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HackerBoxes #18 – Using an Arduino to Program a New MCU for the Transistor Tester

As described in my original post on the HB #18 transistor tester, if you want to try one of the various builds found online for the transistor tester, a new ATmega328P MCU can be programmed using a USBTiny.  I also wanted to try programming a new MCU using one of the Arduino clones that came with a previous HackerBox. The Arduino clone I used is the RobotDyn Arduino UNO R3 Microcontroller Board included  with HackerBox #16.  If you use this board, you will need to make sure that you have the drivers setup, and I would load a Blink sketch to test and make sure it is working before proceeding.  Step 12 of the HackerBoxes Starter Workshop details how to do […]

HackerBoxes #16 – Quick Tutorial for Sending SMS with the SIM800L

We’ve been playing around with the latest HackerBoxes (#16).  We haven’t really dug into it too deeply yet, but here is a quick tutorial on how we got the SIM800L EVB breakout sending text messages.  Our brief experience with the board has shown us a few minor gotcha’s: If you’re out of the coverage area for the SIM card, you’re out of luck.  Our family lives on a small farm out in the sticks of North Georgia, and our cell service is sketchy at best.  We drove around last night trying to get a connection to no avail. When I took the board into my work today in metro ATL, it connected pretty fast to T-Mobile. Related to the connection, I […]

HackerBoxes #13 – WiFi Car Controlled with Blynk Joystick and HC-SR04

The code below is what I have thus far for the WiFi car that came with HackerBoxes #13.  I hooked up a Blynk 2 axis joystick to control the car, and it works pretty good. The “tires” for the car are terrible on the surfaces around my house – wood floors, tile, concrete.  The tires slip all over the place, and it’s really difficult to keep the car moving in a line with the back end of it sliding all over the “road”.  No carpet in our house, so maybe it works better on a surface like that. The HC-SR04 sensor is the general ultrasonic sensor you’ve probably seen before.  Very easy to hook-up and seems fairly accurate for the […]

HackerBoxes #13 – Using Blynk’s 2 Axis Joystick with Arduino and ESP8266

This is the Arduino version of the code to use a 2 axis Blynk joystick widget.  It turned out to be easier to code, but more difficult to debug than the NodeMCU version.  I put the car through a few laps around the basement, and it seems to work pretty well other than the wheels are way out of alignment and the tires are sort of bald…makes it a little hooptie, but it still works much better than the 4 pushbutton control version supplied with HackerBoxes #13.  Playing around with sensors and open SDK version now.  Really fun project – we’ve enjoyed it so far. A couple other notes – be sure you check to make sure your motor leads […]