Me and Arduino, down by the school yard

I feel like I’m one information set away from the people who attend this, but they are so darn cool that they are doing this that I have to forward this announcement. Go if you are at all interested – it’s a great bunch of folk. They just changed their name from “notbago” to “GO Tech

Here’s the note from Dale Grover:

It sounds like there’s enough interest to do a “Bare Bone Board” (Arduino clone) build night at the next GO Tech meeting, which is January 8.

What is an Arduino? From http://arduino.cc: “Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.” Or, if you prefer, it’s a minimal Atmel ATMega168 microprocessor circuit and all the software to program it over USB in C or a C-like language from Mac/Linux/Windows. The Arduino runs about $35. However, some folks have designed boards that use a USB to TTL serial cable, which means the board itself runs more like $10-$15. You only need one $20 cable to program any number of boards.

The ATMega168 has 16K of program space (a little less due to the bootloader, I think), 1K of RAM, some EEPROM, and decent analog input, pwm output, and general digital I/O.

Here’s my proposal. I can coordinate a group buy of the BBB boards from Modern Device (http://www.moderndevice.com/), and cables from some other source. I have had no problems so far running the software under Mac OS X (10.4), and it is supposed to run under Linux and that other operating system as well.

BBB kit–includes everything except a power supply (but you can run it off of USB). $10. (What a deal!) (This is the quantity pricing on the BBB. The RBBB is even cheaper, but I think the BBB is worth the little added cost.)

Optional: USB Cable–$20. You could skip this, see if you like the kit, and order the cable from Mouser or AdaFruit.com later. Just use someone else’s to make sure it runs.

Optional: Plastic bread board. $5. Approximately what AdaFruit sells. Lets you easily prototype with through-hole components. Worthwhile having.

I’ll supply LEDs, resistors, solder, 5 soldering stations, snips, a few “third hands”, etc.

What you would supply: If you have a decent iron, snips, third hand, then bring them.

If you would like to participate, send me the following directly to dgrover at redcedar dot com:

*Your name
*What you want me to order–i.e., BBB kit ($10), USB cable ($20), bread board ($5).
*What tools you can bring–e.g., soldering iron (you’ll want a decent one), snips, etc.
*A statement that you’re kind of sorta sure you might be at the meeting, at which time you’ll do your darndest to pay me with a check or cash. *Please don’t send any money now.*

Or, you can just tell me you’re bringing your own BBB kit. (This helps in figuring out how many soldering stations to line up.)

These are fun little boards, the Arduino software makes it easy to just jump right in, and you can apparently also program in straight C using the software. The hardware can be programmed using the regular Atmel programmer as well.

I imagine we’d spend the first hour or so building, and the rest of the time exploring the software. It would be helpful if folks brought (in addition to a soldering station) a laptop with USB, with the Arduino software already installed, and perhaps even a printout of the excellent instructions for the BBB assembly.

That’s all for now.

–Dale

NotBAGO is a meeting for Ann Arbor area readers of Make Magazine, Circuit Cellar, Home Shop Machinist, Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools, slashdot, etc. That is, people who are interested in and make things using technology, whether that’s a metal cutting lathe or a Python script. A kind of generalized mixture of CerealBar, DorkBot, Oxford Geek night, and Portland Machinist Guild. We have machinists, electrical engineers, software folks, industrial control types, and so on. We share projects, information about tools and ideas, and connect with like-minded people.