Posts with «arduino» label

E-Paper Hacking with Ben Krasnow

Exploring the latest generation of e-paper, how it works, and how you can program and hack the display.

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The post E-Paper Hacking with Ben Krasnow appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

Create the smart home gadget of the future with Alexa and Arduino

We’re excited to announce a new challenge with Amazon Alexa and Hackster.io, which invites the Arduino community to design the smart home gadgets of the future.

Makers have already come up with exciting ways to integrate Alexa and Arduino into their projects, from talking teddy bears and singing animatronic fish, to voice-controlled blinds and holiday decorations, to robotic coffee machines and drink mixers. And now, we want to see what next-generation devices you can come up with next. Personalized lighting? Room temperature automation? Security and doorbell systems? Pet toys and feeders?

Contest winners will be awarded with prizes that can help take their ideas from prototype to product through Dragon Innovation’s certification process, Kickstarter coaching sessions, cash, and more.

The Best Overall Alexa Smart Home Skill & Gadget winner will receive a prize package valued at $29,000:

  • $14,000 cash
  • Kickstarter Package: Promotional video and marketing fund
  • Dragon Innovation Certification
  • A 60-minute Kickstarter coaching session (to take your project to product)

Want to learn more about the Alexa and Arduino Smart Home Challenge? You can find a full list of rules and prizes here.

The King of All Game Genies In An Arduino

While Nintendo is making a killing on nostalgic old consoles, there is a small but dedicated group of hackers still working with the original equipment. Since the original NES was rolled out in the 80s, though, there are a few shortcomings with the technology. Now, though, we have Arduinos, cheap memory, and interesting toolchains. What can we do with this? Absolutely anything we want, like playing modern video games on this antiquated system. [uXe] added dual-port memory to his ancient NES console, opening up the door to using the NES as a sort of video terminal for an Arduino. Of course, this is now also the King of All Game Genies and an interesting weekend project to boot.

Most NES cartridges have two bits of memory, the PRG and CHR ROMs. [uXe] is breaking out the cartridge connector onto an exceptionally wide rainbow ribbon cable, and bringing it into a custom Arduino Mega shield loaded up with two 16K dual-port RAM chips. These RAM chips effectively replace the PRG and CHR ROMs Since these are dual-port RAM chips, they can be written to by the Arduino and read by the NES simultaneously.

The NES sees one port of the RAM and can read and write from it while the Arduino still has access to make changes to the other post while that’s happening. A trick like this opens up a whole world of possibilities, most obviously with tiling and other graphics tricks that can push beyond the console’s original capabilities. [uXe] is currently playing Arduboy games on the NES — a really neat trick to pull off. Well done [uXe]!

Be sure to check out the video below of the NES running some games from the Arduboy system. It seems to integrate seamlessly into the hardware, so if you’ve always had a burning desire to fix crappy graphics on some of your favorite games, or run some special piece of software on an NES, now might just be your time to shine.


Filed under: nintendo hacks
Hack a Day 20 Nov 16:31

Antique grandfather clock retrofitted with Arduino control

When you see a mechanical clock, you know on some level that it took a vast amount of expertise and craftsmanship to get working, but you might also assume that this could all be swapped out very easily with modern electronics. While this might be the case with a clock that only tells time, as David Henshaw shows with his project, once you add in extra features like a moon phase, date indicator, and chimes, things get complicated quickly.

Henshaw began by purchasing an 1847 vintage clock from England without the movement—the parts that actually it tell time. He then replaced the mechanical assembly normally found inside with stepper motors, sensors, an Arduino Uno, and a variety of other wires and bits.

You can see the retrofitted grandfather clock in action below, while the build process (which took the better part of a year) and Arduino code he used are outlined on his website.

Building an 8-step keyboard sequencer with Arduino

Sequencers, as YouTuber “LOOK MUM NO COMPUTER” explains, are musical devices that go through a sequence of tones one by one. While this can be done quite simply with a 4017 counter chip, if you instead substitute in an Arduino board for the counter, you can make your gadget behave normally, go backwards, or even act as a sort of keyboard using input buttons.

This particular project employs a Nano for control, giving it a conveniently small form factor to fit inside your equipment.

Since the start of building modular synths, ive always been looking for an arduino powered sequencer. but never really happy with the projects that were about. because it was still menu dives and button combinations. which is not what you wanna be messing about with! you may aswell use a computer and a mouse ha.

Be sure to check out LOOK MUM NO COMPUTER’s entire build process and a demo of the keyboard sequencer in the video below. You can also find circuit diagrams and Arduino code in the project’s write-up here.

Modernizing a 170 year old Antique Grandfather Clock

Frankly, we let out a yelp of despair when we read this in the tip line “Antique Grandfather clock with Arduino insides“! But before you too roll your eyes, groan, or post snark, do check out [David Henshaw]’s amazing blog post on how he spent almost eight months working on the conversion.

Before you jump to any conclusions about his credentials, we must point out that [David] is an ace hacker who has been building electronic clocks for a long time. In this project, he takes the antique grandfather clock from 1847, and puts inside it a new movement built from Meccano pieces, stepper motors, hall sensors, LEDs, an Arduino and lots of breadboard and jumper wires while making sure that it still looks and sounds as close to the original as possible.

