Renewable Energy Innovation

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This is where we post about the day-to-day life in the re-innovation workshop. We aim to highlight interesting ideas and projects, show the way we develop products and explain anything that we think might be useful to other people.
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I've been wanting to play around with sending data via a mobile SIM card and, after needing to do it for another project, here is a short post on my attempts at getting it all going.

I used an off the shelf GSM/GPRS module (the SIM900).

I tried this using both the Arduino Uno and the Arduino Leonardo.

Here are the results from my tests.

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I've been messing around with some 32 x 8 LED displays - as I have been wanting to create graphics. These LED displays are from Sure Electronics are available for around $13 and use the HT1632 LED driver IC, with an SPI-like control.

I have previously used these displays for a couple of projects here and here.

I have designed a new circuit board which plugs directly onto the back of these displays and contains a ATMEGA328 with the Arduino bootloader, a real time clock, a temperature sensor and a couple of input switches.

The notes here show the device in action and how I created some bespoke graphics for the displays.

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Here is a post about what you can do in an afternoon or two with a whole load of electronics stuff lying around.

I have had an red-green-blue (RGB) board from Big Clive or Phenoptix lying around for a while. I had developed an RGB LED controller for it, so I also had one of those attached to it.

It is designed to fit in to those 150W halogen light holders and I had managed to find one of those as well.

I wanted to do something fun with it so decided to make a wirelessly controlled LED lamp which can be used to change the room ambiance, or to signify some form of data (anything from room temperature to number of emails to read).

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I was asked to propose a few ideas for group projects on the product design and manufacturing engineering course at Nottingham University.

I proposed a few projects and two of them were taken on by small groups. These projects have been designed and built over the course of a year and I went to see the end results at the end of year show.

There were two projects taken on: a portable pedal generator and a traveling work station.

Here are some photos and details of the final projects. A big thanks to the eight students involved in these projects.

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I have mentioned the Minimus AVR before on this blog. It is a very low-cost ATMEL micrcontroller board with a USB bootloader.

 This post describes using the device as a HID (Human Interface Device) such as a keyboard or mouse. A challenge was set by a friend to take serial commands and, depending upon the command, output different strings to a computer via USB as if it was a keyboard plugged in.

This post gives some detail about issues and basic code for you to use.

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