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Web-Enable your Arduino with an Arduino ENC28J60 Ethernet shield …

Web-Enable your Arduino with an Arduino ENC28J60 Ethernet shield …
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One day I ran into this particular Arduino ENC28J60 Ethernet module on eBay for $18. It included an Arduino ENC28J60 Ethernet shield/module and an Arduino USB Nano V3.0. Well, that’s pretty much for free isn’t it? So I could not resist and bought it, fully well knowing that it might not work. It took a little bit of figuring out, but I finally got it to work.

Playing with the Arduino is definitely fun, specially when you start looking into these kind of fun gadgets (snoop around on eBay and Amazon to see what’s out there!). If you look at eBay, or for example Amazon, for an Arduino ENC28J60 Ethernet shield, then you’ll notice that there are plenty models variations. 

In this article we will focus on selecting a good ethernet library for the ENC28J60 and run a “Hello World” example.
The code discussed in this article will probably work for all of them. 

How to measure temperature with your Arduino and a DS18B20

How to measure temperature with your Arduino and a DS18B20
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In this example project we will be combining an Arduino and a DS18B20 temperature sensor.

The DS18B20 is a so called 1-wire digital temperature sensor. The words “digital” and “1-wire” make this sensor really cool and allows you, with a super simple setup, to read the temperature of one or more sensors. You can even connect multiple devices together, utilizing only one pin on your Arduino.

The more I play with the Arduino, the more fun it gets 

Resistor Color Calculator

Resistor Color Calculator
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This Resistor Color Calculator allows you to enter resistor color codes to determine their Ohm-age (value), but it also works the other way around allowing you to enter the desired Ohm-age to find out what the needed color codes for the resistor should be.

I’ve had this one on all my old websites since way back in the day … but I do find myself going there often when I’m playing with electronic projects.
At some point I figured, it could use an update and it should probably get a home at Tweaking4All as well.

The updated version can now also calculate with 5 band resistors.

Ambient TV lighting with XBMC Boblight, OpenElec and WS2811/WS2812 LEDs

Ambient TV lighting with XBMC Boblight, OpenElec and WS2811/WS2812 LEDs
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Back in the day, when the first LED TV’s appeared, Philips came with a great feature: Ambient TV lighting.

Ambient TV lighting consisted out of lights that would project to the wall behind your TV, one or more colors matching the content on your TV. So if the majority of the screen would be red, then the light emitted would be red, if the majority of the screen is green, then green light would be emitted, etc.

Over the years this has been refined to multiple colors, matching small parts of the screen. Unfortunately though, this wonderful feature is not something you can simply add to your TV. You will have to buy a Philips TV with this feature, …

Until now though, and only for XBMC (Kobi) users. Some smart guy(s) created Boblight, which is opensource and can run (for example) on your XBMC computer. The computer analyzes the video content and “converts” it to signals for LED strands, so you can attach these strands behind your TV and have a DYI Ambient TV lighting effect.

Note : This will only work for content played through your XBMC Media player (I used OpenElec)! So your regular TV shows, your XBox or PlayStation, none of these will have an influence on the “Ambient TV lighting” we will be discussing in this article.

How to Install WiFi in your Mac Pro (for models 2008 to 2012)

How to Install WiFi in your Mac Pro (for models 2008 to 2012)
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I just installed a WiFi card in a Mac Pro and thought I’d share the ease of installation on my website. In my case, I installed it in my pride and joy, a 8-core Mac Pro 2008 model (Mac Pro 3,1) which kicks ass, but it works on newer models as well. As long as it’s a a model before the new late 2013 model (the fancy trash bin).

For this WiFi upgrade I used the Apple MB363Z/A Airport Extreme Wireless Upgrade Kit, found at Amazon new for $25, which MacOS X recognizes instantly – so no need for crazy drivers and weird WiFi apps. The Mac Pro, made out a metal alloy, has two build in WiFi antenna’s and this setup will pick up on 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz WiFi (if the same card is being used).

