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ESP8266 Network Configuration

One of the more challenging issues with wireless sensor nodes is performing the initial configuration required to get them to connect to your wireless network in the first place (in this case I am talking about 802.11 a/b/g/n based WiFi networks). To connect to a WiFi network a sensor needs to have at least two pieces of information - the SSID (network name) and a password to grant access to that network - the problem is how to provide that information to a brand new, just programmed sensor? The quickest and easiest solution is to include it in the source code for the firmware and have it alwa…

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NotDuinos - The Arduino Core on Other Devices

In my last post I mentioned that there was an Arduino compatible core available for the ESP8266 - in this post I cover how to install this core as well as cores for other non-Arduino hardware. A Brief History of Arduino The Arduino system started in 2005 as a project platform for students and consists of a hardware platform (based on the Atmel ATmega chips) as well as a software library (based on Wiring). Wiring was originally designed for use by artists and designers so the focus was on ease of use and good documentation - although it uses C++ as the implementation language many of the langua…

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Conserving Memory on an AVR

Both the ATtiny and ATmega CPU's have a very limited amount of RAM (512 bytes for the ATtiny45/85 and 1K for the ATmega8/168) and it's easy to hit the limit without some careful programming. I've been working on a project based around an ATtiny85 that barely fits into the 512 bytes available. While analysing the code I came across a few common (and not so common) tricks to help reduce the amount of RAM being used by your program so I thought I'd take the opportunity to share them here. To determine how much memory you are using you can use the avr-size command (part of the avr-gcc suite) as fo…

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Week In Review

It has been a long time since I've posted an update to the site so, rather than wait until I have a fully documented project to post, I thought I'd push up a quick review of what has been happening at the Lab over the past few weeks. EEWeb Site of the Day The nice people over at EEWeb have made The Garage Lab their site of the day for February 22nd. I highly recommend checking out the EEWeb site on a regular basis, as well as pointing you towards excellent sites like mine (he says modestly) it's a great way to keep up to date with news, new components and great technical articles. Well worth r…

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Release the Baby!

I've recently been contacted by a friend with a request to help design and implement the hardware for a race timing system for his local swim club. I jumped on the chance, it's a good opportunity to test the Clixx.IO system for real world prototyping and gives me a chance to document the entire prototype to production process on this site. The majority of my work on Clixx has been using the Raspberry Pi as a host but this is overkill for this project - something a bit smaller is needed for the hardware components. An Arduino compatible system is perfect for the job - fast enough to handle the…

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