December 19, 2014

Make an Internet radio with Arduino and Raspberry Pi

An interesting example of harnessing the strengths of two platforms is the following Internet radio by Instructables member akellyirl. The radio uses the Raspberry Pi for connectivity and the ability to easily stream audio, whilst using the Arduino that is connected via USB for a simple LCD and control solution.

Doing so is quite easy, and all the instructions to install the required packages on the Raspberry Pi along with the python code and also the Arduino sketch. The display and its buttons are used to show the stream information and select the radio station required. For a quick demonstration check out the following video:

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

For projects that require interaction between an Arduino and a Raspberry Pi (such as the RUFS above) you can save time and space by using our new PiLeven board:

The PiLeven is an Arduino-compatible board based on the Arduino Uno, but with a few changes. Obviously it's a bit of a strange shape! The PiLeven fits right on top of a Raspberry Pi (either model B or B+) using the Raspberry Pi expansion headers.

The PiLeven also has a high-current switchmode power supply, so you can plug in anything from 7V to 18Vdc using the standard 2.1mm jack. The PiLeven can power the Raspberry Pi, so you don't need a regulated 5V USB connection anymore.

Serial communications on the PiLeven is linked through to the Raspberry Pi, so your Pi can upload new sketches straight to the PiLeven or send/receive data and commands. We've included level shifters so the 3.3V Pi can talk safely to the 5V PiLeven. And you can plug standard Arduino shields right into the PiLeven, giving your Raspberry Pi access to the huge range of shields already available. For more information about the PiLeven, including our tutorials - and to order yours today, visit the PiLeven webpage.

December 19, 2014

Control your Arduino over the Internet with "Commanduino"

There aren't too many methods for uncomplicated remote-control of an Arduino over the Internet, (for example Teleduino) - and that's why we're happy to show you the new "Commanduino" system devised by Fabrizio Caldarelli. It's a simple system that uses customised URLs to activate digital pins, and as it's still a work-in-progress  more features will be added soon - or you can work on it yourself.

The Commanduino system works with either a TCP or UDP protocol, and could easily be integrated with a graphical HTML front-end hosted on an end-user's web device. To learn more and examine the code, visit the Commanduino github page. 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.

December 19, 2014

Using a Raspberry Pi as a hamster fitness tracker

After pondering the distance covered by their daughter's pet hamster in a spnning wheel, Jamie Bailey turned to the world of Raspberry Pi for a solution. They have used a laser beam break sensor to detect rotations of the spinning wheel, and with some custom circuitry have devised a system that allows the pulses from the circuit to be measured via some code in python, and the restuls can be viewed in graphic or numerical form.

It's an interesting example of capturing external sensor data with a Raspberry Pi and also gives you the framework to create (for example) a bike computer or a device to measure rotations of almost any form.

To learn more, visit Jamie's interesting website. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you're interested in detecting changes in magnetic fields with your Arduino, or counting revolutions of a wheel - you can use a hall effect sensor and we have a convenient module just for the purpose - our HALL: Hall Effect Magnetic and Proximity Sensor Module. It operates on both 3.3 and 5V boards, can detect both north and south pole magentic polarity and shows when triggering is successful with a convenient LED. 

To learn more about the HALL: module, read our Quick Start Guide and to order, visit out HALL: product page.

December 15, 2014

The BUBBLER - an automatic bubble-blowing machine

Now for a project that is a lot of fun, especially for those of us in the southern hemisphere in December - an Arduino-controlled bubble-blowing machine. The concept is quite simple yet has the ability to make bubbles of various sizes.

The operation of the device is easy, two servos each control an arm - which in turn lower and raise a loop of light rope into a sudsy liquid suitable for bubbles. A small cooling fan generates a soft breeze which "blows" into the soapy rope loop as it is raised from the liquid - and thus bubbles are blown from the machine. The addition of an ultrasonic distance sensor to the machine not only adds "eyes" but also activates the bubble-blowing when someone approaches.

For details on how to make your own BUBBLER - check out the project page. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well. 

Have you been reading about Arduino and would like to understand more so you can work with projects like the example above, but not sure where to start? Then order one of our Experimenter's Kit for Arduino - as used in many classroom and learning environments:

The package includes a wide variety of parts, sensors and modules including: a servo motor, lights, buttons, switches, sound, sensors, breadboard, wires and more. Furthermore a Freetronics Eleven Arduino-compatible board is included to make this an extensive hobby experimenter, inventor and starter kit. 

However we don't leave you alone to figure it all out, included is a great project and instruction booklet, plus access to a supporting web page and software examples. In other words - this is everything you need to get started for a fun range of electronics and Arduino related projects! So to get started or for more information and to order, check out the product page.

December 15, 2014

"TheSUN" - an Arduino-powered design wall clock

Although enthusiasts will often make a huge amount of projects, very few of them may end up as final products which are used in daily life. However with some focus and work you can make interesting and possibly artistic devices that also have many uses. One great example of this is a clock, and thanks to the ease of using real-time clock modules home-made clocks can be quite accurate.

