December 5, 2012 AT 1:00 am

Wired Communication Over Long Distances with the Arduino Area Network

Tom wrote in to share his latest project, the Arduino Area Network.

Earlier this year I started to investigate how I might go about implementing the circuitry and communications between a computer and a micro controller for my long term split-flap display project which seems to have taken over my blog of late!

The setup I finally settled on was to use a simplex (single direction) serial protocol called RS-485, the ‘bigger brother’ of RS-232 used in almost every computer, commonly known as ‘the serial port‘. Using RS-485 would require some special circuitry which could convert to a signal that an Arduino could understand so I went about building a converter circuit which I had built up as a small PCB, my first proper PCB, designed by me alone, and it worked first time!

Next I worked on some software which is designed to receive six byte commands from a master control board allowing full control of all modules together or each module individually.

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