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[Adam Welch] has built macro pads in the past out of pre-fab key matrices and handfuls of Cherry MX clones. But all the stickers and custom keycaps in the world wouldn’t make those macro pads as versatile as a stream deck — those visual shortcut panels with tiny touchscreens for each button that some streamers use to change A/V settings or switch between applications.

Let’s face it, stream decks are expensive. But 0.96″ OLED displays are not, and neither are SMD tactile buttons. Why not imitate a screen deck on the cheap by making it so the screens actuate buttons behind them? [Adam] based this baby on the clever design of [Kilian Gosewisch]’s FreeDeck, and they ended up working together to improve it with a dedicated PCB.

The brains of the operation is an Arduino Pro Micro, which addresses each screen individually via two 74HC4051 mux ICs. Thanks to an SD card module, there’s no need to flash the ‘duino every time you want to change a shortcut or its picture. Even if this deck doesn’t hold up forever, it won’t break the bank to build another one. Poke past the break for the build video, which has all the links you’d need to make your own, including a handy configurator.

There’s more than one way to do a visual macro pad. Here’s one that uses a single screen and splits it Brady Bunch style to match the matrix.

Thanks for the tip, [arturo182]!

Deep freezers are a great thing to have, especially when the world gets apocalyptic. Of course, freezers are only good when they’re operating properly. And since they’re usually chillin’ out of sight and full of precious goods, keeping an eye on them is important.

When [Adam] started looking at commercial freezer alarms, he found that most of them are a joke. A bunch are battery-powered, and many people complain that they’re too quiet to do any good. And you’d best hope that the freezer fails while you’re home and awake, because they just stop sounding the alarm after a certain amount of time, probably to save battery.

If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. [Adam]’s homemade freezer failure alarm is a cheap and open solution that ticks all the boxen. It runs on mains power and uses a 100dB piezo buzzer for ear-splitting effectiveness to alert [Adam] whenever the freezer is at 32°F/0°C or above.

If the Arduino loses sight of the DHT22 temperature sensor inside the freezer, then the alarm sounds continuously. And if [Adam] is ever curious about the temperature in the freezer, it’s right there on the 7-segment. Pretty elegant if you ask us. We’ve got the demo video thawing after the break, but you might wanna turn your sound down a lot.

You could assume that the freezer is freezing as long as it has power. In that case, just use a 555.

If you want strangers to give you well wishes on your birthday out in the real world, you have call attention to the occasion by wearing a pointy hat or a button that says ‘today is my birthday, gimme presents’. But on your reddit cakeday, aka the day you joined, you’re automatically singled out with the addition of a slice of 8-bit cake next to your username. The great thing about your cakeday is that you’re almost guaranteed to get some karma for once, especially if you make something cakeday related like [ScottyD]’s cakeday countdown clock. But plenty of people forget what their cakeday is and miss out on the fun.

This countdown clock works like you might expect — every day that isn’t your cakeday, a message scrolls by with the number of days remaining until your next one. When the big day comes, the message becomes TODAY IS YOUR CAKE DAY. Both messages are bookended by cute little pixelated cake slices that we would apply liberally to the day-of message if we made one of these.

This simple but fun project shouldn’t put too big of a dent in your parts box, since it’s essentially an Arduino, a real-time clock module, and a 32×8 LED matrix to display the text. We love the uni-body design of the enclosure because it creates a shelf for the Arduino and gives easy access for gluing in the display from the rear. If for some reason you don’t reddit, then make one anyway and use it to count down to your IRL birthday or something. We’ve got the build video cut and plated for you to consume after the break.

We would understand if 2020 is supplying you with enough existential crises, but if not, consider building a clock that counts down the rest of your life expectancy.

Via r/duino

We’ve all been there. You’re manning the battle station, deep in the sim-racing or some other n00b-pwning zone and suddenly some loudmouth blows out your eardrums over Discord. It’s insulting to have to stop what you’re doing to find the right Windows volume slider. So why do that? Build [T3knomanzer]’s simple yet elegant multi-volume knob and stay zen in the zone.

