arduino Archive

It’s not too challenging to find a resistor through Google or on Amazon, but there are a few online retailers that reliably cater exclusively to makers and their projects. These sites not only sell Arduino, Raspberry Pis, and accessories, but they also help shoppers discover cool new projects by featuring interesting sensors, kits, and books. Below is my top five list (plus one) of great online retailers for electronics makers.

Spark Fun Electronics and Maker Shed
Spark Fun and Maker Shed are very similar sites – both worth checking for a given project. They both carry great curated selections of books, Arduino-related supplies, other components, Raspberry Pis, and kits. Noting its affiliation with Make Magazine, Maker Shed has more in the way of kits and educational materials while Spark Fun is perhaps stronger in components. Both are great sites with whom I’ve had very positive customer experiences.

Adafruit Industries
Adafruit grew as an electronics kit developer, but has grown into open source hardware development since that time – today they sell branded Arduino shields, and it recently developed the Arduino Micro in conjunction with Arduino. Its products include kits and components for Arduino, mbed, Raspberry


There is a new version of this tutorial available. Check it out here!

I could carry my keys to unlock my building door, but I’d rather not. I could buzz up to my apartment and my girlfriend could buzz me in if she’s around, but that’s obnoxious. It would be best if I could buzz up a short-code to my apartment (a Morse message of sorts) and have it automatically buzz me in. Fortunately, that can be done with Arduino.

The Buzzer Situation

My apartment building is equipped with a Aiphone VC-K intercom and door release system. The entire system runs on 12V DC power with low current, so it’s much safer to interact with than any devices attached to a wall outlet. A quick web search for the model yielded a wiring diagram, a screwdriver provided quick access to the terminals in the handset unit, and a multimeter allowed me to understand how it works:

Aiphone wiring diagram

I have access to the VC-K unit in my apartment; the VC-M is at the front door. Terminals 1 and 2 provide communication with the


I knew all that time spent playing Call of Duty on Wii would pay off. The newest issue of Make Magazine (#33) offers an interesting and relatively easy project that turns a Wii Nunchuk into a gesture-based computer input device. Now I can be just as much of a deadeye in Excel – C2, bam; F7, bam – but at least in Excel everyone’s a winner. The guide was written by Gabriel Bianconi, an impressive Brazilian teenager, who appears to have been working on the project for a few years now.

The project pairs a Nunchuk with an Arduino to provide serial input interpreted by a custom Arduino library and a straight-forward Python script available on Make’s website that drives mouse events via win32api.  Best of all, the project is non-destructive – Wii Nunchuks accept regular jumper wires so you can try the project at no cost (assuming you already have an Arduino and Nunchuck), and later disconnect the controller for gaming use at any time.

The web link to Make’s online tutorial appears to broken at this time, but you can refer to Gabriel’s original tutorial if you can’t find a hard copy.  For further reading, check out this guide detailing the