Thursday, April 21, 2011

Finally some progress

Video of my animation for my clock:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjCHawkTnRY

When the clock is seeking for the WWVB radio signal.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDhGbaBntMo

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ultimate Weather Clock

I been working on the software that will run my weather clock. The one nice thing about Arduino is that there are a lot of examples of how to do things but those examples are limit to what the original developer wanted to do. For example the LED display code I found works great but only supports single color bitmaps. I wanted to have the ability to color all 3 colors of the display from the display. So I reworked the code to do that. When I get closer to being done I'm going to upload the code and share it. I think the examples should be shared also they can be improved on. If a class is developed it should be place in a shared location instead of a forum. While the clock is something I want to make personal. I would like to see others help make it more. The code could later be used for other projects.

Friday, April 8, 2011

My first home made Arduino!

I'm going to use my original Arduino for developing code and checking that the code works. This will be used as a base to start combining hardware and software I'm working on. Next time I'm going to etch my own circuit board. I think it would save me time and look nicer.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cheap power adapters from Radio Shack

If you are looking for cheap power adapters go to Radio Shack.com. They have 6v/1800ma supplies that work perfectly. How cheap.... a $1.47! WOW! That is a nice price. I couldn't buy it at the store, in fact, the manager looked at me like I was crazy since the cheapest one at the store was $18.

Link to Adapter

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Large and cheap displays for a Arduino

I order two of these red and green boards a few weeks ago for my ultimate weather clock. The Arduino forums already have a library for the boards that works great. So the total time to program and wire was 20 minutes.

32X16 RG Bicolor LED Dot Matrix Unit Board

Pocket AVR Programmer

When you get into electronics and programmers the first thing you learn is to be patient. Many times things don't work out the first time around for multiple reasons. Two examples, I Just picked up a AVR Programmer and WWVB NIST (Atomic Clock)Radio from SparkFun.com. I spent 4 hours trying to figure out why I couldn't program my ATMega328 with the programmer. Well, My issue wasn't that the programmer was dead but that I wasn't hooking up the programmer correctly. I was looking at the following image but flipped columns 1 and 2 on the 6 pin header.







My second frustration of the day was when I was working with the NIST Radio to pull in signals. I could never figure out why the radio wasn't working. I doubled checked the wiring and changed wires still no go. Thinking it was dead I walked away. At that point the LED I hooked up to the output signal started blinking. My hand being near the antenna and breakout board was preventing the signal from being received in.

Pocket AVR Programmer

WWVB NIST Radio

Arduino

I found a link a year or so ago for a micro-controller platform called Arduino. I wanted to get it for a while but never pulled the trigger. For Valentines Day my wife got it for me. Since then I been tinkering with it and have found it a great beginners platform to getting into electronics. My current projects are a interactive teddy bear and the ultimate weather clock. When you get to the point where you want to integrate the micro-controller into your project you can buy $4 chips instead of the $30 board.