Saturday, March 26, 2011

Arduino Fun

Wow I have not updated here in a long long time.  Been spending too much time on Twitter. :)

Recently I have been spending a bunch of time working with an Arduino Uno. It's a simple Mini Computer that you can program yourself.  You can built completely independent circuits, robots, sensor reading devices, anything you can think of.

I have a bunch of grandiose ideas for future projects, but for my first project I wanted to keep things simple.

Big Box O' Stuff
  • USB (serial) connection to computer, power and commands are sent from the computer.
  • LCD display to show messages. Show IM messages, new Mail notification, Calendar event notification, etc..
  • RGB LED Sphere to display colors and patterns sent from the Computer. Flash Red when I get new mail, etc...
  • Temperature Sensor and Simple button. When the button is pressed show the current Temperature for some period of time.
  • Enclosure to keep everything safe so I can use this at work or at home.

I have everything but the Temperature sensor working.  I should get the temperature sensor and additional supplies I need to mount everything in a box soon.  For now I have a breadboard prototype running.

The current firmware lets me do everything I want with a simple Perl based control program.  I ran into one issue that was driving me crazy.  I'm trying to use the programming port for communication.  This way I can use one cable to program the Arduino and to communicate with it while it's running.  However, the Arduino Uno does an automatic reset every time you connect to the port.  This forum post gave me the info I needed to disable this feature. If I need to update the program I will need to undo this change either via a jumper or with a switch.

I still need to find a sphere to use as a light diffuser. I'll probably just end up using a ping pong ball. I would like to have one thats larger than normal, but that has so far been difficult to find.  I also need to work out all the details to mount everything in the plastic project box that I purchased.  I have a Dremel tool that I haven't used in ages, it should come in handy soon.

More pics to come as I attempt to complete the project.