Beyond Arduino - What should I cover next?

If there's an article in Nuts and Volts that you would like to discuss, this is the place!
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Beyond Arduino - What should I cover next?

Post by aretallack » Fri May 22, 2015 12:50 am

Hi!

I'm really enjoying writing the "Beyond Arduino" series of articles - part 4 is just out in the June edition. I've had some great feedback (and suggestions) from readers, and would love to hear your thoughts as well.

So far we've covered the breadboarding of an MCU, the move to Atmel Studio and basic outputs, digital and analog inputs, and this month serial (UART) communication.
The July edition will be look into interrupts, and then in August we'll be doing some I2C.

I've still got a bunch of topics that I'd like to share - timers, SPI, low power, PWM, interfacing to specific modules... and then perhaps onto designing your own PCB's, etching them at home, getting your PCB designs manufactured, etc. BUT I'd really like to hear what you'd like to learn more about. Please post any thoughts in this thread - and don't hold back!

Cheers from sunny South Africa
Andrew
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Re: Beyond Arduino - What should I cover next?

Post by Casey1947 » Sat May 23, 2015 7:03 pm

How Ya Doin'

Glad you asked, I will be 68 years old in a couple of months but I still like flashing LED's. I am working on a project that flashes seven LED's randomly like rolling dice. (Maybe dice is the wrong word because there is only one, die? ) I have it hooked up to a ATtiny85 and am using resistors to keep the current around 12 milliamps with 3 AA battery's. Maybe after a while I will learn to do it with 14 LED's. What I learned from you is to look at the datasheet for correct placement of wires for digital and analog. I hope you are there long enough to explain persistence of vision and use a 5 X 7 matrix to spell out a message for a pendant my daughter could wear.

Casey Johnson

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Re: Beyond Arduino - What should I cover next?

Post by aretallack » Sun May 24, 2015 10:29 pm

Hey Casey

Great! Thanks for the background - funny how you can talk to the most hardened embedded developers, and they still love working with LEDs!

The PoV and LED matrices is a great idea - thanks. Could include it in an article on shift registers and charlieplexing maybe.

Cheers
Andrew
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Re: Beyond Arduino - What should I cover next?

Post by robralston » Tue May 26, 2015 3:33 pm

Hi

I vote for I2C and, especially, debugging (simulator?). Also, although I etched simple single sided boards many moons ago, it would be very nice to see how to use some software to design a board (Eagle?). I have these wonderful RGB 7-segment displays from Adafruit but they cannot be breadboarded with so many pins so I hard wired one up with 21 switches (each segment having 3 switches for R, G, and B). This was for some kids in the extended family. Now some of the other kids want one but my old eyeballs just cannot solder like that very much (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyvSW4N4I8A.

Just hooked up the guessing game from article #3. When guessing, both LEDs would always flash. So it seemed like the ADC read value was always the same.

I tried to run the simulator in Atmel Studio, thinking I could see some values in registers, but never could figure it out.

Ah ha, a Hardware problem, finally realized that I had never wired up Vcc to the AREF pin and instead had Vcc on the Avcc pin. Oh well, I sure read over the example code a lot, and that was a good thing.

Thanks for the articles.

Robert

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Re: Beyond Arduino - What should I cover next?

Post by aretallack » Tue May 26, 2015 10:15 pm

Great, thanks @robralston. Great idea on the debugging, and I'm working on an I2C article at the moment so should have that out in the August edition. Debugging and simulation are useful tools, so will definitely add to the list!

Pleased you solved your problem with the guessing game. Embedded systems have so many elements at play, that it gets quite tricky to troubleshoot problems. I spend hours!

Cheers
Andrew
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Re: Beyond Arduino - What should I cover next?

Post by robralston » Thu May 28, 2015 7:31 pm

Andrew,

If I was running your guessing game code, would the Atmel Simulator show me that the DDRs had been set. But then I assume it could show nothing else because it is software and not connected to the actual hardware, i.e. it could not show button presses, and so forth.

If I had a debugger running, could it show me the changing ADC value as I adjusted the pot, and the button pushes?

If so, what sort of debugger would do this?

Thanks, Robert

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Re: Beyond Arduino - What should I cover next?

Post by aretallack » Sat May 30, 2015 5:31 am

Hi Robert

You're correct on the simulation - it has no hardware inputs, and therefore no readings. You can simulate button presses etc. within the simulator by changing the register values.

