Author Archives: Arduino Team

Santagostino’s predictive maintenance for HVAC uses Nano RP2040 Connect

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Santagostino predictive maintenance Nano RP2040 Connect

Prevention is better than cure is pretty much every respect. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning included. The Arduino Pro team has been working with Italy’s Santagostino to deploy an impressive array of predictive maintenance solutions across the region’s medical sector.

Environment Management in Medical Centers

Santagostino operates a network of 35 medical centers across Italy. It’s work includes diagnostic tests, procedures and setting up and maintaining suitable, medical-grade environments within the centers. The HVAC systems played an important part of that even before the COVID pandemic, but is even more essential now.

So if a fault arose in the HVAC system it required the staff to notice it, in the first place. Then they’d need to report it, and wait for a technician to arrive and fix it. The inevitable delays could meant whole departments could potentially be unable to operate until the repairs took place.

But that’s the nature of a breakdown. The fault occurs, it gets reported, it gets fixed. You can’t fix something that isn’t faulty, right?

Well, maybe you can.

Predictive Maintenance Solutions with Arduino

Santagostino set about finding a monitoring solution that was modular, scalable, operated remotely and was adaptable enough to suit whatever HVAC system was in place. Ultimately it was built around a series of Arduino Nano RP2040 Connects. These have been installed in the HVAC units, and sending a constant stream of data back for analysis.

The Nano RP2040 Connect’s built-in accelerometer detects vibrations, and monitors if a system is running or not. By detecting unexpected stoppages, excessive vibrations, errant motion and analyzing that data with machine learning, a network of predictive maintenance systems was built across the facilities.

Not only is it working to alert the maintenance teams of imminent breakdowns, it allows them to schedule timely maintenance schedules before a fault occurs. A welcome side effect is that the system also allows machinery to be reduce operation when it’s not needed, saving budget and extending equipment life cycles in the process.

There’s a case study over on the Arduino Pro website that gives you a lot more details on the system. In it you can see how it can be deployed across different industries, scenarios and sectors. And our own Stefano Implicito spoke with Santagostino’s CTO Andrea Codini about the system, which you can take a look at below.

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Supplino is a variable benchtop power supply that you can build yourself

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Working with electronics requires access to stable power in a variety of voltages. Some components require 3.3V and others require 5V. Still others need 9V or 12V — there are many possibilities. You could keep a variety of wall warts on hand, but a variable benchtop power supply is a more convenient option. Supplino is one choice and this guide from Giovanni Bernardo and Paolo Loberto will walk you through how to build one.

Supplino can accept anything from 4 to 40 volts and can output anything from 1.25 to 36 volts, with a maximum of 5A. An XH-M401 module with an XL4016E1 DC-DC buck converter handles the voltage regulation. Technically, you could use that alone to power your components. But the addition of an Arduino Nano board (or Nano Every) makes the experience far friendlier. It monitors the power supply output and drives a 1.8″ 128×160 TFT LCD screen, which displays the present voltage, amperage, and wattage.

The Arduino receives power from a second 5V buck converter. It uses a relay to control power going to the primary buck converter. A relocated potentiometer controls the voltage. Two banana plug socket make it easy to attach alligator clips or whatever other leads your project requires. You can wrap up all of these components in a tidy and attractive 3D-printed enclosure, which is compact and fits on any desktop. You have many options for the input power, but a laptop power supply is a good choice.

More details on the Supplino can be found in its post here.

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DIY jet engine powered by a Portenta H7

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Projects don’t get much more ambitious than DIY GUY Chris’ Arduino-powered jet engine. We’ve been following the work he’s done building a custom carrier board for the Portanta H7, and now we get to see it in action.

Portenta Jet Engine

To be honest, just building a working DIY jet engine model is incredible enough. But the model Chris has created is so much more than that.

The 3D-printed model has a breakaway section that lets us see the engine in action. A superb educational tool that covers everything from design and control to operation. And it looks like so much fun to make and play with, too.

His latest project puts the custom built Portenta H7 “Throne” board to use. This is a breakout, or carrier board, that he developed to explore ways to use the Portenta H7’s high density connectors. In this application it’s driving a high powered a DC motor that runs his jet engine model.

It’s an elaborate build, with a lot of printed, moving parts. In many respects the application that the H7 is used for is pretty simple, at least on the surface. But what’s great about Chris’ latest project is that it’s an excellent example of how the Arduino board could be implemented in industrial applications.

