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Autonomous Arduino Mega Track Robot

This robot uses 4 Sharp IR sensors to wander around the house and avoid running into things.


Story I was looking for a fun weekend project with parts I had around the house. In digging through my junk box, I found a track chassis I bought a while back on Amazon just because it looked cool. I figured I'd use it one day. Apparently, this was the day! I thought an autonomous robot would be fun to build. I've built a few robots in my day with wheels or legs, but never with tracks. So this was my project! Next I found an Arduino Mega and an old motor shield, so I was off to the races! I mounted the Mega and the battery holder that came with the chassis using double-sided tape. Then I snapped on the motor shield. The shield can drive 2 DC motors using a handful of digital pins on the Arduino. Now that I had a drive system, I needed sensors to keep the robot from running into things. Luckily, I had four Sharp IR sensors with 10-80cm range. I needed some way to position them in four di…
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ESP8266 Weather Station

This was a fun and interesting project built from a kit by Ideaspark. It teaches you, not only how to push data to the web using an ESP8266, but also how to retrieve data from an API and parse the resulting JSON.

I built this project back in April-May of last year. I actually posted it as the Project of the Month. I got some good feedback from others who built it along with me.

As the name implies, the brains of the project is an ESP8266 microcontroller. The weather station senses local values for temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and ambient light and uploads the data to ThingSpeak. At the same time, it also grabs weather data and 3 day forecast from the web by calling the OpenWeathermap API and outputs it on to small OLED display.

The kit includes all parts needed for the weather station:
ESP8266-12E Microcontroller w/ builtin WiFiDHT11 Humidity and Temperature sensorBMP180 Barometric Pressure sensorBH1750FVI Ambient Light sensorSSD1306 OLED DisplayUSB cableBreadboardCable…

Project of the Month for May 2019

Project of the Month

This month's project is the ESP8266 Weather Station Kit by Ideaspark!
Why not buy one now and build it along with me? Here's a link via my Amazon Associates account. Purchase it here and help me support My Parts Chest website and App (available on Google Play and the Apple App Store).


ESP8266 Weather Station Kit with DHT11 Temperature Humidity BMP180 Atmosphetic Pressure BH1750FVI Light Sensor 0.96" OLED IIC YellowBlue Display for Arduino IDE IoT Starter(Guidance Document Included)
Price:$20.99

✔️The weather station uses the ESP8266-12E to obtain data from the Internet: time of a city, weather data and forecast information for the next 3 days, scrolling on the SSD1306 OLED Display; the device can switch to display data from any city in the world - maybe your relatives or friends live there✔️The device uses sensors DHT11, BMP180,BH1750FVI to collect temperature, humidity, Atmosphetic Pressure and light data. The weather station reads data indoor via sensor…

Project of the Month for March 2019

Project of the Month

This month, I chose a robotic arm kit from MicroBotLabs. 

Why not buy one now and build it along with me? Here's a link via my Amazon Associates account. Purchase it here and help me support My Parts Chest website and App (available on Google Play and the Apple App Store).

ArmUno 2.0 MeArm and Arduino Compatible DIY Robot Arm Kit With MeCon Motion Control Software and Arduino Source Code Via Download Link
Price:$39.99

Robotic Arm Kit includes Servo motors, Structural pieces and all Fasteners needed for assembly Plus MeCon Software and Arduino Source Code Via Companion Web Site and Download Links.Windows PC Motion Control Software Allow you to Teach and Record Motion Paths for Automatic PlaybackMake your own desktop size 4-axis parallel-mechanism Mini Industrial Robotic Factory Arm!This kit features a Companion Web Site full of information resources and makes a great educational resource kit for robotics and micro controllers.Precision Laser Cut Parts Require only …

IoT HVAC Monitor

I built this project in July of 2018 and posted it on Hackster.io







LINK TO PROJECThttps://www.hackster.io/MyPartsChest/iot-hvac-monitor-f5e4bd



IoT HVAC MonitorMonitors the fan speed, on/off cycles, temperature, and humidity of my HVAC system and posts data to ThingSpeak.com.
Parts used: SparkFun ESP8266 Thing - Dev BoardDHT11 Temperature & Humidity Sensor (4 pins)3.7 V LiPo BatteryResistor 1k ohmBreadboard (generic)Dell X77M FanI built this project for two reasons. (1) I've been looking for an excuse to play around with IoT, and with the ESP8266 in particular. (2) My electric bill has been steadily increasing and I wanted to see how often my HVAC system was cycling on and off (and at what temperature).
I figured I could monitor on/off cycles by attaching a small DC fan motor to the return air grill. When the HVAC unit turns on, the airflow will cause the fan to turn; acting as a generator. I can then read the voltage generated by the fan motor by connecting it to an analog input…

Binary Resistance Decade Box

I built this project in June of 2013 and posted it on Instructables





LINK TO PROJECThttps://www.instructables.com/id/Binary-Resistance-Decade-Box/


Binary Resistance Decade Box I've been an electronics hobbyist for many years, so I've used and even built my share of resistance decade boxes. Each one consisted of rotary switches with labels identifying a different power of 10 for each switch. You "dialed up" the desired resistance by turning the appropriate knobs to add up to the target resistance value.

Well, I'm also a computer geek, so I got the crazy idea to build a decade box using DIP switches (instead of rotary switches) and binary values (instead of decimal values). Each switch represents a power of 2 and the resulting resistance equals the combined value of the "ON" switches.

Since binary DIP switches are more difficult to read on site than rotary switches, I decided to include two sets of binding posts; one set to attach to an ohmmeter (to verify …

Solar Shrub II

I built this updated project in April of 2013 and posted it on Instructables



LINK TO PROJECThttps://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-Shrub-II/

Also mentioned on Treehugger.com https://www.treehugger.com/slideshows/gadgets/make-solar-shrub-charging-your-gadgets/


Solar Shrub IIIt's been almost a year since I posted the original Solar Shrub on Instructables. It was a great success from the standpoint that it did what it was supposed to do (charge small devices using nothing but energy from the Sun) . Plus, winning the grand prize in the Green Tech Contest was definitely an ego boost! But there were several specific problems with the original design:

1. Low Current: The current produced was too low to charge some devices in a reasonable amount of time. I harvested the original cells from solar garden lights and the specs were quite a bit lower than I initially thought.

2. Intermittent Charging: Because it was generating power real-time and feeding it directly to the USB port, the chargin…