Powered by Invision Power Board


Forum Rules Forum Rules (Please read before posting)
Pages:12 ( Go to first unread post ) Reply to this topicStart new topicStart Poll

> Beginner Help, Need help with materials/resources
SidMan
Posted: December 29, 2011 04:13 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Newbie
**

Group: Members+
Posts: 15
Member No.: 36,298
Joined: December 29, 2011




Hi -

I'm a computer scientist and know how to program but since I was very young Ive been interested in electronics. I have a small project I think is simple and wondering if you had any information or tutorials to lead me down the right path. Every time I go to research this I always get lost and I'll try to explain my project to you.

I want to use a small, inexpensive character LCD, a keypad (0-9 digits and # and *) and I want to be able to use the keypad to set a number of minutes, hours and have the LCD count down until it's reached the desired time. Where it gets a little more complicated (for me at least) is I want to power it with 4 AA batteries, I want to have a reset button, and I have the electronics but I want to use an electric lock that when sent a signal will unlock. My final project goal is to build a "safe" that I can set a timer to and have it unlock when I've hit the desired amount of time.

Again I can program so I once I had the electronics set up I could use a PIC to flash and test my code with but I know so little about electronics - again every time I go to research what it takes I will easily get lost on a single concept.

A couple of questions - is this a project that requires many years of experience or could someone like myself be able to do this as a first project? Also - any resources or information you could share (preferably links but also books) of sites I could go to would be very helpful. Also any kits (low cost please I don't have much money) you would recommend would be appreciated.

This is my first post ever to this subject - Ive always had these dreams but never known anyone who could help me. Thank you so much for reading this and your thoughts are very much appreciated.
PMEmail Poster
Top
draget
Posted: December 29, 2011 05:08 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Forum Addict ++
*******

Group: Cleanup Taskforce
Posts: 6,006
Member No.: 1,770
Joined: December 31, 2004




Making a simple PIC board and programming it is quite easy, google about, there are plenty of resources out there smile.gif Shoot specific questions here and people will be more than happy to help smile.gif
PMEmail PosterUsers Website
Top
Gorgon
Posted: December 29, 2011 01:21 pm
Reply to this postQuote Post


Forum Addict ++
*******

Group: Trusted Members
Posts: 3,008
Member No.: 3,861
Joined: December 18, 2005




The electronics should be simple enough for this project. Depending on the type of programming you have done before, you may need a refreshing of the real life interface part. The real possible problem is the mechanics of the project, combined with the battery supply requirement.
If this is to be a normal safe, I would think that a motor driven lock is the best choice here. All hotel room safes I've seen, use a motor driven lock, and they are battery powered.

TOK wink.gif


--------------------
Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until they speak!
PMEmail Poster
Top
SidMan
Posted: December 30, 2011 04:56 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Newbie
**

Group: Members+
Posts: 15
Member No.: 36,298
Joined: December 29, 2011




Thanks Draget and Gorgon for the replies - first time Ive ever seriously attempted this. I'm just so lost - I would love to know how to do this project but I can spend hours researching and not get anywhere. I can't thank you enough for the replies..

So my end goal is to have a timed lock that I can program (with push pins/switches) in minutes. When the time is up - the lock can be opened. And Gorgon you're right - the mechanics will be the toughest part (and yes I'll need refreshing. What I'm thinking at the moment is getting a motor - one thats a push/pull or in/out one - and I'll research where to find lock parts and I'm thinking this motor will stop/restrict the lock from opening or allow it to open. Sorry if this is confusing - and what I'm thinking is I'll send power? or a command? to this motor and it will either go in or out - again I'll research these parts from somewhere else I think I'll need to go to a locksmith for help.

So I'm not sure how to proceed but I thought I would write out the parts I'm thinking about and what I'm thinking and maybe someone might be able to lead me in the right direction.

So the parts I have so far are:


- LCD 16x2 w/ HD44780U built in controller (I read HD44780U because they are a "standard" and are commonly known and thus can find information to program them with easily).

- PIC16F628A (I need this because this is what will store my computer code - and if I'm right also have memory to store variables?) There are many types of these Ive found too - should I try for a specific type?

