Monthly Archives: March 2016

Elektor 500ppm LCR meter case tips

via Dangerous Prototypes

LCR meter

NopHead wrote a blog post review of Elektor 500ppm LCR meter:

I recently bought a 500ppm LCR meter from Elektor because I didn’t have anything for measuring inductors or the ESR (equivalent series resistance) of capacitors, both of which are important for modern electronics, particularly switch mode regulators that have become ubiquitous.
It is also more accurate than any of my multimeters and has wider measurement ranges. For example it can measure resistance from 0.1mΩ to 1GΩ and capacitance between 0.1pF and 0.1F. This means I can now measure parasitics like contact resistance, stray capacitance and lead inductance. The principal reasons it can do this while my multimeters can’t is because it uses a four wire Kelvin connection to the device under test, and as well as measuring voltage and current, it also measures the phase between them.

More details at HydraRaptor blog.

New products: APA102C-based addressable RGB LED panels

via Pololu Blog

New products: APA102C-based addressable RGB LED panels

We’re excited to offer a series of APA102C-based addressable RGB LED panels, which make it easy to add colorful images, text, or lighting effects to your project. These panels use the same integrated APA102C LED driver as our APA102C-based addressable RGB LED strips, which means that you can control the LEDs using a standard SPI interface that works over a wide range of communication rates.

We offer APA102C LED panels in three different sizes:

For more information about our APA102C-based LED panels, including links to example code, see their product pages.

Addressable RGB 8×32-LED Flexible Panel, 5V, 10mm Grid (APA102C) showing an animated rainbow.

An addressable RGB 16×16-LED panel with a plastic diffuser (not included) showing the Pololu logo.

3D-Printed Case Turns Servo into Quality Linear Actuator

via hardware – Hackaday

Micro servomotors are a hacker staple. You’ll find maybe four or five in an RC plane, while a hexbot build could soak up a dozen or more of the cheap and readily available devices. Unfortunately, long-throw linear actuators are a little harder to come by, so it’s nice to know you can 3D-print linear gearing for standard micro RC servos and roll your own.

Currently on revision 2, [Roger Rabbit]’s design is not just a quick and dirty solution. He’s really thought through the problems he observed with his first revision, and the result is a robust, powerful linear actuator. The pinion fits a trimmed servo crank arm, the mating rack is stout and stiff, and early backlash problems have been solved. The whole case is easy to assemble, and as the video below shows, the completed actuator can lift 300 grams.

We like [Roger]’s build process, especially the iterative approach to improving the design. We’ll stay tuned to see where it goes next – a continuous rotation servo for extra-long throws? While we wait, you might want to check out [Richard Baguley]’s recent primer on servos if you want a little background on the underlying mechanism.

Filed under: hardware, misc hacks

Discover and follow our new Instagram channel

via Arduino Blog on Instagram


Do you have an Instagram account? We’re launching  today the official profile of and  inviting you to follow us!

After Facebook, Twitter and G+, now we are using Instagram to show all of you our events, products, behind the scene moments and getting  in touch with all the open source community.

Use hashtags like #Arduinocc, #ArduinoD16, #Genuino and make sure to follow us, and tag us in your pics using if you are interested we know about your projects, and share them on all other channels.

More news and goodies to come! Stay tuned.



Enginursday: Blynk Board Laundry Monitor

via SparkFun Electronics Blog Posts

Last week we released the Blynk Board – an ESP8266-based development board, with extra goodies like a temp/humidity sensor, WS2812 RGB LED, and a LiPo battery charger added on. The edge GPIO and power connectors are designed to be “alligator-clip-compatible,” so a user doesn’t have to do any soldering or breadboarding while they’re just feeling their way around the board or any associated electronics.

Example hookup picture

An example circuit from the Project Guide – graphing light sensor readings.

The Blynk Board was designed in partnership with our friends at Blynk, who have an iOS- and Android-compatible app called…Blynk. The Blynk app helps bridge the gap between embedded electronics and the magical computers we have stuffed in our jeans pockets. You can use Blynk for projects like blinking LEDs from your phone, automating your lamps, or relaying sensor data via email.

