posts tagged with the keyword ‘seeeduino’



The CheerLights folks posted about my build, but at the time I hadn’t been able to provide many details, so I wrote up some details

CheerLights is a fun little project that is powered by ThingSpeak, a service which makes it easy to use Twitter as a control mechanism for the Internet of Things.

CheerLight Innards

Originally I just tossed a few notes up on the Milwaukee Makerspace wiki, but now I’ve got some code on GitHub and a detailed project page for my CheerLight.


Here’s my CheerLight connected to my MacBook Pro, ready to change colors at your command.

(And yes, my project is called "CheerLight" mainly because it consists of just one light. At least that’s the story I’m sticking with.)


Arduino Uno

Here’s a terrible photo of an Arduino Uno…


And here’s a terrible photo of a Diavolino…


And here’s a terrible photo of a Seeeduino…

These are three terrible photos! I mean, they aren’t terrible terrible, but they’re not great. I could spend a few minutes with each one explaining what I don’t like about them.

We needed a good high resolution photo of an Arduino Uno for a project at the Milwaukee Makerspace, and I said I would quickly snap a photo and get it online, so I did.

I feel like 80% of the quality of these shots are due to the equipment. I used a Nikon D3x with a Nikon 28-70mm f2.8 lens. That’s a great combo. I also used our Elinchrom studio strobes, which are also very nice. I shot tethered to a 21″ Apple iMac, which showed the images on a large colorful screen as they were captured.

Honestly, with all of that stuff in place, anyone familiar with a DSLR and lighting could get a pretty decent shot.

When I use words like “terrible” and “decent” they are, of course, subjective. There’s a whole scale for applying those words. One photographer’s “terrible” is another photographer’s “awesome!”

Besides, these are more “technical” photos than “beautiful” photos. There’s not much style to them. But these also fall under the category of Product Photography, which is worth discussing…

Photography is an interesting thing, because there are so many different disciplines, and so many different subjects. I know some guys who only shoot beautiful women between the age of 18 and 25, outdoors, on sunny days. (Or so it seems.) Other people I know shoot landscapes and nothing but landscapes. Well, HDR landscapes actually. That’s all they do… and that’s all fine, but it’s not product photography.

None of the three photos above would be good examples of product photography, and I’ll explain why:

  1. The items are used.
    If you’re shooting a product, it should be brand new, fresh out of the box, never used. Used items are not the same as clean items. Do you know why? It’s because…

  2. The items are dirty.
    Once an item gets used, it gets dirty. It gets worn down. It gets fingerprints, and smudges, and dirt, and scrapes, and doesn’t look very nice. Yes, you can clean things, and we often joke about the fact that 75% of product photography involves cleaning things, while 15% involves taking pictures. The other 10%? That’s for cleaning it again.

There’s also a number of tricks when shooting products, as opposed to portraits, or landscapes, or beautiful women. Don’t get me wrong, each thing has its own tricks, but they are often different tricks. Actually, they mostly have to do with reflecting light, or blocking light, or basically controlling light, in different ways.

But if you aren’t shooting products for a client, but you are shooting things for your own purpose, like documenting projects, you might find it helpful to learn more about product photography.

And when I say learn, feel free to learn in your own way. If you can assist a product photographer, that would be good, but if you can’t, then study good photos, figure out what you like about them. Learn to control light. I’m not ashamed to say that some of the photos of things that I’ve taken that I really liked, I ended up shooting 30 different versions, all with slightly different lighting. That’s just how I do it. Take a shot, move a light. Take a shot, move a reflector. Take a shot, place a black board directly overhead instead of a white board. Take another shot. At some point after you think you have enough shots, stop. Review them later on a large colorful screen and pick the best one.

Trial and error is still an effective way of learning something… In fact, it may be the only way to learn something.


Make A Sketch

The Make A Sketch features an Arduino-based microcontroller and a Processing application that work together to function like an old Etch A Sketch, letting you draw images using just two knobs. It’s a blend of old-school analog art with the modern digital world.

At least, that’s the fancy copy I wrote to explain it… But really, that’s what it is.

Back in May 2011 I did something we called Processing Month (as inspired by Vormplus) and I started out publishing some simple Processing sketches, and about halfway through May, with Gallery Night looming, I decided to try something a bit more challenging, and the Make A Sketch is the result.

