Tag Archives: ATmega328 MCU

Dude, there’s your car! A GPS tracking device for your ride

There is no feeling that rivals the hopelessness you possess when returning to where your car was parked and it is nowhere to be found. The crew over at Cooking Hacks has developed their own tracking device to prevent this dire situation from ever happening again using an Arduino Uno (ATmega328).


Using a cleverly concealed Arduino, a GPRS+GPS SIM908 Quadband Module and a GPS antenna, the team has devised a way to track a vehicle in real-time, no matter who is in the driver’s seat. Quite similar to the Atmel based bicycle lock recently featured on Bits & Pieces, the device’s GPS communication capabilities will transmit coordinates to a paired smartphone whenever a theft occurs.

“It’s very simple: a GPS module to get position data and the 3G module that sends the HTTP request with the coordinates of the car. It starts to send the HTTP request every few seconds with data of the position,” the Cooking Hacks team explains.


“First of all you have to call the police of course, but you can help them a lot. If your car is not parked where do you think, something is wrong… Call immediately to your Arduino, hidden in your car, and it will send you an SMS with the location, longitude and latitude at the moment, and it also sends GPS data to a web server with the real-time position (Google Maps).”

The GPS+GPRS shield is programmed to only recognize the user’s number and only will relay the whereabouts when correct. Along with their communication program, the team suggests various spaces within a car to hide this tracker from potential thieves — these include the trunk, glove compartment or even spare tire area.

Writing for MAKE Magazine, Cabe Atwell notes that the device is powered by a 9V alkaline battery, making it quite small yet not small enough to plant on someone’s body undetected. “But, perhaps you are aware – keeping track of the kids for example. The device is great for those living in high-crime areas where vehicle theft is rampant as well as keeping tabs on your significant other. Jealous boyfriends are already placing orders…”

If you are worried about your own car’s security or simply want to bolster your ride’s protection, head over to Cooking Hacks for a step-by-step tutorial.

Bar Mixvah is a DIY robot bartender

Yu Jiang Tham recently debuted a DIY drink mixing robot aptly dubbed the “Bar Mixvah.”

The platform is built around an Atmel based Arduino Nano (ATmega328 MCU) paired with five 12V peristaltic pumps. On the software side, Yu Jiang employs the MEAN stack (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular.js, Node.js) and jQuery for the frontend and backend, respectively.

Additional key hardware specs include:

  • 11x 5/16″ steel square 12″ rods
  • Clear tubing
  • 5x TIP120 w/diodes
  • 400-point breadboard and jumper wire
  • 5x 2.2kOhm resistor
  • 4x #6-32 2″ machine screws
  • 12V power supply rated at (or greater than) 1.5A – or you can use an old laptop power supply (as long as it’s 12V DC).
  • 5.5mm x 2.1mm coaxial power connector (female) – or if you’re using a laptop power supply, 5.5mm x 2.5mm
  • Male pin connectors
  • Female housing for the male pin connectors

“Bar Mixvah is designed to use a system of 5 peristaltic pumps that are switched by 5 bipolar junction transistors (TIP120), all controlled by an Arduino, which itself is controlled by the Johnny-Five package on the node.js/express web server that is running on your laptop/Windows tablet,” Yu Jiang explained in a recent blog post.


“Having it on a web server allows users to order from any device, be it a phone, tablet, or other laptop that can connect to your WiFi access point’s internal network. Practicality-wise, maybe it’s not necessary. However, in my experience, people seem to enjoy ordering from a tablet that they’re holding in their hands more than a stationary screen attached to the robot.”

Interested in learning how to build your own DIY Bar Mixvah? You can check out the project’s official page here.

Building an all-in-one remote with the Uno

An electronic engineering student with the handle “Victor8o5” has designed an all-in-one remote control using a number of basic hardware components, including an Atmel-based Arduino Uno (Atmel ATmega328 MCU), LCD keypad shield, infrared LED and infrared sensor.

Victor8o5 kicked off his AiO project by gathering the codes of the various remotes around the house using the infrared sensor.

“Once the code has been uploaded and the sensor connected we go to ‘Tools’ and we click on ‘Serial Monitor’ [in the sketch]. You will see a message that says ‘Ready to decode IR!’ now, by pressing any key of the remote while facing the sensor, we will be able to obtain the code,” he explained in a recent Instructables post.

“Once you’ve finished with the code it should be able to work, make sure you place the infrared LED from digital pin 3 to ground, pin 3 is a PWM pin, other pins won’t work. Left and right buttons control the menus, up and down control the submenus, select sends the code attached to the corresponding submenu inside the menu.”

As Victor8o5 notes, several LEDs and a transistor can be used to boost power and range.

“This is because the power supplied by a digital pin is limited to 40mA, enough to light one or two LED’s but not enough to light an array of 5 LED’s for example,” he added.

