Posts with «arduino» label

Custom Dog Door Prevents Culinary Atrocities

Riley, an 8 lb pug, has more beauty than brains, and a palate as unrefined as crude oil. While we hate criticizing others’ interests and tastes, his penchant for eating cat poop needed to stop. After a thorough exploration of a variety of options, including cat food additives that make its excrement taste worse (HOW? WHY? Clearly taste wasn’t the issue!), automatic litter boxes that stow the secretions, and pet doors that authenticate access to the room with the litter box, [Science Buddies] eventually settled on a solution that was amenable to all members of the family.

The trick was in creating a door mechanism with a blacklist of sorts rather than a whitelist. As the cat didn’t like to push the door open itself, the solution needed to have the pet door open by default. A magnet on Riley’s collar would trip a sensor attached to an Arduino that would control servos to swing the door shut immediately if he attempted to access the defecated delights. Of course safety was a consideration with the door swinging in Riley’s face.

We’ve covered a few pet screeners, including one for the same purpose that used IR sensors (but a much bigger dog also named Riley), and a flock of solutions for chickens. We’ve also seen [Science Buddies] in previous posts, so they’re not on the tips line blacklist.

Arduino Gear Shift Indicator Finds ‘Em So You Won’t Grind ‘Em

Now, it’s been a shamefully long time since we’ve driven a car with a manual transmission, but as we recall it was pretty straightforward. It certainly didn’t require a lot of help with the shifting pattern, at least not enough to require a technical solution to know what gear you’re in. But then again, we suspect that’s not really the point of [upir]’s latest build.

Oh sure, it’s pretty cool to display your current gear selection on a little LCD screen using an Arduino. And [upir] promises a follow-up project where the display goes inside the shifter knob, which will be really cool. But if you take a look at the video below, you’ll see that the real value of this project is the stepwise approach he takes to create this project. [upir] spends most of the time in the video below simulating the hardware and the code of the project in Wokwi, which lets him make changes and tune the design up before committing anything to actual hardware.

That turned out to be particularly useful with this build since he chose to use analog Hall sensors to detect the shift lever position and didn’t know exactly how that would work. Wokwi let him quickly build a virtual prototype for one sensor (using a potentiometer as a stand-in, since the simulator lacked a Hall sensor model), then quickly expand to the four sensors needed to detect all six gear positions.

By the time his simulation was complete, the code was almost entirely written. [upir] also walks us through his toolchains for both designing the graphics and laying out the PCB, a non-trivial task given the odd layout. We particularly enjoyed the tip on making smooth curved traces around the oval cutout for the shift lever in the board.

The video below is on the longish side, but it’s chock full of great little tips. Check out some more of [upir]’s work, like his pimped-out potentiometer or his custom animations on 16×2 LCDs.

Creating a Numbers Station Of Your Very Own

Numbers stations are a weird phenomenon where odd voices read out long strings of numbers or random codewords to the confusion of the vast majority of the listening audience. If you’ve ever wanted to build one of your own, you could follow the example of [AudioWanderer].

NumberMumble, as it’s called, is a numbers station emulator. It doesn’t signal spy networks or reveal national secrets. Instead, it randomly plays audio samples using an Arduino, including characteristic bursts of white noise that make it sound more authentic. It relies on the Mozzi library to help with audio tasks, including generating white noise and playing back samples. It’s also kitted out with a filter knob for varying the tone. Audio output is via PWM.

If you want to confuse your neighbours with oddball audio, put this thing on a radio transmitter and get broadcasting. But don’t, because that’s illegal without the proper licenses or — you know — if you happen to be a real spy. Video after the break.

Hack a Day 17 Mar 12:00

Arduino Turned Into Something Kinda Like A Pager

Video may have killed the radio star, but cell phones and smart phones all but killed the pager. They still exist, of course, but only in very niche applications. [João Santos] wanted a pager-like experience for himself, though, so he enlisted an Arduino and got to work. Watch a video of the system working below.

The build uses an Arduino Uno to drive a simple HD44780 LCD display with 16 characters each across two lines of text. It’s hooked up to a Wemos D1, which uses its WiFi connection to get online. To this end, it’s capable of talking to a web application which allows users to enter text messages. It receives these messages, passes them to the Arduino Uno over I2C, and then the Uno shuttles the message to the display. It’s overkill, but [João] just found it quicker to get everything up and running via this route.

