Turn-key PCB assembly services in prototype quantities or low-volume to mid-volume production runs

Playing real music with Arduino

Usually in electronic projects people choose to use low quality sounds like ISD chips with 8 kHz sampling rate, direct PWM, or end up with MP3 decoders. Las option is to play uncompressed audio files from SD/MMC card via DAC. Such solution can give good sampling rate and good quality especially when sound is filtered and amplified with op-amp. This project is set up around Arduino board. It takes wave files from CD/MMC card and plays them asynchronously as an interrupt. So there are resources left for additional tasks between them. It can play 22 kHz, 16 bit mono wave files of any size. Files are stored in FAT18 formatted media card – so it is easy to upload new files via standard card reader. All files and libraries are downloadable or as usually you can order a kit to enjoy the music. Over all project is well described – I recommend to read even if you aren’t going to build one. There are some good materials about audio sampling and interfacing SD/MMC cards with arduino. Continue reading

Be a Guitar Hero with Guitar Midi Controller

If you like to y guitar, maybe you should try to do this with Guitar Hero Midi Controller. It uses well known Arduino board to interface Guitar with external MIDI device. With the current version you can: play 2 octaves of an 8 note scale at a time; change the starting note anywhere in the range of a regular keyboard; change octaves’ change keys; change tonal modes (Ionian, Mixolydian, Lydian, Dorian, Aeolian, Phrygian, Locrian); change the timbre of a sound; change the resonance of a sound; use the whammy bar to pitch bend; play chords in the mode you have the guitar set to (major/minor/etc.); rock out with a video game toy. I think this is a great way to make your defective guitar useful. in order to make the program run, you’ll need a MIDI library and guitar library. Project is well documented and illustrated. It shouldn’t be very difficult to rebuild. Continue reading

Cute autonomous Para poetic device

Electronics can be romantic. The Autonomous Parapoetic Device is a self-contained and portable machine that generates poetry. The idea is really great – electronics is packed in a nice wooden box. You just need to open it and 20×4 LCD screen shows poetry. All this joy is driven by ATmega168 microcontroller programmed with Arduino (source). This could be great geeky gift for your beloved one. Continue reading

Arduino based CrudBox

It can remember 4 different loops. You can see which one you’re one on the 7 segment display and scroll to different ones with the rotary encoder knob next to it.  The tempo can be seen on the 4 LEDs in the lower right corner. “There are 4 speaker terminals on the box, into each of which you can plug any object that can run on 5 volts. In the video I’ve plugged in LEDs because it makes the interaction clearer, but my main interest is in plugging motors in, attaching them to the box, and amplifying the sounds they make. Each speaker terminal has a button and a pot. Pay attention to which of the 4 tempo LEDs is on, then press a button, then let go. It will switch on the object (motor, LED, etc), then switch it off when you let go. The next time it cycles through the loop of 4 LEDs it will switch on and off at the same points. The object will pulsewidth modulate at different speeds depending on what position the pot… Continue reading

Simple Arduino bot

Building bots can be fun. Especially when you don’t have to deal with electronics very much. Just grab an Arduino board, mount  it with several additional components as SN754410 H-bridge motor driver chip. Put couple DC motors with wheels mounted. Just few lines of code and you are ready to buzz. Simple, easy, fast and great fun – especially when doing it with kids. Continue reading

DIY real world Gmail notifier

Various event notifiers are becoming more and more popular. So why not to have one for Gmail. Isn’t it a great idea to have a light cube standing on your table and attracting your attention when ever you get email. Physical Gmail notifier consists of three major parts: Software on PC side; Controller hardware; Firmware on controller Controller hardware is nothing more than Arduino board. If you have one, then consider half project to be finished. As output device you can use anything like lights, sounds, etc. In this case there is a simple LED cube used which actually looks cool. Arduino board communicates with PC via serial cable. It’s a simple loop that checks if there is new mail or not.  On computer side a Python scripts is running, which communicates with arduino board via serial port and talks to Gmail server to determine if there is a new mail received. That’s it. If you get lots of emails you can prepare to dance with flashing light 🙂 Continue reading