Monthly Archives: July 2021

Name that Ware, July 2021

via Hacking – bunnie's blog

The Ware for July 2021 is shown below.

For well over a year now, I haven’t traveled much further than 10km from where I sit and write this. However, sometimes the world brings you interesting things. This ware has a little bit of a story behind it; it arrived, and of course I popped off the cover to see what was inside. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting to see — more on that, after we’ve given some time for people to share their guesses! I imagine this could be a fairly easy one to guess, as most of the components involved in its core functionality are in this view.

Winner, Name that Ware June 2021

via Hacking – bunnie's blog

The Ware for June 2021 is an Amplifier Research AR200L 200W linear power amp. This is the last (for now at least) of the very fine set of wares that Don Straney had contributed. Thanks, Don! They helped get me through the pandemic, until I can travel the world again and stumble across new wares. Unfortunately, the delta variant means any hope of travel in the near term is probably off the table. But! I still have a screw driver, so I’ll be scouring my place for interesting things to photograph and share.

I’ll pick Phantom Deadline as the winner for last month’s competition, congrats and email me for your prize! I found the comment thread to be very interesting to read; I’m a decade too young to have learned how to design with vacuum tubes in college, and I never picked up tube design later on. For me, at least, I had no idea what I was staring at when I saw the ware initially. So, I appreciated the discussion of vacuum tube RF design tricks. Thanks to everyone who commented, for teaching me new things!


via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

Welcome back everyone - we're here with another week of new products! We start off with a new Qwiic board that just recently graduated from SparkX to receive a full production run and support: the Qwiic EEPROM Breakout, which adds easily accessible memory to your next project! Following that we have the new ESP32-C3 Module, along with a mini development board that utilizes it. Espressif has really outdone themselves with these. Let's dive in and take a closer look at all of our new products.

Will you be our date to the EEPROM?

SparkFun Qwiic EEPROM Breakout - 512Kbit

SparkFun Qwiic EEPROM Breakout - 512Kbit


The SparkFun Qwiic EEPROM Breakout is a simple and cost effective option to add some extra storage space to any project. With 512 kilo-bits (or 64 kilo-bytes) of storage, this product is great for any microcontroller that doesn't have any EEPROM storage space, like the SAMD21. You can use the Qwiic EEPROM for storing data like GPS waypoints and other user settings that need to be maintained between sketch uploads. The SparkFun Qwiic EEPROM has three address jumpers, allowing for up to eight EEPROMs on one bus. All communication is enacted exclusively via I2C, utilizing our handy Qwiic system (as the name implies). However, we still have broken out 0.1" spaced pins in case you prefer to use a breadboard.

ESP32-C3 WROOM Module - 4MB (PCB Antenna)

ESP32-C3 WROOM Module - 4MB (PCB Antenna)


The Espressif ESP32-C3 is the next version of the popular ESP32 Bluetooth® and WiFi enabled module. This module features a single core, RISC-V-based processor with WiFi and Bluetooth LE 5.0 radios built into the SoC. The module features a PCB antenna and castillated plated pins for surface-mount affixment. This variation has 4 MB of on-board SPI flash and is the 85 °C temperature tolerant version.

ESP32-C3 Mini Development Board

ESP32-C3 Mini Development Board


The ESP32-C3 Mini Development Board is an entry-level development board based on ESP32-C3-MINI-1, a module named for its small size. This board integrates complete Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® LE functions.

That's it for this week! As always, we can't wait to see what you make! Shoot us a tweet @sparkfun, or let us know on Instagram or Facebook. We’d love to see what projects you’ve made! Please be safe out there, be kind to one another, and we'll see you next week with even more new products!

Never miss a new product!

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Humane mouse trap | The MagPi #108

via Raspberry Pi

Safely catching mice is a better way of fixing a problem, and using Raspberry Pi means it needs less supervision. In the new issue of The MagPi magazine, Rob Zwetsloot takes a look with the maker, Andrew Taylor.

With some IoT projects, it’s the little things that help. For example, take Andrew Taylor, who did the good thing of setting up a humane mousetrap. However, checking it to see if any mice had been caught in it, while necessary, was getting a little boring.

