October 9, 2015

My first arduino; doll-house garage door controller

Now why am I writing this on an RC-blog. Well, I had (or have) big plans for the autumn. I've long had an idea to build a generic ESC programming device based on a simple arduino, connecting it to an android app using a bluetooth module.

I've started reading up on arduino the last few months and the other day I finally got a simple first project to build. See, my 3-year-old son has a doll house in which his cars live. It is a old second hand house and my wife has plans to decorate it. The first thing she did was cut a hole on one side to build a garage door. She had no idea how to make hinges so I offered her rudder hinges of course. And then it struck me. This can be much more fun with a servo on the garage door. And it went on and on and on. The master plan is to build a fully automated remote controlled doll house.

But wait a minute. I need to start somewhere. And I must not forget the ESC programmer plans.

Yesterday I built a first prototype for the garage door controller. I will use a servo and an on-off-on switch to open and close the door (my son will love it). In addition to this there is a green and red stop-light. The red light blinks as the door is moving and lit when the door is not fully open. When it is open the green light turns on.

Garage door controller, first prototype

I used a nano, which I will use for the more compact build. It's installed in an expansion shield mounted on a prototype plate with a breadboard. I don't have the switch yet so I used two push buttons instead. I used a very small servo during the development, as a 9-grammer would draw too much and make the board reboot occasionally (like when starting when the servo travels to the initial position).

The next step is to build a more compact version and decide on how to power everything. I will probably need a separate power supply for the servo to avoid it from killing the device if it gets stuck or forced by a boys playing hand.

It took me about 2 (unfocused) hours to build and program the device. Had to do the build real quick and programming while waiting for the boy to fall asleep. Surprised me how easy it was to get started, very positive first experience from arduino.

Here are the sources in case anyone is interested: https://bitbucket.org/leonard_broman/doll-house/

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