Those who want to message [João] via the system can head to a website that runs on the OutSystems platform. There, they can enter their name and message, and it will be sent to the pager-like device for display.

It’s a fun little thing, and it makes us wonder if pagers could make a comeback. Maybe simple devices could work in a similar way to Sidewalk or Apple AirTags, communicating via a low-power network made up of smartphones in the local area. We’ve seen something similar done with LoRa. If you happen to whip up something along those lines, don’t hesitate to let us know!

Hack a Day 17 Mar 06:00

New Brains Save 12 V Fridge From the Scrap Heap

Recently [nibbler]’s Evakool 55L vehicle fridge started to act strangely, reporting crazy temperature errors and had no chance of regulating. The determination was that the NTC thermistor was toast, and rather than trying to extricate and replace this part, it was a lot easier to add a new one at a suitable location

Bog-standard fridge internals

A straight swap would have been boring, so this was a perfect excuse for an overboard hack. Reverse engineering the controller wouldn’t be easy, as the data wasn’t available, as is often the case for many products of this nature.

While doing a brain transplant, the hacker way, we can go overboard and add the basics of an IoT control and monitoring system. To that end, [nibbler] learned as much as possible about the off-the-shelf ZH25G compressor and the associated compressor control board. The aim was to junk the original user interface/control board and replace that with a Raspberry Pi Pico W running CircuitPython.

For the display, they used one of the ubiquitous SH1106 monochrome OLED units that can be had for less than the cost of a McDonald’s cheeseburger at the usual purveyors of cheap Chinese electronics.  A brief distraction was trying to use a DS18B20 waterproof thermometer probe, which they discovered didn’t function, so they reverted to tried and trusted tech — a simple NTC thermistor.

Testing testing

The final puzzle piece was to interface the Pico to the compressor controller. The controller expected a variable resistance to control the speed, for which they could have used a digitally controlled potentiometer. However, after failing to tame this particular beast, an easier solution was to build a small PCB with a few relays and some fixed resistors and call it a hack.

An annoyance was the lack of interrupt support in CircuitPython. This meant that interpreting the fault codes from the controller would be a bit tricky. The solution was to wedge in another microcontroller, a small Arduino. Its job is to sit there, listen for commands on the serial port, control the relay board to drive the compressor, listen for any error codes, and pass those back to the Pico. Of course, this could have all been done directly on the Pico, just not with CircuitPython, and a lot more learning would have been needed.

Of course, you need to own a working refrigerator to hack it, but you can easily build it from scratch. Even on a tight budget, you can get your beers cold. Needs must!

Custom Mouse-Making: Clay Is the Way

For something that many of us handle all day long, it sure would be nice if mice came in more sizes and shapes, wouldn’t it? Until that day, we’ll just have to find something passable or else design and build a custom-shaped mouse from scratch like [Ben Makes Everything] did.

First, [Ben] played around with some modelling clay until he had a shape he was happy with, then took a bunch of pictures of it mounted on a piece of wood for easy manipulation and used photogrammetry to scan it in for printing after cleaning it up in Blender. About six versions later, he had the final one and was ready to move on to electronics.

That’s right, this isn’t just mouse guts in an ergonomic package. Inside is Arduino Pro Micro and a PMW 3389 optical sensor on a breakout board. [Ben] was going to use flexible 3D printed panels as mouse buttons, but then had an epiphany — why not use keyboard switches and keycaps instead? He also figured he could have two buttons per finger if he wanted, so he went with Kailh reds for the fingers and and whites in the thumb.

Speaking of the thumb, there was no room for a mouse wheel in between those comparatively huge switches, so he moved it to the the side to be thumb-operated. [Ben] got everything working, and after all this, decided to make it wireless. So he switched to an Adafruit Feather S3 and designed his first PCB for both versions. Ultimately, he found that the wireless version is kind of unreliable, so he is sticking with the wired one for now.

Via Hackster

Educational Arduino Clock Uses Analog Meters For Display

When it comes to educational electronic projects, it’s hard to go past building a clock. You learn tons about everything from circuit concepts and assembly skills to insights about the very nature of time itself. And you get a clock at the end of it! [hamblin.joe] wanted to do a simple project for kids along these lines, so whipped up a neat design using analog meters to display the time.

