Helpful Tip: How to create a more professional and user friendly Arduino project by storing your configuration in the EEPROM

Helpful Tip: How to create a more professional and user friendly Arduino project by storing your configuration in the EEPROM

As makers we strive to make projects that are easy to use and have a more professional feel about them. If your project is user configurable (e.g. are you using C or F for your temperature), how do you store that information so it is kept, even when the Arduino gets reset?

 What if you could make your Arduino remember these types of user changeable settings (e.g. using a menu saving your Wi-Fi password)?

Cooling down your Aquarium by using a temperature controlled Fan

Cooling down your Aquarium by using a temperature controlled Fan

Every aquarium lover is afraid of hot weather. It often means that your tanks are going to be overheating. This can lead to catastrophic results.  An easy fix for smaller tanks is to place a small USB fan on top of your tank. It can drop the temperature of your tank by almost 3C  less than the the ambient room temperature.

The drawback is that you have a lot of water that evaporates, and  your tank temperature can get too cold if your ambient temperature in your room drops. This is why I created an electronic switch using an Arduino that turns the USB fan on or off depending on the temperature of the water.

Tutorial: Using Interrupts to improve the functionality of your Arduino projects

Tutorial: Using Interrupts  to improve the functionality of your Arduino projects

A couple of weeks back I wrote a short tutorial on using timers instead of delay() functions to make your Arduino projects more responsive to input from buttons and sensors. Using interrupts is a different way to achieve the same result. By attaching an interrupt to a digital pin the Arduino will halt what it is doing to handle the input as it happens making your project more responsive. 

EXPLAINING WHAT AN INTERRUPT IS AND DOES.

Let’s say you are listening to your music with your noise canceling headphones on. At that point somebody calls you on your cell phone. Of course you don’t hear your phone ring as your music is loud and you are distracted by it. Luckily there is someone in the room with you who hears the ringing. This person pokes you in the side to let you know that your phone is ringing and tells you can answer it.

Project: IOT Weather Forecasting Station

Project: IOT Weather Forecasting Station

Project: IOT Weather Forecasting Station

The most discussed topic in the western world is the weather. We speak about it around the water cooler, at the bus stop, and in elevators. If you only could have a magical cube that could tell you the weather on your desk or near the water cooler.

Now you can. I created an IOT weather cube that you can build yourself. The IOT weather cube will display the current conditions and with the click of a button you can see up to 3 days of weather forcast for your region.

All you need is a few parts, some soldering skills, a free development account on wunderground.com, and a Wi-Fi router connected to the internet. I’ll supply the pictures how to connect the wires, the code, and even the drawings for getting your own box cut on a laser cutter.

Tutorial: How and Why to use Timers instead of the Delay() Function

Tutorial:  How and Why to use Timers instead of the Delay() Function

Tutorial:  How and Why to use Timers instead of the Delay() Function

A common problems with Arduino projects is that buttons or other input input sensors seem to be working intermittently or with a postponed reaction. In cases like this your project might be suffering from delays.

From the beginning we get taught to use the delay() function if we want to create timed delays on execution of specific parts of our Arduino sketch. The drawback is that your loop gets halted and functions above and below the delay() are not being executed during this interval.

A timer approach is a little harder to implement but will allow your main loop to keep executing and only exclude the code and functions you want to exclude. To simplify this we can use timer libraries like the elapsedMillis.

Tutorial on creating graphics for the Nokia 5110 LCD using an Arduino and the Adafruit library

Tutorial on creating graphics for the Nokia 5110 LCD using an Arduino and the Adafruit library

Creating graphics for the Nokia 5110 display using an Arduino and the Adafruit Library

I use the Nokia 5110 display in many of my projects. It is inexpensive and reliable. I also use the  Adafruit library for this display as it is easy to use and feature rich. The only issue I had with this library was displaying icons and other graphics on it.

All the tutorials I could find dealt with how to concert a bitmap to a format this display could use were with a utility called LCD Assistant. And this does not work with the Adafruit library. This tutorial will take you through the steps how to create graphics using the Adafruit Library

 

How I became a Maker

I often get asked by people what a maker is after I tell them what I do. A Maker is somebody who creates things either as a professional or as a hobbyist. These days’ people buy their products in a store, and have no idea how it works, who makes it, or where it comes from.

A new beginning

A new beginning

In everyone's life comes a time where they need, or want to change what they do. I have been working in the IT field as a manager/ System Admin/Programmer for so long (nearly 25 years) that it had become a comfortable jacket (you know the one with stains), but you love it and don't want to get rid of.