4/11/2011

Buzz LightBee

Arduino meets XBee.

After some Arduino basics, installing the IDE was quite easy. You only have to watch for installing the windows drivers for the Arduino Uno board. That's what I forgot, but after reading the IDE-installing-tutorial everything went fine.

If you already did some programming in C or any similar language and played with some microcontrollers the IDE and language look quite familiar. If questions arise, there are a lot of tutorials and information available not only on the Arduino Homepage but in serveral other Arduino communities and information sites (s. page 64/ 65) around the web.

Next is heating up the soldering iron because the breakout boards have to be finished. If you plan to order the breakout boards from Sparkfun pay attention to the wrong part number in the parts list on page 67. The right part number is "BOB-08276". If you have to order additional electronics parts like LEDs or resistors, consider buying the 2.54mm/ 0.1" headers and the 2mm female headers there. They might be much cheaper there.

Fixing the male headers
Third hand tool
A very good advice mentioned in the book is putting the male headers into a breadboard and then putting the breakout board on top and soldering both together. After that you can put the female headers into the breakout board, turn it upside down and use a third hand tool to solder the female headers.

3.3V voltage check
Wiring the boards together is quite easy because there aren't that much connections. Just remember to unplug the wire into RX (pin 0) on the Arduino before uploading the compiled code. Also a good advice is checking the voltage BEFORE putting the XBee on the breakout board. One drawback in the printed (black & white) edition is that Vcc/ GND (+/-) are not labeled, so you have to take care when wiring everything together. Any labeling in future (printed) editions would be a great help.

Button system
If you don't want to buy the long jumper wires, you can solder them easily by yourself by connecting any adequate wire and a single headerpin of the male 0.1" headers, solder both together and put a heat shrink tube over the connection.

There is not much more to say about the button and the bell system. Everything is described very well, so I did not hit any roadblock. Except I first had a buzzer which draw too much current and didn't buzz but sounded more like whining, I had no issues at all. After replacing it with a 5mA type, the buzzer was clearly audible.

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