December 04, 2016

Skill Sunday: Arrays

This week on Skill Sunday we will be learning about using arrays with Arduino. Using arrays in your code can make your code faster and much more readable. For example, rather than defining a new variable for each pin used in your Arduino code, having an array allows you to assign these all to one array. To access each pin in the array you simply define which address of the array you would like to access. If you would like a more thorough explanation of how Arduino arrays work to implement them in your code make sure you checkout the following link.

Arrays

If you are thinking about getting started with Arduino, but don’t know where to get started, our Experimenter’s Kit is a great way to learn the basics.

Experimenter's Kit

The kit includes a wide range of parts including a servo, sensors, lights, buttons, a sound module and more. Importantly, a Freetronics Eleven Arduino-compatible board is included to ensure that the kit contains everything you need to get started with Arduino. All these great parts would be useless without some form of instructions which is why we have developed a comprehensive project and instruction booklet to get you started. Check out the product page to find out more.

Working on a cool project you think we should know about? Have an idea for next week’s “Skill Sunday”? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.  

December 03, 2016

Gesture Controlled Smart Home

It is already possible to easily control devices in your house using an app on your phone, but what if you could turn on the lights or open the blinds with a simple movement of your hands? This is exactly what Joaquim has done using an MYO gesture control armband.

Gesture Control

Joaquim has explained the details of his project in great detail, but the results certainly have to been seen to be believed. To find out more and read the full details check out the following link.

Fundamental to almost all home automation project is the ability to connect devices to the internet. If you are wondering how to connect your Arduino to WiFi, why not checkout the Freetronics ESP-01 WiFi Module shield for Arduino:

Wifi Shield

Our new shield has a socket that's perfect for the ESP-01 module (a very common and cheap WiFi module), and addresses all the needs of the ESP8266 including supplying the correct power and connections to your Arduino. Don't fiddle with jumper wires or sub-standard power supplies - order your Freetronics ESP-01 WiFi Module Shield today! They're in stock right now for only $14.

Convinced to start adding gesture control to your own automation system? Working on a cool project you think we should know about? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.  

November 30, 2016

Water Detection System

A water leak can often be a warning of imminent catastrophic failure with many appliances such as a washing machine or dishwasher. With this simple water detection system not only could you quickly detect appliance faults, but you could also set the system up to notify you if it is raining and you have left washing on the line. The possibilities are endless. This project uses a Particle Photon, although it could work with any microcontroller, and exploits the conducting properties of water to easily detect when water is present somewhere it shouldn’t be! To get started with this project check out the following link.

Flood Detector

Thinking about making your own water detection system but don’t know where to get started with electronics? Our Experimenter’s Kit is a great way to learn.

Expermenter's Kit

The kit includes a wide range of parts including a servo, sensors, lights, buttons, a sound module and more. Importantly, a Freetronics Eleven Arduino-compatible board is included to ensure that the kit contains everything you need to get started with Arduino. All these great parts would be useless without some form of instructions which is why we have developed a comprehensive project and instruction booklet to get you started. Check out the product page to find out more.

Considering building this project yourself? Working on another cool project you think we should know about? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.  

November 29, 2016

Preorder your EtherDue or Experimenter's Kit Now!

Recently here at Freetronics we have had trouble keeping up with demand for a number of our popular products. Our Experimenter’s Kit and EtherDue board have been particularly popular. We are currently producing more of these boards, but we thought we should give you a chance to reserve an EtherDue or Experimenter’s Kit from the upcoming production run so that you don’t miss out! Even better, we are expecting the Experimenters Kit and EtherDue to arrive just in time for Christmas! You can preorder the Experimenter’s Kit here, and the EtherDue here. Haven’t heard of the EtherDue or Experimenters Kit?

Our EtherDue is the Arduino Due-compatible board with the Freetronics additions including Ethernet network connectivity, MAC address chip, microSD storage, optional PoE, upgraded power supply and more. For more information on this powerful board, check out the EtherDue product page.

EtherDue

Our Experimenter’s Kit is the perfect introduction into the world of electronics and programming. The kit includes a wide range of parts including a servo, sensors, lights, buttons, a sound module and more. Importantly, a Freetronics Eleven Arduino-compatible board is included to ensure that the kit contains everything you need to get started with Arduino. All these great parts would be useless without some form of instructions which is why we have developed a comprehensive project and instruction booklet to get you started. Check out the product page to find out more.

Experimenter's Kit

For more product updates and cool electronics project follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  

November 27, 2016

Skill Sunday: Uploading an Arduino Sketch over Bluetooth

Have you ever stuck an Arduino in a hard to get place such as under the house and then realised that you want to upload a firmware revision? This can be a very frustrating situation, however, with the simple addition of a Bluetooth module it is possible to avoid this problem. Amazingly it is possible to program an Arduino over Bluetooth. For added flexibility there is even an Android app, “Bluino Loader” which allows you to upload a sketch to an Arduino from your smartphone. For step by step details of how this is possible, checkout the following link.

Bluetooth Sketch Upload

If you are looking for an easy way to add Bluetooth connectivity to your Arduino why not check out the Freetronics Bluetooth Shield?

