Arduino Concepts

In this book, we will look at the Arduino hardware and software platform. When someone mentions “Arduino” in conversation, the word can mean a number of things. Arduino is a company (actually two companies, but we won’t get into that now) that produces electronics hardware and software. An Arduino device is often simply called an Arduino, although each model also has a more specific name. (“My project uses an Arduino.

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In this chapter, we will go step-by-step through a few simple projects to demonstrate various ways to use the Arduino. Blinking LED Many impressive projects involve LED light effects of some sort. At the heart of it all is the concept of turning an LED on and off in a regular pattern. Doing this is very easy! To light an LED, all you need is a power source and a resister.

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Communications come in three forms: Communicating between two Arduinos. Communicating between an Arduino and a computer. Communicating with a common hub. USB Serial to computer Using serial communications via the Arduino Serial class is very useful for debugging or to send data to a computer for heavier analysis. The Arduino IDE has a built-in serial monitor, as do the Visual Micro extension for Visual Studio and other tools.

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In this section, we will explore the Arduino’s ability to read analog data and to generate signals that serve a purpose similar to analog signals. Reading analog voltages Each Arduino board has a row of pins capable of reading analog input. By “analog”, we mean that the input data is determined by the voltage applied to the pin. Although in theory there are infinitely many levels between any two voltages, the actual number of distinct values is limited by noise and the type of hardware reading the voltages.

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The HC-SR04 ultrasonic distance module is an inexpensive device to detect distances with centimeter accuracy, up to a few meters. The device emits ultrasonic pulses of sound and listens for an echo. The echo time depends on the distance of the object that reflected the sound. As you might expect, this device works best with large, solid, flat surfaces (like walls) which readily reflect sound. It will be much less useful for detecting soft objects like carpets, pillows, and animals.

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A passive infrared (PIR) sensor can detect changes in infrared radiation, most often in order to detect the motion or presence of people or animals. The sensor can be thought of as a two-pixel infrared camera. It has two internal infrared sensors and circuitry to detect changes between them. The internal sensors are covered by a Fresnel lens that determines the PIR device’s field of view. The following relates specifically to the HC-SR501 model, but it should also apply to similar PIR motion sensors for hobbyists.

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