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Author Topic: Is arduino right for me?  (Read 235 times)
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I am starting my first project, I am in school for programing and this is my own personal side project. I am looking for a platform that I can run code on that will communicate with a windows based pc and will be able to operate at least three devices, two motors and one solenoid.  I was originally going to install windows XP on a raspberry pi environment, until I found arduino.

I have a micro windmill and my goal is to have my project rotate the X-axis 360*, elevate the Y-axis about 45* and activate a solenoid to lock it in place.

So essentially I need it to run two motors and a solenoid with commands that are sent from a windows OS. So it will need to operate in real time and perform the operations that are being sent to it.
My end goal is to have this tethered to a windows device and be able to remote desktop connect to the windows device and control the micro wind mill movements. 

I'm trying to find out the best way to go about this.
Should I mount a shuttle pc under the mill and have that send commands to the arduino?
I want to get started by purchasing some equipment, but in the past I have had a tendency to over purchase and end up with stuff I didn't need. I dont want to do that this time, so I am asking the pros. Is the arduino right for me?

Thanks!

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An Arduino communicates with a computer using the USB bus with a simulated COM port.
You can use a serial monitor on the computer and type commands, or you can write a program, or use a serial terminal program that allows scripts, or even from the command line with PowerShell.

It is possible to connect the Arduino to the internet, via extra hardware to Ethernet or wifi. But that is the limit for the Arduino. The Arduino can be a webserver or webclient, but that is slow.

The Raspberry Pi connects to internet without problem and you can make scripts and so on. It is not so good to connect to sensors and motors. Sometimes a Raspberry Pi is used for the software which is connected to an Arduino that collects the sensor data and controls motors.

A computer can be used with a remote desktop. In that case an Arduino is still the easiest interface between the computer and the wind mill.

You could use an Arduino with a motor drivers (buy one or build one).
The Arduino can be connected to a computer with a 5 meter usb cable. If you use extra hardware, it can be hundreds of meters.
You can also control the Arduino wireless with wireless modules.
It is not clear to me how far the main computer is. Can a serial or usb cable be used ? or internet ? or wifi ? or radio transmissions ?

I don't understand your goal to use remote desktop on a Windows machine. What if you could click a button on a webpage ?
« Last Edit: February 03, 2014, 10:44:02 pm by Caltoa » Logged

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Quote
was originally going to install windows XP on a raspberry pi environment, until I found arduino.
Good job because you can't run XP on a Pi

The Pi is Linux and as such keeps stalling for short amounts of time, this makes motor control tricky because they do not always start or stop exactly when you want.
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The Arduino is a sensible choice for interacting with the hardware. I'm not sure whether you would be using ordinary DC motors, or stepper motors, or servos. Servos would be very convenient in many ways because the contain their own drive circuits, but you would need to go into your requirements for the 360 degree motion in more detail to know whether a servo was a sensible choice for that.

For driving DC motors or a solenoid you would need a driver circuit. It's possible to get Arduino shields which plug onto a standard Arduino shaped board to drive two motors or motor + solenoid but you would need to check the electrical specs to see whether these were up to the job of driving your devices. It's also possible to get Arduino clones with the motor drive circuits integrated onto the main board and if you only need a small current (say under 1A) that might offer a smaller and cheaper solution. You can also get more general drivers which need to be mounted separately and would be wired to the Arduino. You would probably need something like this for larger motors or if you wanted to drive more than two motors.

In order to provide remote access to the control interface you *could* use RDB into a windows desktop but a cleaner solution would be to create a web app on the PC which uses the serial connection to send commands to the Arduino and get status info back from it, so that you can access the UI remotely from any web browser without needing the hassle and security vulnerabilities of desktop access. This would make it possible to access the UI from smart phones, tablets etc and not just devices with RDP client support.
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The Arduino is a sensible choice for interacting with the hardware. I'm not sure whether you would be using ordinary DC motors, or stepper motors, or servos. Servos would be very convenient in many ways because the contain their own drive circuits, but you would need to go into your requirements for the 360 degree motion in more detail to know whether a servo was a sensible choice for that.

For driving DC motors or a solenoid you would need a driver circuit. It's possible to get Arduino shields which plug onto a standard Arduino shaped board to drive two motors or motor + solenoid but you would need to check the electrical specs to see whether these were up to the job of driving your devices. It's also possible to get Arduino clones with the motor drive circuits integrated onto the main board and if you only need a small current (say under 1A) that might offer a smaller and cheaper solution. You can also get more general drivers which need to be mounted separately and would be wired to the Arduino. You would probably need something like this for larger motors or if you wanted to drive more than two motors.

In order to provide remote access to the control interface you *could* use RDB into a windows desktop but a cleaner solution would be to create a web app on the PC which uses the serial connection to send commands to the Arduino and get status info back from it, so that you can access the UI remotely from any web browser without needing the hassle and security vulnerabilities of desktop access. This would make it possible to access the UI from smart phones, tablets etc and not just devices with RDP client support.

Good advice!
Would running PI with WIFI (connectivity to far for hardwired connection) ... while the adruino is connected as a motor controller work? I dont need the RDP app I'm just not 100% certain on all my options. My idea is to connect via a smart phone and monitor/move the mill. Also, I see that the PI has a 5mp camera available. This would allow me to see what is going on as well, provided the PI had enough power to handle the tasks.

I saw an individual on you tube made an RC car that was operated from his phone, and he used the camera on pi to see where his remote car was going. Seems like a powerful little microchip. I think the potential would be great if I could get it connected to the adruino.

So to clarify, If there is a wireless connection available to my PI, then in theory there is a way I could connect to it and stream video from it, send it commands, or execute programs>?
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You can get a cheap Wi-Fi USB dongle for the Pi.
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