Phoenard is a great helper for Arduino beginners and pros

When you are just starting to learn electronics or program microcontrollers it is great to have a friend who knows how to do it properly. But hardly everyone can have such babysitter near by so you go to internet and try to surf for best tutorial that would be easy to follow. But Assen – the creator of Phoenard project thought that learning can be really fun with right tools. So he created a cool Arduino compatible gadget that can be used as hand-held gadget for learning prototyping.

The gadget is stuffed with lots of features controlled by Atmega2560 microcontroller (Arduino Mega). There is a large color display with touch screen so user could easily interact with programs. Phoenard is intended to have two major purposes – first of all to serve as prototyping platform, where it can be used to build circuits by following visual and audio instructions and then test it by plugging prototyping board to gadget for testing. Once you’re done with prototyping, then you can use it as everyday portable gadget. It can hold thousands of custom sketches that would do different task – just like aps in smart phone. It has graphical user interface which makes it easy to access programs, modify or even draw an icon. With GSM +GPRS it can be used as phone, with GPS as navigator, linked to other devices with blue-tooth or RF or used as MP3 or MIDI player. There are even more sensors added that we dont even try to mention.

Bringing emotions from outside with LUZ ring-light

Color and light can have a significant effect on human emotion. They can be used to set romantic feel with warm reddish light, or refresh when blue light is used. Following project seems to be really interesting and very useful in some areas. It is called Global Emotional Lighting. The idea was to build a lighting ring, that would bring emotions from outside weather conditions. One good use for this is in areas, where people lack of sunlight. For instance who are sick, or simply must work indoors all day.

Technically speaking, this project is built around Arduino which takes measurements from outside with light and temperature color sensor (Adafruit TCS34725). Then this captured data is reflected on RGB LED stripe ring. The ring and sensors can be located in different places, because they communicate through RF interface. As you can see in video this work is really scientific and really well polished so everyone could enjoy the result.

Arduino based LPG detector

Flammable gases are dangerous and if leakage is not detected in time this could lead to explosion. So if you are dealing with such gases like propane, butane or hydrogen, you should have a gas detector near by. Praveen has built an Arduino circuit that detects presence of any of those gases with MQ2 sensor. This is an SnO2 based gas sensor which works by heating gas to oxidation level which then is sensed with resistor which resistance drops when heat rises up.


Sensor output is directly measured by Arduino analog input. And once dangerous level of gases are detected, a buzzer is sound and relay activated, which can switch of the valve of device using the gas. The percentage of gas is also displayed on LCD. Of course you cannot take readings blindly. For serious operations it should be tested in controlled environment and then calibrated. Anyway this is a great project to server as first line of warning means.

Cheap LED matrix display uses MAX7219

LED matrix displays are often used where bright text of simple graphical messages need to be dynamically displayed. You can get 8×8 LED matrix blocs really cheap in Chinese shops. Bajdi found that ones that are interfaced with MAX7219 – serially interface 8 digit LED display driver work really well even if they are non genuine MAXIM chips.

He bought 8 of those display bricks and connected them in to long 8 x 64 display. Then he used Arduino to drive them. It only needs three wires for serial interface. H also used Parola Arduino library on Codeplex to make scrolling text effects. In order to make display longer, he built several additional PCBs by modifying a bit original files found on Parola website. Since messages are running, next step is to add some interactivity with Bluetooth and Android app.