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1  Using Arduino / General Electronics / Which Ardruino kit should I choose? on: March 23, 2014, 03:46:48 am

I know that the descriptions are all written in Chinese but I am thinking/hoping that you can recognize the kits by sight.  Which one is the best for a newbie?  This website is all order online and wait.  I don't have a specific project in mind now but would like to use this kit to start learning - hopefully will be able to buy one kit and learn almost all, if not all, functions - I don't want to have to keep order new things, piece by piece and waiting x days for it....or maybe this is not realistic?

Any input is helpful.

2  Topics / Home Automation and Networked Objects / Cheap bluetooth remote controllers on: April 04, 2013, 07:04:34 pm
I have seen bluetooth dongles for as cheap as $US 3.  I am sure that I can buy them in bulk for as little as $1.50  3.7v and 5v relays are also cheap.  Can a bluetooth dongle be simply connected to a relay?  I have a couple of hobbies - hydroponics and raising fish -that would benefit greatly from being able to control lights, water pumps and drains remotely and with a timer.  I would not need to send a stream of data via bt but rather a signal that would contain the id for the bt device as well as a simple "on" and "off" command. 
3  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Automatically turning a water valve on and off on: March 25, 2012, 05:01:44 am
I am looking for ways to automate my first hydroponic garden. I have many trays of plants in my garden.  Each tray is either a different kind of plant or the same kind of plant at a different phase of growth.  Each tray requires more or less water/nutrient, or requires more frequent delivery of the water/nutrient mixture (more times per day).   I have two options to choose from, or a combination of both, in trying to automate this.  The first option is to have a separate pump for each tray that is controlled by a timer.  The timer would have to not only be set for x number of times per day, but the frequency per day is going to change also.  The water would be pumped into the trays.  The water would drain out of the bottom of the tray and into a sump, where the pumps are stored.  The second option is to place the water/nutrient tank a couple of feet above the plant trays.  The water would be gravity fed to the tray.  A valve would be opened or shut (relay or solenoid?) to allow the nutrient mix to flow for the prescribed amount of time and the required frequency each day.  Additionally, for some plants, a valve will be placed on the drain to allow water to store in the tray for a while.

Before I go any farther I would like to get an idea of how much this is going to cost.  The timers that I have found for option 1 are way too expensive, at more than $100 each.  How much is a regulated water valve going to cost - valve plus control?  It is low pressure - only a few psi.  It can be 1/4", 5/8" or 1/2" depending on which size is going to be cheaper.  Are there other options than the sprinkler systems?  $5 per unit or less would be a low enough price at this point for me to go ahead with the next step of the design. 
4  Topics / Education and Teaching / Electronics primer with experiments on: June 11, 2011, 06:54:43 am
Can anyone suggest a good book that is a basic electronics text that comes with experiments as well?  As i was reading through these pages I realized how much I have forgotten since high school..that was..well..more than 10 years ago smiley-wink
5  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Using an android device as the controller... on: June 08, 2011, 07:38:24 am
As I skimmed the variety of forum titles I realized that this question could easily fit into one of several I put it in this one  smiley-mr-green  My project, as I have mentioned in a prior post, is to include robotics - or should I say telemetry? - into the ebike that I am making now.  Because of the fact that the electronics will be in a less than friendly environment most of the time I am looking for small, rather rugged options to control the sensors, relays and servos.   I remember reading an article about 18 months ago about Android 2x that said that Android 2x would have the ability to have master usb functions - almost all handheld devices usually only have usb slave functions.  Are there any pda's, smart phones or other portable electronic devices out there that would do the trick?  A smart phone would be ideal because most of them have gps functionality (which I need), a still and videocamera (which I also want), have a storage card (another need) and a phone so the my bike will be able to call daddy if it gets stolen.  It would also serve as my mp3 player (stereo) and video player

Any ideas?
6  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Controlling a hybrid ebike - nice to meet you all! on: June 06, 2011, 04:02:10 pm
I am a newbie - haven't touched the inside of electronic stuff since high school shop classes.  I have been riding ebikes for a while but would like to take a shot at making my own to meet very particular requirements.  The most unique one will be the inclusion of a small gasoline powered motor on it to give it honking big range smiley
In the near future I will be seeking info on how/where to buy sensors to measure and access speed, temperature, voltage, oil pressure, angle, acceleration, gps info and motion and then how to control relays and a few servos, as well as send output to an lcd touchscreen lcd.  I noticed in the store that this place sells many of the sensors and servos that I will need - am really thankful for that!  My biggest concern is what to use to control them all - that I am a bit puzzles about.  I have seen mini itx mobos - about 5"by 6" for under $100, basically the guts from a netbook - that look like they would do the trick, but would have to use a solid state hard drive or cf card in them.  I wonder if there is a playstation or some other such device taht would also do it?  Anyway, that is my "dream machine" that I will be working on over the next 6 months or so.  Nice to meet you...and, by the way, I live in China now teaching English here.  Makes it easy to have access to a lot of parts but difficult to find quality smiley-sad  It is here somewhere, just often really difficult to find.
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