August 31, 2015

Build your own huge stepper motor with Arduino

Have you ever wondered how a stepper motor worked? Like most things if you work through making it yourself, all your questions can be answered and more. With this in mind Instructables user ProtoG did just that and has documented their home-made stepper motor made from 3D-printed parts.

The motor is capable of 15 degree full steps, or 7.5 degree half steps in either direction, and is controlled via an Arduino or compatible board. Each coil can be controlled via an N-MOSFET which allows for easy Arduino connection - the MOSFETs can be neatly activated by a digital output pin. For a demonstration of the stepper motor, watch the following video:

To make your own, all the design files and information can be found on the motor's Instructable page. And for more, we're on facebook, twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you're looking into starting with Arduino and robotics, such as controlling a stepper motor (or DC motors) from your Arduino or compatible, check out our HBRIDGE: DC/stepper motor shield.

Based around the powerful Allegro A4954 H-bridge driver IC you can control two DC motors with complete ease, or one bipolar stepper motor. With connections for external power management, a complete beginners' guide and documentation - motor control couldn't be any easier. For more information and to order, visit the HBRIDGE: page.

August 27, 2015

Make a wireless parking assistant with Arduino

Parking cars in garages can always be a challenge when you're in a hurry, or if your new car or garage is just a bit too tight. This problem can be solved with Arduino and some spare time, and is demonstrated by Instructables member saiyam.

They created a device based around an Arduino circuit and an ultrasonic distance sensor, which measures the distance between the vehicle and the wall, and sends the data back to a receiver unit via a 433 MHz wireless data link. The receiver is a portable model kept inside the vehicle, which emits a tone relative to the distance available - keeping you accident free and also learning more about Arduino.

Apart from helping avoid a small accident, this is a fun project that's inexpensive and easy to build, so to get started visit the project's Instructable page. And for more, we're on facebook, twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you're looking to work with your own RF wireless hardware, but don't want to make your own receiver circuit - check out our range of  315/433 MHz receiver shields:

Apart from being idea for working with the various low-cost data links on the market, the shield can also be used to capture wireless weather station data, as described in the book "Practical Arduino". For more information and ideas, check out the product page.

August 24, 2015

Build a classic Star Trek Wall Comm with Arduino

Fans of the original "Star Trek" can now recreate the wall communicator units as used on the Enterprise in a short period of time thanks to Instructables member FredO2 - whose wall comm replacement is made with an Arduino, some hacked walkie-talkies and some 3D-printed enclosure parts.

The new system allows for sending the various boatswain signals and for the recipient to reply via radio in the classic fashion. Furthermore an alert and siren/klaxon can be sounded at the press of a button. All very good fun and ideal for amateur theatre, a different form of intercom or just for fun.

For complete details including design files and code - visit the project's Instructable page. And for more, we're on twitter, facebook and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you have heard about the Arduino development platform and wanted to learn more -  you can't go past reading a copy of "Arduino Workshop -  A Hands-On Introduction with 65 Projects” by John Boxall.

Arduino Workshop takes the reader from having zero knowledge about the Arduino platform, electronics and programming and leaves them with the know-how and instructions on everything from blinking an LED, to robotics, wireless data, cellular communications, motor control, sensors, Internet connected systems and more. For more information including a sample chapter and table of contents, visit the book page.

August 21, 2015

Detect Electromagnetic Interference with Arduino

You can make a wide varierty of test equipment with an Arduino, and some more accurate than others. However you can still find success towards the simpler end of the spectrum, and one example of this is by Instructables member JohnE12 and their electromagnetic interference detector.

This is based around an Arduino board with a long wire feeding into an analogue input. This can pick up all sorts of EMI and other signals - the strength of which is measured by the analogue to digital converter and the strength value approximated using a series of LEDs. The user then can easily walk around the area and determine the strength of EMI and thus possibly the source.

Although simple, this is a useful and also a fun tool to share with beginners as an exampel of using an analogue input. To learn more about this project, visit the Instructable page. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you need to add external hardware or devices to your next Arduino project, you'll need a protoshield to mount the external circuitry. In doing so, consider our range of ProtoShields. From the tiny LeoStick to the Mega we have a wide range to suit your application.

August 18, 2015

Build your own Arduino-powered Fireworks Controller

An interesting example of what is possible with the Arduino development platform has been described by Instructables member Jonathan Bush whose fireworks controller system is quite simple in design yet effective in operation. 

Based around an Arduino Mega board, the controller includes a solid user interface panel and can trigger relays which send current to the electronic matches with the fireworks. Although fireworks aren't available to the public in most areas, this still shows what can be done or perhaps motivate your own control panel project. A quick demonstration is shown in the following video:

For more information and some interesting discussions about this control module, visit the Instructable page. And for more, we're on facebooktwitter and Google+ - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

When working on your own projects based on an Arduino Mega or EtherMega that require external circuitry or wiring - and you're not up for making a PCB - consider using a Freetronics Protoshield Mega. It includes the male header pins and a reset button to fit, and is also a little shorter to allow space for the RJ45 socket on an EtherMega. For more information and to order, visit the product page

August 04, 2015

Convert N64 Controllers into USB Gamepads using Arduino

If you long to play games with Nintendo N64 controllers on your PC - it can be done, thanks to the neat conversion project detailed by Instructables user BobJones6732. As you may already know, an Arduino Leonardo or compatible board such as the Freetronics LeoStick can emulate a USB joystick or keyboard.

