Arduino Adventures

For some reason, I got the sudden urge a month ago to look into these fun little microcontroller boards everyone's been talking about for the past few years.

Although my career has been focused on software since I graduated from university, my degree is actually in electrical engineering. And I was kind of surprised at how much I enjoyed getting back into hardware.

I even scrounged through my old tackle box of electronic stuff and fished out a couple of vintage chips that I got working for the first time:

  • An old Radio Shack (Archer) SN94281 complex sound generator chip.

  • And an SP0256-017 speech synthesis chip.

Here's a video of the latter in action.

Anyway, this was all while I waited for my Arduino-related orders to arrive from China (via Ebay). Also while I waited, I started pouring through my old electronics books to refresh my memory about everything. It had been well over a decade since I'd done anything hardware related...

But after exercising much patience, eventually the Arduino starter kit I ordered arrived. Here's a somewhat bad unboxing-ish video where I managed to move everything I was talking about outside the camera's view. I need to work on my video skills...

So the Arduino UNO clone kit was pretty cool. It cost me about $24 and took over a month to arrive, but it's got a ton of components and stuff to mess around with: motors, LEDs, a couple of breadboards and a shield prototyping board. Here's a list of the parts included:

1 x Arduino UNO R3 board (note: it's a clone, so technically not "Arduino" I guess)

1 x mini breadboard + development expansion board (the prototyping shield and a cool little breadboard that fits in it between the headers)

1 x 830 point breadboard

1 x SMD components box (cool little spring-loaded top box that you can link on sides or back/front with other boxes)

15 x LED (5 each red, yellow, green)

8 x 220 ohm resistors

5 x 1K ohm resistors

5 x 10K ohm resistors

1 x active buzzer (you feed this a pulse width modulated signal for different frequencies)

1 x passive buzzer (this one just buzzes at a set frequency)

4 x yellow push buttons

2 x digital tube

1 x 8x8 LED matrix

2 x switches

3 x photoresistors

1 x adjustable resistor (potentiometer)

1 x flame sensor

1 x infrared receiver

1 x LM35 temperature sensor

1 x 74HC595 (serial in, parallel out shift register)

1 x IR mini remote control

1 x 1602 LCD module

1 x 5V stepper motor + ULN2003 driver board

1 x SG90 9G servo motor

30 x jumper wires

1 x USB cable

1 x storage box

Not bad for $24!

But the story doesn't end there. Turns out, the UNO clone board "wouldn't work". But in my next post, I'll explain how I fixed it!