Tech Marinade
Uncovering Hidden Innovation in DIY Electronics
Tutorial Roundup #6: DIY Holiday Gifts!
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 12.6.2013 Features

Need a gift idea but want something unique? How about homemade? It must be the personal touch that accompanies hand-crafted holiday presents that make them just a tad more special. Not to mention, as the maker, you might learn something in the process!

To foster this notion of creative gift giving, this week we have three tutorials for items that would make great gifts! Hopefully, they are the right balance of complexity and fun for both you as the creator and the lucky recipient. Feel free to build two so you can keep one for yourself!

RC Lego CarFE7NL0RH9T40W7P.LARGE[1]

This is a nice Instructable that will test your Arduino, XBee, and Lego building skills. Instructables user sath02 will guide you through the process of making your very own remote controlled lego vehicle. Sath02’s design uses a microcontroller compatible with the Arduino IDE for ease of programming alongside a motordriver IC. On the computer side, he uses Processing to code a graphical controller on the PC. One of the cool things about this project is that it’s very customization. It seems almost needless to say that you could theoretically build any shaped car you wanted!

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Tutorial Roundup #4: Instruments!
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 11.15.2013 Features

Instrumentation is expensive. A decent desktop oscilloscope can run well over $300. When you don’t have the cash to spend on instrumentation to test your creations, what must a Maker do? Build your own, of course! This week, we have collected three tutorials to help you Make the tools you need to analyze and test your projects. Continue Reading

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The Beast: One Board To Rule Them All
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 11.12.2013 Hacks

“The Beast” is the result of an ambitious summer project by Swiss embedded systems engineer Mathieu Stephen. According to his blog he was given two months during the summer to create a piece of hardware for his father that could fulfill a number of connectivity and sensor control requirements. Mathieu, who goes by the alias “limpkin”, has a history of developing unique embedded devices such as The Whistled, an indoor solar energy harvester, and even a project for Logitech. Instead of using an Arduino or any other pre-fab microcontroller unit, he opted for a homemade approach for The Beast.

Sexy close-up of The Beast. source: limpkin's blog

Sexy close-up of The Beast. source: limpkin’s blog

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Tutorial Roundup #3: Sensors!
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 11.8.2013 Features

As makers we like to bridge the gap between the analog world and the digital one. Grabbing real-world data, analyzing it, and reacting to it is much more exhilarating when the process takes place through electronics as opposed to, say, our brains. Sure, you could always stick your beak outside and predict a chilly day. But, it’s just so much more satisfying that your custom mobile weather app will also send a signal heat up your coffee a few extra degrees in preparation. This is why we love sensors.

This week we’ve pulled together three tutorials on some interesting sensors to help you collect the data you need, or maybe provide some inspiration for a project.

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Tutorial Roundup #2
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 11.1.2013 Features

Once again, we’ve created a list of three tech tutorials curated from the annals of the internet. I’ll keep the introduction short. Comment below if there are topics you would like to see covered in the next Roundup.

AVR Tutorials by abcminiuser

The tutorials forum at AVR Freaks is a goldmine of information for AVR programming. Dean Camera (know by his username abcminiuser) is a Moderator and frequent contributor to the forum and writes some of the most useful tutorials there. This Roundup tutorial is therefore not a single tutorial, but three useful tutorials for anyone who wants to get the most from their Atmel chips. Since most Arduinos use AVR microcontrollers, and the Arduino library is merely built on top of avrlibc, these tutorials are completely compatible with your Arduino Uno or AVR board of choice.

  1. Newbie’s Guide to AVR Timers (Part 2)
  2. Using the USART with AVR-GCC
  3. Newbie’s Guide to AVR Interrupts (Part 2)

Simple Bluetooth Communication

Have you ever wanted to use bluetooth but didn’t know where to start? Bluetooth is actually very hands-off. In fact, a single forum post in the Arduino forum explains how to make two Arduinos talk to each other. Just connect a bluetooth module to the serial port and 3.3V power on each Arduino, and use the code here. Don’t forget to make the correction in reply #4!

Atmel Studio Tutorial

It’s hard to find a good Atmel Studio tutorial on Youtube. In fact, the best tutorial I could find for both setup and programming with Atmel Studio was a video by user sonictj demonstrating the older AVR Studio 5. Beside the name, the program’s basics have not changed significantly. Check out this video to get started using Atmel Studio to program your AVR chips.

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Tutorial Roundup
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 10.25.2013 Features

It’s Friday night and the weekend has just begun. You were so busy at work all week that you never made any plans. Tech Marinade has you covered: we’re rounding up three tutorials hand-picked from the deep recesses of the internet to guide or inspire your weekend engineering project. This article is the first in the series, and we’ll post one every Friday so you’ll never have to worry about what you will be doing on your Saturday afternoons again!

Arduino Photocell and Motor

Screenshot from the tutorial.

We will start off with a tutorial by 1HandTech that explains how to control a servo motor by varying the light intensity on a photocell. Using a photocell is similar to using a color sensor, as in our color sensor tutorial. In this video, you will get to see the power of Arduino programming changing light energy to mechanical energy. Too cool. Watch it here.

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