With some simple rewiring the N64 controlled can be polled by the Arduino and the commands converted to USB gamepad signals that can be interpreted by the PC. To make this a success a whole new board profile has been provided, however you can reproduce it yourself in no time at all.

Once you have the controller connected to your PC, have fun classic emulated and contemporary games. To learn more about this project, visit the Instructable page. And for more, we're on facebook, twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

Looking for a small Arduino-compatible board to use as the basis of your own USB controller? Consider our LeoStick - it's the Arduino Leonardo-compatible board that's cheaper and smaller than the original:

Apart from being one of the smallest Arduino-compatibles on the market with USB, it also has an onboard RGB LED and piezo which can be used a knock sensor and various tune and sound effects. Plus you can add extra circuitry with the matching protostick! For more information and to order, click here.


August 10, 2015

Create animatronic eyeballs with Freetronics OLED Displays

Realism is the key to successful animatronics and robotics, and enthusiasts have demonstrated excellent examples of their efforts - such as the following eyeball display by They have embedded a Freetronics OLED display inside a plastic sphere with a clear section that acts allow the image to be seen.

Finally, the OLED is controlled by a high-performance Arduino-compatible board that allows for an excellent frame rate on the OLED - and thus a realistic eye complete with pupil dilation and other effects.

To learn more about this fascinating eyeball, visit the project page. And for more, we're on facebook, twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you're looking for a neat and colourful display to use with your Arduino or Raspberry Pi - consider our 128x128 pixel OLED Module. With a diagonal size of 1.5" and 16,384 colours to select from, so almost anything is possible. Furthermore there's a microSD card socket, and removable tabs on each side which can hold LEDs and buttons:

And using the module is made simple - we have tutorials and drivers for both the Arduino and Raspberry Pi platforms - great for experimenters or those who use both systems. Furthermore, check out the forum where members are already creating modified drivers to rapidly increase the display speed. For more information including our Quickstart guides - and of course to order - visit the OLED Module product page.


August 10, 2015

Mr HobbyElectronics reviews the Freetronics Dot Matrix Display Panels

Now and again we see our products "out in the wild", and another example has been reviewed by a popular video blogger Mr Hobbyelectronics - who demonstrates how easy it is to set up and use our DMD LED Dot Matrix Display boards.

An excellent adaptor board is included with all our DMDs that allows for plug-and-play operation with an Arduino or compatible - and our custom Arduino library makes controlling the display very easy.

There's plenty of example projects and you'll be displaying data, time, date or more in no time at all. However don't take our word for it, watch the following video to see more:

 Please note that when attaching external power to the rear of the DMD - use 5V DC (not 12V). For this and other interesting videos related to the Arduino, Raspberry Pi and technology world - subscribe to Mr Hobbyelectonics' YouTube channel. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well. 

If you would like to have fun with a large LED dot matrix display as demonstrated in the video above, check out the Freetronics Dot Matrix Displays. They're simple to use, yet very bright for indoor and outdoor situations. Available in various colours, the 32 x 16 LED matrix can display text and graphics quite easily - and can be daisy-chained together for extended displays. For more information, see our range of Dot Matrix Displays here

July 27, 2015

Make an Internet-of-Things Gauge with Arduino

There's an almost infinite number of uses for the "Internet of Things" - some useful, some perhaps not. However the following project by Instructables member tamberg shows how you can harness the IoT for your own means throught the description of a neat gauge project.

As you can see from the image below, a simple gauge has been made to display the location of a particular person - which is driven via an Ethernet-enabled Arduino or compatible. This is controlled via a REST API running on the Arduino, which listen for commands from the ITTT (If This, Then That) cloud-based service. By tweakinhg ITTT that to your needs, you can control a neat web- or Android device-based control panel to control the gauge from almost anywhere.

An excellent example of how easy it is to harness the IoT with Arduino - so head over to the Instructable page to get started. And for more, we're on facebook, twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

When putting together your next Internet-enabled Arduino project - save time, space and money with the Freetronics EtherTen. Apart from being fully Arduino Uno-compatible, it has onboard Ethernet, microSD socket, full USB interface (so you don't need a costly FTDI cable just to upload a sketch!) and supports optional Power-over-Ethernet.

July 31, 2015

Built a neat home thermometer with Arduino

Although many of our projects can often be found and used "on the bench", it's nice to take them one step further into a usable end product. And one usable example of this has been demonstrated by Instructables member whose Arduino thermometer not only looks good but is useful as wel.

By building a small Arduino-compatible circuit that uses a DS18B20 digital temperature sensor and two seven-segment LED displays - the result is an accurate digital thermometer that has been fitted inside a kitschy ornament that wouldn't look out of place in any home - for example:

This is a great project for the beginner or enthusiast alike, and you can find all the details in the project's Instructable page. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well. 

If you're interested in measuring termperature with a reliable sensor - consider using our DS18B20-based temperature sensor module:

The Freetronics temperature sensor modiule uses the Dallas DS18B20 1-wire digital temperature sensor, with a wide measurement range of -55 to +125°C at an accuracy of +/- 0.5°C. For more information, tutorials and to order - visit the product page