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Category: Arduino

Bicycle Helmet Embedded Electronics

Bicycle Helmet Embedded Electronics

Several years ago I purchased a small video camera that was shaped like a flashlight for $50.  It had VGA 640 x 480 30 fps video quality and would record up to 2 hours on a single charge.  I used it to record several bike rides around the county on numerous bike trails.  The videos provided a way to recall the conditions and experiences which I used to plan future trips. A couple of years later I purchased some 808…

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Metering electrical service to the home

Metering electrical service to the home

This project involves working near and around the electrical service panel. Do not perform these steps unless you are a licensed and qualified electrician. You assume all risk and liability. The information contained here is merely for reference purposes, I do not take any responsibility for the loss of property or life should anyone not follow this warning. Home energy use accounts for 11% of the total energy consumed nation wide. Typically, homes have a variety of energy services provided…

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Attic Fan Control

Attic Fan Control

During hot days, the air in my attic can reach temperatures much higher than the outside.  This causes the rest of the house to warm up.  As a result, cooling the living space requires more energy.  To prevent this, I use gable fans to force the hot air from the attic to the outside.  I have two fans, each located either on the east or west side of the house.  Each fan has an independent thermostat that engaged the fan…

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Space Heater Control

Space Heater Control

I’ve got two wall mounted space heaters made by King Electric.  They are the Pick-O-Watt series and have a built in thermostat for control.  They are easy to install and the option to set the load is useful.  Setting the output wattage to match the room they are installed in saves energy.  However, they were not centrally controlled.  If one was left on, energy was wasted and is potentially dangerous.  I wanted to avoid this. First, lets look at how…

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PCB Fabrication

PCB Fabrication

When creating PCBs, the quality of the work is the most important element. If the design has a flaw, the work can lead to malfunction, damage, or worse depending on the application. Quality is key. It’s good practice to keep that in mind regardless if the design is complex or rudimentary. I’ve found that component placement on the board to be a good first step. It allows you to know that parts will fit and connect with the outside world…

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PCB Design

PCB Design

One challenge with piecing together devices are the connections. We discussed how we’ll use communications protocols to link devices that are physically separate. This same problem occurs for our nodes that have sensors, controllers, or other circuit boards that need to be linked. To solve this, we’ll develop and manufacture printed circuit boards, or PCBs as they are commonly referred to. Having a custom PCB that makes the links also provides us a cleaner build. In addition, devices can be…

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I2C – Squaring up multi device communications

I2C – Squaring up multi device communications

UART and SPI communication have benefits and limitations.  UART is confined to point to point links, whereas SPI requires additional slave select channels from the master.  Both do not scale well for multiple devices.  For that reason, I2C was developed with the introduction of device addressing in the data channel. I2C stands for Inter-integrated Circuit and it uses a clock channel to synchronize its data channel.  Only two wires are required to achieve this.  They are defined as SDA for…

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SPI vs SPI – Serial Peripheral Interface

SPI vs SPI – Serial Peripheral Interface

The UART serial communication method discussed in my last post showed a limitation of scale.  Asynchronous serial data can should only be point to point.  If many devices are required, the complexity of design and cost increase. The Serial Peripheral Interface, or SPI protocol, is a method to reduce the complexity and costs of scaling.  In contrast to UART, SPI does not require complex bridgeheads.  Receiving devices need nothing more than a shift register to operate. Without going into too…

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Serial Communications

Serial Communications

Ideas and thoughts are shared with people through speech, text, or some other form of communication.  This is how one knows, or at least has some idea of, what the other is thinking.  Electronic devices are similar.  Without communication, devices and people would be isolated in the cosmos.  Like language, devices use sets of standards and protocols to accomplish communication. In this post, I’ll introduce briefly parallel communication.  Next I’ll be covering the most fundamental communication methods of serial communication. …

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Signals – Digital, Analog, and PWM

Signals – Digital, Analog, and PWM

In this post I’ll be covering fundamental electronic signals. These will establish a foundation for us to work from as I begin to cover more advanced signaling technology. First, we will cover digital signals. These are the most basic since they are either on or off. Next, we cover RC Time circuits which allow us to use a digital port to read an analog condition. We’ll follow that up with analog signals and how we read them electronically. Next, I’ll…

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