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1  Using Arduino / Installation & Troubleshooting / Re: Arduino Mega2560 not appearing in device manager on: July 07, 2011, 05:59:48 am
@retrolefty and @James C4S
In that case, sorry about the misinforming post. I'm definitely planning to go through the Mega2560 schematic again tonight to see how the Atmega8U2 is used. Could be useful for my own design work
2  Using Arduino / Installation & Troubleshooting / Re: Help in burning bootloader on: July 07, 2011, 05:57:14 am
I believe Arduino mega should work; doesn't hurt to try. Follow the Arduino-as-ISP tutorial on the arduino site. In the ArduinoISP file code (at the top), change the definitions of the SPI pins though (because the SPI pins on the Mega are 50, 51, 52, 53), to the following:
#define SCK 52
#define MISO 50
#define MOSI 51
#define RESET 53

also, see this thread for reference:

I don't have an Arduino Mega where I am right now, but do keep us posted about what happens... I'd like to see how this works out, having never tried it myself.
3  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Water Detection Project on: July 07, 2011, 05:50:15 am
in fact using one arduino connected to one single sensor and an Xbee is a total nonsense.
Can you put the XBee to sleep, and wake it up at appropriate intervals (whatever is appropriate), without using an Arduino with each XBee?

Hi Paul, Yes, the remote AT command "SM" does the job (API can also be used as you probably know)... the remote command being sent from a remote Xbee that IS connected to a microcontroller.

And @Senso: Definitely not nonsense. While the XBee's self-sufficient capability is part of what makes it so versatile, I can also on the other hand think of at least 3 situations where an Xbee-Arduino (or Xbee-and-microcontroller combination in general) would be useful even in a single-sensor project. E.g. ANY processing, time-based or otherwise, that needs to be done with the data before it's sent. Or for storage of the data locally, backup or otherwise, for cases where the receiver Xbee is not within range. Or for higher-accuracy analog-to-digital conversion needs from the sensor signal.
4  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: What Could I Use To Sense Colors? on: July 06, 2011, 06:17:38 am
this thread/post discusses a possibility using the TCS3200, although I don't believe this is at,60053.msg433447.html#msg433447
5  Using Arduino / Installation & Troubleshooting / Re: Help in burning bootloader on: July 06, 2011, 06:11:22 am
I'd encourage someone to verify/deny this but:
Since the voltage specifications match and pinouts correspond, between the Atmega8 and Atmega328, I think you should be fine with either one. Select the right board from the Tools > Board > menu in the Arduino software.
Although... you'd have to purchase the chip WITH the bootloader in it already (alternatively, you could buy it and then burn the bootloader to teh chip using an additional Arduino, or other ISP/programmer).

When you say you can't find anything except Atmega8, do you mean logistically/geographically you can't find something convenient, or are you saying you can't locate it at any store online? (because there are many websites that sell Atmega328, with and without the bootloader)
6  Using Arduino / Installation & Troubleshooting / Re: Arduino Mega2560 not appearing in device manager on: July 06, 2011, 06:07:04 am
it's possible that the FTDI chip is damaged, but before considering that possibility, I'd recommend you try to re-install the FT232 drivers (there is a copy in the arduino folder I believe, or you could get them from the FTDI website).
7  Using Arduino / Microcontrollers / Re: Moving on from prototyping on: July 06, 2011, 05:44:43 am
@oscarbravo: check this out:
8  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Water Detection Project on: July 06, 2011, 05:41:15 am
for the wireless section:
Sounds like an ideal case to use Xbee units; google 'xbee arduino'.
They have low power consumption (1 mW to 50 mW, based on which model you pick), and depending on how frequently the data from your sensors are transmitted, they can be put to sleep during idle time to make it for the 6 months you desire.
Easy to use; and Xbee-Arduino combos are popularly documented.
9  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: thoughts on this strange PCB/gerber file format on: July 04, 2011, 01:03:39 pm
Great, I'll try Viewmate and maybe view separate layers if that's possible on that software, as our university computers already have Viewmate, I believe.