It’s easy, just turn the knob to cycle through your programs until Discord comes up on the little screen, and then push down to change it into a volume knob. If you need to change another volume, just click it again. Since there’s no Alt+Tabbing out to the desktop, no checkered flags should ever slip through your fingers.

Inside the well-designed case you’ll find the usual suspects — Arduino Nano, rotary encoder, an OLED display, and an LED ring, each with their own place carved out.

This completely open-source knob looks great, and we love that it’s been made incredibly easy to replicate by standing up a site with foolproof, well-depicted, step-by-step instructions. Watch them take it for a spin after the break.

Want more than volume at your fingertips? Here’s a DIY USB knob that does shortcuts, too.

Whilst swapping out the stereo in his car for a more modern Android based solution, [Aaron] noticed that it only utilised a single CAN differential pair to communicate with the car as opposed to a whole bundle of wires employing analogue signalling. This is no surprise, as modern cars invariably use the CAN bus to establish communication between various peripherals and sensors.

In a series of videos, [Aaron] details how he used this opportunity to explore some of the nitty-gritty of CAN communication. In Part 1 he designs a cheap, custom CAN bus sniffer using an Arduino, a MCP2515 CAN controller and a CAN bus driver IC, demonstrating how this relatively simple hardware arrangement could be used along with open source software to decode some real CAN bus traffic. Part 2 of his series revolves around duping his Android stereo into various operational modes by sending the correct CAN packets.

These videos are a great way to learn some of the basic considerations associated with the various abstraction layers typically attributed to CAN. Once you’ve covered these, you can do some pretty interesting stuff, such as these dubious devices pulling a man-in-the-middle attack on your odometer! In the meantime, we would love to see a Part 3 on CAN hardware message filtering and masks [Aaron]!

Reading is big in Québec, and [pepelepoisson]’s young children have access to a free mini library nook that had seen better days and was in dire need of maintenance and refurbishing. In the process of repairing and repainting the little outdoor book nook, he took the opportunity to install a few experimental upgrades (link in French, English translation here.)

The mini library pods are called Croque-Livres, part of a program of free little book nooks for children across Québec (the name is a bit tricky to translate into English, but think of it as “snack shack, but for books” because books are things to be happily devoured.)

After sanding and repairs and a few coats of new paint, the Croque-Livres was enhanced with a strip of WS2812B LEDs, rechargeable battery with solar panel, magnet and reed switch as door sensor, and a 3.3 V Arduino to drive it all. [pepelepoisson]’s GitHub repository for the project contains the code and CAD files for the 3D printed pieces.

The WS2812B LED strip technically requires 5 V, but as [pepelepoisson] found in his earlier project Stecchino, the LED strip works fine when driven directly from a 3.7 V lithium-polymer cell. It’s not until around 3 V that it starts to get unreliable, so a single 3.7 V cell powers everything nicely.

When the door is opened, the LED strip lights up with a brief animation, then displays the battery voltage as a bar graph. After that, the number of times the door as been opened is shown on the LED strip in binary. It’s highly visual, interactive, and there’s even a small cheat sheet explaining how binary works for anyone interested in translating the light pattern into a number. How well does it all hold up? So far so good, but it’s an experiment that doesn’t interfere at all with the operation of the little box, so it’s all good fun.

All by itself, a calculator based on an Arduino isn’t necessarily very novel. However, [Volos] has a nice board that, of course, looks like a calculator. There are 16 keys and an LED display. But it seems to us the real value would be using this as a base for other projects.

As an inexpensive development board, it’s handy to have a simple processor with a keyboard and a display. There’s some extra I/O pins and the first example in the video below shows using the setup as a simple organ, for example. We’d love to see an option to replace the LED with an LCD and maybe even some different CPU options, as well.

The board is essentially an Arduino with a standard USB to serial chip and a MAX7219 display driver. Of course, you could breadboard up all of these things, but it wouldn’t be as neat looking. One unusual thing about the keyboard is that it is not multiplexed. Each button has a label that indicates what Arduino pin it connects with. So key 6 connects to pin 6 and pin A2 connects to the key marked =/A2.

