Richard's Humble Arduino Mission Accomplishments



  1. Zeroth mission accomplished on June 22nd, 2013: bought a battery, turned on the unit with the battery attachment, uploaded the first sketch.

  2. First mission accomplished on June 29th, 2013 (same as zeroth mission, re-did it and took a picture): LED with an on/off switch! From the Getting Started with Arduino book.

  3. Second mission accomplished on June 29th, 2013: three blinking LEDs! (That's a 5-second .) From the Arduino in Action book.

  4. Third and fourth missions accomplished on July 4th, 2013: pulsing light and pulsing light with button. The theme is red, white and blue (red and white wires, blue light) for July 4th!

  5. Fifth mission accomplished on July 5th, 2013: Potentiometor (with some experimenting and troubleshooting with Processing)
  6. A learning mission this time.

    Looking to start on the motor examples from either of the two books, it was clear I didn't have the parts for it. The starter kit's “experimenter's guide” (top left), however small the text might be, provides links to the motor example and a link to a video which makes clear the reason for the circuit diagrams (bottom left). One is expected to pin the the breadboard layout on top of the breadboard! The other thing that became clear from the experimenter's guide was that one is expected to attach the Arduino and breadboard to the holder (right, underneath the breadboard and Arduino unit), but the rivets look like they're semi-permanent (that is, to undo it, you have to break the rivets). I can hold off on that.

    I also bought a cheap magnifying glass more for looking closely at the connections in the breadboard. Here's a photo magnifying the Arduino unit:

    I also watched the first half of TWiT.TV's Triangualtion interview with Massimo Banzi.

  7. Seventh mission accomplished on September 2nd, 2013: After setting the Arduino hobby aside for a month, I attended the Vancouver Hardware Hackers Meetup. That inspired me to pick up the kit again, and try the servo motor. I seem to have misplaced my 3-pin header, so instead I tried my hand at the spinning motor, which is the lesson before the servo. (I was hoping to do the servo because it comes with blades, and the spinning motor comes with nothing else.) So after an hour of carefully setting the wires, and another half an hour struggling with inserting the diode, I had the circuit complete. But despite copy & pasting the code directly from the ARDX website, the motor would not spin. I noticed an inconsistency between the website version of the circuit layout and the printed version. The printed version calls for a 2.2k ohm resistor, while the website calls for a 10k resistor. Neither worked, and only after a quick Google search revealed a forum post with people having the exact same problem did a solution appear: use a less resistant resistor. It worked with a 270 ohm resistor (that I had purchased separately for an earlier mission), but rather than tempt fate, I went with the provided 560 ohm resistor. Success!

  8. 8th mission somewhat not really accomplished on September 7th, 2013. Do you remember when I said I had misplaced my 3-pin header? It was not at all clear, anywhere in the documentation that came with ARDX, that they had provided headers but it was up to me to break them off the long strip. A visit to Lee’s Electronics cleared that up. This meant I could move on to the servo motor mission. The results are below. The video does not give you an indication of how twitchy the motor is under USB power, and it barely works at all on battery power. The documentation warned me about that, but suggested a fresh battery.

    The ARDX manual suggested, as an extra credit assignment, using a potentiometer. The layout image at the tutorial was not at all useful, and a quick search found a better image at the Colonel By Robotics Club blog. I couldn’t get that working either, so I’m letting it rest and tidying my workspace to give it another try tomorrow.
  9. 9th mission accomplished in the wee hours of September 12th, 2013. When buying some printer ink, the Amazon checkout total didn't come out to an amount that would have led to free shipping. If I bought one other small thing, I'd save on the shipping (in other words, I was paying the money no matter what). So what small thing caught my eye? The SainSmart Ultrasonic Module HC-SR04 Distance Sensor for Arduino Uno, that's what!

    After it arrived in the mail, and while downloading some a large software package, I set about putting together the Instructables example for the HC-SR04. In the video below, you can see I'm using my Getting Started with Arduino book as the object that the distance sensor detects, and, when it's within range, changes from green to red. Red means too close! No real challenges in getting this setup. I did get wires mixed up. Also, if you think it's a good idea to sync your iPhone while sending compiled Arduino code to the wrong USB port, you're mistaken.