Arduino Emulator?

It occurred to me that I'd play around with stuff a good bit more if I didn't have to shell out as much money. This made me wonder if there is an Arduino emulator or electronics emulator that includes an Arduino that I could plug in various components (or design them) and then watch the pieces interact with each other. Have you heard of such a thing?

In the end, I'd probably end up spending more money on all the cool things I've built and now want to see in reality. :-)

Umm, afriad not.

You could buy a fake arduino off ebay, that's pretty emulator ish! ;D

Mowcius

An arduino itself is relatively cheap for what it is and can do. Its just getting all the other little electronic components together to do something that the cost starts to add up. But i agree the cost of buying additional shields, and other ad-dons is where it starts to get real bad. This is where a couple of basic skills comes in real handy. First is the ability to solder and desolder. Next is the art of scrounging. Places like thrift stores, yard sails, and flea markets are great sources for old or broken electronics which will have many useful components in them. The older the items are the better. You can get more usable parts out of them. Newer items have too many surface mount components. Some of the more interesting projects i've seen have used mostly scrounged parts. Old printers are a wonderful source of motors and controllers.

Next is the art of scrounging. Places like thrift stores, yard sails, and flea markets are great sources for old or broken electronics which will have many useful components in them. The older the items are the better. You can get more usable parts out of them. Newer items have too many surface mount components. Some of the more interesting projects i've seen have used mostly scrounged parts. Old printers are a wonderful source of motors and controllers.

Totally agree. I have picked up a load of stuff for free. Most recently a bunch of PS2 controllers and cables, a wireless mouse, some ethernet over power plugs (I am going to use these though) and a load of other stuff.

Mowcius

Yeah scrounging has become something I find myself doing. I've taken a few old printers apart and a scanner as well, but I don't know enough about the components I'm dealing with to know how to use them or identify them. How can I improve my skill in this area?

If your interest lies with writing software, you could check out AVR-Studio. This a free development tool from Atmel (the ATMega manufacturer) in which you can develop C programs for the ATMega micro-controller used in Arduino's. This IDE includes a simulator that will allow running your applications on a PC, pausing to inspect variables, checking state of outputs and also pause to set states on inputs to simulate push buttons, analog input etc.

There are also some good free tools available that will allow you to design and run simulation on basic electronic circuits (transistors, capacitor/resistor/diode/inductor, op-amps, power supplies, frequency generators etc.). One such tool is LtSpice from Linear Technology.

Links to check out: http://www.atmel.com/dyn/Products/tools_card.asp?tool_id=2725 http://www.linear.com/designtools/software/#Spice

Yeah scrounging has become something I find myself doing. I've taken a few old printers apart and a scanner as well, but I don't know enough about the components I'm dealing with to know how to use them or identify them. How can I improve my skill in this area?

Keep fiddling.

I recently took apart a scanner and got the stepper (easy to control) an image sensor (looks fun but got no idea about how to control it) and I also got a bright strip light for lighting up my soldering desk (just powering the input with 12v, not the light but to the transformer board - careful with this cos it converts it to a very high voltage for the light, keep the transformer board in a plastic box or something).

When you get something scrounged for free you don't need to worry if you break it. I have broken loads of things before.

Mowcius

All components are labeled in one way or another. All you have to do is pull the information off the component and type it into google and add data sheet after it. Then you'll have the data sheet on it and know what it is and everything else about it. From there you can google uses for it and generally come up with a tutorial or a wiki about the item.