There is no shame in asking for help when you get stuck on your Arduino projects, but there are definitely right and wrong ways to ask for help. Often people are not sure what information needs to be displayed. Here are some simple tips on how to ask a question, and how to trouble shoot to be able to get the information needed for a question
Tutorial:A guide to putting your Arduino to sleep
If you need to run your Arduino of a battery pack, you need to find a way to reduce it's power consumption. One of the the best ways to do this is putting your Arduino to sleep when it is not performing any tasks. This tutorial is a great place to start on learning how to put your Arduino to sleep.
A lot of makers don't know how important it is to know the current draw of your project, or why you need to know this. In this tutorial I will explain to you how to measure the current draw of your project, and why it is so important to know this.
I often get asked the question of what type of power supply to use for projects. Most of us know the voltage required, but how much current it draws and why you need to know this is a mystery to many beginner makers. To start with what is this current thing? "In comes the analogy that uses the flow of water to explain these things".
A couple of year’s back I bought one of the Neopixel light strings from Adafruit. I think it was 200 leds. I used them one season and put them away. This Christmas I decided to make an IOT Christmas light display out of it just above our horizontal blinds.
To do this I used the code explained in the Tutorial:Storing WiFi Configuration On Your ESP8266 Using The EEPROM Library Made Simple Part 1 and Tutorial part 2. I also used code from the Adafruit Neopixel example code and integrated it with my base code to create an IOT device from the tutorial.
These 5 tips can help you write better, and more functional code for your Arduino projects. These helpful tips help you understand how important it is to use descriptive variable names, indent your code, use comments, the use of functions to make your code more reusable, and write documentation for your projects.
These 5 tips are useful for both novice makers/developers and more advanced ones. They are often overlooked making an otherwise great project a nightmare to deal with
This is Part 2 of a 2 part tutorial that will simplify the way you can store your WiFi configuration on an ESP8266 using the EEPROM library. With this knowledge you can then build Internet Of Things (IOT) projects that can be configured by web form. This will enable to change passwords or IP configuration when needed without having to recompile your sketch.
In part 2 you will learn howto read information "your stored in memory in part one" out of memory. How to use it to configure your IOT device to connect to your WiFi network, and make it user configurable by combining Part 1 and 2 in one sketch
This tutorial is part 1 of 2 that will simplify the way you can store your WiFi configuration on an ESP8266 using the EEPROM library. With this knowledge you can then build Internet Of Things (IOT) projects that can be configured by web form. This will enable to change passwords or IP configuration when needed without having to recompile your sketch.
In part 1 we learn how to write the information to your IOT project, part 2 will teach you how to read this information out of memory and configure your IOT project so it can connect to your WiFi router
Halloween Hack: How to automatically activate your Halloween Arduino Project
With Halloween coming around the corner it is time to see how we can automate some scary projects. We are going to explore two of my favourite ways to do this. First we are going to look how to integrate a pressure plate switch (a big push button you step on which we are going to build), then we will look at how to connect a motion sensor (Passive Infrared Sensor or PIR) to your scaretastick project for the maximum scare factor. I recommend you also watch the video below to get the most out of this tutorial.
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)?
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.