Boblight Config Maker for Windows, MacOS X and Linux

Boblight Config Maker for Windows, MacOS X and Linux
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When I started building my own “AmbiLight” project, based on OpenElec (XBMC) and Boblight, the first problem I ran into is finding a tool to create a Boblight config files for use under MacOS X. Naturally, there are quite a few great tools out there that do a good job, but it’s either a script, web-based or limited to Windows users (Boblight Config Tool), and again … not for MacOS X …

Creating a config file for Boblight can be quite tedious when you have a large amount of LEDs (I had 290 LEDs), when you mix up the orientation of your LEDs (pretty common issue), or when you do not have your LEDs spread out evenly.

So here is my tool, for Windows, MacOS X and Linux, written in Lazarus Pascal – enjoy!
UPDATE: Another minor bug fixed, added test video and Boblight Config Maker can now also be found at Alternativeto.net.

SainSmart 1.8″ TFT Arduino Color LCD Display

SainSmart 1.8″ TFT Arduino Color LCD Display
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In this article I’ll show you how I connected a SainSmart 1.8″ Color display to my Arduino Uno and I’ll show you how to get some basic things to work.

The Arduino does not come with a display, and that’s perfectly fine as it’s intended to be used as a micro-controller and not a micro-computer.
Adding a display however, may be needed at times though to provide user feedback for when a user is using your marvelous Arduino invention.

User feedback can be done in several ways of course: a simple beep, a simple LED, a simple LCD screen, or like in this case, a more advanced Color Display.
Considering the price I decided to get one ($20 at Amazon, $13 at SainSmart, starting at $13 on eBay, or an Arduino version at AdaFruit for $20) and experiment with it.

Raspberry Pi – ChameleonPi or how to run Classic Computers, Consoles and Arcade Games

Raspberry Pi – ChameleonPi or how to run Classic Computers, Consoles and Arcade Games
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The Raspberry Pi is one fun little computer perfectly capable of emulation Classic Computers like the Commodore 64, ZX-81, ZX-Spectrum, Apple ][, Atari ST and even DOS/Windows 3.1. Emulation on the Raspberry Pi however is not limited to classic computers. Emulation of Classic Game Consoles like the Atari 2600, SEGA Genesis, Super Nintendo, Nintendo Entertainment System (or: NES) and Gameboy handheld work great as well.

My favorite in this however remains the emulation of classic Arcade Games with MAME.
Unfortunately, I did not find an emulator for one of my childhood consoles, the Magnavox Odyssey² (a.k.a. Philips VideoPac G7000).

In this article an introduction to CHAMELEONPI, an awesome distribution by Carles Oriol, which can be downloaded for free. It offers all of these emulators, with a beautiful interface and an easy way to upload ROMs and applications for the Classic Computers, Game Consoles, and Arcade Emulator (MAME).

MacOS X – ApplePi Baker – Prep SD-Cards for IMG or NOOBS

MacOS X – ApplePi Baker – Prep SD-Cards for IMG or NOOBS
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After writing the article on “How to get an Operating System on a SD-Card“, I realized that the existing methods and tools were not to my liking. Of course the existing tools are most certainly not bad and work just fine. I just didn’t like how they worked.

So instead of complaining, I decided to write my own program: The ApplePi-Baker 

This application is for MacOS X only and allows you to prepare an SD-Card for use with Raspberry Pi’s NOOBS, and it allows you to “flash” and IMG file to an SD-Card. ApplePi-Baker can now also be found on AlternativeTo.net and eLinux.org.

Note : This application is also very suitable for creating or restoring an IMG  backup of USB drives!

Update : ApplePi-Baker v2 has been released, you can get it here.
The new version offers a lot options including shrinking and expanding of IMG’s, writing to multiple disks, a better speed and improved stability compared to the old version (1.x) mentioned in this article.

Raspberry Pi – How to get an Operating System on a SD-Card

Raspberry Pi – How to get an Operating System on a SD-Card
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When I first started working with the Raspberry Pi just after the first model A was released, my first issue was: How to get an Operating System on an SD-Card?
I mean: you just purchased a Raspberry Pi – you want to see it in action right away right?

