Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sparkfun Proto Screw Shield

Today I got a package from Sparkfun that included a Raspberry Pi 2, a couple of MOSFETS, some right angled breakaway headers, and a Proto Screw Shield kit. This shield makes it very easy to connect sensors to the Arduino, and still be able to stack additional shields on top of this one. There is quite a bit of room to put additional components on this board as well. The kit has to be assembled, which takes about 15 minutes, and is easy to do. There is a good tutorial for this at

The above shows a SainSmart LCD Keypad shield stacked on the Sparkfun Proto Screw Shield, stacked on a SainSmart Uno. All the UNO pins (rev 2 and earlier) are exposed.

Wifi with the WizFi210 module

I'm playing with a new wifi module today from WizNet, the WizFi210. I have mine mounted on a test board that has 9 pin rs-232, usb, and TTL Serial interfaces. There is an Arduino shield available as well. This is a inexpensive wifi board that can be used for many applications, from smart appliances to wireless sensor monitoring. For ease of testing and prototyping, the test board or the shield are a necessity.

The wifi module itself is the square board on the right end of the test board, covered in metal, with the antenna attached. There is a version with on board chip antenna as well. I'll be documenting the setup and Arduino sketches necessary for communicating with this device, as well as it's applicability to working with a Raspberry Pi. Stay tuned!

Arduino Library

  • Single band 2.4GHz IEEE802.11b Wi-Fi module
  • Host Interface : UART & SPI
  • Quick booting time : under 20msec
  • Ultra low power through dynamic power management (34μA at the standby mode)
  • Security protocols : WEP, WPA/WPA2-PSK, Enterprise (EAP-FAST, EAP-TLS, EAP-TTLS, PEAP)
  • Operation temperature : -40 ~ 85
  • CE, FCC, KCC, TELEC certified
  • Dimension : 32 x 23.5 x 2.9(mm)
  • Provides chip antenna mounted version

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Arduino APRS Journey

We are investigating adding APRS abilities to our DIY Weather Stations. Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) is an amateur radio-based system for real time tactical digital communications of information of immediate value in the local area. In addition, all such data are ingested into the APRS Internet System (APRS-IS) and distributed globally for ubiquitous and immediate access. Along with messages, alerts, announcements, and bulletins, the most visible aspect of APRS is its map display. Anyone may place any object or information on his or her map, and it is distributed to all maps of all users in the local RF network or monitoring the area via the Internet. Any station, radio, or object that has an attached GPS is automatically tracked. Other prominent map features are weather stations, alerts and objects and other map-related amateur radio volunteer activities including Search and Rescue and signal direction finding.

Our friend Stanley has already been down this path, and reported on the various available options already out there, and why he went with his own open source solution. Good work Stanley! -

We will be building upon his excellent foundation for our work. Thank you to Bob Bruninga (WB4APR) for developing this technology.

The new Lightning Sensor project has been finished. We now report Temperature, Humidity, calculate Heat Index and Dew Point, UV Index, Distance to Lightning strikes, and very soon radiation levels. Wind Speed / Direction (with wind chill) and rainfall amounts are coming online soon. Everything you need for your off grid weather station. Contact us if you are interested in building your own weather station, or want an assembled unit.
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