- 4 Push Pins (I need these for the user to input minutes and to toggle the menu, oh and one to "reset" the device)

- Perforated Breadboard (I need this to lay out my components)


So this all I have at the moment - again just getting it out. For power - I know I want to run batteries and AA or off the shelf kinds are preferable and I'd love to get the most out of them - ie - to be able to use it everyday for months - but I have no knowledge of how power relates to this and I know this is critical and would love when I do find the connection - any tutorials or help on solving this would be so helpful.

Also - I know I'll need a soldering iron, solder and wires. And I think I'll need capacitors and other small parts - again I don't know how power relates and I assume this is in relation to that so hopefully this will make more sense. I notice I can save on shipping if I get parts in one shipment so I hope to get all I need in one pass.

Sorry this is so verbose - I feel the software side is the easiest for me to learn) but this for me I can do because its mechanical. The hardest part in electronics for me is knowing how power works - OH and what I love about this project too is Ive written software my whole life and this is so great to see what the hardware I'm writing for works - if I can understand this project - which I know I can just not finding the right information - it'd be amazing. Thank you all so kindly for all your help.
PMEmail Poster
Top
MacFromOK
Posted: December 30, 2011 05:23 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Forum Addict ++
*******

Group: Spamminator Taskforce
Posts: 13,951
Member No.: 5,314
Joined: June 04, 2006




QUOTE (SidMan @ December 29, 2011 09:56 pm)
- Perforated Breadboard (I need this to lay out my components)

If you're using thru-hole components (not the tiny surface-mount "SMD" type), you might consider a "solderless" breadboard (or two). They have little contact sockets and allow you to just plug in components for testing.

http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store...adboards/1.html

I have 400s, 840s, and a 1680 from that page btw.

Welcome to the forum. beer.gif


--------------------
Mac *

"Basic research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing." [Wernher Von Braun]

* is not responsible for errors, consequential damage, or... anything.
PMEmail Poster
Top
SidMan
Posted: December 30, 2011 05:39 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Newbie
**

Group: Members+
Posts: 15
Member No.: 36,298
Joined: December 29, 2011




Thanks for the info and welcome smile.gif

I'll check these out right now. For getting the pieces in place without soldering (because I'm new to that too) I could see this being a HUGE help.

I'd love to know everything about what I build and saving to learn soldering and the errors I may have there - thanks smile.gif
PMEmail Poster
Top
SidMan
Posted: December 30, 2011 05:45 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Newbie
**

Group: Members+
Posts: 15
Member No.: 36,298
Joined: December 29, 2011




MacFromOK - I found the same solderless breadboard at Digikey (pictures match up exactly) fr 400 point - Digikey wanted about $2 more for the part. Is Digikey then all about selection and not so much price? Any recommendations of selection/price? I'm finding parts are cheap but shipping creeps into the overall price.
PMEmail Poster
Top
MacFromOK
Posted: December 30, 2011 06:20 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Forum Addict ++
*******

Group: Spamminator Taskforce
Posts: 13,951
Member No.: 5,314
Joined: June 04, 2006




Mouser.com is pretty good on prices in the US, but eBay is usually where I've found the best deals (I've also ordered a fair amount of stuff from all-electronics). You have to keep an eye on shipping prices just about anywhere though, and especially with eBay sellers.

I usually wait until I want something specific, then try to order other stuff from the same place to save on shipping. I get 60/40 rosin-core solder from RadioShack, because they have a weekly delivery and don't charge extra for shipping to their store.

You might also check out our Pinned: Links! page, there are several tutorials on soldering and other useful stuff.

[EDIT] Oops, guess not. But here's one anyway.

http://www.kpsec.freeuk.com/solder.htm


--------------------
Mac *

"Basic research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing." [Wernher Von Braun]

* is not responsible for errors, consequential damage, or... anything.
PMEmail Poster
Top
SidMan
Posted: December 30, 2011 06:25 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Newbie
**

Group: Members+
Posts: 15
Member No.: 36,298
Joined: December 29, 2011




Thanks MacFromOK - I'll check these out.

