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Mail Monitor: Has my mail arrived?

Posted: January 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Wireless | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

Living on a busy road and getting home in the snowy dark means I am not particularly motivated to check my mail every day. Trekking to the mailbox only to discover it’s empty is particularly annoying.

Why not build a device which tells me when the mailman has opened the mailbox? That way I can reasonably assume there is mail there for me. If you also want to save unnecessary trips to your mailbox, then this build is for you.

Difficulty: 4/5: Both a physical and electronics build, need to download header files.
Time: An afternoon (4 – 5 hours).

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Wicked Arduino Libraries (part 1)

Posted: December 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Comments Off

Happy New Year! I recently decided it was high-time, here at Wicked Device, that we started making some of our “stand alone” products (even more!) accessible to the Arduino community. So for my first trick, I decided to take our Day Counter product and make it easily usable as a general purpose 7-segment display for an Arduino. In the process, I also ended up making a separate library for dealing with the trusty 74HC595 shift register used in the Day Counter project. All I had to do was read the tutorial on the Arduino website, remember how to write C++ classes, and port a bunch of code I had already written for the ATTiny85 for the Day Counter. I was actually really impressed, it wasn’t that hard at all.

The result is some really powerful capabilities for end-users with a neat public interface. Using the new libraries lets users use the Day Counter for whatever they can imagine without having to worry about the details of the Arduino/DayCounter interaction. As a user, all you really want to be able to say is:

  • I’m using Arduino pins 5, 7, and 10 (or your favorite pins)
  • I want to display the number 57

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