This is a very simple project that turns a Rainbow Cube Kit from Seeedstudio, into a digital rain cloud. It features a relaxing rain animation which is ruined by a not-so-relaxing yet somewhat realistic lightning effect. The animation has a very random pattern, and is quite satisfying to watch. The strategically placed cotton wool on the top of the cube makes all the difference to the project, and is sure to impress all of your friends. Luckily, I have done all of the hard work for you. You will find the full source code for the animation sequence below. You just have to provide the Rainbow Cube Kit and the cotton wool. Have fun !!
This tutorial will show you how to setup a simple webserver on your ESP-13 WiFi Shield and display a table of all of the WiFi Access Points within it's range (and refreshed every 5 seconds). The ESP-13 shield will create it's own WiFi access point, which means that you can take this project anywhere you want to. You do not have to be connected to your home/work WiFi network to see the webpage. The limitation however, is that your device must be within WiFi range of the ESP-13 WiFi shield in order to see the results of the WiFi scan.
Let me show you how to put this project together: COMING SOON....
This tutorial will help you get started with the KEYES ESP-13 WiFi Shield. The ESP-13 WiFi Shield is compatible with an Arduino UNO and has the same form-factor. Essentially this shield will give your Arduino project WiFi capabilities. While it interfaces nicely with the Arduino, it can operate without it. However, if I were planning on using the shield independantly, then I probably would opt for an ESP module rather than a shield. I bought my shield from Jaycar (CAT.NO: XC4614), however you can get it much cheaper from other online retailers at about a quarter of the price. The instructions on the Jaycar website are not that good, and at first I thought I had bought myself a useless product. It just didn't seem to work regardless of what I tried. There were some tutorials online that gave me hope, only to find that my shield was not quite the same and therefore I did not get the same results. But after countless hours of trial and error and patching various bits of knowledge together, I finally worked out how to use this shield. Everything has fallen into place. And it is easier that you would think... let me show you how.
This tutorial will help you get started with the KEYES ESP-13 WiFi Shield.
The ESP-13 WiFi Shield is compatible with an Arduino UNO and has the same form-factor. Essentially this shield will give your Arduino project WiFi capabilities. While it interfaces nicely with the Arduino, it can operate without it. However, if I were planning on using the shield independantly, then I probably would opt for an ESP module rather than a shield.
I bought my shield from Jaycar (CAT.NO: XC4614), however you can get it much cheaper from other online retailers at about a quarter of the price. The instructions on the Jaycar website are not that good, and at first I thought I had bought myself a useless product. It just didn't seem to work regardless of what I tried. There were some tutorials online that gave me hope, only to find that my shield was not quite the same and therefore I did not get the same results. But after countless hours of trial and error and patching various bits of knowledge together, I finally worked out how to use this shield. Everything has fallen into place. And it is easier that you would think... let me show you how.
While there are many Arduino IDE alternatives out there, I would recommend that you use the official Arduino IDE for this project. I used the official Arduino IDE app (v1.8.5) for Windows 10. Make sure to get the most up-to-date version for your operating system here.
Upload BareMinimum Sketch
Upload a BareMinimum Sketch to the Arduino UNO (or compatible board) before making any connections to the ESP-13. We want to upload the BareMinimum sketch because we don't want the Arduino UNO interfering with our setup in anyway. Here is how to do that:
Start your Arduino IDE
Connect the Arduino UNO to the Computer using a USB cable
Select: File > New (or Ctrl + N)
Select: File > Examples > 01.Basics > BareMinimum
Select: Tools > Board > Arduino/Genuino UNO
Select: Tools > Port > COM4 (Your Arduino may be on a different COM port)
Select: Sketch > Upload (or Ctrl + U) - or click on right arrow symbol
After the sketch has uploded. Disconnect the USB cable from the computer/Arduino.
IDE Configuration for ESP-13
Now for the fun part. The ESP-13 WiFi Shield is itself a microcontroller, however, the Arduino IDE is not by default, configured to communicate with or program the ESP-13 WiFi Shield. We are about to change that:
Select File > Preferences from the Arduino IDE menu (or Ctrl+Comma)
Insert the following text into the Additional Boards Manager URLs field: If there is a URL in that space already, then insert a comma, and append the URL to the end:
Once the URL is added, press OK. This will allow us to install the ESP8266 package in the next step.