For the sake of learning electronics - and hoping I don't get banned by sharing this! - I picked up Electronics for Dummies and so far I'm finding it really useful. I have a degree in Computer Science - I'd just think I'd be able to pick up basic electronics but its been such a challenge. With this book I'm hoping to get the basics and can explore more complex concepts after. So far it's been quick reading it's been what Ive been looking for - basic starter material I can build on (for example: I didn't know what Ohms law was or what resistance was until I read this).
PMEmail Poster
Top
MacFromOK
Posted: December 30, 2011 06:30 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Forum Addict ++
*******

Group: Spamminator Taskforce
Posts: 13,951
Member No.: 5,314
Joined: June 04, 2006




Ya gotta start somewhere. biggrin.gif

Btw, you might check the edit on my previous post (apparently there are no soldering tutorials on our links page). doh.gif


--------------------
Mac *

"Basic research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing." [Wernher Von Braun]

* is not responsible for errors, consequential damage, or... anything.
PMEmail Poster
Top
SidMan
Posted: December 30, 2011 07:09 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Newbie
**

Group: Members+
Posts: 15
Member No.: 36,298
Joined: December 29, 2011




Bookmarked and thanks MacFromOK
PMEmail Poster
Top
Gorgon
Posted: December 30, 2011 03:17 pm
Reply to this postQuote Post


Forum Addict ++
*******

Group: Trusted Members
Posts: 3,008
Member No.: 3,861
Joined: December 18, 2005




QUOTE (SidMan @ December 30, 2011 05:56 am)
What I'm thinking at the moment is getting a motor - one thats a push/pull or in/out one - and I'll research where to find lock parts and I'm thinking this motor will stop/restrict the lock from opening or allow it to open.

I don't know where you are in the world, but I would think that if you ask at a local security or locksmith company for a used/or broken motorized lock assembly, you would have a great starting point for the mechanics. You need to change the motor to a low voltage version, but this should be possible. Most locks I've seen is running on 12V or 24V.

If you are going to use a LCD display for this application, you only need a small number of pushbuttons to make a viable keyboard. 2 should make a good user interface for an application not used so often. You could even manage with one button and some fancy timing routines.

TOK wink.gif


--------------------
Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until they speak!
PMEmail Poster
Top
SidMan
Posted: January 01, 2012 03:42 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Newbie
**

Group: Members+
Posts: 15
Member No.: 36,298
Joined: December 29, 2011




Awesome ideas Gorgon - I never had thought about timing creativity like that - so cool. BTW: I've been reading non stop Electronics for Dummies and although it may seem blasphemous to some in the community I'm finding it to be an amazingly good resource and would recommend it to anyone who knows 0 about electronics. My confidence is soaring with this book and I think I'm ready to plunk down on a starter kit.

So I've found this and it seems great and a good price, its an Arduino Uno Starter Kit from Amazon and linked here: http://www.amazon.com/Arduino-Uno-Starter-...25385477&sr=8-2

Would any recommend a better starter kit? Money is a little important - I don't want to go over $80 I think but if theres a kit that's say $20 more than the one above but is 10x better I'd prob want to get that.

And for parts - since this kit doesn't come with resistors - should I maybe stock up on these too? I could get these while I'm getting push-pins and the PIC16F628A. Is there anything else you would suggest I pick up too? Maybe capacitors?

Ultimate goal - get a kit and any other parts once that will allow me to experiment. Also - I think I need a multimeter - any suggestions on a beginner one here? I know this is a lot of questions - thank you guys for helping me start down what looks like an amazingly fun and possible life changing hobby smile.gif!

Sincerely - Sid
PMEmail Poster
Top
SidMan
Posted: January 01, 2012 06:10 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Newbie
**

Group: Members+
Posts: 15
Member No.: 36,298
Joined: December 29, 2011




Also -does this seem like a good deal?

http://www.amazon.com/Elenco-CK-1000-Basic...ref=pd_sim_t_18

Its a basic parts kit - I wonder though if any of the components are outdated now?

Thanks - I've been looking for a grab all kit to start with and this is the only parts kit Ive been able to find.
PMEmail Poster
Top
CWB
Posted: January 01, 2012 06:34 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Forum Addict ++
*******

Group: Spamminator Taskforce
Posts: 21,134
Member No.: 15,154
Joined: May 15, 2008




for "basic parts" i would figure out what is needed and order the stuff up from one place .
pnp/npn transistors
5 and 12 volt regulators (7805/7812)
assorted leds
a couple of resistor kits
a solderless breadboard
etc

a small power supply would be a good first project for you ... you're going to need one anyway .
cells and batteries always have a habit of going dead just when you need them the most and all the stores have closed (this is one of murphy's laws) .

the other guys here can suggest more items .
while this is happening you can find some old electronic stuff to rip apart .
this will help you with your (de)soldering skills and help you to become familiar with color codes , nomenclature , numeric codes , etc .

new to the game ?
here ... hold these two wires for me ...


