Review: ChipKIT Uno32

May 26th, 2012 11 comments

Name: ChipKIT Uno32
Distributor: Farnell
Price: £18.94 ~ $30

Evaluation Type: Development Board, PIC32
Application you used the part in: Arduino form-factored development/prototyping
Was everything in the box required?: The box only contains the board itself, nothing else
What were the biggest problems encountered?: Shield compatibility with other Arduino shields (should be 3.3V compatible)

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Categories: ARM, Development boards, Reviews Tags:

NXT Shield Library

April 18th, 2012 5 comments

After several questions on how to use the NXT Shield I decided to create an Arduino library. All the code is available at github:
The library is pretty easy to use, I have provided three examples witch demonstrates all the libraries functionalities.

I works with all official Arduinos including Arduino Mega. To use the ultrasonic sensor with an Arduino Mega, one have to connect pin 20 (SDA) to A4 and pin 21 (SCL) to A5. A new revision of the shield might use the two extra SDA and SCL pins that are near to the AREF pin on r3 versions of the new Arduino boards.

Below are some photos of the NXT Shield:
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April 6th, 2012 43 comments

Distributor: DigiKey
Price: ~$20

Evaluation Type: Development Board, ARM Cortex-M4
Application you used the part in: QuadCopter
Was everything in the box required?: The box only contains the board itself, nothing else
What were the biggest problems encountered?: It is hard to find a good but inexpensive or free compiler

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Categories: ARM, Development boards, Reviews Tags:

QuadCopters – How to get started

March 27th, 2012 143 comments

I have been watching different videos of QuadCopters recently and I’ve been pretty amused. The way they fly and the way they control their movements is unbelievable – it almost looks like a bug.

If you don’t know what a QuadCopter is, you should definitely have a look at the video below where some advanced features of cooperating Quadcopters are displayed:

So I decided to start reading some more about the materials behind these QuadCopters and how they manage to stabilize in the air.

In this blog post I will try to describe the different steps I have been thru to plan, design and build the prototype of my QuadCopter. There will be coming some more blog posts later on describing how to get the QuadCopter running, programming it, tuning it etc.

This blog post is divided into 3 parts

  1. What is a QuadCopter
    1. Brushless motors
    2. Propellers
    3. Roll, Pitch and Yaw
    4. ESC – Electronic Speed Controller
    5. Battery
    6. The frame
    7. Frame configuration
    8. Inertial Measurement Unit
    9. Controller electronics
  2. Initial decisions
    1. Theoretical calculator
  3. Conclusion

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Categories: Guides, Multirotors, TKJ Electronics Tags:


March 20th, 2012 70 comments

I have previous thought about buying a universal remote like this one, as I was tired of grabbing my JVC remote for my stereo everytime I had to turn it on, off or turn the volume up or down. But then I discovered Ken Shirriff’s IR Library for the Arduino. Normally the library didn’t support neither the Panasonic or JVC protocol, but I discovered that somebody else had already added them. See the forked github library. At first I simple downloaded the library and tested whenever it could decode the Panasonic protocol and send commands to my JVC stereo. It had to tweak the library a bit, but then it worked just fine.
I thought it would be a bit overkill to use an Arduino and I didn’t want to rewrite the whole library, so I decided to use another AVR’s but in a much smaller package, the ATtiny85. Which is 8-pin AVR.
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Categories: Arduino, Guides, TKJ Electronics Tags:

The Balancing Robot

March 4th, 2012 599 comments

Now avaliable as a kit
A balancing robot kit is now avaliable via Kickstarter: Check out the blog post as well:

Hello everybody
I have for a long time wanted to build a remote controllable balancing robot aka Segway – that’s was actually the main reason why I created the PS3 Bluetooth Library both for Arduino and the FEZ Devices. It has been a long time since the sneak peak and the performance has been improved a lot since then. The original one had a FEZ Rhino as the main processor, but I discovered that it was not fast enough to read the encoders, as it is not running embedded code. Also I was already using more than 10ms per loop, which I used as a fixed time loop, so I decided to step up a notch and go for a much more powerful device: the mbed microcontroller, which is an ARM Cortex-M3 running 96MHz.

It might have been possible with just a normal Arduino (NB: I have now ported the code to Arduino, see update for the code), but I didn’t want the speed of the processor to be an issue, so I decided to go for the mbed. The robot also features an Arduino Duemilanove with a USB Host Shield on top running a sketch based on my PS3 Bluetooth Library. The mbed board actually has USB Host functionality, but I decided not to port the PS3 Bluetooth Library as my original thought were to use an Arduino Due, but as you might know it hasn’t been released yet, despite the Arduino team announced, that it would be released by the end of 2011. But as soon as it is released I think I will port the code to it instead.

Video Demonstration
Here is a short video demonstration of the robot and me explaining some of the concepts of the design and how it works:
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Giving away 6 free CeBIT eTickets

February 28th, 2012 No comments

Are you going to CeBIT 2012 but are still missing the tickets?
We have been given quite an amount of tickets from different vendors. So we would like to see you there too and would therefor like to offer you a free ticket (?34 normally).

If you are interested in this limited offer please send us an email at:
The tickets will be given on a first serve basis.

Categories: TKJ Electronics Tags:

Winner of the "Project Idea" contest

February 21st, 2012 2 comments


Yesterday our “Project Idea” contest ended and we have spent the day reading all the project ideas from you.
Some of them were more advanced than others but we have received a great number of project ideas and would like to thank you all for participating.

So now we are ready to present the winning Project Idea:

Project Title: Use of a Micro controller in a 50MHz to 1GHz spectrum analyser project.

This project idea was sent to us by Roberto Savo, an RF Electronics Engineer from South Africa.

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Categories: TKJ Electronics Tags:

Raspberry Pi – a BeagleBoard competitor

February 18th, 2012 No comments

Soon a BeagleBoard competitor will be released – the Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi - Embedded ARM11 Computer

The Raspberry Pi is a small credit card sized ARM11 embedded computer, capable of running embedded Linux or WinCE.
When released it is supposed to be available in two models, where the biggest difference is the ethernet connector.

The first model, which comes with 128MB RAM, 1x USB but no ethernet will be priced at $25.
That’s an insane price for an embedded computer capable of doing HD video by using the onboard HDMI connector.

The second model, which comes with 256MB RAM, 2x USB and also ethernet, will be priced at $35.
And most of the times embedded applications requires some kind of internet connection as almost everything in this world becomes online. So why not spend those $10 extra to get the ethernet capability too.

The Raspberry Pi is expected to be sold in the end of February, though the initial stock is limited to around 10.000pcs so you have to be fast. Hopefully we will be able to do a review of the board soon.

Via: Raspberry Pi

Categories: ARM, Development boards, Raspberry Pi Tags:

PS3 Controller BT Library for Arduino

January 16th, 2012 290 comments

I just finished porting the bluetooth library to Arduino. It’s based on the library for the USB Host Shield from Circuits@Home. It works exactly the same way as the class for the boards from GHIElectronics – FEZ Panda, FEZ Rhino etc. You should check out my other post, if you haven’t already: FEZ Panda & PS3 Controller, FEZ Panda & PS3 Controller via Bluetooth, and Demonstration of the PS3 Controllers in action.
To make it work, you’ll need a USB Host Shield or an Arduino ADK.

I have now created another library that only supports the controller via USB. The source code for the USB library can be found at the github repository. An example can be found as well: PS3USB.ino.

Video Demonstration

The library can be found at our Github: You should also see the Github wiki for more details.

Categories: Arduino, Bluetooth, TKJ Electronics, USB Tags: