples to help you jump start your use of Parallax sensors and accessories sold through retail stores such as RadioShack, Microcenter, and Fry’s Electronics.
These KickStarts give you hands-on help for connecting R/C servos, GPS modules, accelerometers, digital compasses, ultrasonic distance sensors, XBee wireless radios, and more to three of the world’s most popular microcontrollers: the BASIC Stamp 2, Parallax Propeller, and Arduino.
KickStarts are basic, no-frills coding samples, made so you can get started, fast. Each example takes no more than a few minutes to set up and try.
Many of the Parallax sensors and accessories offer enhanced features and functionality not covered in the example code. So when you’re ready to move on and explore more, follow the links at the bottom of each KickStart example page for additional info.
KickStarts provide working code and connection diagrams for the Parallax Propeller QuickStart, BASIC Stamp 2 HomeWork Board, and Arduino Uno.
In most cases, the programming code will also work for variations of these microcontroller development boards, such as the BASIC Stamp Board of Education. Adapt the wiring connections as needed.
I didn’t realize this was only on the French version of google (http://www.google.fr), but today they published the best Google doodle I’ve seen yet in honor of Stanlislaw Lem (Solaris, etc., also turned into a film of the same name Andrei Tarkovsky and again by Steven Soderbergh). Who else but Google would let you blow up robots with 7-segment displays on their home page (it’s a rhetorical question but if there’s an answer I’d totally love to hear about that too!)?
NEW PRODUCT – 1.8 18-bit color TFT LCD display with microSD card breakout. This lovely little display breakout is the best way to add a small, colorful and bright display to any project. Since the display uses 4-wire SPI to communicate and has its own pixel-addressable frame buffer, it can be used with every kind of microcontroller. Even a very small one with low memory and few pins available!
The 1.8″ display has 128×160 color pixels. Unlike the low cost “Nokia 6110″ and similar LCD displays, which are CSTN type and thus have poor color and slow refresh, this display is a true TFT! The TFT driver (ST7735R) can display full 18-bit color (262,144 shades!). And the LCD will always come with the same driver chip so there’s no worries that your code will not work from one to the other.
The breakout has the TFT display soldered on (it uses a delicate flex-circuit connector) as well as a ultra-low-dropout 3.3V regulator and a 3/5V level shifter so you can use it with 3.3V or 5V power and logic. We also had a little space so we placed a microSD card holder so you can easily load full color bitmaps from a FAT16/FAT32 formatted microSD card.
16×10 RGB LED display built with an Adafruit LPD8806 LED strip and a Netduino mini as the controller. The display is capable of showing over 2 million colors. What’s not to like about RGB LEDs? With their bright, mesmerizing glow, often capable of displaying millions of colors, they’re a great to way to catch the attention of the viewer. Now, what if you had a 5 meter long RGB LED strip, loaded with 160 RGB LEDs to play with? Oh, the possibilities… It so happens that Adafruit, in their infinite wisdom, carries a very nice RGB LED strip, powered by a LPD8806 driver and encased in a waterproof sleeve. What about turning it into a mini video wall for instance? Think ‘Times Square’, just smaller
BACK IN STOCK – Digital Addressable RGB LED with PWM waterproof flexi strip. These LED strips are fun and glowy. There are 32 RGB LEDs per meter, and you can control each LED individually! Yes, that’s right, this is the digitally-addressable type of LED strip. You can set the color of each LED’s red, green and blue component with 7-bit PWM precision (so 21-bit color per pixel). The LEDs are controlled by shift-registers that are chained up down the strip so you can shorten or lengthen the strip. Only 2 digital output pins are required to send data down. The PWM is built into each chip so once you set the color you can stop talking to the strip and it will continue to PWM all the LEDs for you
Built in 1.2 MHz high speed 7-bit PWM for each channel – that means it can do 21-bit color per LED (way more than the eye can easily discern). Once you set the brightness level for the LEDs, your microcontroller can go off and do other things, no need to continuously update it, or clock it. The best part is that compared to the WS2801 which can only run one LED at a time, this chip can drive 2 RGB LEDs which means the price stays the same as the older HL1606 strip, nice!
The strip is made of flexible PCB material, and comes with a waterproof sheathing.