Installing the ESP8266 board
Select: Tools > Board: "xxxx" > Boards Manager
Search for ESP8266 using the Search bar
Select the "esp8266 by ESP8266 Community" board from the list.
Select the latest or most up-to-date version from the drop-down box (eg. 2.4.2)
Press the Install button.
Make sure that the esp8266 board is installed. Then press the "Close" button
Choose the ESPDuino(ESP-13 Module) from the ESP8266 Modules list: Tools > Board: "xxxx" > ESPDuino(ESP-13 Module)
ESP-13 Flash Settings
You will then want to check that you have the following settings in the Tools menu of the Arduino IDE:
Board: "ESPDuino (ESP-13 Module)"
Flash Size: "4M (1M SPIFFS)"
Debug port: "Disabled"
Debug Level: "None"
IwIP Variant: "v2 Lower Memory"
Reset Method: "ESPduino-V2"
CPU Frequency: "80MHz"
Upload Speed: "115200"
Erase Flash: Only Sketch
Port: - (we will select that later)
The Arduino IDE is now able to communicate with, and program the ESP-13 WiFi shield. Now let us have a look at how to use the default AI-Thinker AT-firmware that comes pre-loaded on the shield.
Preparing the WiFi Shield for Communication
The Keyes ESP-13 WiFi shield comes pre-loaded with AI-Thinker firmware. I thought I just had to place the WiFi shield on top of the Arduino UNO, and I should be able to send through some AT commands via the Serial monitor. Yes - it is a shield, and yes, we will use it as a shield later on, but if you want to use the Serial monitor while the shield is sitting on-top of the Arduino UNO, you will need to make use of the SoftwareSerial library. You can go down this path, but it is cumbersome. There is a better way. We will still need the Arduino UNO, but we need to connect it to the ESP-13 Shield in the following manner:
Make sure that the Arduino UNO is OFF (i.e. not connected to power or USB port)
Place the ESP-13 WiFi shield NEXT TO the Arduino UNO
Connect a Red wire between 5V on Arduino UNO, and 5V (Arduino side) of the ESP-13 shield
Connect a Black wire between GND on Arduino, and G (Arduino side) of the ESP-13 shield
Connect a Green wire between D0(RX) on Arduino, and TX (UART - Arduino side) of ESP-13
Connect a Yellow wire between D1(TX) on Arduino, and RX (UART - Arduino side) of ESP-13
Make sure that both of the switches on the ESP-13 WiFi Shield are in the "ON" position.
Serial Monitor Setup
Plug the USB cable into the computer, and the other end into the Arduino
You should see a Red LED ignite on the ESP-13 Shield.
In your Arduino IDE, make sure the correct COM port is selected: Tools > Port > COM4 (Arduino/Genuino UNO) - your port may be different.
The IDE recognises that an Arduino is using that COM port, even though ESP-13 Board selected
Open the Serial Monitor: Tools > Serial Monitor (or Ctrl + Shift + M)
Select: Both NL & CR from the drop-down box at the bottom right side of the Serial Monitor.
Select: 115200 baud from the other drop-down box in the Serial Monitor window.
Press the RESET (RST) button on the bottom left of the ESP-13 WiFi Shield.
You may see some garbled information come through, but you should see "Ai-Thinker Technology Co.,Ltd" and "ready" messages in the debug window.
You can now send through your AT-commands to the ESP-13 WiFi shield.
Using default AI-Thinker AT-firmware
Now is a good time to test the AI-Thinker AT-firmware. It is possible to program the Arduino to send a sequence of AT commands to the ESP-13 WiFi Shield, but for demonstration purposes, I will show you how to send the commands manually via the Serial monitor.
If you see "ready" within the Serial Monitor window, the ESP-13 is ready to receive AT commands.
Type: AT into the box at the top and press the Send button (or Enter)
You should now see the AT command in the debug window, and a response "OK"
If you received the OK message, then your communication with the ESP-13 was successful. A good list of AT commands and explanations can be found here. Another list of AT commands can be found here.
The commands allow you to test, query and configure the ESP-13 shield. Essentially a command-line interface. Try out the following commands to get a feel for these functions/queries. The commands are in bold, and I placed some of the responses that I got in the line below.
AT Response: OK
AT+RST This resets the ESP-13 board. It provides some info about the board.
So there you go. Now you have everything need to configure your ESP-13 WiFi shield. Once you are tired of playing around with AT commands, I will show you how to re-program and upload sketches to the ESP-13 WiFi Shield, and use it the way it was designed to be used (i.e. as a shield). To upload sketches to the Shield, you will need one extra wire. But I think that deserves to be another tutorial. Stay tuned.
