Lifelong Learning a blog of all the things I've learned about…

16Aug/093

Controlling a servo with a TV remote using Arduino!

Ardunio IR Servo Controller

I decided today after I got home from work, I'd try to get my next quick project done. I wanted to control a hobby servo using a standard TV remote. I had a RadioShack IR receiver (Part No. 276-640) already as well as a standard hobby servo.

I quickly hooked things up. 10k resistor between the PWM pin on the Arduino and the servo sensor wire. 200ohm resistor between the digial pin on the Arduino and the output of the IR reciever. Hooked up my 5v to both and grounds and I was done.

I found some sample code as referenced in the Ardunio code below and modified it to find out what codes my remote was outputting for different keys. I decided I'd have it move the servo left and right using the left and right arrow keys on the remote and then center it at 90 degrees when the "OK" button was pushed.  I also output the keypresses to the serial port to verify movement...

Worked like a charm! Amazing how simple tasks like this are with such a great community of folks posting example code and a wonderous board like the Ardunio!

Arduino IR Servo Controller

Hi resolution pictures and the Ardunio code can be found in the attached ZIP file.

IRServoProject
Title: IRServoProject (1489 clicks)
Caption:
Filename: irservoproject.zip
Size: 2 MB

IRServoProject
Title: IRServoProject (1489 clicks)
Caption:
Filename: irservoproject.zip
Size: 2 MB

16Aug/090

Anyone for some homemade butter?

Yup, that's right! My wife had been reading some cool crafty blogs and I am always up for learning about something new so I got involved. We headed out to JoBeth to find a book that all the online blogs say is a must-have for DIY cheese and butter making (they had it, much to my surprise)! It's called the Home Creamery and it's a fantastic book to get you started making your own cheeses and butters!

It was sooo easy and far better tasting than store-bought butter. I even had Natalie cut some fresh chives from the garden and I added that with some garlic powder to make a more savory butter! Fantastic stuff!

Whole whipping cream getting smooth now!

Butter Getting Smooth

Right Before the butter starts to form!

Right before the butter starts to form!

Ah, time for some elbow grease!

My butter is nearly done!

Getting rid of the remaining buttermilk.

Getting out the rest of the butter milk.

Salted and ready!

Salted and ready

16Aug/090

Digital Temperature with the Arduino

Arduino One Wire Temp SensorI was waiting on an order I had placed with Tayda Electronics (they rock) for my One-Wire temperature sensors.

If you haven't heard of One-Wire or these particular sensors you need to check them out. They are made by Dallas Semiconductors and they are amazing. They are a bit $$, which is why I opted to have them shiped from the philipeans directly. I got them for $1.60/each as opposed to ~$5.00/each from any of the domestic online retailers. The shipping only took ~8 days and the shipping was only ~$4.00. Can't beat that huh?

Anyhow, I got them in and wanted to see them in action, so I threw together a quick circuit which reads the temp and displays it on a LCD screen I had laying around (got it here). The end result is a quite nice and very accurate thermometer! I've posted my code and some high-res pics in the attached ZIP file below if you are intrested. Get your LCD working as outlined in the adafruit document and then hook up the one-wire sensor.

OneWireTempWithLCD
Title: OneWireTempWithLCD (388 clicks)
Caption:
Filename: onewiretempwithlcd.zip
Size: 2 MB

OneWireTempWithLCD
Title: OneWireTempWithLCD (388 clicks)
Caption:
Filename: onewiretempwithlcd.zip
Size: 2 MB

16Aug/090

Squeeky Clean In No Time…

Soap Making Session 1A few months ago, Natalie started playing around with making her own lotion bars. While she was researching, she came across numerous folks blogging about making them but also making soap. It's something we were both interested in since we started going to the farmer’s market downtown. The old-fashion soap was simple, far longer lasting and had no nasty chemicals in it, we loved the several bars we purchased. The problem is, it's quite expensive compared to the Irish Spring you can pick up at any China-Mart. We figured it had to be cheaper to make it ourselves and the knowledge of how to do so would be priceless. Becoming more self-sufficient is something we both feel can't hurt.

This week-end was our first attempt at soap making. We had purchased the lye online with some other essential oils and dyes here. We decided very early on we'd use the Cold Process method of making soap as it yielded a very hard soap that lasted longer and was just more similar to how my grandmother had made her lard-lye soap. Soap Making Session 2

As you can see, we made two batches of soap. One for me (the red bar) and one for Natalie (the brown and yellow) one. Mine was scented with a Karma knock-off (from lush) and Natalie decided on Oatmeal, Milk and Honey. They both smelled fantastic and turned out better than expected. We are going to attempt to make a cinnamon scented batch tomorrow to prepare for the gift-giving season ahead.... (and yes, I did make the wooden molds and wire cutting block). More pictures below of our first attempt...

 

Natalie's Oatmeal, Milk and Honey Soap

(Natalie's Oatmeal, Milk and Honey Soap)

 

Natalie's Oatmeal, Milk and Honey Soap

(Natalie's Oatmeal Soap showing yellow swirls from top)

 

Both Soap Batches

(Both our soaps waiting to be cut)

 

Jay's Karma Soap being cut

(Cutting my soap)

Filed under: Soap Making No Comments
9Aug/090

Charge that IPod with MintyBoost goodness…

 MintyBoost

Ah the power of Altoids! And now it has the power to charge your IPod with as much minty power as does at killing that early morning coffee breath!

It's been out there for a while but I finally broke down and ordered the parts to build my own. This really is a perfect way to learn, easy enough for the beginner and has amazing charging capacity with normal AAs! Great details here if you are interested in making your own. If you are not intrested in wiring one up, let me know, I can hook you up with a finished model.

BTW, adafruit.com shipped my order within an hour! Now that's what I call customer service!

9Aug/091

Sound Detection With The Arduino

Sound Detection with the ArduinoI decided on Saturday that I'd try my hand at building a setup with the Arduino to detect sound. I found the perfect schematic online here from the guys over at SparkFun.com. They have a really nice breakout board for an Electret Microphone but it's ~$8.00 and I already had the stuff on hand to build my own. I think I'll still pick one of theirs up at some point, just to have around. It's quality built and tiny. I've attached the Schematic and the code with additional high-res pictures below for anyone more interested. I used an OpAmp to increase the voltage and had the code check for a threshold. Once the threshold had been exceeded, it would light up the red LED. The end result looks very similar to one of the old-school VU meters. You can adjust the gain on the amp by increasing the R5 resistor. This would make an excellent sound detector or even could be hooked up to a small speaker, it's a simplistic mono-amplifier after all...

ElectretMICProject
Title: ElectretMICProject (872 clicks)
Caption:
Filename: electretmicproject.zip
Size: 1 MB

ElectretMICProject
Title: ElectretMICProject (872 clicks)
Caption:
Filename: electretmicproject.zip
Size: 1 MB

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