Soft-latching toggle switch with active reset circuit

This circuit aims to replace a traditional toggle switch for switching large amounts of current. Instead of the bulky and expensive traditional toggle switch, this circuit allows for a cheap pushbutton, and a few transistors and resistors to be used and have the same effect.

For my application, I wanted a way to have the circuit draw very little curren
t when in the off state, be able to be powered on with a pushbutton, and then turned off through software on the Arduino.
Here is the circuit diagram:

Here’s a video of the circuit in operation:

The code running on the Arduino is very simple:

PiPlanter 2 | Plant Update and Daughter Board Migration

First, a video:

I’ve worked very hard since my last update to move all of the hardware that interfaces the Raspberry Pi with the plants (GPIO, ADC etc) from on board the Raspberry Pi using the GIPO to a daughterboard based around an Arduino.

This has been a lot of work to accomplish, but as of about a week ago, the transition was completed in it’s entirety and everything is operating totally normally without using any GIPO on the Pi.

This provides a portability for the platform that I haven’t been able to achieve so far. As the name of the project suggests, I’ve only used a Raspberry Pi to drive all of the hardware so far as well as do everything with the software. This transition opens up the possibility of using any computer running linux to be able to drive a PiPlanter if they have the board.

I’ve outlined the “PiPlanter Hardware Specification” in the current block diagram for the project. So if you have these parts, you can make a PiPlanter. The protocol for communicating between host computer and the Arduino is outlined here. I’ve decided to go with plain text serial using a rudimentary handshake to handle the communication. Pretty much all computers have a serial port, and the Arduino is very good at dealing with it as well.

One of the next steps that I take in this project would to be to design and fabricate PCB’s for specifically for this. This is certainly going to be a challenge for me, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. This also gives me the opportunity to maybe start selling PiPlanters which is exciting. I might need to change the name for obvious reasons…

Here are some nice photos of the updated setup:

All of the code and documentation for this version of the PiPlanter can be found here.

I am going on break from school from today, December 18th 2014 to on or around January 14th 2015. Now that the PiPlanter isn’t at my house, I can’t access the network remotely and make changes to the code. The next month will be a good stress test of the new daughterboard infrastructure. Hopefully it all goes well.

Thanks for reading!

PiPlanter 2 | Interfacing a Mikroelektronika CANSPI and an Arduino

The CANSPI board is a nice integration of the MCP2515 CAN Bus Controller and the MCP2551 CAN Bus Transceiver. To interface with these boards I’m using an Arduino Nano and the Seeed Studio CAN Bus Shield Library.

Here are some photos of the configuration, including the switch position on the CANSPI being used:

The wiring diagram goes as follows:

There are two parts of Arduino code, the sender and the receiver. The following code sends a sample piece of CAN data. Attach a potentiometer to A0, and twist it to see the differences in data in the receive code:

The following prints all CAN data received to the serial monitor:

Twist the potentiometer and see the change in data to see that it’s all working:

Thanks for reading!

Parsing Serial Data Sent To Arduino

I use this code constantly. It basically packages serial data for strtok_r to split into pieces paced on predefined deliminators. Each bit of data is separated by a “,” and the end of the set of data is a “.”

If you send in a string like:

You can split it into three varaibles that equate to those different values. In this case:

The Variable x would equate to 10.

Here’s the code:

Here’s an example.

Say you have a serial device hooked up to your softserial port and in inputs “10,50,100.” to the arduino to be split up. If you want to set each of these numbers to separate integers and then print them to the serial console, you’d do it like this.

Smart Shutter | Bluetooth Communication Between Android and Arduino using Processing

So, once you get processing for android all installed, if you’re like me the first thing you’ll want to do is get your phone talking with an Arduino over bluetooth. Well maybe not first thing but you get the Idea. Below is two pieces of code that I’ve used for this project. It’s very specific for this project, but it may help somebody and will likely help myself in the future so there you go.

Ardiuno Code:

Processing Code:

Let me know if you ever use this!

Smart Shutter | Setting up a BlueSMiRF with Software Serial and Arduino

I was recently accepted into a beta test for MIT dealing with a prototype Arduino board and their website. I’ll create a final post showcasing the completed project, but for step by step updates check out their website here, and my personal project page here. Now on to the tutorial.

I always reset my module after I dust it off for use, jussttt in case:

Because I know I’ll need to do this again, I’ve decided to take the time writing a post explaining how to get communication going between an Arduino and a PC using serial over bluetooth in windows 8.

First thing’s first, connect to your device, as stated in the title, I’m using a BlueSMiRF Silver from Sparkfun.

Pairing is very easy. From there, upload the following code to your Arduino and connect your board as dictated by the code.



Then open your device manager and see how the bluetooth configuration went and how the ports were assigned:


For some reason, the lower COM port number is the correct one, I have no idea why. I’ll be using Putty to connect to the bluetooth COM port, the config is very simple:

<a href=””><img src=”″ title=”Hosted by” /></a>

From there, start typing in either console and it should all work!

Thanks for reading!

Smart Speaker | Full Working Prototype

Here is a video of the whole thing working:

The whole system works! If you look at this post, which basically shows the whole thing can be battery powered as well. The following photos show the way the cable is run out the back of the housing. Both sets of the 3 wires are tied together and then to the output of the digital pot:

Contrary to what I thought, the 10k ohm digital pot can change the volume just fine! To be safe though, I ordered an SPI digital Pot that can do 50k ohm resistance.

Here is the new working version of the code as well:

The only difference between this one and the last version I posted was the height of the check value. I made it further away from the sensor.

Before the code is “finished” I would like to add a few things. The first being an averaging loop in the raw input ; instead of just using variations of map(analogRead(IR_rangefinder),20,600,0,9); each time, I’d like to maybe write my own function that is more general for assigning comparison. The downside to this however is that it may slow things down and the top priority with this project is keeping it fast and accurate.

Smart Speaker | Amp Teardown and Potentiometer Problem

Here are images of the teardown:

A couple of things to note: I over heated the pads when removing the gain pot and lifted a trace by accident. Instead of soldering directly into the lug hole, I just tied directly to the resistor that is in series with the pot signal.

I also am also not going to be able to use the digital pot I have been working with so far. Note the image that shows the pot with a resistance of 50k, and the one I’ve been working with is 10k.

I’m going to order a pair of these, and many of these to try and solve the bluetooth static problem.