He starts off by building a custom electro-mechanical clock movement, and since he’s planning as he progresses, meccano, breadboard and jumper wires were the way to go. Hot glue helps preserve sanity by keeping all the jumper wires in place. To interface with all of the peripherals in the clock, he decided to use a bank of shift registers driven from a regular Arduino Uno. The more expensive DS3231 RTC module ensures better accuracy compared to the cheaper DS1307 or similar clones. A bank of RGB LEDs acts as an annunciator panel inside the clock to help provide various status indications. The mechanical movement itself went through several iterations to get the time display working with a smooth movement of the hands. Besides displaying time, [David] also added a moon phase indicator dial. A five-rod chime is struck using a stepper motor driven cam and a separate solenoid is used to pull and release three chime hammers simultaneously to generate the loud gong sounds.

And here’s the amazing part – he did all of this before laying his hands on the actual grandfather clock – which was shipped to him in California from an antique clock specialist in England and took two months to arrive. [David] ordered just the clock housing, dial/face and external parts, with none of the original inner mechanism. Once he received it, his custom clock-work assembly needed some more tweaking to get all the positions right for the various hands and dials. A clock like this without its typical “ticktock” sound would be pretty lame, so [David] used a pair of solenoids to provide the sound effect, with each one being turned on for a different duration to produce the characteristic ticktock.

At the end of eight months, the result – christened Judge – was pretty satisfying. Check the video below to judge the Judge for yourself. If you would like to see some more of [David]’s clockwork, check out Dottie the Flip Dot Clock and A Reel to Reel Clock.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, clock hacks

DIY vending machine with Arduino

Have you ever wanted a vending machine for snacks but didn’t know where to start? With an Arduino Mega, some motors, and an infrared sensor to detect coins, Dejan Nedelkovski decided to build his own using only hand tools.

The DIY vending machine’s structure is made out of MDF, and uses wires bent into helical shapes to twist items out of four storage spaces with continuous rotation servos. While they could just drop to the bottom, Nedelkovski added a little extra flair and constructed an elevator system powered by stepper motors to gently lower the chosen treat to the exit opening.

You can see the project in action below, and find more details in Nedelkovski’s write-up here.

Sensing Soil Moisture: You’re Doing it Wrong!

If you compulsively search online for inexpensive microcontroller add-ons, you will see soil moisture measurement kits. [aka] built a greenhouse with a host of hacked hardware including lights and automatic watering. What caught our attention among all these was Step 5 in their instructions where [aka] explains why the cheap soil sensing probes aren’t worth their weight in potting soil. Even worse, they may leave vacationers with a mistaken sense of security over their unattended plants.

The sensing stakes, which come with a small amplifier, work splendidly out of the box, but if you recall, passing current through electrodes via moisture is the recipe for electrolysis and that has a pretty profound effect on metal. [Aka] shows us the effects of electrolysis on these probes and mentions that damaged probes will cease to give useful information which could lead to overworked pumps and flooded helpless plants.

There is an easy solution. Graphite probes are inexpensive to make yourself. Simply harvest them from pencils or buy woodless pencils from the art store. Add some wires and hold them with shrink tube, and you have probes which won’t fail you or your plants.

Here’s some garden automation if this only whet your whistle, and here’s a robotic friend who takes care of the weeds for you.


Filed under: green hacks

An excellent two-sided UV exposure box

If you want to make your own custom PCBs at home, one method is to paint a circuit board blank with photosensitive material, then expose the portion you don’t want to UV light using a printed transparency. After a process of etching and stripping, the correct traces are generated.

As seen here, in order to help with the UV process, GiorgiQ decided to create his own two-sided exposure box. It uses arrays of LEDs to produce the correct light, and an Arduino Nano for control.

The box itself is constructed out of MDF, white acrylic, and drawer slides to allow for easy insertion and extraction of the PCBs. It looks like an excellent tool, and his instructions would be a great place to start if you want to build your own!

Automated Chamber Passes Just the Right Gas

It sounds like an overly complicated method a supervillain would use to slowly and painfully eliminate enemies — a chamber with variable oxygen concentration. This automated environmental chamber isn’t for torturing suave MI6 agents, though; rather, it enables cancer research more-or-less on the cheap.

Tasked with building something to let his lab simulate the variable oxygen microenvironments found in some kinds of tumors, [RyanM415] first chose a standard lab incubator as a chamber to mix room air with bottled nitrogen. With a requirement to quickly vary the oxygen concentration from the normal 21% down to zero, he found that the large incubator took far too long to equilibrate, and so he switched to a small acrylic box. Equipped with a mixing fan, the smaller chamber quickly adjusts to setpoints, with an oxygen sensor providing feedback and controlling the gas valves via a pair of Arduinos. It’s quite a contraption, with floating ball flowmeters and stepper-actuated variable gas valves, but the results are impressive. If it weren’t for the $2000 oxygen sensor, [RyanM145] would have brought the whole project in for $500, but at least the lab can use the sensor elsewhere.

Modern biology and chemistry labs are target-rich environments for hacked instrumentation. From DIY incubators to cheap electrophoresis rigs, we’ve got you covered.


Filed under: chemistry hacks