With the availability of inexpensive PC boards, we’re seeing many nice designs out there that would be easy to repurpose for other things. For example, we thought this board would easily run the Kim Uno, with some modifications to the I/O routines. Might even be able to work out a clone of an even older computer to fit on the board.

Where won’t they put a TV these days? We’ve even seen one creeping behind semi-transparent mirror film in the ladies’ room of a sports bar, though that one didn’t last long. Up until that moment, we had never wished so hard for a TV-B-Gone, especially one as small and powerful as this DIY version by [Constructed].

The best thing about [Constructed]’s DIY TV-B-Gone is the strength of signal, though the size is nothing to sneeze at. That’s a 10-watt array or IR LEDs out of a security camera, and you can see how much brighter it is than a single IR LED in the video after the break.

Packed inside this minty enclosure is an Arduino Nano, which holds all the TV power-off codes known to hackers and fires them off in quick succession. [Constructed] salvaged a MOSFET from an electronic speed controller to drive that LED array, and there’s a voltage booster board to raise the 3.7V lithium battery to 5V. [Constructed] hasn’t really had the chance to test this out in public what with the global pandemic and all, but was able to verify a working distance of 40 feet inside the house.

Don’t care for such a raw look? Hide your zapper inside a toy, like this sonic screwdriver version.

[Ivan] seems to enjoy making 3D printed vehicles with tracks. His latest one uses 50 servo motors to draw patterns in the sand at the beach. You can see it work in the video below. Well, more accurately you can see it not work and then work as the first iteration didn’t go exactly as planned.

An Arduino Mega 2560 provides the brains and the whole unit weighs in at almost 31 pounds, including the batteries. We didn’t see Ivan’s design files, although it wouldn’t be hard to do your own take on the robot.

Speaking of the weight, we were amused at [Ivan’s] quick and dirty trailer he built to haul the thing around. We wondered if he had those wheels sitting around or if he had to source them from somewhere for this project.

The robot more or less moves in a straight line and the servos either drag a pointy part into the sand or lift the pointy part up so the sand is undisturbed in that area. The robot isn’t perfect. Not only did it not work the first time, but it also looked like it dropped at least one pointy part during the second test run. The tracks seemed to provide good traction, but we would not want to bet that the motion was completely straight.

On the other hand, it did get the job done. It was a lot of wiring and we suspect that’s why it was made all in one piece. Making it break down into sections would have been nice for transport. You might even be able to make it take a varying number of sections if you did it right. However, it would take a lot of connectors and a way for those connectors to support the weight of the beam, so that would be a much tougher problem.

We wish the design files were posted, but we still thought this was a neat enough idea and easy enough to figure out. We aren’t likely to build a 30-pound robot, but we might think about replicating it on a smaller scale to take to our local beach next summer.

We couldn’t help but remember Skryf, the robot that didn’t draw in the sand but drew with sand. Then there’s also  SandBot.

Bowling has been around since ancient Egypt and continues to entertain people of all ages, especially once they roll out the fog machine and hit the blacklights. But why pay all that money to don used shoes and drink watered-down beer? Just build a tabletop bowling alley in your spare time and you can bowl barefoot if you want.

Those glowing pins aren’t just for looks — the LEDs underneath them are part of the scoring system. Whenever a pin is knocked out of its countersunk hole, the LED underneath is exposed and shines its light on a corresponding light-dependent resistor positioned overhead. An Arduino Uno keeps track of of the frame, ball number, and score, and displays it on an LCD.

The lane is nearly six feet long, so this is more like medium-format bowling or maybe even skee-bowling. There are probably a number of things one could use for balls, but [lainealison] is using large ball bearings. Roll past the break to see it in action, but don’t go over the line!

Can’t keep your balls out of the gutter? Build a magic ball and make all wishful leaning more meaningful as you steer it down the lane with your body.



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