His excellent (and very professional) breakout board — the Throne — is a further demonstration of this, showing how adaptable devices like the H7 are in combination with custom solutions. So it’s worth taking a look at Chris’ other videos about the Throne’s development, as well as his mightily impressive DIY jet engine.

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AutoStrap is a self-tightening strap that’s like something out of Back to the Future

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For wearable devices, attaching them to an arm or leg can be an annoying process since the straps used often have complicated tightening/locking mechanisms. This is what inspired one Instructables user who goes by The Puma to create the AutoStrap, a self-tightening strap system for wearable electronics similar to Marty McFly’s power-lacing shoes in Back to the Future.

The AutoStrap works by using a 3D-printed arm that is loaded with a spring and is actuated with a stepper motor. In order to check if the device is fully tightened around one’s arm, the spring contains 1K Ohm resistor within that goes from the rated resistance down to zero when the end is reached. This value, in turn, tells the Arduino Uno that a home point has been reached and to stop, where a button press can then reverse the process.

Besides being a quick way to attach wearable devices for fitness or VR tracking, the AutoStrap also has potential to become an assistive device for those who might not be able to use traditional attachment mechanisms. To read more about this project, you can visit its write-up here on Instructables and watch its demo video below.

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Arduino Week 2022: Call for speakers

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Arduino Week 2022

This year, Arduino Day is becoming Arduino Week. Taking place on 21-26 March, 2022, we’ll have more talks, events and presentations than ever before.

Naturally you can expect the usual excitement from the annual Arduino festival. From makers to education and industry, we’ll be bringing you the biggest and the best Arduino has to offer. But there’s also a strong focus on community for the first week-long event. And that means we want to hear from you.

If you have a talk, idea, presentation or project you want to share, please click the button below to tell us all about it.

What Kinds of Talks Are We Looking For?

First and foremost, we don’t want to stifle your creativity. If you’ve got a great idea for something that you think the Arduino community would enjoy, now’s the time to share it. Makers, teachers, students, inventors, coders, influencers, pioneers, entrepreneurs, CEOs, industry, leaders, community groups; anyone and everyone is invited to join us and add to the Arduino Week celebrations.

There might be a project you’ve built that you’d like to showcase. Or maybe you’ve been running an extracurricular program that helps people to learn about Arduino or electronics that you want to tell the world about. Did you pick up your first Arduino board during lockdown and do something cool with it? Tell us!

It doesn’t have to be epic, either. If you’ve got a top tip about project building, coding or using Arduino that you’d love to share, let us know about it! No talk is too big, too small or too unusual to join in with Arduino Week. If it helps, entertains or showcases the community, we want to include it.

We’re here to help flesh out your ideas, too. So don’t worry if there’s something you’d love to bring to Arduino Week but aren’t quite sure how to make it happen. Get in touch, and let’s talk about how you can get involved.

This is going to be the biggest celebration of Arduino ever undertaken. So it’s the perfect way to demonstrate your skills, meet the global community, and get inspired for the next decade of awesome electronics projects.

Ready to join in? Click below to fill out the form, and you could be the star of the show during the 2022 Arduino Week! 

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Plot designs onto cups with CylinDraw

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Most plotters are planar, meaning they move in a single plane — though they often have the ability to move the tool up and down in the third axis. But if you convert one axis of the drawing plane into rotation, you get cylindrical plotting. That is how the rotary axis on a CNC machine works. If the tool moves in a third axis, you can even do conical plots. That’s exactly how CylinDraw makes it possible to plot directly onto cups and glasses.

CylinDraw is an open source “cup-specific” plotter and engraver. It is a 2.5 axis machine with a rotary axis, similar to the famous EggBot egg plotter. Except instead of drawing onto the elliptical (in cross section) surface of an egg, CylinDraw plots onto the straight or sloped surface of cups, bottles, and similar objects. By equipping a Dremel or other rotary tool, you can also engrave onto a surface instead of drawing. If you do draw, the software also lets you swap pens to get a full color palette.

An Arduino Nano board controls CylinDraw’s operation, including the stepper motors that rotate the cup and move the tool along the X axis. The frame and many of the parts, including the lathe-inspired chuck, are 3D-printed. But it is the software that really differentiates CylinDraw from similar plotters. With this software, you can automatically convert images into G-code toolpaths for the Arduino to follow for plotting.

CylinDraw is currently available as a DIY hardware kit on Etsy if you want to build one for yourself.

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