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MicroPython All the Things!

September 15, 2017

We ♥ MicroPython at Elmwood! And who wouldn't? It gives you the simple syntax of Python 3 right in your micro-controller! It runs on lots of different hardware platforms and could well become the successor to the Arduino language. We sell a whole lot of different boards that can run MicroPython. Here are just a few: On the really tiny end of the scale, the Adafruit Trinket M0 and Gemma M0 are the smallest MicroPython-capable boards we carry. They both run CircuitPython, Adafruit's fork of MicroPython. While these tiny boards (some might call 'em adorable) don't have networking or built-in sensors, they do have a super-blinky RGBW LED for added sparkle. Slightly larger are the Feather M0 Express boards. They're...

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LCD Shield: simple interactive control from your Arduino

September 07, 2017

There are some Arduino projects that you just can't get working without some manual interaction. Can you imagine trying to use a smart thermostat that had no way of showing the current temperature or setting the schedule? So sometimes you just need a display and some control buttons. With all the wonderful new products out there, it's sometimes easy to overlook some of the older, less fancy ones that still work really well. One of these is the Adafruit LCD Shield Kit with 16×2 Character Display. Here I've got one controlling the colour and brightness of a 8mm diffused through-hole NeoPixel. It really was magenta when I took that picture, honest: you either get the LCD legible or the LED the right colour. I've made a couple...

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Audio Triggers: the very basics

August 04, 2017

Our customers build a lot of projects using embedded audio using Adafruit Audio FX boards. They're pretty much the easiest way to add sampled audio to your electronics project. I'm working on a personal project where I need to generate sound in a fairly small enclosure, and this project was the first time I'd ever used an audio trigger or sound board. While they're pretty straightforward, and Adafruit's tutorial is really helpful, there are some little gotchas that you've got to learn and work around. Audio triggers, if you haven't heard of them before, are a really simple idea: press a button, it plays a sound. Fancy ones have multiple buttons, and fancier still ones can have loops, stop/start controls...

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Maker Festival Projects: Giant NeoPixel VU Meter

July 20, 2017

We had a fair number of blinky projects at Toronto Maker Festival. While the Flying Toasters and the Clap-o-meter were popular,  they didn't have the sheer sale of this, our four metre double VU meter: This is a volume-activated full strip of 240 NeoPixels bopping along to some fine Montreal power-pop from Simon I. Just as well no-one else was about at Elmwood Towers that time of night … Although this is a big, power hungry and not exactly cheap project, the wiring couldn't be simpler: The project is based on Adafruit's LED Ampli-Tie, except with waaay more LEDs. The main components are: NeoPixel Digital RGB LED Strip - Black 60 LED, complete 4m spool Arduino UNO 2-pin JST SM Plug...

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