Along the way I ended up drilling acrylic, breaking acrylic, drilling more acrylic, learning about Posterous, writing some Perl code, rewriting some Perl code, destroying an Apple Cinema Display, and finally putting it all together into a complete piece.

I used the RED ONE we have at Z2 to shoot this little video explaining it all… There’s also some time lapse footage from Gallery Night, and a selection of drawings from that night.

Oh, I also ended up building a Project page, and a page for the Make A Sketch, as well as permanent static pages for many of my other projects, such as Time Lapse Bot. These pages will serve as the home for each of my projects, and will point to all the associated blog posts, and other related info.


The last time we looked at Cheap Arduinos we focused on Arduino compatible boards you could put into a project permanently, as long as the project was stand-alone, and didn’t require connection to a computer. (They all used USB-TTL cables/connectors to connect to a host computer for communication/programming. The USB-TTL devices typically cost between $15 and $20, so if you keep one permanently attached to an Arduino, you’ve probably doubled the cost of the project.)

Since the cost of the USB connection seems to be the bulk of what makes an Arduino more expensive, what are our options if we want/need USB on board?

Photo from Adafruit Industries

We’ve previously mentioned the BoArduino from Adafruit Industries (there are two models, one with DC power but no USB, and a USB version.) They just updated the USB BoArduino, and replaced the big USB jack with a mini-USB jack. While this is a kit and needs some assembly and soldering, it’s a very minimal amount.

Adafruit has it for $25.00 + $3.99 shipping. (Occasionally Adafruit offers 10% discounts on kits, so if you’re lucky you could get it for $22.50.)

Pros: Affordable – $25.00, Small, Chip is socketed, “No-Wait” bootloader, USB protection fuse
Cons: A bit more expensive than the other options, Can’t use standard shields

Photo from Seeed Studio

Seeed Studio Depot has two cheap options for you. The Seeeduino V2.2 has an ATmega328 for $22.50 + $3.02 shipping. If you don’t need the 328, there is also a Seeeduino V2.2 with an ATmega168 chip for just $19.00 + $3.02 shipping. Both have non-socketed chips, but the boards are the standard size to accept shields. Both of these are not kits, but come fully assembled and ready to use out of the box.

Now, a few notes about Seeed Studio Depot. They are based in China (if that matters to you) and the “cheap” shipping option does come with a disclaimer saying “10-30 Days.” There are faster/more expensive options obviously, but we’re going for cheap here, remember? They also offer free shipping world-wide for orders over $50. Unlike most other verndors, they do not seem to offer discounts when you buy in bulk.

Pros: Cheap/Affordable – $19.00-$22.50, Can use standard shields, Assembled
Cons: Chip is not socketed

Freeduino USB complete KIT
Photo from NKC Electronics

You want Freeduino? We have a Freeduino option for you… It’s the “Freeduino USB complete KIT” (catchy name!) and like the BoArduino, you will need to assemble/solder it together, though this one will require a bit more work than the BoArduino. Like the Seeeduino, it’s the standard size to accept shields. A nice fit right between the BoArduino and the Seeeduino.

NKC Electronics has it for $22.99 + $4.75 shipping.

Pros: Affordable – $22.99, Standard size, Chip is socketed, “Fast” bootloader, USB protection fuse, Can use standard shields
Cons: Kit needs to be assembled, Vendor/web site does not seem as “big” as others. (This may not be a con.)

Since we’re talking cheap, our friends at Modern Device have what they are calling “Vintage Italian Arduinos” on sale for $24.95. (It’s actually an older model of the “official” Arduino, the Duemilanove. Not bad for a 100% compatible full-sized real Arduino with USB.

Again, if you are just starting out and getting your first Arduino, you really can’t go wrong getting the Arduino Uno, which costs $30 and comes fully assembled and ready to use. In fact, many vendors offer “starter kits” which include breadboards, sensors, jumpers, books, and other “nice to have” things for beginners.

For projects where you want a cheap Arduino always connected to a host computer via USB, these options may fit the bill. I’ve ordered one of these for a project, and once it arrives I’ll post a bit more info about it.

I also wanted to call out my only “con” for the Freeduino board from NKC Electronics. Vendor/web site does not seem as “big” as others. As noted, this may not be a con. In a future post I’ll talk a bit more about this, and the various places you can get an Arduino from. Until then, keep on hacking!


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