There’s one major component to the setup, which is the PIR sensor

“If a mouse had gone in and I did not check it, the mouse would quickly run out of food and water!” Andrew tells us. “Having been interested in Raspberry Pi for a couple of years and having recently begun learning Python using the Enviro+ environment sensors, I figured a Raspberry Pi with a motion sensor would be an ideal way to check.”

It’s a fairly simple setup, one commonly used in CCTV builds and some fun ‘parent detectors’ on the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s projects site.

An old coffee tub is used as a case for the sensor, a good way to recycle

Mouse motion

“I came across a couple of automated mousetraps that people had made from scratch, but wanting to keep it simple and cheap,” Andrew explains. “I wanted to use off-the-shelf parts where possible and keep costs down. The Pi Hut had a tutorial for a DIY burglar alarm utilising a PIR sensor, IFTTT, and Pushbullet, which seemed like an ideal starting point.”

A Raspberry Pi Zero is used to check the motion sensor and send data if it’s activated

IFTTT – If This Then That – is an online service popular with IoT folks. It’s great for small things like cross-posting images on social media services, or sending a push notification when motion is detected in a mousetrap.

“I have only had one mouse since, but it worked!” Andrew says. “I was averaging about 800 detections a day and suddenly got well over a 1000. Sure enough, there was a mouse in the trap which I released shortly afterwards. I do tend to notice that the values fluctuate a bit, so it is always worth checking over the previous day’s results to see if it is notably higher.”

Wiring up the PIR to Raspberry Pi is quite simple, and means the project is easy to maintain

You might think that 800 push notifications a day is far worse than just occasionally checking your garage, and you’d be right, so Andrew tweaked the code a bit: “The code examples I found sent a notification for each movement detection – which I knew would be rather annoying, considering how randomly PIR sensors sometimes seem to trigger. My script instead logs any hits at a max of 1 per 30 seconds and then triggers a notification once every 24 hours, meaning I just get one notification a day.”

It’s a simple design, and was kept simple to keep to a small budget

Beat a path

There’s always room for improvement, as Andrew explains: “I intend to improve the code so that it can record running averages and give an indication as to whether it believes there has been a significant spike that might necessitate me checking it out.”

The first successful capture was released back outside the garage

Whilst the aim of the project was to keep costs down, Andrew is tempted to experiment by adding a camera, and possibly a light, so he can have a peek remotely when there has been a spike in the readings and to see if it is a false alarm. Which, as he admits, is “a new height in laziness!”

The MagPi #108 out NOW!

You can grab the brand-new issue right now from the Raspberry Pi Press store, or via our app on Android or iOS. You can also pick it up from supermarkets and newsagents. There’s also a free PDF you can download.

The post Humane mouse trap | The MagPi #108 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Create projects fast, with no coding, using Oplà IoT Kit templates

via Arduino Blog

Templates let you build IoT projects without code

Templates are here for the Oplà IoT Kit. This is a new feature that takes you from unboxing your kit to uploading a sketch and getting a project up and running in record time. And you can do the whole thing without needing any coding.

Arduino Cloud Templates for Oplà IoT Kit

Arduino Cloud is all about ease and simplicity. So it’s been no small task in the background, creating a way to import dashboards, sketches, things and variables that get projects up and running in just a few clicks.

To kick things off, we’ve brought these templates to the awesome Oplà IoT Kit. This way, you have more options than ever before. You don’t need any coding skills at all to make a fully functional, connected IoT project. It’s the spark that will start the fire of your new passion for electronics!

Arduino templates for Opla IoT Kit

Oplà IoT Kit Projects

The kit includes a host of projects so you can get started with IoT. These projects are carefully developed to create a strong foundation that lets anyone develop a working understanding of connected projects. Whether you’re teaching or learning, this kit is for you.

There’s still a lot of value in following these projects from start to finish, of course. Building control dashboards is one of the most powerful tools in the Arduino Cloud arsenal, for example. But there’s no quicker way to get started than importing a template. You can get to grips with things through pre-built, working demo content. Being able to see the finished project and work backwards is an excellent way to understand the inner workings.

