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Arduino Playground, 1st Edition

Book Description

You've mastered the basics, conquered the soldering iron, and programmed a robot or two; now you've got a set of skills and tools to take your Arduino exploits further. But what do you do once you've exhausted your to-build list?

Arduino Playground will show you how to keep your hardware hands busy with a variety of intermediate builds, both practical and just-for-fun. Advance your engineering and electronics know-how as you work your way through these 10 complex projects:

  • A reaction-time game that leverages the Arduino's real-time capabilities
  • A tool for etching your own printed circuit boards
  • A regulated, variable-voltage power supply
  • A kinetic wristwatch winder decked out with LEDs
  • A garage parking assistant that blinks when your vehicle is perfectly parked
  • A practical and colorful pH meter
  • A ballistic chronograph that can measure the muzzle velocity of BB, Airsoft, and pellet guns
  • A battery saver that prevents accidental discharge
  • A square-wave generator
  • A thermometer that tells the temperature using a sequence of colored LEDs
Each project begins with a list of required tools and components, followed by the instructions, full sketch, and circuit board templates for the build, as well as directions for building a permanent enclosure. You'll even find the author's design notes, which are sure to provide inspiration for your own inventions.

Gather your parts, break out the soldering iron, and get ready to take your Arduino skills to the next level with Arduino Playground.