The build relies on that old stalwart, the Arduino Uno, to run the show. It’s hooked up to a DS3231 real-time clock module so it can keep accurate time for long periods, as is befitting a clock. Displaying the time is done via the use of two analog meters, each fitted with a custom backing card. One displays hours, the other, minutes. The analog meters are simply driven by the PWM outputs of the Arduino.

It’s not a hugely complex project, but it teaches so much. It provides an opportunity to educate the builders about real-time clocks, microcontroller programming, and even the concepts behind pulse width modulation. To say nothing of the physical skills, like learning to solder or how to assemble the laser-cut enclosure. Ultimately, it looks like a really great way for [hamblin.joe] and his students to dive into the world of modern electronics.

Hack a Day 01 Mar 21:00

Bringing Modern Technology to a Sled

Street sledding, a popular pastime in Norway, is an activity that is slowly dwindling in popularity, at least as far as [Justin] aka [Garage Avenger] has noticed. It used to be a fun way of getting around frozen lakes and roads during winter, and while some still have their sleds [Justin] wanted to see if there was a way to revitalize one of these sleds for the modern era. He’s equipped this one with powerful electric turbines than can quickly push the sled and a few passengers around the ice.

Since this particular sled is sized for child-sized passengers, fuel-burning jet engines have been omitted and replaced with electric motors that can spin their turbine blades at an impressive 80,000 rpm. The antique sled first needed to be refurbished, including removing the rust from the runners and reconditioning the wood. With a sturdy base ready to go, the sled gets a set of 3D printed cowlings for the turbines, a thumb throttle on the upgraded handlebars, and a big battery with an Arduino to bring it all together.

With everything assembled and a sheet of ice to try it out on, the powerful sled easily gets its passengers up to the 20-30 kph range depending on passenger weight and size. There’s a brake built on an old ice skate for emergency stops, and the sled was a huge hit for everyone at the skating pond. There are plenty of other ways to spruce up old sleds, too, like this one which adds a suspension for rocketing down unplowed roads.

Give Your Projects A Retro Tint With This 8051-based Arduino Uno

Most of us are familiar with the Arduino Uno, a starting place for electronics projects since 2010. But what if the Arduino Uno was released in 1980? You’d probably get something like [ElectroBoy]’s 8051-based Arduino Uno.

Close-up shot of the 87C752, an 8051 with EPROM

The Arduino Uno-compatible board has an MCS-51 (often called 8051 instead) instead of the usual ATmega328P/ATmega168. Specifically, [ElectroBoy] uses the AT89S52. Like the ATmega microcontrollers, the AT89S52 has an 8-bit CPU with a Harvard architecture and very similar GPIO capabilities. Unlike the ATmega, however, the original MCS-51 has a CISC CPU (as opposed to ATmega being RISC) and a release date about 36 years earlier.

The board itself also has some differences from the original Arduino Uno. First of all, it has a USB type-C port, which is definitely a bonus. Secondly, it’s simpler: No USB-UART (which also means no USB programming), a different pin layout (Arduino shields likely won’t fit) and more I/Os than the ATmegas have. Sure, it’s not as practical as an actual Arduino Uno, but it’s definitely cool for our retrocomputing nerds.

Hack a Day 05 Feb 21:00

Learn Sailing Mechanics Without Leaving Dry Land

The ancient art of sailing can be very intimidating for the uninitiated given the shifty nature of wind. To help understand the interaction of wind direction and board orientation, [KifS] designed a hands-on sailing demonstrator that lets students grasp the basics before setting foot on a real sailboat.

The demonstrator uses a potentiometer as a tiller to control a model sailboat’s angle, while another stepper motor adjusts the position of a fan to simulate changing wind directions. With an Arduino Uno controlling everything, this setup affords students the opportunity to learn about sail positioning and adjusting to shifting winds in an interactive way, without the pressures and variables of being on the water.

[KifS]’s creation isn’t just about static demonstrations. It features four modes that progressively challenge learners—from simply getting a feel for the tiller, to adjusting sails with dynamic wind changes, even adding a game element that introduces random wind movements demanding quick adjustments. [KifS] mentions there are potentials aspects that can be refined, like more realistic sail response and usability, but it already achieved the main project goals.

There are a myriad of potential ways to add new tech to the ancient art of sailing. We’ve seen a DIY autopilot system, full sensor arrays, and an open source chart plotter. It’s even been proven you can have a wind powered land vehicle that travels faster than the wind.