After figuring that out, others have asked me the same question on how to create a SD-Cards for the Raspberry Pi. So here a guide on how to get it done in a few simple steps for Windows, MacOS X and Linux.

The Raspberry Pi, for those unaware, is a $35 computer, equipped with all you need (network, USB, etc), capable of running an Operating Systems like Linux, RiscOS, etc. and can even run XBMC (OpenElec for example) out of the box producing 1080p video through HDMI.

Arduino – Controlling a WS2812 LED strand with NeoPixel or FastLED

Arduino – Controlling a WS2812 LED strand with NeoPixel or FastLED
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The main reason why I bought my first Arduino board was to be able to play with LED strips with applications like BobLight and LightPack that offer colored backlighting to your TV comparable to what Philips offers with it’s beautiful AmbiLight TV’s.

I like really Philips, and I like Ambilight, so why not buy a Philips AmbiLight TV?
Well, pretty simple … first of all Philips does not carry 80″ AmbiLight enabled TV’s, smaller models are significantly more expensive than non-AmbiLight models, and it appears that these AmbiLight TV’s are hard to find in the US.

In this article we will be using an Arduino Uno connected to a strip of WS2812/WS2811 LEDs.

Arduino – Getting started with your first project

Arduino – Getting started with your first project
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I recently aquired an Arduino UNO from Amazon, which can be had under $15 and for a few bucks extra you can get a nice starters kit with Breadboard, jumper wires and some components to play with.

To get familiar with an Arduino I ran my first basic project which switches an LED on and off. The good thing is that this first tiny project get’s you familiarized with the Arduino development tools, how to hook your Arduino up to your computer, and some very basic programming (C/C++ based).

Hardware – What is a Breadboard and How to use it …

Hardware – What is a Breadboard and How to use it …
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When I started my first experiments with electronics, solderless breadboards, in Europe anyway, were not very common or at least not cheap.
Instead me and my dad wired everything together (the good old times!). We either used air to old everything together for the simpler designs, or we used an Open Hole Board PCB (a.k.a. Prototype PCB) for the more complex designs.

Once our design was completed and working we either left it as is – a bundle of components and wires soldered together – or we made a nice PCB to accommodate the components and connections. With Breadboards we’re only looking at the initial prototype …

Breadboards allow us to make our initial prototype much easier and much cleaner, and when I started dabbling with MicroControllers (BASICStamp) it became obvious that creating prototypes with Breadboards was the best way to go – even if it’s just to be able to handle the more expensive components more careful.
In this article a brief into to Solderless Breadboards.

What is RAID and How RAID works …

What is RAID and How RAID works …
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The need for more and more reliable data storage space keeps increasing as we move forward in time. Our picture files get bigger, we scan our documents and we collect more videos than ever before.

For more storage we used to simply buy more hard-drives, internal or external. But eventually we have a wide collection of individual drivers each with their own mount point (drive letter under Windows). This is where RAID can help and combine these individual drives to one big drive. More and more computers are RAID capable.

RAID allows us to combine drives, increase speed and improve reliability so we can store more data while our data is stored safer. But it’s not all that straight forward, so in this article a description of what RAID is, what kinds of RAID you might run into and how RAID works …

How to connect your PC to your TV …

How to connect your PC to your TV …
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One can have numerous reasons why one would want to connect a PC to a TV …

The most important one is probably to playback Movies or TV Shows using XBMC (I use OpenElec), or a slide show of photographs, but I’ve also used it for presentation purposes at work (PowerPoint slideshows) or for Skype sessions with family members and business meetings.

In this article I’ll try to cover as much as I can, covering different “PC’s” (desktop, laptop, tablet, etc), different Operating Systems (Windows, MacOS X, Linux) and as many connection types as I could find.

On our old website, we already had an article describing how to connect your PC to your TV. It’s unfortunately an old and kind-a outdated article, so I decided to write a new article for Tweaking4All with more up to date information.

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