In this tutorial, I showed you how to configure your Arduino IDE for the ESP-13 shield. I also explained how to wire the ESP-13 WiFi shield so that you can communicate with it using the Serial monitor. I hope this tutorial helped you in some way. If it did, please let me know in the comments below. I will be following up with another tutorial, which will show you how to upload sketches to the ESP-13 WiFi Shield, and free it from your computer.
If your interest has been piqued by the inexpensive wireless-enabled goodness of the ESP8266 microcontroller, but you have been intimidated by the slightly Wild-West nature of the ecosystem that surrounds it, help is at hand. [Alexander] is creating a series of ESP8266 tutorials designed to demystify the component and lead even the most timid would-be developer to a successful first piece of code.
If you cast your mind back to 2014 when the ESP8266 first emerged, it caused great excitement but had almost no information surrounding it. You could buy it on a selection of modules, but there were no English instructions and no tools to speak of. A community of software and hardware hackers set to work, resulting in a variety of routes into development including the required add-ons to use the ever-popular Arduino framework. Four years later we have a mature and reliable platform, with a selection of higher-quality and well supported boards to choose from alongside that original selection.
The tutorials cover the Arduino and the ESP, as well as Lua and the official SDK. They are written for a complete newcomer, but the style is accessible enough that anyone requiring a quick intro to each platform should be able to gain something.
Our community never ceases to amaze us with the quality of the work that emerges from it. We’ve seen plenty of very high quality projects over the years, and it’s especially pleasing to see someone such as [Alexander] giving something back in this way. We look forward to future installments in this series, and you should keep an eye out for them.
No one loves hacked keyboards more than Hackaday. We spend most of our workday pressing different combinations of the same 104 buttons. Investing time in that tool is time well spent. [Max] feels the same and wants some personality in his input device.
In the first of three videos, he steps us through the design and materials, starting with a layer to hold the keys. FR4 is the layer of fiberglass substrate used for most circuit boards. Protoboards with no copper are just bare FR4 with holes. Homemade CNC machines can glide through FR4, achieving clean lines, and the material comes in different mask colors so customizing an already custom piece is simple. We see a couple of useful online tools for making a homemade keyboard throughout the videos. The first is a keypad layout tool which allows you to start with popular configurations and tweak them to suit your weirdest desires. Missing finger? Forget one key column. Extra digit? Add a new key column. Huge hands? More spaces between the keys. [Max] copied the Iris keyboard design but named his Arke, after the fraternal sister to Iris which is fitting since his wrist rests are removable.
In the second video, we see how the case and a custom cable are designed. One of the most beautiful features of this build is the cable with 3D-printed boots that are sized to fit ordinary pin headers. The homemade keyboard that this article is being typed on just has a piece of yellow Cat5 between the halves. When the custom cable is assembled, we see a hack revealed by accident. Twelve wires for the cable are salvaged from some ribbon cable and by cutting the ribbon straight across, every scrap of wire is the same length. No more of those unruly wires at the end or that one short one that kinks all the others. There is also a cable boot design that didn’t make the final cut but featured some secure threaded ends that are still available for download.
Another bonus hack comes from the calipers used to break wires into subsections. Check out how to make your calipers run for years on a singe battery. Keyswitch wiring is explained in the final video, shown below, which is simple enough since it is a row-and-column arrangement. The third bonus hack is when we see that classic gray ribbon “stripped” by applying a hot iron to the tip. [Max], like others, has a video about making helping hands from coolant hoses, but here he chooses the more straightforward route of putting some gummy tack on the table and mashing the header into it. Like the shortcut with the keyboard layout design, an online tool generates the firmware.
I have just created a new page on my blog which lists a huge number of websites and YouTube channels that are dedicated to creating Arduino tutorials. If you are learning to use the Arduino, this page will definitely point you in the right direction.
Please let me know if I have missed any obvious sites.
With an extended metaphor comparing Arduino use and physical addiction, [Vadim’s] writing is a joy to read. He chose to focus on the BluePill (aka the next Arduino Killer™) which is a $1.75 ARM board with the form factor of an Arduino Nano. After describing where to get the board and it’s an accompanying programmer, [Vadim] introduces PlatformIO, an alternative to the Arduino IDE. But wait! Before the Arduino die-hards leave, take note that PlatformIO can use all of the “Arduino Language,” so your digitalWrites and analogReads are safe (for now). Like any getting started guide, [Vadim] includes the obligatory blinking an LED program. And, in the end, [Vadim] sets his readers up to be comfortable in the middle ground between Arduino Land and the Wild West.
