The goal for this project was to build it with mostly parts that I had in my lab instead of designing or buying something special so for this reason some hacking had to be done.

July 27th, 2009

Arduino LCD Backpack

Arduino LCD Backpack

Also entitled Arduino LCD Backpack ‘Sandwich’ by its illustrious creator, this is a simple do-it-yourself project using an Arduino microcontroller and a small LCD display. The MCU runs at 16Mhz thanks to the ceramic resonator (the light-brown one, located near the microcontroller). The LCD is an alphanumeric one with two lines of 16 characters (the color used is amber/orange, which gives it a nice, old-school feeling). The contrast of the LCD can be adjusted using a potentiometer.

The Backpack has an IR input receiver module connected (the small silver box on the left side) and a 6 pin FTDI style serial header soldered directly to the wires, which is used for software download and also for the 5V DC power supply. The project is free, for non-commercial use only. More details, pictures and source code available in the link below.

Arduino LCD Backpack: [Link][via]

alphanumeric LCD, with two lines of 16 characteralphanumeric LCD, with two lines of 16 characters.s.


Bricogeek droped me an email to let me know they’re hosting a contest where participants are requiered to design a game with an Arduino board. You can use any version of the boards available but it must be playable so the user can interact with the game. You can submit your project, one per person, before the deadline shown on this page. There are some nice prizes waiting for you to win them so I suggest you start building :). Good luck.

July 14th, 2009

Arduino Nano 3.0

Arduino Nano 3.0

The Arduino Nano 3.0 is an Arduino-based electronics board that is designed to be mounted on a breadboard and can be accessed using the integrated USB port. This new version of the Nano features the Atmel ATmega328 microcontroller, which has more RAM and flash memory than its predecessor (ATmega168) and costs $35, cheaper than the previous model too.

The new Arduino Nano, like its forerunner, works at 5V, having limits of input voltage between 6 and 12V, 14 digital I/O pins with 6 of them being able to provide PWM output, 8 analog input pins and a clock speed of 16MHz. It also features automatic reset during program download, auto sensing/switching power input and standard 0.1” spacing DIP for easy breadboard installation. However, this new version possesses double amounts of memory: 32KB of flash memory (2KB are used for the bootloader), 2KB SRAM memory and 1KB EEPROM memory.

The PCB of the Nano 3.0 is a two-layer model, which makes it cheaper to produce and easier to hack. The blue power LED has been moved to the top side of the board and the pin labels have been rearranged. The Arduino Nano 3.0 is manufactured by Gravitech and it costs $30 if pre-ordered from them. The new models will ship on July 27th.

Arduino Nano 3.0: [Link][via]

Optical Mouse Sensor with Arduino

Connecting an optical mouse sensor with an Arduino microcontroller is a fairly simple task that can help you read horizontal and vertical movements. Any Arduino can be used to perform this operation and you will also need an optical mouse, of course. This tutorial is made for PAN3101, ADNS-2610, ADNS-2083 or ADNS-2051 optical sensors, but the library available is pretty extensive, so you might be able to use other kinds of optical sensors as well (the OptiMouse library for Arduino is available in the link).

Care must be taken when disassembling the mouse to take the optical sensor. It is important to know exactly what type of optical sensor you have, so you’ll have to do some digging to find out. The sensor will use 4 pins of the microncontroller, 2 for power supply and 2 for data. The data communication is serial and bi-directional, but depending on your optical sensor, the pins used from the Arduino may be different.

You may encounter interferences from sensor’s own controller used in the mouse, so disconnect it might be a good idea (the SDIO and SCLK wires). These two wires should be soldered to pins 3 and 4 respectively and pins 6 and 7 will be used for GND and 5v respectively. You will need to download the library mentioned above (the link provides a .zip with the library and example sketches that you can upload to the Arduino for verifications).

A very simple project that can come in handy in certain situations.

Optical Mouse Sensor with Arduino: [Link][via]

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