First steps with Freescale Freedom KL25Z board

Freescale is a great manufacturer which sometimes isn’t considered among common players like STM or NXP. They like many produce ARM controllers and so offer several development boards to play with. One of well known freescale boards are Freedom Bord KL25Z which has ARM Cortex-M0+ microcontroller clocked at 48MHz. It features 128KB of Flash and 16KB of RAM. Board comes with USB OTG. The dev board carries MMA8451Q accelerometer, capacitive touch slider, and RGB LED. All GPIO are available for further prototyping or expansion boards.

Jan Henrik has covered this board on his instructable. He explains where to go next when starting with Freedom board. First of all he discusses software. Simply speaking all tools that are meant for ARM micros work with Freescale without problem. But fact is that Freedom board is MBED enabled, meaning that you can develop programs with popular online C/C++ editor, compiler and builder. Here you don’t have to wary about libraries and updates. So why not give a try. Then he goes through steps how to set up your first project in mbed.org and have it uploaded to board.

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Have several AVR USBASP? Turn them in to Arduino

AVR USBASP programmer is a great programming adapter that cost almost nothing to build. It can be connected to PC via USB and can be used to flash AVR microcontrollers with AVRDude software. It is still used by many hobbyists. The original idea came from fischl who built a simple circuit with software USB on Atmega8. Since then you can purchase them at eBay for couple bucks. If you are AVR fan, you probably have one. Anyway, if you upgraded to different programmer, don’t throw it as it can serve a different purpose. JohnLittle found pretty interesting used of USBASP – he turned it in to Arduino.

usbasp_arduino

What he did – he flashed Arduino bootloader in to Atmega8. A J2 jumper allows same header for programming chip itself. After he loaded bootloader, he added it to Arduino boards.txt section as another supported board. Then he loaded simple sketch which blinks LEDs and he got them blinking on pins 14 and 15. So it definitely can serve for small projects.

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Keeping kids entertained with Arduino Mini BMO

First of all what is BMO? Simply speaking it is a living game console plus music player, camera, alarm clock and everything you can think off. Fileark wanted to build something similar to original one so he started an Arduino based BMO. Central brain if it is Arduino Pro Mini with Nokia 3310 LCD screen.

He placed all components in to nice custom 3D printed box, that mimics original BMO. Currently it is equipped with WTV020-SD Audio player to play different loaded sounds (amplifier and couple speakers are also included). 2Y0A21 Sharp distance sensor and ADXL335 accelerometer gives some interactivity while playing around. There are 7 push buttons for selecting things and playing games. As you can see this is a platform which can be further expanded with sensors and functions. Eventually you may run out of memory or processing speed. So for project like this probably it is better to start with faster processor or board like Raspberry Pi. You can put lots of stuff in it and then see kids trying to explore its capabilities.

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Arduino controlled reflow oven

If you are doing many PCB prototyping, probably faced that soldering takes quite some time and effort. And results aren’t always satisfying. Hand soldered joints not always look as great as they should. With a little investment you can make soldering process more robust and clean. All you need is a reflow oven where you can literally cook your PCBs. Sky-Labs have shared their build of reflow oven which have it’s own flavor among other.

arduino_reflow_oven

If you will follow the build instruction, you will see that there is not much about building reflow oven. First of all you need and original oven with electric heating elements. Then you will need to insert temperature probe (K-Type) and controller, which in this case is Arduino Uno. Arduino simply reads temperature and controls oven heating element. Reflow soldering is all about timing and temperature pattern. Control is based on PID algorithm which allow control to be more smooth and determined. Oven controller was integrated in its own custom laser cut enclosure attached to the side. From looks of it, Arduino also could be fit inside oven by cutting openings for control knob and LCD.

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