--------------------
"Know how to solve every problem that has been solved"
R. Feynman '88
PM
Top
MacFromOK
Posted: January 01, 2012 08:19 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Forum Addict ++
*******

Group: Spamminator Taskforce
Posts: 13,951
Member No.: 5,314
Joined: June 04, 2006




That kit didn't exactly get rave reviews, the highest rating I saw was a 3.

You might check out this discussion on basic components to keep on hand.

http://www.dutchforce.com/~eforum/index.php?showtopic=12845


--------------------
Mac *

"Basic research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing." [Wernher Von Braun]

* is not responsible for errors, consequential damage, or... anything.
PMEmail Poster
Top
kl27x
Posted: January 01, 2012 11:00 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Forum Addict ++
*******

Group: Spamminator Taskforce
Posts: 4,027
Member No.: 4,223
Joined: February 06, 2006




Some things I find indispensible, even nowadays where I hardly ever use a breadboard:

Wire wrap tool and 30 AWG wire stripper. I've tried a bunch and this is the best:
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.js...oductId=2103243

SIP header pins, male and female.

Connecting an LCD to a microcontroller takes a lot of connections. Sticking a row of male header pins into your breadboard makes it compatible with wire wrapping, which is a lot more compact and secure. To this day, I don't stock any breadboard jumper wires, but I keep a big spool of 30AWG kynar around.
PMEmail Poster
Top
millwood
Posted: January 01, 2012 02:53 pm
Reply to this postQuote Post


Forum Addict ++
*******

Group: Trusted Members
Posts: 1,823
Member No.: 25,377
Joined: July 26, 2009




QUOTE
Would any recommend a better starter kit? Money is a little important


what is "better" is subjective.

the arduinos are a rip-off and highly limiting, in my view. However, they are a god-send for people unable or unwilling to read a datasheet.

if you aren't one of those people, you may consider AT90USBKEY2 (by Atmel) or Teensy++: each is available for about $30 and comes with their own programmer and a much more capable chip than your 328.

if that's more expensive, you can get Minimus AVR (for less than $10). It has its own programmer too and is the size of your thumb.

another money saving route is to get a dip chip, plug it into a breadboard and program it with your own programmer - you can get a cheap avr programmer for less than $20 off ebay.

ST offers a family of highly capable Discovery 8/32 bit Discovery boards. they come with their own programmer, debugger, and a chip, plus other peripherals (like LCD, accelerometer, leds, switches / buttons, etc.) the STM32F4 Discovery will blow any of those 8-bit chips out of water, for less than $20.

However, it does require a programmer who can read and understand the datasheet.

for pics, Microchip offers the microstick II for a song, and it comes with multiple chips (all dip28). I wouldn't use any of those pic10/12/16/18 chips.

again, it depends on who you are and what you want to do.
PMEmail Poster
Top
millwood
Posted: January 01, 2012 02:55 pm
Reply to this postQuote Post


Forum Addict ++
*******

Group: Trusted Members
Posts: 1,823
Member No.: 25,377
Joined: July 26, 2009




many of the "other parts" you need can be obtained from radioshack (if you are in the us).

power supply: a battery box, or a regulator, or a usb power supply / phone power supply;
transistors: 10 for a dollar or so at radio shack.
resistors: tons of them, for a song.
capacitors: ditto.
connectors: the same.

I wouldn't mail order any of the above.
PMEmail Poster
Top
SidMan
Posted: January 04, 2012 01:17 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Newbie
**

Group: Members+
Posts: 15
Member No.: 36,298
Joined: December 29, 2011




I found this project online that is very similar to the project I'd like to build here:

http://embedded-lab.com/blog/?p=1378

For a starter kit I'm thinking about this kit - its the PICDEM LAB Development Kit
http://www.microchip.com/stellent/idcplg?I...rects=picdemlab

It's $134.99 - what I like about it is that it's an educational board complete with parts and learning materials. I believe I'd also get support with them too. For me - I don't have a single electronics friend and locally there's an amazing electronic parts store but no one on staff to answer questions. This to me - although it's expensive - seems to meet my needs where I need both parts, development environments, and educational help. Any thoughts on this or maybe a different kit considering my education and desired project?

