Add wireless with one of these five wireless modules

5 Wireless Modules

Your IoT project needs one of these wireless modules

Getting your project connected to the internet is relatively easy these days. Here are five off the shelf modules that will easily add wireless to your project.

Back when I was in school, I remember spending an entire semester making a RF amplifier board. In fact, I had to use a pencil eraser to remove oxidation on the copper traces to remove an unwanted oscillation, caused by the impedance mismatch of the oxidation on the copper traces. Talk about tough.

These days, adding WiFi or Bluetooth is as simple as adding one of the wireless modules available. Or if you are using an Arduino, skip the modules and just add a shield.

Keep reading for 5 different wireless modules to consider for your project.

DIY Battery Powered Apple Watch Charger

guypl on Thingiverse
Apple Watch Charger on Thingiverse

Apple Watch Charger on Thingiverse

Using an Adafruit Charger Board,  a cut-up magnetic Apple Watch Charger cable and some 3d printing, guypl has created a DIY battery-powered charger for the Apple Watch.

The cool thing about the design is that the 2000mAh battery he used, can be recharged with a standard micro USB cable. As someone who travels often, this setup is ideal for me. One less cable to carry and a self-contained charger for the Apple Watch.

Check out the full project on Thingiverse.


Pushbutton and Flashing LED tutorial with millis()

push button, led, millis, bread board

How to blink (or flash) a LED without delay() and detect button pushes

One of the limitations of the delay() function is that nothing else can really be done. This presents a problem when you want to flash a LED while waiting for a pushbutton to be pressed.

Flashing the LED with millis() and using a flag variable to find if the LED should be flashing solves this problem.

Consider this another example to my virtual millis() cookbook.

This code (below) should work with both Arduino (AVR) and Energia (supported boards), but to be honest, I haven’t had a chance to test it on my MSP430 yet.

Learning to a breadboard is critical when adding electronics to a project. A skill often overlooked is how to use breadboard jumper wires correctly. For example, when I breadboard a circuit I only use Red, Green, or Blue for positive voltages and Black for ground. Other colors, it depends on the functions of the wire. The idea is to keep it clear when I look at the board, what each wire is doing.

This video from Make is a great overview of how to develop a skill, or habit, around using breadboard jumper wires in your circuit.

For more information, there is a short writeup on their web site as well.

Five ways to make a schematic (quickly)

Quickly Make A Schematic

Engineers make a schematic to explain their circuits.

One time I was looking for a non-tourist pub in Japan. I asked someone for help. She said, “I’m sorry, but I do not speak good English. I will bring my friend and she will draw you a map.” (Exact quote!) The map her friend drew, gave directions to a bar with a “Neon Yellow Sing.” She meant sign…

The map was the method we used to communicate with each other, even though we didn’t both speak English. With this crude but effective map, I could find my next drinking place destination.

Schematics are the same as this map. Even if you don’t speak the same language, you can communicate how a circuit works when you make a schematic.

Use one of these five tools, when you need to a document a circuit or when you need to ask for help.

When learning to use an Arduino, you have two things to learn: programming and hardware. In the past, I’ve taught some classes on how to program the Arduino. These are the slides I used to explain what the Arduino “Language” is, basic debugging concepts, how to use variables, and basic structures.


An Open Source IDE for TI’s line of MSP430-based boards. Based on the same software as the Arduino project, Energia brings easy of use to an awesome family of microcontrollers.

Today “regular” people will start receiving their pre-ordered Apple Watch. Whether they spent $350 or over $10,000 dollars, they’ll now have a device that connects to their iPhone and tells time. Like their iPhone does. But with Bluetooth!

What if you don’t want an Apple watch, but want to celebrate a real computing achievement? Check out this video on an Apple ][ watch. Oh and it is real.

That’s right, this isn’t just some clever movie-magic hoax. Following this Instructable, you can build your own Apple ][ Watch.

Energia and MSP430: Arduino Alternative

Does Energia stack up as one of the Arduino alternatives?

Energia - An Arduino Alternative

With all the recent noise around Arduino LLC and Arduino SRL, I felt like I needed a break from Arduino. So I decided to come back to a platform I set aside a while ago: TI’s MSP430.

Previously I wrote it off because of the Windows-centric software. In fact, I made my first “review” video based on it. (I’m a Mac / Linux guy.)

In this post, I’m looking at an open source IDE that’s available called Energia. It makes using the MSP430 series boards a snap.  And, by the way, makes for a great Arduino alternative.

Arduino pinMode on Analog Inputs

pinMode analog input tip

All Arduino boards contain analog and digital pins. The Arduino functions have different calls depending on the pin type. For example, when analogWrite() is called, an analog input pin is automatically changed from a digital input (or output) into an analog input. For this reason, it isn’t actually necessary to call pinMode() on the pin. However, when I write Arduino Sketches, I still put a pinMode(INPUT, A0) in setup anyway.

Keep reading to see why I use pinMode on Analog Inputs. (more…)