“The resistor value for the base (middle pin of the transistor) should be around 1-2k. Due the high frequency switching a resistor may not be needed since the LED’s will handle the power. I’ve tried this myself with a standard IR LED and a 5V supply from the digital pin 3 with no problems.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s Instructables page here.

Ai.Frame is an open source robot

The open source Ai.Frame – which recently surfaced on Kickstarter – is a versatile miniature robot powered by an Atmel-based Arduino Mini (ATmega328 MCU) paired with infrared and ultrasonic sensors.

“The robot’s sophisticated structure is designed to make motion both precise and versatile,” an Ai.Frame rep explained in a recent post.

“The Apollo [model offers] 16 degrees of freedom, while the Rex has 9. Operated by an efficient controlling system, the Ai.Frame executes your commands almost instantly.”

AI.Frame can be controlled via a smartphone or tablet, gamepad or even a wearable harness that accurately captures upper torso movements.

“As experienced engineers, we have a thorough understand of robot configuration and construction, [so] we incorporated rich body details into the Ai.Frame to simulate the structure of the human body,” said the rep.

“The Ai.Frame Apollo’s skeleton contains 109 pieces and its outer shell contains 12, while the Ai.Frame Rex consists of 98 pieces. We also made made a concerted effort to optimize the molding and screws for the strongest possible structure. Nonetheless, you can choose to either build an Ai.Frame from scratch or to have us assemble it for you.”

Additional advanced key features include:

  • Roadblock avoidance
  • Voice recognition capabilities
  • Auto standing

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official Kickstarter page here.

Solving Rubik’s Cube with an Arduino Uno

Rubik’s Cube is a 3-D combination puzzle invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik.

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Originally dubbed the Magic Cube, the puzzle was licensed by Rubik to be sold by Ideal Toy Corp in 1980. According to Wikipedia, 350 million cubes had been sold worldwide as of January 2009 – making it the world’s top-selling puzzle game.

Recently, a Maker by the name of matt2uy designed an Arduino-based Rubik’s Cube ‘bot based on the famed Tilted Twister design by Hans Andersson.

However, rather than using LEGO, matt2uv adopted more of a DIY approach with wooden skewers, popsicle sticks, an Atmel-based Arduino Uno board (ATmega328 MCU) and two servos.

On the software side, matt2uy leverages the Arduino IDE, Python 2.7+, Tkinter (GUI) and Pyserial.

The result? A DIY Rubik’s Cube ‘bot that takes 20 minutes to enter the cube state and solve.

“Wiring up the servos to the Arduino [is] pretty simple. Connect the yellow (signal) wires for the push and rotation servo to pin 6 and 9, respectively,” he explained in a recent Instructables post.

“Connect the positive and negative wires to the 5v power source and ground. Sometimes the servos had jitters, so I think capacitors could have smoothed out the signals.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official Instructables page here.

Atmel-powered 3DOF Robot Arm is now on Tindie

Back in May, Dan Royer of Marginally Clever debuted an open source 3-DOF palletizing robot based on the commercial ABB 460. The unit is now available on Tindie as a kit for $350.

According to Royer, the ‘bot is powered by two Adafruit motor shields, an Atmel-based Arduino Uno (ATmega328 MCU) and gcodecncdemo (software).

“[Essentially], this robot is an affordable, scaled-down model that is perfect for classroom based training on the mechanics and operations of a robot arm,” said Royer.

“[It boasts] three degrees of freedom – reaching up to 50cm away from its body. It runs on stepper motors and gearing for great precision. The lifting capacity is approximately 125g fully extended and 155g in a retracted position.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out the official 3DOF Robot Arm page on Tindie here.

iPod hacking with Android and Arduino

A Maker with the handle “Erroneous Data” has posted a detailed Instructables explaining how to hack an old iPod using an Atmel-based Arduino Uno (ATmega328 MCU) and Android. Oh, and yes. There is no need to break out the soldering gun for this project.

“Just leave [your] old iPod plugged into the stereo and your music will start to play when you walk in the door. The Arduino acts as a liaison between the iPod and your Droid,” Erroneous Data explained.

“Since the iPod device is connected directly to your stereo, it eliminates any error that can occur when streaming the music to a separate device.”

Key features include:

  • Auto connect
  • Auto play
  • Auto pause
  • In-call pause
  • Alarm

As HackADay’s Brian Benchoff reports, with the right resistance on a specific pin on the 30-pin dock connector, iPods will send the track name and playlists over a serial connection, all while responding to play, pause, skip and volume commands.

“There hasn’t been much work towards implementing the copious amount of documentation of this iPod accessory mode in small microcontroller projects. [However], with a little bit of work, [he] managed to replicate the usual iPod dock commands with an Arduino,” said Benchoff.

“Using an HC-05 Bluetooth module, it’s possible to get this iPod-connected Arduino to relay data to and from an Android device with a small app. The circuit is simple, the app is free, and if you have an iPod with an old battery or cracked screen, it can still work as a music storage device.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official Instructables page here.