You can cut this stuff pretty easily with wire cutters, there are cut-lines every 2.5″/6.2cm (2 LEDs each). Solder to the 0.1″ copper pads and you’re good to go. Of course, you can also connect strips together to make them longer, just watch how much current you need! We have a 5V/2A supply that should be able to drive 1 or more meters (depending on use)
They come in 5 meter reels with a 4-pin JST SM connector on each end, and are sold by the meter! If you buy 5m at a time, you’ll get full reels. If you buy less than 5m, you’ll get a single strip, but it will be a cut piece from a reel which may or may not have a connector on it.
Since announcing a few weeks ago that the Kinect for Windows commercial program will launch in early 2012, we’ve been asked whether there will also be new Kinect hardware especially for Windows. The answer is yes; building on the existing Kinect for Xbox 360 device, we have optimized certain hardware components and made firmware adjustments which better enable PC-centric scenarios. Coupled with the numerous upgrades and improvements our team is making to the Software Development Kit (SDK) and runtime, the new hardware delivers features and functionality that Windows developers and Microsoft customers have been asking for.
NEW PRODUCT – Panel Temperature Meter / -30 to +70 ° C. Put a temperature meter anywhere with this very handy display. This panel meter displays the temperature of the attached waterproof 1% thermistor in °C. It does require a DC voltage to run, at 4.5-30VDC. It has reverse polarity protection in case you swap the power leads by accident.
To use, simply connect the thin red wire to a positive supply, and the thin black wire to ground. Then tape the black thermistor bulb to whatever you want to measure – or leave it loose to measure ambient temperature. The display has a microcontroller that will read thermistor resistance and display the corresponding temperature from -30°C to 70°C with 1 °C precision on a 3-digit 0.56″ tall 7-segment display. The meter draws 3-4mA to power the microcontroller and display. This particular LED display is a nice vivid blue, which we found very readable. To mount to your enclosure, simply cut a 45.5mm × 26.5mm rectangle and snap it in.
Simply connect the red wire to the positive supply, and black to negative ground. The display has a microcontroller that will read the voltage, compare it to a stable reference and display the voltage with 0.1V precision on a 3-digit 0.56″ tall 7-segment display. It works from 4.5V up to 30V and is reverse-polarity protected so it will be good for nearly any electronic project! The meter draws 3-4mA to power the microcontroller and display. This particular LED display is a nice vivid green, which we found very readable. To mount to your enclosure, simply cut a 45.5mm × 26.5mm rectangle and snap it in.
We use a $7 wireless remote to turn on our hot spring pump. The remote has been melting away in the New Mexico sun for nearly two years. At this point the buttons and batteries have also failed. I decided to tear out the circuit board from our failed remote and give it a new bling bling home. I used a $8 outdoor electrical box and a pair of Adafruits blue LED buttons. I also used my CNC to cut some text into the cover plate and make a little circuit board to reduce the number of connections. It took about three hours to make everything.
Waterproof Metal Pushbutton with Blue LED Ring [16mm Blue Momentary]. These chrome-plated metal buttons are rugged and waterproof and look real good while doing it! Simply drill a 16mm hole into any material up to 1/2″ thick and you can fit these in place, there’s even a rubber gasket to keep any water out of the enclosure. On the front of the button is a flat metal actuator, surrounded by a blue plastic LED ring. On the back there are 3 contacts for the button (common, normally-open and normally-closed) and 2 for the blue LED ring (+ and -). Connect 3 to 6V to the LED to have it light up nicely, there’s a built in resistor! If you want to use this with a higher voltage, say 12V or 24V, simply add a 470 ohm resistor in series with the LED connection to keep the LED current at around 20mA.
This button is a momentary push button, when you press it the ‘normally-open’ contact shorts to the common contact. When you release it, the contacts open up again.
If you subscribe to MAKE and you’ve received MAKE Volume 28 in the mail, you’ve likely noticed a little something extra that came with it. It’s the first-ever Maker Shed print catalog! We spent many hours putting our great products into a browsable print format for your viewing pleasure. The Maker Shed Catalog is packed with 45 pages of microcontrollers, kits, and gift ideas, as well as a soldering tutorial, maker profiles, and more! It’s perfect for finding holiday gifts for yourself and others (or do what I do and circle items and leave it for others to find).
