My Senior Design Project - Controlling multiple devices with arduino

I am a mechanical engineering student and completely new to arduinos. For my senior design project I would like to automate different functions for a "smart" coffee table I am designing. My plan is to use the Bluetooth shield in order to control the features of the table from a smart phone. The mechanical components should come easily to me but the control systems and wiring will be a major hurdle.

I am early in the design phase but I have a basic idea of what things will need controlled and I have several road blocks ahead. Simple things like controlling multiple motors in order to unfold trays and how to power them. Controlling the power that is sent to a peltier tile in order to cool cup holders. There are other subsystems that may end up in the final design but getting past these basic things like sending power to multiple components and how many components can I control with an arduino I'd really like cleared up now.

Thanks to anyone who can help!

You will need to understand basic electronics in order to be successful.

Modular brushed D.C. motor drivers can be used to control Peltier tiles as well.

Learn how to use each different device one at a time in short Arduino programs.

You may be interested in this RemoteXY Thread.

You may find some useful stuff in Planning and Implementing a Program

...R

I want to buy one and play around by I guess the only thing stopping me is understanding whether or not there are real restrictions on how many components each arduino model can control.

There are no real restrictions. Sometimes it's convenient to use a small Arduino that only has a few output pins. Sometimes you use the big Mega that has 50 pins. Very few projects use more than the UNO can support.

Even if you somehow run out of I/O pins on an UNO, there are other "port extenders" that can recover the situation without having to redesign your product to fit the bigger board.

Are we talking 10 motorized things or 1000?

And look closer at your Peltier idea. There's a reason why you don't see these sold as can-coolers in the shops.

There's a reason why you don't see these sold as can-coolers in the shops.

Do you mean items like these nearly useless devices? http://www.amazon.com/Coolit-Systems-USB-Beverage-Chiller/dp/B000EDJJMI http://www.amazon.com/USB-Powered-Fridge-Cooler-Beverage-Cubicle/dp/B000XYN5RS

You need to understand electronics better, not an insult, but the Arduino has basic logic level outputs, and analog ones. There are different versions of the Arduino with varying capabilities. But you could easily add a multiplexor/de-multiplexor IC to extend and potentially make what you controlling addressable. Many of the 'Shields' use the ICSP, and each shield layer is addressed, is just one method. You have a bus, and I2C serial links also...

The schematics are readily available for download also.

Rick

I do need to learn more about electronics that's one of the reasons I chose a project like this so I have reason to learn it. And I'm talking more like 10 components. Knowing there are port extenders though give me some piece of mind. As for he peltier device I'm about to test some out to see if I can make a cheap enough heat sink system to actually keep a drink cold. They cost like 4 dollars so not much risk in buying a couple to play with

Matt083192: I do need to learn more about electronics that's one of the reasons I chose a project like this so I have reason to learn it. And I'm talking more like 10 components. Knowing there are port extenders though give me some piece of mind. As for he peltier device I'm about to test some out to see if I can make a cheap enough heat sink system to actually keep a drink cold. They cost like 4 dollars so not much risk in buying a couple to play with

I'd buy both UNO's and Mega's. Start with the UNO, if your code or Hardware fill it, you have room to grow.

Chuck.