Quin Etnyre talks Makers at the White House

At 13 years of age, Quin Etnyre is already an accomplished Maker and teacher working to change the world – one Atmel powered Arduino board at a time.


Today, Bits & Pieces had the opportunity to interview the young Maker about America’s burgeoning DIY culture on the sidelines of the very first White House Maker Faire.

Atmel: Who, or what inspired you to become a Maker?

Quin: I was inspired by LEGO. Every day I would build a kit. To be a Maker, you have to think outside of the box, and come up with new ideas on your own. Later on, I started ‘hacking’ LEGO, and making my own versions of kits that worked just as good, maybe even better. This concept led to me hacking other electronics and mechanical objects around the house, which made me a Maker.


Atmel: How do you feel about being chosen to attend the very first Maker Faire at the White House?

Quin: It is awesome!!! I can’t believe that last year I started to show my projects at Maker Faire, and just the next year I am picked to go to the White House, and show the President what I’m making! It is super fun to show people what I make, and teach them how they can learn how to make projects, too!

Atmel: How do you think the Maker Movement democratizes the tools and skills necessary to design and create just about anything?

Quin: It allows more and more people the knowledge they need for free (open source), allows them to modify projects – and contribute to to the community in the end. Many people can learn, and many people can teach.

Atmel: What projects of yours are powered by Atmel-powered Arduino boards or stand-alone MCUs?


Quin: All of my projects with a microprocessor are Atmel-powered! Many of them are based on Arduino boards, like the FuzzBot, Gas Cap, and TFT LCD screen Instructables, and the Quasi-duino Arduino clone (also on Instructables!) uses the ATmega328 MCU with the bare minimum components needed to function as an extra small Arduino. [Since it] uses [a minimal number of] components on the breadboard, I even had to rewrite the Arduino core for it!

Atmel: How do you think the Maker Movement and DIY culture make the world a better place?

Quin: The average child or adult will be much smarter! They will have even more access to the digital tools and DIY machinery necessary to build complex projects with ease. Every open source product made will enable an average citizen to learn more and become ore knowledgeable, whether it is building space engines, or making light-up cupcakes.

Driving a rotary stewart platform

A Stewart platform is a type of parallel robot that incorporates 6 prismatic actuators, typically hydraulic jacks. According to Wikipedia, the actuators are mounted in pairs to the mechanism’s base, crossing over to three mounting points on a top plate.

Meaning, devices placed on the top plate are granted 6 degrees of freedom in which it is possible for a freely-suspended body to move. These are the three linear movements x, y, z (lateral, longitudinal and vertical) – and the three rotations pitch, roll, & yaw.

Recently, a Maker by the name of ThomasKNR debuted a rotary stewart platform controlled by an Atmel-based Arduino Uno board (ATmega328 MCU).

The project – which can be found on Instructables – is designed to accommodate a DSLR as well as other digital cameras.

“This version of Stewart Platform use ordinary hobbyist servos instead of linear actuators for motion,” ThomasKNR explained.

“The whole platform is controlled by an Arduino Uno, [which] computes all necessary equations to get the platform into right position and also controls servos.”

Key platform features include:


Supports loads up to 2kg.
Low power consumption (around 5W).
  • Capable of precise movements (within approximately 1mm).
  • Can repeatedly achieve the same positions.
  • Stable – even with a heavy load.

All told, ThomasKNR says the total BoM for his rotary stewart platform likely equals around $150 and includes a base PCB, acrylic, an IrDA unit, cables, servo arms, spacer screws and an LCD with I2C interface.

So, how does it work? Well, according to ThomasKNR: “The controlling platform uses inverse kinematics. We know the position of the base and the desired position of platform – calculating the necessary rotation of servos.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official Instructables page here.

DIY tech helps conserve water

A Maker by the name of Tamberg has designed an Augmented Water device that helps save water by turning red and alerting the user when a single liter has been dispensed.

The device – which was designed and built during a recent water hackathon – comprises an Atmel-based Arduino Uno (ATmega328 MCU), flow sensor and colored LED pixels.

Additional components include:

  • LiPo battery
  • LiPo charger
Jumper wires
  • M-M
Tube fitting the sensor
  • Plastic test tube
  • Zip ties

Tamberg kicks off the project by preparing and testing the neopixel LEDS, configuring the flow sensor and testing a specially coded Arduino sketch. He then creates a tap adapter and fits the various pieces together.

“Attach the two (green) tubes to the flow sensor, with the adapter at the top. Use zip ties to attach the Neopixel strip to the assembly. Make sure the wires are at the upper end (with the adapter),” Tamberg writes in a recent Instructables post.

“Use an additional zip tie to hold the flow sensor wire, then mount the Arduino on top of all this. The Arduino’s upper side should point inwards, [so] make sure the USB port remains accessible for updates.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official Instructables page here.