On excellent example of this has been documented by Instructables member SerialQ, whose clock is not only functional but also a work of art. The clock uses RGB LED strips to generate different colours around the circumference of the clock area, each of which represents part of ther numerical value for time. The framework of the clock (as you can see below) helps the reader determine the hours, and the surface of the wall reflects the colours very well.

Furthermore the clock can be set via Bluetooth and serial data, and the details of a custom Android app are also provided so you can set the clock or generate remote-controlled colour effects with a smartphone. To learn more about this interesting clock, visit the project Instructable page. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

As part of the Arduino and Bluetooth experience you'll need a Bluetooth device for your Arduino projects, and to meet this need we've released the Freetronics Bluetooth Shield:


We've made it simple to use - the Bluetooth Shield acts as a serial link between the other Bluetooth device. Furthermore there's a wide range of jumpers allowing you to select which digital pins to use for data transfer, increasing compatibility with other shields. And with our Quick Start guide it's easier than ever.

Our Bluetooth Shield for Arduino is now in stock and ready to ship, so for more information and to order - visit the shield's product page.

December 17, 2014

Make an Arduino-controlled Inductance meter

You can build a wide variety of test equipment with an Arduino, and one example of this is an Inductance meter documented by Lukas Fässler. This unit is a custom-made Arduino shield containing an LCD and is easy to reproduce.

The circuit is based on a basic Colpitts Oscillator - the inductor under test causes the circuit to oscillate, the frequency of which is measured by the Arduino and then the inductance calculated.

Even if you're not interested in making your own version, the theory behind the design is quite interesting. For more information including the design files, visit Lukas' website. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you're looking for an Arduino Uno-compatible board to embed into various projects, choose what tens of thousands of others have done and use our Freetronics Eleven - the Arduino-Uno compatible with low-profile USB socket, onboard prototyping space and easy to view LEDs: 


December 15, 2014

Build a Raspberry Pi CPU Tachometer

For a more interesting method of displaying data generated by a Raspberry Pi, external displays and screens are often popular - however for something completely different consider connecting a vehicle tachometer to display numerical data. 

This process has been demonstrated by the folks from the WhiskeyTangoHotel website - they determined the PWM frequency required to move the needle on the tacho to different values, and then used python code to determine the CPU usage percentage and relay this to the gauge. 

Due to the different voltages between the gauge and the Raspberry Pi, an external circuit based on a 7404 latch IC was required, however this is very simple to reproduce. And the effort is worth it - as shown in the following video:

For complete details including the required code and hardware, visit the WTH website. 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 circuitry to your Pi, one option is to use our PiBreak board. It provides labelled breakout pins for all GPIOs, a large prototyping area with solder pads, and power rails for easy power connection:

Furthermore the PiBreak also includes mounting hardware to firmly attach it to your Raspberry Pi using a nut, bolt, and spacer - and is compatible with all revisions of both model A and B Raspberry Pi computers. For more information about our PiBreak board, our Getting Started guide, and to order - visit the product page.

December 15, 2014

Have fun with the Arduino-powered Notendo Gamebox

It's the time of year when you may have some spare time to create something enjoyable for yourself or others, and one neat project that fits the bill is hte Notendo Gamebox by Steven Goodwin. The Gamebox is a play on words with the popular handheld game console from the last century - however this example is powered by an Arduino and uses a typical LCD as the display.

You can play various games and there are many available that can be played with the character LCD. By fitting larger arcade-style buttons to the enclsoure, the unit can be used for longer sessions. Steven runs through his creation in the following video:

To get started with your own version, visit the Notendo's project page. And for more, we're on facebookGoogle+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.

Looking for a rapid-use LCD for your Arduino or compatible projects such as the ohm meter above? Save time and move forward with the Freetronics LCD & Keypad shield which contains a bright 16x2 character LCD and five buttons that can be read from only one analogue input pin:

December 15, 2014

Control your Arduino with a smile

With the right software on a host PC, your Arduino or compatible can be controlled via all sorts of methods - even a smile. This has been demonsntrated by Marianna Mezhibovskaya who uses smile-recognition software on a Mac and an Arduino to make a smile-controlled candy machine.

The software uses a webcam to determine if the subject is smiling - and if so, sends serial text via USB to the Arduino which takes action. In this case it controls the motor inside the candy machine to dispense some treats. This is shown in the following comedic video:

For more information on this project, including download links for the required software and code - visit the project 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.

December 15, 2014

An Arduino-controlled miniature lift

As part of a university course, Diego Serranor was tasked with designing a model lift (or elevator) - and he's accomplished this quite well. Such a project is a good demonstration of how you can create automated devices that respond to user input with an Arduino.

The carriage position is determined with a series of photocells and LEDs, allowing the system to determine the correct position to stop when required. Call buttons and a level display are also used for realism compared to the real thing.

This could also be fitted to a more extravagant dolls house, or even made from LEGO for fun. Either way, to learn how visit 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 looking into starting with Arduino and motor control, such as controlling a DC motor (or stepper motor) 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