This is not a secret that big part of embedded projects are games. They can be as simple as “Simon Says” game or complex 3D shooter. In most cases with small micros games are pretty simple but this doesn’t mean that they aren’t fun to play. But sometimes it takes quite an effort to build a convenient hardware that would be easy to hold and control. If you like to focus only on game programming we suggest you to check out a Gambuino – an Arduino gaming console.
The most of hard work is already done including custom sleek Arduino board that runs on Atmega328 microcontroller. Game action is visible on 84×84 Nokia3310 monochrome graphical display. It has four channel speaker, four direction arrow and three action buttons. Connectovity includes one micro USB, one uSD and couple of I2C interfaces. Gamepad is powered with 240mAh LiPo battery. A full library helps you to start writing games pretty fast and easy. Library takes care of graphics and game engine, it handles sound effects, menus and keys. For more advanced gaming it can be configured for multiplayer games where Gamebuino’s are daisy-chain connected using I2C ports.
You may think, why you would build your own engine control unit (ECU) if original ones are optimized and does job pretty well. First of all this becomes obvious when you decide to upgrade old car engine with newer model. The whole wiring, adapting motor with different ECU takes long time because it also controls other areas of vehicle like speedometer and other indicators. To make it all work in other vehicle it can be really difficult and time consuming. This is why in this case an engine oriented ECU sounds attractive.
dmn is working on Arduino mega based diesel ECU which takes care of engine control including sensor reads, throttle control, pumps, turbo. It accepts standard existing sensors. It features many functions you can find in modern controllers like fault code memory, fuel, boost, torque limiter pump advance, cold start and idle maps. Current firmware already works with real motor mounted on VW bus. Despite current status there are future improvement plans like PID based Idle stabilization, EGT sensor support, Fuel trim maps and other. Source is available for those who want to play and improve project.
Digitally controlled electronic loads are great for many purposes. First of all you can test batteries by discharging them with known current or measure power supply capabilities at high loads and so on. Jakub has been testing batteries and power supplies for some time, but his setup was manual. Eventually he decided to build more automatic solution and so he came up with electronic load Arduino shield.
The load is based on FET which gate is controlled by op-amp which allows to maintain constant voltage or constant current across load. The load can withstand 70W power dissipation with up to 10A current. Custom PC software allows reading voltage and current data also it accepts control commands like setting constant power and constant resistance modes. The FET on shield has to dissipate quite a lot heat so there is an active cooler installed which keeps temperature within safe margins.
If your work depends on computer network, then it is good idea to keep an eye on health status. You cannot be there and check servers physically, but why not to do this task automatically and never miss a downtime, so you could then inspect what went wrong. Steve set up an Arduino with Ethernet shield which pings to network hosts and sees if they respond.
Task becomes ease when Arduino Twitter library is used. Si it runs and check for server/router status every 5 minutes and sends a message to twitter. Probably you don’t want to send messages every 5 minutes that server is OK, this can be done couple times a day. More importantly is to get messages when server goes down. Anyway this is a great template if you would like to set up something similar on your site.