Uses the Arduino Nano and Pro Mini boards

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. About the Author
  5. About the Technical Reviewer
  6. Brief Contents
  7. Contents in Detail
  8. Acknowledgments
  9. Introduction
    1. Who This Book Is For
    2. How This Book Is Organized
    3. About the Parts Lists
    4. Tools and Supplies
      1. Drilling, Cutting, and Assembling
      2. Prototyping, Soldering, and Testing
      3. Online Retailers
    5. About the Online Resources
  10. Chapter 0: Setting Up and Useful Skills
    1. Preparing the Arduino Board
    2. Affixing the I2C Board to the LCD
    3. Uploading Sketches to Your Arduino
      1. Installing the Arduino IDE
      2. Using the Arduino IDE
      3. Connecting and Programming an Arduino Nano
      4. Connecting and Programming an Arduino Pro Mini
    4. Using PCB Software
    5. Making Your Own PCBs
      1. Applying the Pattern
      2. Etching the Board
      3. Drilling the Board
    6. Connectors Used in This Book
    7. Using SOICs
      1. What Are SMT Devices?
      2. The Solder Paste Method
      3. Soldering Directly
    8. Closing Thoughts
  11. Chapter 1: The Reaction-Time Machine
    1. Required Tools
    2. Parts List
    4. Reaction vs. Reflex
    5. How Does the Game Work?
      1. Measuring Time with the Arduino Nano
      2. Expected Speed Ranges
    6. The Schematic
    7. The Breadboard
    8. The Sketch
      1. Customized Reaction Commentary
      2. What Happens in the Loop
    9. Construction
      1. Preparing a Sturdy Case
      2. Mounting the Hardware
    10. Ideas for Customization
  12. Chapter 2: An Automated Agitator for PCB Etching
    1. Required Tools
    2. Parts List
    4. How Automatic Motor Reversal Works
    5. The Schematic
    6. Determining the Reversal Threshold
    7. Using an H-Bridge
    8. The Breadboard
    9. The Sketch
    10. The Shield
      1. PCB Layout
      2. Shield Design Notes
    11. Construction
      1. The Limit Wires
      2. The Crank Bushing
      3. Packaging
    12. The Etching Process
  13. Chapter 3: The Regulated Power Supply
    1. Required Tools
    2. Parts List
    4. A Flexible Voltage Regulator Circuit
    5. How the Circuit Works
    6. The Schematic
    7. The Breadboard
      1. Preparing the Arduino Pro Mini and LCD
      2. Building the Breadboard
    8. The Sketch
    9. The Shield
    10. Construction
      1. Preparing the Enclosure
      2. Mounting the Circuit Board
  14. Chapter 4: A Watch Winder
    1. Why a Watch Winder?
    2. Required Tools
    3. Parts List
      1. Acrylic
      2. Other Hardware and Circuit Components
    5. Basic Watch Winder Requirements
    6. Using an Arduino to Control Winder Revolutions
    7. Using a Hall Effect Sensor to Monitor Rotations
    8. The Schematic
    9. The Breadboard
    10. The Sketch
    11. The Shield
    12. Overview of the Motor Assembly
    13. Construction
      1. Preparing the Motor Mount and Bearing Box Acrylic
      2. Bonding the Acrylic for the Bearing Box
      3. Building the Stand
      4. Preparing the Motor and the Driveshaft
      5. Making the Watch Basket
      6. Adding the LEDs
      7. Leaving the Components on Display
      8. Keeping the Watches in the Basket
    14. Design Notes
      1. Total Rotation Adjustment
      2. How Many LEDs to Use and Where to Put Them
      3. Motor Voltage
      4. How Many Rotations Does the Watch Winder Make?
  15. Chapter 5: The Garage Sentry Parking Assistant
    1. Required Tools
    2. Parts List
    3. Deluxe Parts
    5. The Schematic
    6. Basics of Calculating Distance
    7. How the Garage Sentry Works
    8. The Breadboard
    9. The Sketch
      1. Inside the setup() Function
      2. Inside the loop() Function
      3. Determining Distance
      4. Triggering the Alarm
    10. Construction
      1. Drilling Holes for the Electronics
      2. Mounting Options
      3. Soldering the Transistors and Current-Limiting Resistors
      4. Wiring the Pieces Together
    11. The Deluxe Garage Sentry
      1. The Deluxe Schematic
      2. The Deluxe Sketch
      3. The Deluxe Shield
      4. A Bigger Box
  16. Chapter 6: The Battery Saver
    1. Boats, Tractors, and Other Vehicles
    2. Required Tools
    3. Parts List
    5. The Schematic
      1. How the Battery Saver Prevents Draining
      2. Arduino to the Rescue
    6. The Breadboard
    7. The Sketch
    8. The Shield
      1. The PCB Layout
      2. Preparing the Shield and Pro Mini Controller
    9. Construction
      1. Preparing the Enclosure
      2. The Contact Support
      3. Preparing the Copper Contact Assembly
      4. Mounting Supplies for the Solenoid
      5. Preparing the Release Rod, Springs, and E-Clip
      6. Making the Release Lever and Pylon
      7. Assembling All the Parts
    10. Installing the Battery Saver into a Vehicle
    11. Operating the Battery Saver
      1. Normal Operation
      2. Setting the Threshold Voltage
      3. Protection from the Environment
      4. Applying Cool Amp
  17. Chapter 7: A Custom PH Meter
    1. Why Build Your Own pH Meter?
    2. Required Tools
    3. Parts List
    5. About the pH Probe
    6. The Schematic
      1. Integrating the High-Impedance Probe
      2. General Design Notes
      3. The Op-Amp Circuit in Detail
      4. Some Notes on IC Selection
    7. Preparing the LCD
    8. The Breadboard
    9. Calibrating the Custom pH Meter
    10. About the Effects of Temperature
      1. Adding a Temperature Sensor
      2. Checking Accuracy
    11. The Sketch
      1. Smoothing the pH and Temperature Output
      2. Centering an Analog Meter
    12. The Shield
    13. Construction
      1. The Custom pH Meter Enclosure
      2. Mounting the Circuit Board
      3. Installing the Other Hardware
  18. Chapter 8: Two Ballistic Chronographs
    1. What Is a Ballistic Chronograph?
      1. Commercial Chronographs
      2. Measuring Muzzle Velocity
      3. This Project’s Approach
    2. The Chronograph Lite
      1. Required Tools
      2. Parts List
      4. The Schematic
      5. Building a Test Bed
      6. The Breadboard
      7. The Sketch
      8. Construction
    3. The Full Ballistic Chronograph
      1. Required Tools
      2. Parts List
      4. Improving the Accuracy
      5. Designing the Full Ballistic Chronograph
      6. The Schematic
      7. The Sketch
      8. The Shield
      9. Soldering the Full Ballistic Chronograph
      10. Construction
    4. The Sensor Channel
      1. Building the Sensor Channel
      2. Optoschmitt Light Sensors and UV LEDs
      3. Sensor Umbilical Cable
    5. Final Setup and Operation
      1. Using the Full Ballistic Chronograph
      2. Using the Chronograph Lite
  19. Chapter 9: The Square-Wave Generator
    1. Why Build a Square-Wave Generator?
      1. What Is a Square Wave?
      2. Why Square Waves Are Useful
      3. A Frequency Counter
    2. Shortcomings of the Square-Wave Generator
    3. Required Tools
    4. Parts List
    6. The Schematic
    7. Important Notes on the Pro Mini
    8. How the Square-Wave Generator Was Developed
      1. Deciding How to Generate Signals
      2. Planning How to Display the Frequency
    9. Signal Integrity
    10. Fine-tuning with a Decade Counter
    11. The Oscillator in Detail
    12. The Breadboard
    13. The Sketch
    14. The Shield
    15. Construction
      1. Preparing the Enclosure
      2. Wiring the Electronics
    16. Design Notes and Mods
      1. Displaying Frequency in Other Units
      2. Reading External Input Frequencies
      3. Battery Power
  20. Chapter 10: The Chromatic Thermometer
    1. Choosing a Temperature Sensor
    2. Required Tools
    3. Parts List
    5. How the Chromatic Thermometer Works
    6. The Schematic
    7. The Breadboard
    8. The Sketches
      1. Sketch for the LM35 System
      2. Sketch for the MCP9808 System
      3. How the Temperature Readouts Work
    9. The Shield
    10. Construction
    11. Using the Chromatic Thermometer
  21. Index
  22. Resources
  23. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
  24. Arduino Beyond the Basics