While Arduino gets the lions share of attention in the hobby community there are some limitations to 8-bit microcontrollers which have been recognized by the Arduino project with their recent announcement of plans to make ARM based development boards, as well at the Maple project (STM32 based). ARM microprocessors often offer significantly more RAM/Flash and peripherals at similar prices to traditional 8-bit microcontrollers, however they have a reputation for being harder to use.
In the maker community LPC and STM32 ARM based boards seem the norm, however in my experience LM3S (LM = Luminary Micro which is now owned by Ti) chips are far easier to work with. This is largely due to StellarisWare, which makes peripheral configuration uniform across devices. (See my comparison of UART configuration on many platforms here).
When I realized there were no inexpensive LM3S based boards available (now there are few on eBay as well) I decided to make some. I made a simple breakout style board called Cygni that was as inexpensive as possible so that people could try out ARM and find out that it wasn’t scary after all. And I made two more advanced boards one that could be a USB host (called Eridani) and one that was suitable for tasks requiring a lot of memory, internet access, USB hosting or all of the above (called Procyon).
Funny how that happens…I’d gone in just to test out a little change to the Adalight code, and ended up spending most of the weekend on a nearly complete rewrite with a double-helping of awesomesauce! This involves changes on both the Arduino and Processing sides, and as always you can download the latest from the Git repository:
Support for multiple monitors. There have been occasional tweaks and suggestions posted to the forums on achieving this. Here’s the official implementation. Handles any number of displays, and each can be a different size/layout if needed.
Performance improvements. The exact speedup you’ll see depends on many factors, but a few systems we’ve tested show anywhere from 10 to 30 percent better frame rates.
More nuanced lighting control. LEDs “fade” from frame to frame, rather than an immediate, seizure-inducing flash. Also, a minimum background brightness can be set. Both are configurable, or can be switched off to run like the old code.
Auto timeout on LEDs. If the Arduino doesn’t receive any data from the PC in 15 seconds (configurable), the LEDs will be switched off. This avoids that annoying “stuck pixel” effect when quitting the Adalight sketch in certain situations.
Automatic port detection. Adalight can scan through all serial ports until it identifies an Arduino running the LEDstream code.Update: due to a conflict between Processing 1.5.1 and the 32u4 board, this doesn’t work in all settings, so it’s no longer the default mode. If you’re using a “classic” Arduino and/or Processing 2.0 alpha, this should work fine, you’ll just need to enable that code (very easy, see comments in source).
100% gluten-free, and no trans-fats! No animals were harmed in the making of this software. Any time the cat wanted food or to go outside, I’d stop working and take care of it.
Load the “LEDstream” sketch in the Arduino IDE, compile and upload to your board. Then load the “Adalight” sketch in Processing and give it a try…and remember, you can always use the “Export Application” feature in Processing to create a standalone double-clickable program; no need to launch the Processing IDE every time you want to run Adalight.
The old LEDstream and Adalight are both cross-compatible with the newer versions, so reprogramming the Arduino isn’t absolutely 100% essential if you can’t get to it…they both still speak the same protocol. This is mostly for the LED timeout and auto-detection in the new code.
Adalight – DIY Ambient Monitor Lighting Project Pack. Build your own ambient-light addition for a monitor or media PC television with the Adalight project pack! This project pack is for our “Adalight” project tutorial. By running the Processing code on your computer, the halo of LEDs will follow the screen colors to provide an awesome ambient light display that adds pop to TV shows, movies or games!
Ham radio licenses are at an all time high, with over 700,000 licenses in the United States, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Ham radio first took the nation by storm nearly a hundred years ago. Last month the FCC logged 700,314 licenses, with nearly 40,000 new ones in the last five years. Compare that with 2005, when only 662,600 people hammed it up and you’ll see why the American Radio Relay League — the authority on all things ham — is calling it a ‘golden age’ for ham. ‘Over the last five years we’ve had 20-25,000 new hams,’ said Allen Pitts, a spokesman for the group. While the number of licensees has grown considerably over the years, we realize that these numbers include some who are no longer active in Amateur Radio. A recent survey of ARRL members, however, indicates that more than 80 percent of those responding are active.
Introducing what is arguably the most important Arduino accessory ever created: the Googly Eye Shield for Arduino. It’s an (extremely simple) open source hardware kit, but we feel that it fills an important niche. We’ve put together a promotional video to explain.