A quick look at the Intel Galileo Arduino/Linux Development Board

GalileoWe’ve had the Intel Galileo for around three weeks now and tested a number of projects on it’s platform. This article will be a quick review and some instructions to get you up and running with your Intel Galileo!

There are more and more distributors now stocking the Galileo; we got ours from RS Components but you can find a list of distributors on the Intel Galileo website just here.

 

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How to do RF Communication between 2 Arduinos (and more!)

We recently ordered some very cheap RF modules online to test out with our Arduino’s that we have here, despite being very cheap products they do seem to work incredibly well – So much so that we thought they deserve an article on how to get them up and running and working with two or more Arduino’s (with example sketches)

First of all, the components you’ll be needing are:

You’ll need a basic understanding of the Arduino IDE and basic programming skills to implement the example code posted below.

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Making male to female jumpers

male-female-jumpersWe’ve got loads of male to male (pins on each end) jumpers here in the Hackshed but recently had to do some breadboarding with a board that only had male headers fitted and didn’t have any male to female jumpers around. Now we could have ordered some online which is the easy thing to do but we needed them straight away and the nearest Maplin is quite a way away so there was nothing else for it…. we made some.

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Building a Temperature/Humidity Arduino Bot that Tweets updates!

Whilst testing out our various sensors I thought it would be fun to make the Arduino actually tweet out what the current status of our office is. The Arduino records the current, minimum, maximum and temperature change as well as humidity and then sends out a tweet to a Twitter account with an update every 15 minutes.

The following parts were used:

Requirements:

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Microcontroller Shootout – Texas Instruments MSP430

launchpad-mspexp430g2-01Ok guys and girls, time for another development board. Today we’re looking at the Texas Instruments MSP430 Launchpad, or more specifically, the MSP-EXP430G2

We’ve never actually played with one of these before but added it to the list as a suggestion from Alex Bradbury on Twitter. Once the board arrived, we opened up the packaging and were pleasantly surprised. Inside we found of shiny new dev board with an M430G2553 chip installed along with an M430G2452 chip, a 32khz crystal and a set of female headers in case you want to swap the factory installed male headers (or maybe to build your own shield). At first I couldn’t work out the difference between the two chips but going back and reading the quick start guide which was supplied with the board, it turns out that the pre-installed M430G2553 includes a USCI module which is capable of hardware UART.

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Microcontroller Shootout – Matrix ECIO28P

ECIO-page-headerFollowing on with the microcontroller shootout, today we’re going to look at the ECIO28P from Matrix Multimedia. This is a nice little system which is based on a PIC18F2455 but with Matrix’s own bootloader flashed on to it. The system also comes in a 40 pin version which offers more I/O. The first thing to note about this board is it’s size. It measures 5.5cm x 2cm in total and is perfectly sized to fit into most breadboards. Another thing I noticed with this board is the quality of the pin headers. I know it may seem like a minor detail but a lot of other boards come with the cheapest headers available at the time of manufacturing. The pins on the ECIO28P are just that bit nicer. Again, not massively relevant but I did notice it.

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Microcontroller Shootout – Arduino Uno

Arduino Uno R3The next Microcontroller we’re going to look at is the Arduino Uno R3 – This is a open source and low cost development board that has an ATmega328 and 14 digital input/output pins (6 can be used as PWM outputs) it also has 6 analog inputs. There is also a USB connection for uploading sketches (programs) from your computer and a ICSP header so you can program it directly if you wish.

We’ll mention it again; this isn’t being directly compared to the other development boards we’re reviewing and hopefully you can make your own mind up regarding what to use after this shootout series. We’ll be doing a summary of all microcontrollers when we come to the end of the Shootout.

There are various types of Arduino available; we chose the Arduino Uno due to the fact that we believe it’s the easiest to get started with and is also the lowest cost of the Arduino family – If you’re just getting started with programming microcontrollers then this would be an entry level product for learning and prototyping.

We’ll be running the same example as we did with the Parallax Propeller, by setting up the board and development environment and flashing an LED with code. Pin 13 is by default an LED actually on the board it’s self, so we’ll be flashing an external LED hooked up to a small breadboard.

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Microcontroller Shootout – Parallax Propeller

PropellerThe Parallax Propeller (P8X32A) is a 32bit microcontroller with a difference. It contains 8 cores (called cogs) and can run different routines simultaneously. The propeller doesn’t seem as popular in the UK as it does in the USA but that’s probably because there are only a few places that stock it and it’s more expensive that the Arduino. It’s a shame really because it really is a great little chip. One other thing that may have caused the lack of adoption was the fact that it had to be programmed in a language called SPIN. Over the past couple of years however, Parallax have listened to the masses and have now provided a C programming environment for use with the Propeller.

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Arduino LCD Keypad Shield – Basic Menu System

LCD1After recently purchasing an LCD and Keypad Shield for my Arduino Uno. I thought I best test it out and write a quick sketch to use with it.

The shield has a 16×2 (LCD1602) LCD and 6 Button Keypad , extremely useful for controlling your projects without hooking the Arduino board up to anything. I believe this cost me just under £4 delivered and is well worth the money.

I have made a basic options selection menu which will allow you to scroll through a list of entries and select one of them, using the least amount of screen updates. It doesn’t yet support sub-menus, but it’s dead easy to implement using this code found below.

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