March 26, 2017

Skill Sunday: Using a Camera Sensor with Arduino

It is easy to imagine that incorporating a camera into an Arduino project would be far too advanced for the average hobbyist! However, with the advent of many low cost and easy to use camera sensor modules such as the OV7670, the barrier of entry has been significantly lowered. Mybotic has put together a great instructable explaining how you can wire up the OC7670 camera to your Arduino, and set it up to take photos which are loaded straight onto your computer using the Arduino serial port. To find out more check out the following link.

Arduino Camera Sensor

If you are looking to get started making your own custom Arduino projects, why not check out our ProtoShield for Arduino. The ProtoShield is an excellent tool to turn your temporary, breadboarded project into something more permanent. ProtoShield's fit directly onto an Arduino board and have a large general purpose area in the middle where you can solder on your own parts to create a durable, long lasting project! The ProtoShield is a high quality, corrosion resistant gold plated PCB and represents great value at only $3!

Protoshields

To find out more about our fantastic ProtoShield’s check out our full collection at the following page. Found this week's Skill Sunday useful? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.   

March 25, 2017

Awesome Motion Tracking Dart Board

Darts can be a great game, although if you aren’t very good it can be very frustrating! In an attempt to solve this “problem” former NASA engineer Rober has spent three years designing a building a motion tracking dart board which automatically moves as the dart is being thrown to ensure you hit the bulls eye with every shot. One of the critical elements of this system is an Arduino compatible board which helps to control the motors to realign the dart board! Although this creation is a little over engineered it is way too cool not to share!

 

When you use motors in an 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.

March 21, 2017

New reseller: LightcubeZ

For fans of LED cubes, there's now a brand new cube specialist here in Australia. With a background in the music industry, the founders of LightcubeZ saw demand for visual displays at clubs and other music venues, and turned to the Freetronics RGB LED Cube as a building block for creating cool light shows.

 

Check out their new site at lightcubez.com.au.

March 19, 2017

Skill Sunday: Programing the ESP8266 from the Arduino IDE

The ESP8266 is an extremely popular, low cost WiFi module which is widely used in DIY hardware hacking community.

ESP8226

The module provides one of the easiest ways to add WiFi to an Arduino project and as a result of it’s popularity there is a plenty of help available online if you get stuck! Whilst the ESP8266 can be used in combination with an Arduino, you can also use it as a stand alone microcontroller. Fortunately programming the ESP8266 as a stand alone board is quite straightforward and is even possible through the existing Arduino IDE. To find out more about how you can do program your ESP8266, checkout the following tutorial.  

PIN OUT

Have you been reading about cool projects like this and would like to understand more? Checkout our Experimenter's Kit for Arduino:

Experimenters 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 place a pre-order for our next batch of kits, checkout the product page.

What did you think of this week's Skill Sunday? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

March 12, 2017

Skill Sunday: Fixing a Blown Arduino

Although Arduino boards are typically quite robust, things can still go wrong, especially when used by total beginners. One of the most catastrophic problems that can occur is totally burning out the ATmega microcontroller which is the brains of most Arduino boards. Fortunately this scenario doesn’t have to mean the end for your Arduino board and can actually represent a fantastic learning opportunity! With this tutorial from make you can learn how to replace a burnt-out ATmega in your Arduino board and upload the bootloader using an AVR ISP programmer, so that the new ATmega functions just like an Arduino. This sure beats purchasing an entirely new board!

Blown ATmegas can be replaced!

If you are looking for an ICSP AVR programmer look no further than our USBasp! The programmer has a USB interface and allows you to program bootloaders or firmware on a wide range of microcontrollers including the ATmega which is used in Arduino boards. To find out more and to order checkout the following link.  

USBasp

Did you find this Skill Sunday useful? Do you have an idea for next week's skill? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.

March 11, 2017

Arduino Word Generator

Whilst ATmega microprocessors are fantastic for use in Arduino boards they can also be used on their own, which can simplify projects a lot! One great example of this is a word generator created by duino4projects. The project uses an ATmega168 to generate the words and prints them on a 4 digit-16 segment display. To find out more about this project check out the following link.   

Arduino Word Generator

If you are looking for an standalone ATmega microcontroller checkout our ATmega328P which is the same chip used in our Eleven and EtherTen. Our ATmega328P is perfect for building your only Arduino compatible project directly on a breadboard or custom PCB. For more information and to order checkout the following link.   

ATmega

Inspired to make your own word generator? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

March 05, 2017

Skill Sunday: Sound Generation

Regardless of what type of electronics project you are working on you will likely have to provide feedback to your users about the status of the system. Typically this can be done visually using LEDs or small displays. However, another great way to provide user feedback can be through sound. This might be as simple as a quick “beep” to indicate that the fridge door has been left open, or as complex as providing background music for a game! Thankfully adding sound to your projects is actually quite easy! The best way to get started is to checkout the following guide.

Sound

If you're looking for an easy way to add sounds to your own projects check out our sound and buzzer module:

Sound and Buzzer Module

Although you can use the sound and buzzer module to generate sounds, it can also be used as a knock-detector input to sense events and react to them. For more information and to order, please visit the product page.

Have an idea for next week's Skill Sunday? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

March 01, 2017

Motion Sensing Water Gun

During the warm Australian summer months there is nothing more refreshing than a water fight! James Cripps's, motion sensor water gun you can make sure you always emerge from these fights victorious. The water gun uses a motion sensor and an Arduino to fire the gun anytime motion is detected. The instructions James provides are very thorough so you should have no problem getting started building your own water gun.

Water Fight

Have you been reading about cool projects like this and would like to understand more? Looking for a great gift?  Checkout our Experimenter's Kit for Arduino:

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, checkout the product page.

Already working on  a project you want us to feature in this blog? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.  

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.