Posts | Comments

Planet Arduino

We don’t know why [stoppi71] needs to do gamma spectroscopy. We only know that he has made one, including a high-voltage power supply, a photomultiplier tube, and–what else–an Arduino. You also need a scintillation crystal to convert the gamma rays to visible light for the tube to pick up.

He started out using an open source multichannel analyzer (MCA) called Theremino. This connects through a sound card and runs on a PC. However, he wanted to roll his own and did so with some simple circuitry and an Arduino.

The tube detects very faint light in the crystal so they need to be in a light-tight enclosure. The Arduino needs a little help to read the pulses from the tube in the form of a simple circuit. The circuit acts as a peak detector and the peaks last only about twenty microseconds. The post doesn’t have the schematic for the peak detector but the video, seen below, does.

If you want a run down on spectrometer projects, check out Hacklet 122. Admittedly, most of the ones we see rely on visible light.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, tool hacks

With some projects, your goal is to get it working to prove out a concept for a larger project, or simply to satisfy your curiosity. On the other hand, sometimes you want your creation to look great. That was the case here, as this electromechanical clock integrates several different types of metal along with a chain drive into something that’s as much a work of art as it is a practical timekeeping tool.

Upon startup, the device is able to auto-calibrate using a clever sensor setup on the hour hand wheel to make sure it’s at 12:00 noon/midnight, then uses the Arduino Yún‘s built-in WiFi support to check the time off of the Internet and configure itself accordingly.

This clock was designed, machined and assembled, every piece from scratch (apart from a couple of the small chain sprockets and chains themselves). The timekeeping and motor/position control software was also developed and programmed 100% from scratch as well. All the parts are made out of a combination of copper, brass, steel, aluminum, and stainless, and the assembly is driven by an Arduino Yún running a NEMA style stepper motor, and Honeywell automation Hall effect sensors for the mechanical position readings.

You can find more details in the video seen below, and on its creator’s Reddit post.

Maker pros showcase exactly how difficult it is to make hardware, but promote how much easier it is to become a Kickstarter star.

Read more on MAKE

The post Maker Pro News: Hardware is Still Hard, The Rise of Re-Kickstarting, and More appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

[kodera2t] discovered the VL53L0X Time of Flight sensor and thought it would make a great way to control the operation of a model train without touching it.

The sensor was small enough for an N-gauge train, which translates to 1:148 scale or about 9mm from rail to rail. His idea was to build a tiny control board that could fit inside the locomotive: 10mm by 40mm. His board consists of the ToF sensor, an ATMega328P-MMH, USB-serial, and a Texas Instruments DRV8830 motor driver. he powers the board via the 6V running through the track.

Right now [kodera2t]’s using the ToF as sort of a gestural controller to get the train to start rolling, but one could imagine the sensor could be incorporated into more advanced programming, like having the train speed up on straightaways and slow down on a curve, based on the height of the bridge over it.

We’ve published a bunch of [kodera2t]’s tiny circuit board projects here on Hackaday, including the smallest basic computer, his minimal frequency counter, and his VFD amplifier.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks

After building a bicycle that could travel across town while making music, Sam Battle now taken things in a different direction. Synth Bike 3.0, which will be on display at the Science Center Dublin until September, is set up on a training fixture so that you can pedal it indoors rain or shine. This version also features a simplified control panel on the handlebars, allowing it to be played by anyone at a tempo controlled by the rear wheel’s speed.

Battle’s YouTube channel is named “LOOK MUM NO COMPUTER” however, this apparently doesn’t count microcontrollers. Hidden in the externally clean-looking handlebar groove box is a total of 12 Arduino Nano boards, along with a maze of wiring, strip circuit boards, frequency central PCBs, a SparkFun WAV trigger, and some other electronics. There’s even built-in speakers on the sides to output the created sounds.

Be sure to check out Synth Bike 3.0’s New Atlas write-up for more info on the project.

Infinity mirrors are some far-out table mods and make a great centerpiece. Instructables user [bongoboy23] took a couple steps beyond infinity when designing this incredible table tailor-made for our modern age.

