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Microcontroller ideas?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for beginner/intermediate/hobbyist projects using microcontroller programming with components like resistors, LEDs, etc.

If more context or details are needed, I have my whole long story below. WARNING: It may be a "TL;DR" post!

Hey everyone. I've been going to community college for two years, and have basic knowledge of C++ (input/output, loops, arrays, pointers/memory addresses, file handling, and some recursion; I haven't touched object-oriented programming yet). I also have basic knowledge of electronic circuits from a class I took (Kirchoff's rules, series/parallel resistors, capacitors, and inductors, AC power, phasor analysis, first-order and second-order circuits, and transformers). However, although the class I took included a lab, it was an intro to EE which basically dealt with circuit analysis, and never really included any circuit design projects.

I'm transferring to Berkeley in Fall 2011 to study EECS. I've decided that this summer, I want to get ahead of the curve a little bit, and gain some practical experience with programming and circuits. I noticed that RadioShack has resistors, capacitors, diodes/LEDs, rectifiers, transistors, and some other cool components for pretty cheap. They also have breadboards for a good price.

Looking online, I found the Arduino microcontroller and I think it would be a good choice for a n00b like me since the programming language it uses is more or less identical to C.

I think it would be fun to grab an Arduino microcontroller, a breadboard, and some components and build something cool ... but there's the problem. I have no idea where to start!

I've looked online, and there are plenty of step-by-step tutorials for lots of different projects. I'll definitely try some out, but what I'm looking for is a challenge. I'm looking for ideas of projects, whether they are simple or complicated, and a general overview of what materials I'll need and how to start, but I don't want to spoil all of the fun by just following a step-by-step tutorial.

So, if anyone can recommend any beginner/intermediate projects with microcontrollers and components like resistors, LEDs, transistors, etc, I'd be a happy camper
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post #2 of 7
If you're looking at an Arduino I would also take a look at the LeafLabs Maple.

http://leaflabs.com/devices/maple/

The CPU is a few times faster and the libraries have been ported from the Arduino project to have a high degree of transparency.

Let me know how it goes, I've also been interested into delving into these platforms.
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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beers View Post
If you're looking at an Arduino I would also take a look at the LeafLabs Maple.

http://leaflabs.com/devices/maple/

The CPU is a few times faster and the libraries have been ported from the Arduino project to have a high degree of transparency.

Let me know how it goes, I've also been interested into delving into these platforms.
Awesome, thanks for the advice
I'll check out the LeafLabs Maple, but ultimately, I'll go with whichever one is cheaper .
I was gonna give you rep points but I noticed you have no +rep button.


Anyways, I have an idea for a project ... I want to find a multiple-color LED, and see if I can program a microcontroller to make the LED display different colors for different amounts of time. I don't have the details worked out yet, but I'll see how it goes.
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post #4 of 7
This is a great microcontroller. I did a really neat project a couple of years ago, using a "vibration sensor" where fish would swim near the sensor and the micro would dispense a little bit of food. It has everything you would need to start with, including 8 leds on Port C.

https://www.progressiveresourcesllc....p?idproduct=10

And here is the documentation for the Mega 16 chip itself:
http://www.atmel.com/dyn/resources/p...ts/doc2466.pdf

You will most likely want to use CodeVision AVR for this micro:
http://www.hpinfotech.ro/index.html

Best of luck.
Edited by Absauston - 5/29/11 at 6:54pm
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by rattlehead View Post
Awesome, thanks for the advice
I'll check out the LeafLabs Maple, but ultimately, I'll go with whichever one is cheaper .
I was gonna give you rep points but I noticed you have no +rep button.


Anyways, I have an idea for a project ... I want to find a multiple-color LED, and see if I can program a microcontroller to make the LED display different colors for different amounts of time. I don't have the details worked out yet, but I'll see how it goes.
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post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Absauston View Post
This is a great microcontroller. I did a really neat project a couple of years ago, using a "vibration sensor" where fish would swim near the sensor and the micro would dispense a little bit of food. It has everything you would need to start with, including 8 leds on Port C.

https://www.progressiveresourcesllc....p?idproduct=10

And here is the documentation for the Mega 16 chip itself:
http://www.atmel.com/dyn/resources/p...ts/doc2466.pdf

You will most likely want to use CodeVision AVR for this micro:
http://www.hpinfotech.ro/index.html

Best of luck.
Awesome, that's why I'm interested in the Arduino. With some clever programming, it seems like it can interface with just about anything. Your fish tank idea is very clever!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorianime View Post
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I was thinking that's what it was, but I wasn't sure
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post #7 of 7
If you need ideas on WHAT to build, go browse through Make Magazine.
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