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1  Using Arduino / Sensors / Re: Bad vibes! on: December 04, 2012, 06:48:18 pm
Here is the link for the project:

I followed it exactly like it is shown and even tried reversing the piezo to see if that helped but it didn't.
2  Using Arduino / Sensors / Bad vibes! on: December 04, 2012, 06:29:38 pm
Been working on the secret knock detector from Instructables, but when my hand approaches the piezo buzzer that is used as a microphone input, it generates enough of a signal to register as a knock even though everything is quiet and my hand is about 4" from the wires and piezo.  Seems like my hand is interacting with the sensor or the wires in a strange way.  Any ideas how I could prevent this?  It works fine if I just rework the project with a pushbutton instead of the piezo, so it is definitely coming from that.
3  Using Arduino / General Electronics / Voltage Regulator on: November 28, 2012, 07:46:31 pm
If building a breadboard Arduino and powering it with a computer power supply that outputs 5v, do I still need a voltage regulator?  Is there such thing as a 5v to 5v regulator?
4  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Multiple Things at Same Time on: November 28, 2012, 12:00:07 pm
Okay, I'll play with that and see if I can get it to work.  Thanks for the info.
5  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Multiple Things at Same Time on: November 28, 2012, 11:16:14 am
AWOL's guidance on avoiding delay() is the best advice you'll hear.

One way to accomplish what you're after is to use the Run library: -- there's an example of blinking two LEDs there.

After some practice you start thinking in terms of the pattern of breaking your program into parts that can happily run periodically.


The only problem I see is, for example, in flickering the light.  It will need certain delays in it to get the proper flicker effect, so this will slow it down enough to stop the cars and other activities on the train layout.  If I was going to just turn things on or off, I could see this working, but do have more control of speeds etc. I don't understand how it can work.  That's why I had thought maybe a Propeller with the multiple cores since I'm not heavily invested in Arduino at this point.

Seems like no matter what technique, I'd be stuck with:
Flicker light by using a loop to fade it up and down
Exit loop and move the car
Enter another loop to manipulate the servo
6  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Multiple Things at Same Time on: November 28, 2012, 11:00:53 am
Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.  I'll rexamine those tutorials!
7  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Multiple Things at Same Time on: November 28, 2012, 10:55:36 am
Is this possible with Arduino at the same time?
Yes of course it is.
All these things are very slow, so they are done one after the other so that they look like they are happening at the same time.

Is there a special way to program this?  I've played with "for loops" but while it is in the loop flickering the light, it won't move the cars at the same time.  Is there some special command to get it to do one pass through the light loop, then one pass through the car loop, and come back to the light loop to resume the fade?  In a way, incrementing through all the separate loops at the same time?  Hope that makes sense..
8  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Multiple Things at Same Time on: November 28, 2012, 10:46:37 am
Been playing with Arduino, but suspect this may not be possible:

I want to have one led flicker, two motors doing different things, and a servo doing something else all at the same time.  Imagine a scene for a trainset where a building's light is flickering, little cars are pulled on a wire down the street, and a servo does something else.  Is this possible with Arduino at the same time?

I have researched the Parallax Propeller and with the multiple cores this may be a better fit before I get too deep into learning Arduino.
9  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: DMX control on: November 26, 2012, 07:47:27 pm
I will use a retail Arduino with a DMX master circuit run into the computer with usb. 
I'm not really sure if you can do that...    Of course you can upload your DMX sketch from USB and run a pre-programmed sequence, but I'm not sure if you can "run the show" from the computer that way.   You might need a "retail" USB-DMX controller...

Thanks for all the responses.  I have it working so far in that it goes from the vixen software, through an entec driver, and into the Arduino Uno as per the playground tutorials.  The receive light on the Arduino lights up when I test the channels or put commands in any channel so it definitely works to setup shows and use the Arduino as a DMX master.

Before I buy the Texas Instruments chips to actually encode and decode between Arduinos, I wanted to be sure because all the tutorials on the playground show the boards as a shield on a full retail Arduino, not a microcontroller only model.  I suppose the microcontroller only model that you build yourself is only useful if it is going to be a standalone device and won't need external communication? Is this right?
10  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / DMX control on: November 26, 2012, 04:48:14 pm
Inexperienced with electronics and Arduino, but have learned a bit in the past few weeks and feel the tutorials would allow me to complete this.

I want to create DMX slaves so that I can trigger motors, lights, smoke, from vixen software.  I will use a retail Arduino with a DMX master circuit run into the computer with usb.   Can I make the slaves with a hackduino or do they need the serial chip that the retail versions have?  Wouldn't it then be more cost effective to buy retail arduino's for the slave units and attach the DMX circuit to them if the hackduino wouldn't work?
11  Using Arduino / Motors, Mechanics, and Power / Soft start and stop on: November 06, 2012, 02:11:35 pm
New to Arduino and loving it.  Has anyone tackled how to speed up and slow down a servo as it nears a certain position to give it a soft start/stop?  I've been running a loop to increase the delay as it passes a certain position.  Just wondered if this was the most efficient or if there is a fancy formula I'm not aware of.
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