May 212013

Perfboard Arduino After working out some kinks with the Borduinoinator and the Arduino USB Serial Light Adapter (hint: hit the reset button right before uploading your sketch), I decided it was was time to build a more permanent model.  Following a pretty good instructable, I was able to knock this out in no time.  And it worked on the first try!

I added the red LED in the upper left hand corner to show when power was flowing through the voltage regulator, something I found very handy in the  Borduinoinator.

I think for the next one, I’ll try moving the power supply, as shown here. Also, I’ll probably do more connecting the traces on the underside for less cabling, but it was nice to be able to “see” everything up top on this first model.  I’ll also use better wire – I used breadboard cross-connects, which melted a little bit when I soldered them.

My actual cost for this bad boy was $8.33, which isn’t too bad.  I’ll be going back to the Breadboard for development of some things – mainly because my soldering is a little weak, but it will be nice to be able to use these for the final products!

Behold the beauty of a blinking LED:

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May 032013

Sheesh – enough with the chickens already, you’d think I was writing a farm blog here or something.  Anyways, my main goal for the year is to build a robot army to take over the tri-state area.  I had some great success with my prototype, but I was using off the shelf Arduinos, and those things are nearly $40 a piece   I mean their great and everything, but a 10,000 robot army would be $400,000 in Arduinos alone! Who’s got that kind of budget?

Breadboard ArduinoSo I started looking around and found these great plans to make your own Arduino clones for like $8 a pop.  That would save me $320,000!  That’s a lot of pastrami on rye, let me tell you.  Anyways, I decided to make one on a breadboard first, because I wanted to make sure I could pull this off before I soldered a punch of stuff together.  I found another Instructable where they show you exactly how to do that, and even give you a printable template to put on the breadboard.

I tell you what – this was not the greatest idea I ever had.  The template didn’t line up exactly with the breadboard, I only had super-long jumpers left (to be used in place of their 0 Ohm resistors – really 0 Ohm resistors??) and the breadboard version is not as cleanly laid out as the perfboard one.  On top of it all, I couldn’t find my 16Mhz crystals anywhere!  So I ordered some more crystals at Amazon.  Thank goodness for Free Prime shipping!  I also ordered a 140-piece Jumper Wire Kit, so we won’t have so many long cables in the way.  Tuesday we’ll fire this baby up and see how long it can run until it blows up on me.