February 26, 2017

Skill Sunday: Building GPS into your Arduino projects

Adding GPS (Global Positioning System) to an Arduino project can open up many possibilities for location sensitive projects. Using GPS you could easily track where your cat disappears to at night or trigger a specific action when you reach a certain location. Fortunately, adding in GPS functionality to your own project is actually significantly easier than you might imagine. One of the easiest ways is to use the Freetronics GPS Module and to follow the instructions on the following page.  

GPS

Our GPS Module is a compact but very powerful device! Providing accuracy down to 3m and including a battery backup the module is a reliable choice. Indeed, the module connects to an Arduino via a simple serial connection and is fully compatible with existing Arduino libraries. To find out more check out the following link.

GPS Module

To keep up to date with the latest news, projects, product announcements  and to let us know what you think of this project follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

February 19, 2017

Skill Sunday: What is millis()?

If you have been working with Arduino for long enough you may have come across the millis function in example code you have been working with and have probably wondered what it was used for! The simple explanation is that millis returns the number of milliseconds since the Arduino sketch has been running. However, without further clarification it can be unclear how this would be useful! Fortunately John Boxall from Tronixlabs has written a great tutorial which explains the ins and outs of the millis function! Checkout the following link to find out more.

The crystal is an essential part of Arduino timing

Have you been reading about Arduino and would like to understand more? Checkout our Experimenter's Kit for Arduino - as used in many classroom and learning environments:

Experimenter's Kit

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. The kit also includes a great project and instruction booklet, plus access to a supporting web page and software examples. To get started or for more information and to order, check out the product page!

To keep up to date with the latest news, projects, product announcements  and to let us know what you think of this project follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

February 18, 2017

Build Your Own Autonomous Vacuum Cleaner

With this great project from instructables member revrekad you can make a robot which will help you with the cleaning! Revrekad’s vacuum cleaner robot uses an Arduino and a few motors to drive the robot around whilst an old computer fan provides the suction! The great thing about this project is that it is mostly made from easily sourced materials such as cardboard and aluminium cans, so you have no excuse not to get started building your own right away! To find out more about this project check out the following link or the video below.

Robo Vac

 

When you use motors in your Arduino project you will almost certainly need a H-Bridge motor driver. A H-Bridge allows you to easily control the direction of your motors from within your code. Our own Dual Channel H-Bridge Motor Driver Shield is a perfect solution to this problem, allowing you to drive two DC motors or a stepper motor.

H-Bridge

The Dual Channel H-Bridge Motor Driver Shield features PWM control, selectable current limits and a prototyping area to add your own parts. To find out more check out the Dual Channel H-Bridge Motor Driver Shield page.

To keep up to date with the latest news, projects, product announcements  and to let us know what you think of this project follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

February 14, 2017

Tree Climbing Robot

For someone interested in mechatronics, this tree climbing robot would be a great project to attempt. The tree climbing robot uses two segments, one which attaches to the tree and another which continues to climb upwards after which they swap roles, slowly edging the robot up the tree. The result is surprisingly effective and very satisfying to watch! To find out more check out the following link or the video below.  

Tree Climbing Robot

 

When you use motors in your Arduino project you will almost certainly need a H-Bridge motor driver. A H-Bridge allows you to easily control the direction of your motors from within your code. Our own Dual Channel H-Bridge Motor Driver Shield is a perfect solution to this problem, allowing you to drive two DC motors or a stepper motor.

H-Bridge

The Dual Channel H-Bridge Motor Driver Shield features PWM control, selectable current limits and a prototyping area to add your own parts. To find out more check out the Dual Channel H-Bridge Motor Driver Shield page.

To keep up to date with the latest news, projects, product announcements  and to let us know what you think of this project follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

February 13, 2017

Project Showcase: Using Arduino to Repair Pinball Machines

One of the great thing about electronics is that they can be used for millions and millions of different applications. One of the more unique applications of our products that we have come across is from James, a pinball machine repair enthusiast! James has used an Arduino and two of our N-Drive Shields to control all of the lights and action on one of his pinball machines.  

“You should be marketing this to pinball repair people!” - James.

You can checkout some pictures of James’s projects below.

Pinball

Pinball

Our N-Drive Shield provides a great way to control multiple high-current signals using Arduino.

N-Drive Shield

With the N-Drive Shield you can directly control up to 6 separate high-power loads such as high-intensity LEDs, lamps, motors, and relays. The shield incorporates 6 N-channel MOSFETs, each capable of switching up to 60Vdc at 20 Amps, enough to drive massive loads such as 30W and 60W RGB LEDs capable of burning your eyeballs right out of year head!

Each MOSFET is connected to an Arduino pin with PWM capability, so you can vary the power delivered to each load individually. For much more information checkout the N-Drive Shield product page.