There’s a super simple wizard that helps you import an Oplà IoT Kit project. It walks you step-by-step through the short process, creating and uploading the sketch, connecting the devices and adding a dashboard. It’ll connect your boards to Arduino Cloud and set them up automatically as you go.

Templates are ready and available for the following example Oplà IoT Kit projects:

  • Home Security Alarm
  • Inventory Control
  • Personal Weather Station
  • Remote Controlled Lights
  • Smart Garden
  • Thermostat Control
  • Thinking About You

Simply register your kit, and get signed up to the Arduino Cloud. If you’ve got a new Oplà IoT Kit there’s a free 12 month subscription included in the box, although you can do all this with the free Cloud plan too. Once you’re in, select the project you want to build with your Oplà IoT Kit. Then just click the “Import” button and follow the wizard as it takes you through the quick and easy process.

Do you like the new dashboard templates? Let us know if the comments where you’d like to see this Arduino Cloud feature go next.

The post Create projects fast, with no coding, using Oplà IoT Kit templates appeared first on Arduino Blog.

Combining Art and Technology for Interactive Learning, pt. II

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

The Hong Kong Heritage Museum, known as one of Hong Kong’s best “lesser known” attractions, houses a number of permanent exhibits as well as ever changing special and touring exhibits, plus an interactive Children’s Discovery Gallery, all covering art, culture and history. One of the museum’s permanent exhibits, titled “Hong Kong Pop 60+,” is where this new installation is housed. If you recall, Alexson was using using the SparkFun Simultaneous RFID Reader, along with three Bare Conductive Touch Boards, to create an interactive book using projection mapping to bring the pages to life. Take a look at a little bit of the project in action on Alexson's Twitter page.

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The book as it is now displayed in the “Hong Kong Pop 60+” exhibit in the Hong Kong Heritage Museum.

In the original design, each page had an embedded RFID tag, shielded on one side with aluminum foil to prevent false reads. However, concerned not only for false positives but false negatives as well - that is, the reader not picking up the tag on a page turn - Alexson decided to double up, using two RFID tags on each page for redundancy.

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Alexson doubled up on RFID tags to eliminate missed events. (Photo credit: Alexson Chu)

Another adaptation from the initial design came about due to concerns over wear and tear. As an interactive part of a permanent exhibit, Alexson knew that this book would be subjected to possibly thousands of page turns, some of them perhaps not as gentle as one would hope. For this reason, the copper tape used for prototyping was replaced with flexible PCBs.

“[For] the ‘touch’ part at the end we switched from using copper tape and conductive ink to flexible PCB for extra robustness,” Alexson told me.

For a project that is going to be handled six days a week with no end date in sight, this is a smart move, and a great example of a designer making adjustments based on the needs of a project and its environment.

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Needing both flexibility and strength, the move was made from copper tape and conductive ink to flexible PCBs. (Photo credit: Alexson Chu)

One thing that Alexson noticed and shared with me was the fact that the Simultaneous RFID Reader would get exceedingly hot when running for long periods of time. As this project will be running for at least eight hours a day, six days a week, this could eventually lead to thermal shutdown, a disappointing museum exhibit, and a curator who’ll think twice when it comes time to find someone to create their next installation. To help keep things (relatively) cool, a heat sink was added, along with a high cfm fan. This is also a good time to emphasize the importance of considering your project’s enclosure. Some chips, while able to run a multitude of high-level tasks, do so with the cost being extremely high operating temperatures. Always make sure that you have sufficient air flow across your project, even if it means creating the space for a heat sink, fan, or as is the case with this project, both.

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”Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” ~ Arthur C. Clarke

While most of us probably won’t get the chance to visit this exhibit in person, just seeing this project, its seamless integration of multiple input and display technologies, and the final product, should be inspiration enough to get the creativity flowing in most of us. If by chance you do find yourself in Hong Kong, you can enjoy this project and many other historical, artistic, cultural and educational experiences at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum.

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