My goal would be to get this kit, learn on it and then buy the additional parts to complete the project above. Thank you everyone again - can't thank you enough.

Sincerely
- Sid
PMEmail Poster
Top
SidMan
Posted: January 04, 2012 01:19 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Newbie
**

Group: Members+
Posts: 15
Member No.: 36,298
Joined: December 29, 2011




Sorry I have to mention too that my project must run on 4 AA batteries - I'm not sure if this matters with this board or not.

- Sid
PMEmail Poster
Top
millwood
Posted: January 06, 2012 02:01 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Forum Addict ++
*******

Group: Trusted Members
Posts: 1,823
Member No.: 25,377
Joined: July 26, 2009




QUOTE
It's $134.99


I am going to say that it is a rip-off. really, $135+ for THAT?

you can do a lot better than that.

but first of all, you have to pick a device that you wish to experiment with.

PMEmail Poster
Top
SidMan
Posted: January 13, 2012 06:12 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Newbie
**

Group: Members+
Posts: 15
Member No.: 36,298
Joined: December 29, 2011




Thanks Millwood -

Just an update - I did order this board and I got a really good deal on it. It's supposedly in transit and I'll update with my thoughts when I have some time to see what it's all about.

A couple of perspectives I see on all of this - first I'm brand new to electronics and my goal was to find a kit that was in some ways all in one because being so new I just don't have the knowledge as to what is fully available and what exactly to buy. But much more importantly I also wanted something that was educational and this board is designed for hobbyists, professionals and students - this was by far the best board/kit I could find with the academic/educational aspect to it bar none. Also this is directly from Microchip who manufactures popular PIC chips - for whatever that's worth and I saw this last point as minor.

The other perspective - it's expensive - and if I got the pieces elsewhere I could have saved a lot of money. For education I could use the web and learn this way. I certainly saw this perspective but felt I wanted to get something all in one place - education and parts for my first time - it's all "right" there no guess work on "is this tutorial too advanced for me" or "is this the right part that will work with this other guide I'm reading" - I know this sounds simple but I really need this and this kit is *all in one*, guided and when I come out the other side I'll have this knowledge - this is what the kit bills and I'll report if I get this from it. And without a doubt I know as soon as I pick up the basics that 110% I'll always see the first perspective as the way to go because 1 - I'm cheap smile.gif and 2 - just seems better, spend less get more. But that's only because I now have the knowledge and without that knowledge the first perspective seemed much better for me - narrow everything down to start then the "world is your oyster" type thinking if that makes *any* sense :-)

I just cannot emphasize how much the educational aspect played into this - it was the biggest deciding factor on this. I'm so excited to get it and I'll certainly update here with what my thoughts are - is this an amazing great educational tool as it claims to be. I also can't thank everyone here enough for the thoughts and ideas - such an awesome community here.

Thanks again - talk soon.
- Sid

This post has been edited by SidMan on January 13, 2012 06:14 am
PMEmail Poster
Top
MacFromOK
Posted: January 13, 2012 11:36 pm
Reply to this postQuote Post


Forum Addict ++
*******

Group: Spamminator Taskforce
Posts: 13,951
Member No.: 5,314
Joined: June 04, 2006




QUOTE (SidMan @ January 12, 2012 11:12 pm)
I just cannot emphasize how much the educational aspect played into this - it was the biggest deciding factor on this.

Perfectly understandable. A newbie to electronics often doesn't even know what questions to ask because of the terminology used. Been there.

Once you understand the basics, you can then ask/search for more specific info. beer.gif


--------------------
Mac *

"Basic research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing." [Wernher Von Braun]

* is not responsible for errors, consequential damage, or... anything.
PMEmail Poster
Top
SidMan
Posted: January 14, 2012 02:58 am
Reply to this postQuote Post


Newbie
**

Group: Members+
Posts: 15
Member No.: 36,298
Joined: December 29, 2011




Ahh much thanks. Was hoping it came today but it did not - hopefully tomorrow.

Cheers to - thanks for all the support.
PMEmail Poster
Top
0 User(s) are reading this topic (0 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

Topic OptionsPages:12 Reply to this topicStart new topicStart Poll

 


:: support us ::




ElectronicsSkin by DutchDork & The-Force