Third Year Project (first post).

Hi everyone, just got my Arduino today and i haven't got a clue what I'm doing. I want to use it for my third year project containing 'animatronics'. I have a vague idea of what i want to do but my dads has been going on about relays and transistors and I'm slightly confused. Be warned some stupid questions may appear from me over the next month or so.

In a nutshell i want to use the Arduino to power on and off a battery powered electric drill which turns a mechanism i will make. The Arduino will turn on the drill when somebody enters the room to set off my mechanism. Think PIR from a flood lamp and light based trip wires.

Im sure theres loads of you out there who can assist me with my 'little' project if i need it? Kayla

Hi and welcome! What you describe is surely possible to do with Arduino, however before you start working on your project, go through the Basics examples that you'll find in IDE. They'll help you get the clue. After that if you need more help, just ask.

If you look on the Pololu and Sparkfun websites you will see many different types of motors (and lots of other things) that can be used with an Arduino. There are also many other suppliers.

You can certainly use a battery powered drill to move stuff but there may be better options. Can you describe the sort of things you want to move - how heavy, how fast and stuff like that.

Also look at what servos can do. They are very easy to use with an Arduino if you want to control the angle the object turns.

...R

Kaylaa: I want to use it for my third year project containing 'animatronics'.

Animatronics, eh?

The first thing that comes to mind with animatronics is - servos!

Suggest you go out and buy a number of servos to play with, using the servo libraries for the Arduino.

Kaylaa: In a nutshell I want to use the Arduino to power on and off a battery powered electric drill which turns a mechanism I will make.

A battery powered electric drill suggests a seriously heavy mechanism. How heavy - or what - is it you propose? Throwing bricks?

I want to use it for my third year project containing 'animatronics'. I have a vague idea of what i want to do but my dads has been going on about relays and transistors and I'm slightly confused.

3rd year of what? I take it you are NOT a 3rd-year university electronics student, or you probably wouldn't be confused by relays & transistors. ;)

Have you done any programming or electronics before?

Like any project, take it one step at a time.

Like Shpaget said, try-out some of the examples. Or If you have some programming experience, start by looking at the language reference. At some point you should read-through programming language reference, but if you've never programmed before start with the examples or none of it will make any sense.

The two most important concepts in programming are loops - doing stuff over-and-over, and conditional branching - if-statments, etc., which is how comupters "make decisions".

I'd start your project with with the button Example... You push a button (a switch that you need to wire-up) and the pin-13 LED on the Arduino board lights-up.

  • Then, replace the button with your PIR (and/or "trip wires") and just make sure you can sense the movement and turn-on the LED.

  • Then, figure-out the drill-wiring. The Arduino puts-out 5 Volts, so you can test the drill and relay/transistor/MOSFET (whatever you decide to use) with a 5V power supply (or the Arduino's 5V power-pin) before you try controlling it actively with the Arduino.

  • Now that your input and output circuitry are working, you can connect everything together and turn-on the drill when someone trips the sensor(s).

  • If you need some more advanced programming, you can do that now that the hardware is fully-functional.

Kaylaa: my dads has been going on about relays and transistors and I'm slightly confused

If he is trying to teach you how to use them, and if you're interested in learning, then I suggest you pay attention to him since it'll be far easier to learn from somebody there next to you rather than a bunch of strangers writing stuff over the internet.