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31  Using Arduino / Programming Questions / Re: Programming on: March 12, 2014, 03:50:31 pm
I'd say the audio jack with a tone generator app would be one of the easiest ways of simple communication.
32  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Prioritizing power output to electrical devices on: March 12, 2014, 12:32:12 pm
Where do you go from here?
Well, if if no one else here suggest an alternative or smacks down my proposal because of some obvious flaw I am missing and you decide that the approach I described is suitable for you, your next step would be to determine if the devices can be "multiplexed" this way or if they need more operating time than available. If they can, then you would go get some basic supplies (an Arduino board, a breadboard, a few LEDs and resistors). Then you'd write the code and throw together a mockup of the project on a breadboard using some LEDs in place of relays and simulate the power usage with potentiometers or resistors or something.
For the final device, you would certainly need some form of safe enclosure box to protect the user from the mains power. The box would have a power plug and as many sockets as you need (plus a few extra, just in case?). It would also contain the power supply for the Arduino, Arduino itself, the relays with a few extra components to drive them and finally the current sensors on each socket.
It would probably be wise to start with a schematic, just to figure out how all the components will fit together and what exactly you'll need.
You can also start looking at the relays available to you. Once you find them you'll have a better idea of what kind of driver for them you'll need.
33  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Autonomous RC Plane on: March 12, 2014, 11:59:43 am
Have you checked DIY drones?
It's a community specialized in autonomous models.

That being said, probably someone here will be able to help you with the interference problem.
34  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Prioritizing power output to electrical devices on: March 12, 2014, 03:11:37 am
Oh, I see.
Here's the idea I have in my mind:
You bring all the devices to the operating temp, one by one, then provide power to all the devices keeping them turned on. Since they are most of the time idling they are not drawing much current and your outlet should have no problems providing it.
You then monitor each device's power consumption and as soon as one of them starts to draw more power than when idling, you cut the power completely to all the rest.
You keep monitoring that device and as soon as it goes back to idle you start providing power to the rest of the devices, one by one, always checking if the newly powered device is still idling or needs to ramp up. If it idles you turn on the next. If it needs to work you cut the power to the rest.
That way you achieve a sort of first come first serve system.

However, this can only function if the total working time of all devices is less than real time.
If you have 5 devices, each requiring 10 minutes of power per hour (total 50 minutes), you can manage it, but if they each require 15 minutes per hour (total 75 minutes) you're out of luck.

Am I making any sense to you?

For the actual sensor to detect whether a particular device is idling or working you could use something like this:
35  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Prioritizing power output to electrical devices on: March 12, 2014, 02:19:54 am
It sounds possible, sure.
You'd need a relay for each device you want to control, and some way of determining which device should be turned on. Since you mention operating temperature, I suppose a thermistor, thermocouple or something similar, depending on the temperature range you need to monitor and needed accuracy, will do the trick.
Since you are switching mains at some significant currents and the relays will need to be substantial, I suppose some sort of driver (transistor, MOSFET) will be needed to drive the relays, as it is likely that the microcontroller will not be capable of suppling enough current to switch the relay directly.
36  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Shore-Following RC Boat on: March 11, 2014, 02:52:01 pm
No, you don't sound ridiculous, but every bit of information helps us in helping you.
You mention upstream and downstream, so it's a river? Rivers I know of often have debris floating around. Your small boat could easily get entangled in a branch of something.
If you navigate very close to the shore, there are even plants that live there. Also man made structures could easily protrude from the shore and disrupt your boat. Even if you anticipate that and add various sensors to avoid such obstacles, you will be hard pressed to filter them out of the final shore contour.

Are you sure the a boat is the best way to do what you want done - map the shore? Wouldn't an aerial photo be not only faster and more accurate, but cheaper as well? (hint: You don't need an airplane.)
37  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Shore-Following RC Boat on: March 11, 2014, 12:25:58 pm
When I first read the topic title I was going to direct you to the Microtransat Challenge, but after you mentioned "another sensor to ensure the depth stays above say a foot or a meter" I'm pretty sure that won't do.
So, you'll have to answer a few questions and provide a bit more information.
What kind of boat are we talking about (size, type...)? Power source? Autonomy (time and distance)?. Expected water surface conditions (shores of the Pacific are quite different from some small lake)? Why do you want it to follow the shore? Why do you want it to follow the shore so closely?
38  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Perfectly Sync Framerate on: March 11, 2014, 01:52:52 am
What I've noticed during shooting video (with Canon DSLRs, you too seem to be using) short flashes of light don't look nice in video.
CMOS sensor in the camera doesn't actually take instantaneous pictures but rather scans gradually through the sensor, so one part of the picture always shows an earlier image than some other part.
The effect is that with short flashes the frame tends to be partially exposed showing horizontal lines.

This is what I mean (around 1:45).

The flashing light in this case were too LED strips controlled by a DMX thingy.
39  Using Arduino / Programming Questions / Re: millis() problems - UNO R3 - timing difference on: March 10, 2014, 01:11:15 am
One more thing, just in case.
Is your distance measurement accurate? Are you measuring from the top or the bottom of the ball in the top position (should be bottom, of course).
40  Using Arduino / Programming Questions / Re: millis() problems - UNO R3 - timing difference on: March 09, 2014, 04:03:11 pm
Is it possible that the spring in the top switch is providing some acceleration?
41  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Smoothing PWM on: March 09, 2014, 02:21:33 pm
Try increasing PWM frequency.
42  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Flight Control Board etc. on: March 08, 2014, 07:55:27 am
That is not an official Arduino board, so this is not exactly the source.
Since you say that the one in picture is not the one you have, how exactly are we supposed to know what you do have?
Why don't you give us a link to the one you have?
43  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: model train carriage lighting on: March 08, 2014, 05:30:32 am
Well, you could have it all hanging in the air, but a little bit of perfboard would make it a lot less prone to shorts. Trying to stuff an entire Arduino board (even the Nano) in a H0 carriage would be challenging.
You don't need a lot of components, really. A voltage regulator, ATtiny, a transistor or MOSFET to drive the LEDs, and a few caps and resistors here and there, plus either a photoresistor or some communications device.

2400x1800, so no more than 5-6 trains, right?
Which option do you consider more attractive? Lights automatically turning on when it gets darker or you manually turning them on/off?
A simple RF module would also work, I suppose. There should be enough room for it.
You mentioned 9V battery to power the lights. Is that a requirement? Why not pick up the power from the tracks or overhead line? Is there power in the tracks and/or overhead line or are we talking about self powered locos?
44  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: model train carriage lighting on: March 08, 2014, 04:48:52 am
What scale are you talking about?
I routinely install LED strips in H0. They are powered from the tracks and are always turned on.

How big is your layout? The easiest way to remote control something that simple would probably be IR remote, or you can make it intelligent enough to sense the darkness and turn the lights on automatically.
In any case, a standalone microprocessor would be a much more suitable approach. Something from the ATtiny range, perhaps?
45  Using Arduino / Programming Questions / Re: UNO loop nested if else while on: March 08, 2014, 02:49:42 am
Yeah, entire code and schematic would help, but in the meantime...
This is quick and dirty way to do it. I haven't tested it with buttons but it should work.

if (ButtonStateAUTO == HIGH){
  for (int i = 0; i  < 1000; i++){
    delay (2);          //This delay gives you a window of about 2 seconds to push the second button.
    ButtonStateMAN = digitalRead (button2);
    if (ButtonStateMAN == HIGH){
      delay (1000);    //This delay is here because you had it in your posted code
      break;          //Once the ButtonStateMAN is detected to be pressed the for loop is exited and ButtonStateMAN is no longer checked
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