Thanks again for the detailed answer.
10  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: thoughts on this strange PCB/gerber file format on: July 04, 2011, 12:55:54 pm
RuggedCircuits, glad to hear that, thank you.

In that case, while the rest are fine, there are two mismatches I spotted in the two varieties:
pcbname.GTO (silk, top), pcbname.GBO (silk, bottom)
pcbname.BRD (board outline), pcbname.TSK (text top layer), pcbname.FAB

Any idea how the two silk layers would match to the files in the lower format?
one of them I can take a guess: GTO(silk top) = PSK (text top layer)
11  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / thoughts on this strange PCB/gerber file format on: July 04, 2011, 12:48:52 pm
Typically, PCB manufacturers seem to ask for 7 or so gerber files of the following formats:
pcbname.GTL (top layer), pcbname.GBL (bottom layer), pcbname.GTS (solder stop mask top), pcbname.GBS (solder stop mask bottom), pcbname.GTO (silk, top), pcbname.GBO (silk, bottom), pcbname.TXT (NC drill)

However, I am trying to learn to create a PCB modeling it on a simple evaluation board from the Texas instruments website, so I downloaded the zip file of gerbers they provided... So I have gerber files in these file formats (note the file extensions):
pcbname.TOP (top layer), pcbname.BOT (bottom layer), pcbname.TMK (top solder mask), pcbname.BMK (bottom solder mask), pcbname.BRD (board outline), pcbname.TSK (text top layer), pcbname.NCD (NC drill file, plated), pcbname.FAB

Assuming it's even necessary, how can I convert gerber files of the lower file extension formats into gerber files of the upper formats above, so I can send them to the pcb manufacturer?

While the file extensions (as above) are different depending on the program used to create them, the files correspond to each other and contain the exact same information, as far as sending a PCB design out.
12  Using Arduino / Microcontrollers / Re: Minimal circuit to allow programming? on: July 04, 2011, 11:19:30 am
Good job.
And I would say 90% of the problems we (or at least I) encounter in beginner-intermediate electronics are a mistake in making the right connections, or making a good connection (if you're soldering, etc.). Just following the datasheet/tutorial-instructions/your-own-schematic correctly, then verifying the connections 3-4 times, or playing around with the various options, will give you the answer most of the time... or will burn something, but luckily, most electronics parts aren't that expensive these days.
13  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Help for building my first project on: July 04, 2011, 01:29:24 am
sounds like a fun but pretty challenging first-robot project!
this is a good, not-too-technical, summary of what you'll need to know:
14  Using Arduino / LEDs and Multiplexing / Re: How to wire up a TLC5916 led driver chip on: July 04, 2011, 01:24:17 am
the two pins you listed are correct.
and SDO, only if you need it, should go to the MISO pin 50 on the mega (but you probably don't need to connect SDO because it's only for error detection on this chip).

OE is just a pin to let you enable/disable the output. In order to control it, you'd hook it up to one of the I/O pins on the arduino, and digitalWrite(HIGH / LOW) in the code when necessary in the sequence.

to get a better idea about OE and, more importantly, about LE, look at the truth table (Table 3 on the datasheet):
I'd hook up LE to one of the I/O pins on the arduino as well and, in my code, send it the appropriate HIGH or LOW signal as necessary... how exactly you use this depends on your application/what you are aiming to do with this chip and the LEDs.

And the R-ext pin is connected to a resistor so as to set the current for all the outputs to the LEDs
15  Using Arduino / General Electronics / Re: beginner question about connecting two components.. on: July 04, 2011, 01:05:17 am
NewSoftSerial probably won't help.  I think it maxes out at 56kps and this board is running 115kps.

Good point James. Although this page does mention success with 115 kps, so I would give it a try:
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