A debugger is what you really would need - I use an Atmel ICE basic, and it does the trick. Alternatively, if all you're interested in is the ADC value and not the program flow, you could always send the ADC values out over the UART and read them on your PC.

Cheers
Andrew
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Re: Beyond Arduino - What should I cover next?

Post by dabineri » Mon Jun 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Andrew, A couple of suggestions about what to cover next. I would really enjoy and article on an accelerometer and another on a gyro. Also, is there a way to take the data from the serial program you did in #4 and save it to a file or put it into a spread sheet automatically so that one could collect data this way?

Thanks, Dave

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Re: Beyond Arduino - What should I cover next?

Post by aretallack » Tue Jun 23, 2015 2:12 am

dabineri wrote:Andrew, A couple of suggestions about what to cover next. I would really enjoy and article on an accelerometer and another on a gyro.
Thanks Dave - great idea. Those would fit in with well with SPI communications.
Also, is there a way to take the data from the serial program you did in #4 and save it to a file or put it into a spread sheet automatically so that one could collect data this way?
There are a number of ways to skin this one. Simplest is probably to do a copy-paste from your terminal program, making sure that the data is in a format that allows you to read it in. If you've used Python before, then it's fairly easy to write a program that monitors the serial port on your PC, and then writes the data to a file. Atmel also have an add-in to Atmel Studio that I haven't tried called Data Visualiser - seems like it can read data from a COM port and graph it for you.

Please share if you manage to get it working!

Cheers
Andrew
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Re: Beyond Arduino - What should I cover next?

Post by dacflyer » Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:49 pm

hi guys..i am working on a project that i think is way over my head right now..even tho i think it should be something simple.
i built a GPS controlled clock..but i do not know to write the program to make it work. i had 1-2 people start to help me with it, but they faded out (too busy with other things etc.)
what's so cool about this ? i am using 10" digits out of old pedestrian cross walk modules ( 6 of them )
i'd like to have it show the time and optional... date and/or temperature.
i am using a Atmega 328P processor like that used on the Arduino uno. it is on a 12 digit driver board made by
"Crossroads" ( http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?actio ... start=4980 )
attached is pictures of the board and schematic. and the GPS i am using is a NEO 6 Made by Ublox ( see attached foto )
the digits i am using are modified 7 segment displays that are 12 volts powered. they attach direct to the driver board.

if you need more info, please let me know. i can't seem to find anyone near me or the next city ( 1 hr away ) interested in helping me out.
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Re: Beyond Arduino - What should I cover next?

Post by aretallack » Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:09 am

That's a really cool project. 10" digits - very nice!

Wish I could help - but South Africa is a little more than an hour away :)... and I think that it would be a whole lot quicker to collaborate on something requiring specific hardware like this if we were within driving distance.

If I were working on this I'd start small, and not tackle the entire project in one go:
- I'd look for sample code that uses shift registers to drive 7-segment displays? Then I'd work on getting just one digit to count up from 0 to 9.
- Then I'd look at talking to the GPS module - again there should be some sample code out there (eg. http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Ublox-GPS/) as well as other resources (eg. http://www.u-blox.com/en/download/docum ... urces.html) to give you a leg-up. If not, then maybe even look at code for other GPS modules - and if you are still not winning in porting other examples to your module, possibly look at other modules that have a good base of sample projects.

Of course I may be making suggestions you've already followed - but that's what I would have done.

Out of interest, what is your timescale on this project?

Cheers
Andrew
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Re: Beyond Arduino - What should I cover next?

Post by dacflyer » Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:08 am

no time scale.. it's been sitting idle now for almost a year now :(
i have seen sample codes here and there, but it is kinda over my head, and if i had 2-3 examples, how would i put them all in 1 program to make it all work with each other etc.
i am fairly good with electronics, but code is over my head, it is like learning a whole new language.
i think learning Klingon is easier..lol

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Re: Beyond Arduino - What should I cover next?

Post by aretallack » Fri Jun 26, 2015 12:38 am

Why don't you drop me a mail: andrewr (at) crash-bang (dot) com
We can discuss options offline - although unfortunately not in the immediate future
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Re: Beyond Arduino - What should I cover next?

Post by dacflyer » Fri Jun 26, 2015 8:13 am

ok,, thanks

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