The debate for/against Arduino has been simmering for quite some time, but most agree that Arduino is a good place to start: it’s simpler and easier than jumping head first. However, at some point, many want to remove their “crippling Arduino dependency” (in the words of [Vadim]) and move on to bigger and better things. If you’re at this point, or still cling to your Uno, swing on over and give Vadim’s post a read. If you’re already in the trenches, head on over and read our posts about the BluePill and PlatformIO which are great complements for [Vadim’s].
In this tutorial, we will cover how to install ch340 driver for different versions of windows. CH340 is USB-UART converter and is used for serial communication with PC/ laptop with external device e.g. GSM module, GPS module, arduino pro, etc.
First of all, download the driver from link below:
[Alberto Piganti], aka [pighixxx] has been making circuit diagram art for a few years now, and has just come out with a book that’s available on Kickstarter. He sent us a copy to review, and we spent an hour or so with a refreshing beverage and a binder full of beautiful circuit diagrams. It doesn’t get better than that!
[pighixxx] started out making very pretty and functional pinout diagrams for a number of microcontrollers, and then branched out to modules and development boards like the Arduino and ESP8266. They’re great, and we’ll admit to having a printout of his SMD ATMega328 and the ESP-12 on our wall. His graphical style has been widely copied, which truly is the sincerest form of flattery.
But after pinouts, what’s next? Fully elaborated circuit diagrams, done in the same style, of course. “ABC: Basic Connections” started out life as a compendium of frequently used sub-circuits in Arduino projects. But you can take “Arduino” with a grain of salt — these are all useful for generic microcontroller-based projects. So whether you want to drive a 12 V solenoid from a low-voltage microcontroller, drive many LEDs with shift registers, or decode a rotary encoder, there is a circuit snippet here for you.
One of the things that we like most about the graphics in “ABC” is that they’re not dumbed down — they’re fundamentally just well-done circuit diagrams, but with graphic touches and extra detail where it actually helps to clarify things. This is a middle ground between the kind of schematic you use in a PCB layout program and the kind of diagram you get from Fritzing. In the former, every part has a symbol but multifunction parts like microcontrollers are just represented as squares bristling with pin numbers. In the latter, wiring up an IC is easy because the parts and pins are represented graphically, but you quickly run out of colors for the different wires, and the “breadboard” turns into a rat’s nest with a circuit of any complexity.
“ABC” takes the middle road, using standard circuit diagram style overall, but also the nice graphic representations of the ICs and modules that [pighixxx] is good at. Is a 2N2222 pinned EBC or BCE? You don’t have to look that up, because it’s sketched out for you here. We’d guess that this attractive, but information-rich, style is a great fit for the target audience — people with some electronics experience who do not yet have their favorite transistor symbol tattooed on their forearm. [pighixxx]’s diagrams are simple, easy to understand, easy to use, and pretty to boot.
There is a planned online counterpart to the book, with further elaborations of all of the circuit setups. They’re not finished yet, but they have a lot more of the flavor of the Fritzing-style, this-wire-goes-to-that-hole diagrams. This style does work better in an online format than in a physical book, because you can build up the rat’s nest in bite-sized steps, none of which are too overwhelming. But honestly, for an advanced beginner or intermediate electronics hacker, the book can be treated as stand-alone. The web content may help the rank newbie when they get stuck.
The breadth of circuits in “ABC” is fairly wide, covering most of the microcontroller-interfacing problems that we’ve ever encountered. None of the circuits are revolutionary — they’re the tried-and-true, correct solutions to the various problems, rather than anything too hacky or clever. We weren’t surprised by any of the circuits, but we didn’t find anything that we wouldn’t use ourselves either. These are basic connections after all, and a darn solid collection of them.
To sum up, “ABC” is an attractive book in a handy binder format that would make a great collection of solutions for anyone who’s just getting started in the whole “Arduino” scene but who gets hung up on interfacing the chips with the real world. It’s a handy reference for the pinouts of a number of frequently used parts, combined with the resistors, flyback diodes, level-shifting circuits, and whatever else that you’d need to make them work. It’s what we wish our simple circuit diagrams looked like. We like it.