The "Getting Started With Microcontrollers" workshop is coming up, next Monday. It's at Techshop (10100 SW Allen Blvd, Beaverton OR 97005) from 7-9pm, in the upstairs area. Cost is $10 to $40 depending on which parts you need. Here is the sign up link:
Read on for details about this workshop....
This workshop is really intended for people who've wanted to build electronic projects but haven't managed to get started. By using a microcontroller (which is a tiny computer in a single chip), you can connect simple circuits to the pins and then use code to actually make your project function. The Arduino IDE provides a very simple, beginner-oriented environment for writing that code.
If you've purchased an Arduino compatible board but is sat on the shelf, or attended Don's Arduino Cult Induction but never put the board to actual use, or you don't have any board but want to get started, this workshop is for you. On the other hand, if you have used Arduino for a project or two, you are probably already up to speed. This workshop is really for beginners to get started.
The workshop will be arranged in 3 sections.
In the first section, we will be wiring a RGB LED and writing very simple code to make it blink. Because the LED has 3 colors inside, you can turn more than one on at a time to simulate almost any color.
The second section will cover using the serial monitor and Serial.print, which allows you to see a record of what your program is doing.
The third section will involve reading voltages with the analog inputs. We will begin with a thumbwheel trim pot which you can easily control the voltage, and if time permits move on to a simple temperature sensor.
The $10 workshop fee includes components and wire we will be using.
All construction will be done on solderless breadboards. If you need a breadboard, they are available for $7.
You will need an Arduino compatible board and USB cable. If you have the Dorkboard and Benito from Don's Arduino Cult Induction, those will work. A genuine Arduino board will work too. If you don't already have a board, the Teensy ($21) and a USB cable ($5) are recommended.
A "full kit" including the workshop fee, is $40. If you have no parts at all, that is your best option!
You will also need to bring a laptop computer and wire strippers. Windows XP & Vista, Mac OS 10.5 and Ubuntu 9.04 are supported. We will be using 22 gauge wire.
If you've been intended to start building electronic projects but haven't known where to begin, or you've purchased an Arduino compatible board or finished Don's Arduino Cult Induction but then it sat and never got used, or you loaded up Arduino and stared at a blank window and asked "now what do I do?", I hope you'll come to the workshop on Monday and get started with microcontrollers!