To reinforce the relationship between the board and the app, each Blynk Board includes a QR code, which, when scanned within the Blynk app, adds 15,000 Blynk energy points to your account. “Energy points” are Blynk’s form of currency. Adding widgets to a Blynk project consumes energy, but removing that widget refunds all of that energy back. So, while the energy system can certainly feel a little too microtransaction-y, the energy recycling system and an initial bank of 2,000 points both go a long way towards eliminating any energy-related worries. (Learn more about Blynk energy points here.)

Blynk Board QR Code

The Blynk Board was the culmination of not just a ton of hardware, firmware, and production work, but also a lot of support-tutorial-writing. There’s the Getting Started with the Blynk Board tutorial, which lays out the provisioning process – a no-programming-required method for connecting your Blynk Board to a WiFi network and your Blynk account.


Getting Started with the SparkFun Blynk Board

March 25, 2016

How to provision a Blynk Board - get it connected to Wi-Fi and Blynk, so you can start Blynking!

That tutorial leads into the Blynk Board Project Guide, which documents over a dozen example projects that help familiarize the user with both the Blynk Board and the app. All of those projects are built into the Blynk Board’s firmware – continuing the no-programming theme.


Blynk Board Project Guide

March 25, 2016

A series of Blynk projects you can set up on the Blynk Board without ever re-programming it.

And finally, there’s the Blynk Arduino Development Guide, which provides all of the tools you need to start loading your own code onto the Blynk Board.


Blynk Board Arduino Development Guide

March 25, 2016

How to get your computer set up with Arduino and the Blynk Board hardware definitions -- so you can start creating Blynk projects of your own!

As the primary engineer on the project, I’m still in a Blynk “cooldown” phase. I’ve at least stopped dreaming (read: nightmare-ing) about Blynk every night, but it’s still hovering somewhere around the top of my mind – I haven’t stopped thinking up projects I can center around the board/app combo. The latest project I’ve drawn up is a laundry machine monitor.


Blynk Board Washer/Dryer Alarm

March 31, 2016

How to configure the Blynk Board and app to notify you when your washer or dryer is done shaking.

The monitor combines the Blynk Board with an MMA8452Q Accelerometer Breakout to detect the persistent shaking of a washer or dryer. When the shaking stops, the board sends a notification to your phone.

Phone notification

We created the Blynk Board to solve problems – some a bit more first-world than others.

The project was a nice exploration into hysteresis and accelerometer-based shake detection. Check out the source code or read through the tutorial to learn more about it, and may your laundry days be just a bit more efficient!

Keep an eye out for more Blynk-related news, including an upcoming Hackster challenge!

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Power up your life with issue #44 of The MagPi

via Raspberry Pi

Another month – so that means another issue of the official Raspberry Pi magazine! We’ve got a whole host of treats in store for you in our April 2016 edition including your chance to win one of three U:Create Astro Pi kits worth £100/$145.


Click the pic to be whisked into a world of Raspberry Pi ideas and inspiration

The theme for this issue (and wonderfully realised by Raspberry Pi’s resident illustrator-extraordinaire Sam Alder) is ways to improve and automate your life with Raspberry Pi. We’ve put together five fun projects to help you power up your life including an automatic pet feeder, a magic mirror and a temperature-sensing kettle so your tea (Earl Grey) is always served hot.


Other highlights from issue 44:

  • 007 gadgets
    Pi-powered gadgets that are licensed to thrill
  • Bluetooth audio guide
    Turn your Raspberry Pi 3 into a music streamer
  • What is pressure?
    Find out by doing science with the Sense HAT
  • Retro vision with Pi Zero
    Use any old TV with your brand new Pi Zero in easy steps
  • And much, much more!
TheMagPi#44-SAMPLE-004 TheMagPi#44-SAMPLE-003

Free Creative Commons download
As always, you can download your copy of The MagPi completely free. Grab it straight from the front page of The MagPi’s website.

Don’t forget that like sales of the Raspberry Pi itself, all proceeds from the print and digital editions of the magazine go to help the Foundation achieve its charitable goals. Buy the magazine and help democratise computing!

Buy in-store
If you want something more tangible to play with, you’ll be glad to hear you can get the print edition in more stores than ever:

And all good newsagents

Order online
Rather shop online? You can grab every available issue from The Pi Hut and have it delivered practically anywhere in the world.

Subscribe today!
Want to have every issue delivered free to your door the moment it’s available? Subscribe today and save up to 25% on the cover price.

I hope you enjoy the issue – see you next month!


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