Friday, July 28, 2017


So I need another project like a hole in the head. But when "The Most Complete Arduino Starter Kit" appears on Amazon prime at more than 50% off, Hey it would be rude not to. I looked at all the accessories and found myself clicking the buy with one click button and less than 24 hrs later it arrived.

Tech Christmas Day... The box was full of all sorts of colored bits.

This is the 3rd Arduino I've bought over a number of years. The first was a simple learn-to program an Arduino kit and came with some basic electronic components.


An Arduino is a solid-state microcomputer with onboard input and output pins exposed. It's basically a circuit board with a controller about the size of a playing card. It's blue, not that it matters. It's like a mini PLC or Programmable Logic Controller. It can sense the outside world with connected sensors and be programmed to do something that can affect that world. So you could connect a light sensor and measure when it gets dark. When it does it can switch on a light. It can be so much cleverer than that though. It can measure how dark it is and can be programmed to adjust how bright the light is.


That was about as far as my projects got with the first one. Although I did make a bubble machine for the boys. It used a servo to dip a bubble eye in a bowl of fairy liquid, raise it up rotate it and a fan would turn on and blow bubbles. It would then lower back into the liquid and repeat. It wrecked the servo eventually as the fairy liquid dripped into its gears of the servo. It was fun when it lasted and the boys enjoyed it.


The second one I bought a few years later was an Arduino Yun (posh model with Wifi) it was bought with a plan to solve my leaving the garage door opener problem. I can't see the door from the house so would forget and go to bed and wake in the morning to the realization that the door had been open all night.

The door is electric so the plan is to add a couple of limit switches and feed them to the Arduino. It would be programmed to tell me past a certain time that the door was still open. It would tell me via wifi and I would be able to press a button and it would close. This project will still happen someday. I've probably had the Yun for 3 years now.


And on to the third Arduino. It's an R3. I have no idea what's this means. I guess it's probably revision 3 but I still have to read the manual. Out of the box, it looked the same, it plugged into my Mac with a USB cable that provided power and the ability to download programs. I skimmed through the 3 pages of windows installation to get to the Mac installation. Which was 1. download the zip. File 2. extract and run the programming package.

So what came in the box besides the Arduino? Lots of things.

  • Sensors: light, temperature, moisture 
  • Outputs: LEDs, led segment display, LCD display, motor, servo
  • Inputs: keypad, infrared remote and sensor board, and an RFID sensor and keyfob.
  • Along with resistors and LEDs, there are lots of potentials.


The manual comes with 100 or so tutorials of things to make.


Why did I buy another Arduino? Here comes the excuse... I would like Jamie (age 9) to get involved and what better way to get some son Dad time with Tech than to build things together.


We have done the first couple of projects and so far so good. Jamie has learned a resistor can change the brightness of an LED... The bigger the resistor the less bright the LED gets.


I'm looking forward to getting into the more complicated projects and hopefully, as I/we will learn more about the Arduino programming language Also hopefully the Yun will be pulled from my desk drawer and be put into action for its original purpose of telling me when I have left the garage door open. Who knows I might get Jamie to build this project.