Bluetooth Shield

Our Bluetooth Shield plugs right in to your Arduino and lets you send and receive data and commands from your sketches. You don't even need to do anything fancy in your sketches, because the Bluetooth link acts as a serial port: you just pair it with your computer, then you can simply use "Serial.read()" and "Serial.write()" as normal! The Bluetooth Shield can operate as a Bluetooth master or slave and is packed full of useful features. To find out more check out the Freetronics Bluetooth Shield product page.

What did you think of this project? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.  

November 26, 2016

Lightning Detector

Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to sense and track lighting strikes using Arduino? Typically lightning detectors are very expensive, however, runtimeprojects has developed a cheap system for detecting lighting using only an Arduino Uno and a few resistors. Impressively the circuit can detect lightning as far away as 20km! At a basic level the lightning detector works by detecting changes in electromagnetic radiation using a small antenna which picks up fluctuations in the electromagnetic spectrum, particularly at around 7kHz. If you want to find out more about this impressive project checkout the following link.

Lightning Detector

If you are thinking about making your own lightning detector, but don’t know where to get started with Arduino, our Experimenter’s Kit is a great way to learn the basics.

The kit includes a wide range of parts including a servo, sensors, lights, buttons, a sound module and more. Importantly, a Freetronics Eleven Arduino-compatible board is included to ensure that the kit contains everything you need to get started with Arduino. All these great parts would be useless without some form of instructions which is why we have developed a comprehensive project and instruction booklet to get you started. Check out the product page to find out more.

Experimenters Kit

Considering making your own lightning detector? Working on a cool project you think we should know about? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.  

November 24, 2016

Project Showcase - DMD Scoreboard

Although the Freetronics dot matrix displays are already very large and very bright, the ability to chain these displays together means that they are perfect for building an outdoor scoreboard. This is exactly what Freetronics customer joevpt has done. The scoreboard uses 24 DMD displays which are controlled by 6 Arduino boards.

Scoreboard

Impressively the scoreboard updates automatically from an iPhone app which is used to keep track of the scores at joevpt’s rugby club. If you want to read more about this project checkout this thread on our forum. 

Internal Electronics

If you are impressed by this project and want to build your own scoreboard, why not checkout our range of displays. They are 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 easily, and can be daisy-chained together for extended displays. For more information, see our range of Dot Matrix Displays.

Freetronics DMD

Working on a project you would like us to feature on this blog? Think you would could use a scoreboard at your local sports club? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.  

November 22, 2016

3D Printed Arduino UV Meter

With warmer summer months approaching (at least for us in Australian) it is becoming more important to be sun smart. What better way to start being sun smart than to build your own Arduino UV Meter! Impressively this project also has an inbuilt breathalyser! The keychain uses an OLED display a ESP-1 WiFi module along with a number of sensor to read the UV and blood alcohol level and to display this information back to the user.

Keychain

If you want to find out more about this impressive project check out the instructable from funelab.  The instructions are well explained and include instructions on how to 3D print a case which is perfectly designed for the keychain.

Keychain

If you are looking for a OLED display to use in your keychain why not checkout our 128x128 pixel OLED module.

OLED

Better still, our OLED Stick LCD Adapter for LeoStick allows you to very quickly and easily connect our OLED display to our LeoStick Arduino-compatible board for a tiny, handy display! Perfect for this project!  To find out more about our fantastic OLED Stick LCD Adapter for LeoStick check out the product page.

LeoStick Adaptor

Inspired to build your own keychain? Decided to use 3D printing in your next project? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.  

November 20, 2016

Skill Sunday: What is Arduino?

If you have been following our Facebook and Twitter pages or reading our blog you have probably heard a lot about this wonderful thing called “Arduino”.  Although most of you are probably well versed in what Arduino is, some of our readers may have no idea. For this weeks Skill Sunday we have put together a brief introduction about exactly what Arduino is and why you should be interested, you can find it here.

Meme

Just discovered what Arduino is an would like to learn how to use it yourself? 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 pre-order (just in time for Christmas), check out the product page.

Have an idea of a skill that should feature on next week's post? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.  

November 17, 2016

Project Showcase - Keiran's Automation System

At Freetronics we take great joy in seeing the amazing projects that our customers put together. We are starting a new “project showcase” blog segment, not only so we can see all the cool projects that our customers create but also so that we can share these awesome projects with the rest of the world and use them to inspire others to make their own projects!

Our first showcase project is from Keiran who has started building his own home automation system, inspired by SuperHouse. Keiran currently uses his system to control the fountains and lights in his pool and some of the lights in his house. He also has been working on using MQTT to interact between Arduino and Home Assistant running on a Raspberry Pi. It is great to see the Freetronics EtherTen, POE Injector and Terminal Shield used in such a practical way!

Home Automation System

Keiran has lots of ideas to keep adding to his system including motion activated lights and a power monitoring system.  If you want to find out more about Keiran’s project you can read about his progress on our forum.

Home Automation System

Thanks to Keiran for sharing this awesome project with us. If you would like us to feature your project in our blog, please get in contact with us on Facebook or Twitter or send us an email at support@freetronics.com.

If you are interested in home automation projects why not checkout SuperHouseTV. Presented by Freetronics cofounder Jon Oxer, the SuperHouse series provides plenty of project ideas, in depth explanations and entertainment. To find out more about SuperHouse visit the website or YouTube channel.