Poplar and pine wood make up the framing, and red oak — stained and engraved — make for a chic exterior. Programmed with Arduino and run on a Teensy 3.1, the tabletop has 960 LEDs in forty sections. There are, four USB ports hidden behind sliding panels, as well as a two-port AC outlet and an inductive charging pad and circuit.  A hidden Adafruit TFT touchscreen display allows the user to control the table’s functions. Control is limited to changing lighting functions, but Pac-Man, Snake, and text features are still to come!

Weighing in at $850, it’s not a cheap build, but it looks amazing.

This is one of the most extensive Instructables you may happen across, containing dozens of pictures, CAD files, diagrams, appendices, and a change log, with tips besides; if you want one just like this at home, you are in good hands, here. Or try an easier build, we won’t judge. However, maker beware — you may be stepping through a portal that’s difficult to return from.

[Thanks for the tip, JohnL!]


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, how-to, led hacks

An ISP dongle is a very common piece of equipment on a maker’s bench. However, its potential as a hackable device is generally overlooked. The USBASP has an ATmeg8L at its heart and [Robson] decided that this humble USB device could be used as an interface between his PC and a SNES Joypad.

A SNES controller required three pins to communicate with a host: clock, data and latch. In his hack, [Robson]  connects the controller to the ISP interface using a small DIY adaptor and programs the AVR using the V-USB library. V-USB is a software USB library for small microcontrollers and comes in pretty handy in this instance.

[Robson] does a pretty good job of documenting the entire process of creating the interface which includes the USB HID code as well as the SNES joypad serial protocol. His hack works on both Windows and Linux alike and the code is available on GitHub for download.

Simple implementation like this project are a great starting point for anyone looking to dip their toes in the DIY USB device pool. Veterans may find a complete DIY joystick more up their alley and will be inspired by some plastic techniques as well.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, hardware

Fidget spinners are currently very popular, and if you get one you’ll certainly want to spin and spin, maybe thinking you’ll never put it down. Unfortunately, like Nikodem Bartnik, you’ll eventually get bored with this device. Perhaps setting it aside forever. However, as Bartnik puts it, “Spinner has to be spinned,” so he came up with a robotic device to do this for him.

The resulting robot consists of two small servos, along with two 3D-printed linkages, attached to a piece of wood. A spinner is also affixed to the same piece of wood with a bolt, which is spun by the servos under Arduino Uno control.

Check out Bartnik’s Instructables write-up to see how it was done, along with the code and STL files needed to create your own!

Fidget spinners are currently very popular, and if you get one you’ll certainly want to spin and spin, maybe thinking you’ll never put it down. Unfortunately, like Nikodem Bartnik, you’ll eventually get bored with this device. Perhaps setting it aside forever. However, as Bartnik puts it, “Spinner has to be spinned,” so he came up with a robotic device to do this for him.

The resulting robot consists of two small servos, along with two 3D-printed linkages, attached to a piece of wood. A spinner is also affixed to the same piece of wood with a bolt, which is spun by the servos under Arduino Uno control.

Check out Bartnik’s Instructables write-up to see how it was done, along with the code and STL files needed to create your own!

When you see a plastic ruler, you wouldn’t normally assume it was destined to become part of a CNC plotter. Maker “lingib,” however, realized their potential to be combined to form plotter arms, in this case actuated by two stepper motors.

The resulting build can expand and contract the resulting shape, allowing a pen at the end point of the two sets of rulers to move back and forth across a piece of paper. Necessary spaces in the plot are provided by a micro servo that can lift the pen/ruler off of the writing surface.

The device is powered by an Arduino Uno, which controls the two NEMA 17 stepper motors via a pair of EasyDriver Modules. You can find more details about how to create one of these, including code and how the geometry behind it works, on its Instructables page.



  • Newsletter

    Sign up for the PlanetArduino Newsletter, which delivers the most popular articles via e-mail to your inbox every week. Just fill in the information below and submit.

  • Like Us on Facebook