Tech Marinade
Uncovering Hidden Innovation in DIY Electronics
Tutorial Roundup #7
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 12.14.2013 Features

This week we dive into a couple home automation tutorials using controlled outlets. Both interact with the outlets using different methods. Try out whichever you like best! Or both!

F40TFTKH8FYOZU5.MEDIUM[1]Home Automation and Reverse Engineering and More!

On the surface this tutorial is about setting up a home automation system. The goal of the project is to be able to wirelessly control multiple outlets throughout your home. Simple concept, but awesome execution.

See, in this tutorial, you also get to reverse-engineer a wireless protocol and implement a Dickson charge pump. It’s a three-in-one deal.

On the flip-side, this tutorial also requires some competency in oscilloscope usage and C/C++ programming. Tutorial author CalcProgrammer1 explains the project in a generic manner to fit any type of microcontroller setup, but an Arduino Uno would work fine. In fact, using an Arduino would probably be the simplest method because the built-in Serial Monitor in the IDE can roughly replace writing your own command-line software.

In Step 3, it is a little unclear what is meant by “build a switch/case or cascading if/else statement with one of these blocks for each button, using outlet number and switch state as your if/else conditions.” Checking the attached code, it looks like PC program sends two values: the outlet choice and the state, on or off. The switch/case or if/else statements are separated by outlet number and command. Each variation (3 outlets times 2 states in the case of the tutorial’s example) has a unique command broadcast wirelessly.

The example code uses interrupts to acquire the command from the PC, but you could just as easily use a busy-waiting loop.

Overall, this is not a beginner’s tutorial, but it can be very educational.

Read it here.

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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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Electric Imp Powered Electrical Outlet Instructable
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 11.29.2013 Learn

FCO0W0XHMVJGVLQ.MEDIUM[1]Want to make a remote-controlled outlet?

Instructables user MidnightMaker needed a modern solution for controlling the new, hard-to-reach, florescent lights in his garage. First, he tried using a Stanley Remote Powered Outlet, but after three device failures, he needed a better solution. Like a true Maker, he decided to retrofit the Stanley outlet with his own circuit based around an Electric Imp.

The parts for the project will cost you about $80 plus shipping, more or less. It requires a little technical skill, some cutting, some soldering, and some coding. The instructions are detailed and well-written so it can be an enjoyable weekend project.

Read the instructable here.

Tutorial Roundup will return in full next week! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with Maker news.

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Tutorial Roundup 5
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 11.22.2013 Features

It’s time to heat up that soldering iron. This week we look at three tutorials to help you build your favorite project. Solder like a pro! Place surface mount parts at home! Build your own PCBs without the hassle of using a manufacturer! Hey, we know you can do it even if you didn’t know you could. That’s why we’re here.

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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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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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