To keep up to date with the latest news, projects, product announcements  and to let us know what you think of this project showcase follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

February 12, 2017

Skill Sunday: Pulse Width Modulation

Using the digitalWrite() function in Arduino it is very simple to turn an output pin on or off. However, what if we want to alter the speed of a motor or dim an LED? This is where Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) can be really useful. By rapidly switching a signal high and low, and varying the proportion of time that the signal is high we can digitally emulate analog results! To find out more about this very useful function checkout the full tutorial or the helpful diagram and video example below.  

Diagram - PWM

 

Have you been reading about cool projects like this and would like to understand more? Checkout our Experimenter's Kit for Arduino - as used in many classroom and learning environments:

Experimenter's Kit

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. The kit also includes a great project and instruction booklet, plus access to a supporting web page and software examples. To get started or for more information and to order, check out the product page.

To keep up to date with the latest news, projects, product announcements  and to let us know what you think of this weeks Skill Sunday follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

February 08, 2017

DIY Bubble Machine

There is something highly satisfying about watching the awesome bubble machine belliedroot has created in action. The machine utilizes a number of servos to give the bubble “wand” panning and tilting capabilities so it can be dipped in bubble mixture and then moved in front of a fan which blows the bubbles out!

Bubble Machine

This project is a great way to learn about how servo motors work with Arduino, and make something cool in the process. To find out more about how you can build your own bubble machine checkout the following link or the video below

 

When you use motors in your Arduino project you will almost certainly need a H-Bridge motor driver. A H-Bridge allows you to easily control the direction of your motors from within your code. Our own Dual Channel H-Bridge Motor Driver Shield is a perfect solution to this problem, allowing you to drive two DC motors or a stepper motor.

H-Bridge

The Dual Channel H-Bridge Motor Driver Shield features PWM control, selectable current limits and a prototyping area to add your own parts. To find out more check out the Dual Channel H-Bridge Motor Driver Shield page.

To keep up to date with the latest news, projects, product announcements  and to let us know what you think of this project follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

February 06, 2017

Project Showcase: Impressive N-MOSFET Powered Artwork

At Freetronics we always love to see the amazing projects our customers create using our products. A few months ago we provided LOVOT LAB’s with a bunch of our N-MOSFET modules. We later found out that the modules were used to easily switch on and off a number of large, high powered LEDs for an art installation named “GRID I”. If this wasn't exciting enough, this project was located in South Korea!

GRID I with the projects creators

Fortunately, LOVOT LAB’s got back to us with some pictures and videos of the installation, the results are certainly spectacular! Don’t forget to checkout LOVOT LAB’s website to see more of the cool projects they have been working on.

 

Our Addressable Triple N-MOSFET driver / output module allow you to drive lots of different high powered loads using a single Arduino data pin. Effectively, our Addressable MOSFETs provide the same functionality as found in more common addressable LEDs such as our FreePixel, but can be used to drive any load you wish, not just an RGB LED. To find out more or to order visit the product page.

N-MOSFETs

To keep up to date with the latest news, projects, product announcements  and to let us know what you think of this project showcase follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

February 05, 2017

Skill Sunday: Power Monitoring

Using a Clipsal Cent-A-Meter you can effectively monitor the power usage of different appliances. This is great, however the built in functionality can be rather limiting. You can not, for example track the power consumption of a device over time. Thankfully, combining this meter with Arduino can allow you to reach the power meters full potential!  Specifically, a 433MHz receiver can provide a communication bridge between the power monitoring system and an Ethernet connected Arduino allowing the power meter’s data to be sent into a SQL database for analysis and tracking. To find out more about this hack checkout the following link.   

Power Meter

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:

Receiver

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.

To keep up to date with the latest news, projects, product announcements  and to let us know what you think of this project follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

February 04, 2017

Back to the Future Inspired Auto Lacing Shoes

Instructables member blakebevin has create her own Power Laces! The concept is quite simple, a force sensor detects when your foot is firmly in the shoe and two servo motors apply tension to the laces, tightening the laces. To find out more about this awesome project check out the following link or the video of the shoe in action below.

Power Laces

 


When you use motors in your Arduino project you will almost certainly need a H-Bridge motor driver. A H-Bridge allows you to easily control the direction of your motors from within your code. Our own Dual Channel H-Bridge Motor Driver Shield is a perfect solution to this problem, allowing you to drive two DC motors or a stepper motor.

H-Bridge

The Dual Channel H-Bridge Motor Driver Shield features PWM control, selectable current limits and a prototyping area to add your own parts. To find out more check out the Dual Channel H-Bridge Motor Driver Shield page.

To keep up to date with the latest news, projects, product announcements and to let us know what you think of this project follow us on Facebook and Twitter.