What are some cool things I can do with an arduino, Python and stuff I already have, with only a few new parts?
I ordered an arduino the other day, it should show up in the mail tomorrow, and I'm really eager to play around with a microcontroller with such a cool community! It's not with a kit, as I've gathered a bunch of electronics components from old kits.
Here's what I have, from an old BS2 kit and my middle/high school years of taking stuff apart with no intent of using the parts:
10 x 10K ohm resistors (yellow shielding)
9 x 220 ohm resistors
8 x .01 uF capacitors
3 long solid core wires, green
20 short solid core wires
4 yellow LEDs
2 Red LEDS
1 Green LED
2 multicolor LEDs
2 speakers (maybe piezoelectric?)
3 IR sensors, 4 IR LEDs.
2 DC motors with wheels permanently glued on, w/ 3 prong connectors (RWB).
DC motor with a removable weight for vibration and a .1 uF capacitor soldered between leads.
A toggle switch.
Small breadboard(20 x 10 pins)
4 x 9v Battery to bare wire connectors (I presume I should get some barrel plugs and solder these together for portability?)
1 x WRT54G v8, with DD-WRT, casing removed. I'd like to add a serial port so it can talk to the arduino once I get a soldering iron. My friend has one with a bigger memory he might give me since he now uses a different router.
1 x Parallax Basic Stamp 2 (kind of planning on the arduino replacing this)
My laptop has a webcam, USB, and a wifi card, but no serial port, but I'm getting an Uno so that's no big deal. Between the webcam and internet, I'm hoping I can do cool stuff over the connection between the PC and arduino.
What I'm planing on getting:
Multimeter (any tips on one?)
Soldering iron and its accompaniments
A couple rolls of 22 gauge wire for breadboarding.
Stuff I think would be cool:
Wire up the DD-WRT router to the arduino to serve as a kludgy wifi shield (it's been done, but I might need to build DD-WRT from source due to the v8s tiny memory)
Strobing the LED to mess with persistance of vision, like in the time fountain.
Automation. I'm thinking it might be cool to build an indoor hydroponics basil and other herb garden setup and use the arduino to automate pumping in new water and remind me when to add more plant food. I have the idea roughly planned out, with a scale under the container to weigh the water. That's a bit outside my budget. I might start with something more basic like a garage door closer.
Things I'd like to learn about:
Wiring AC without burning the house down. I'd like to use solid state relays, but I'm not much of an electrician. I've never hardwired an appliance or anything like that, but I like the idea of using a microcontroller to turn AC things on and off.
Soldering: I'm sure youtube can help, but tips here would be great.
Using a temperature probe on food. I'd particularly like to make pseudo-sous vide with a slow cooker, solid state relay, and thermal probe. Can I use one from a probe thermometer like you find at cooking stores?
Maybe as an advanced project, I'd like to make an x-y plotter with salvaged scanner and printer parts.
I'm planning on following Lady Ada's tutorials for the arduino to get me up to speed.