Technical, Techniques, Hints, and Tips > Microprocessor control

ARDUINO any one?

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I am interested to explore the uses and applications of an Arduino microprocessor board in the world of radio control model boating.  So if you have used one it would be great if you could share a short summary of what you accomplished.

If you have not come across an Arduino before it is a simple and cheap way to access microprocessor controlled applications. The Arduino can read the "PWM" signals from your radio control receiver, apply some logic to them (e.g. if this then do that) and then communicate the result of the logic with the outside world in the form of a digital or analogue signal as a result. A few things you can  control LEDS (off, on/brightness), servos, relays

The program ("Sketch") code is very easy to learn and you can achieve solutions often with just a few lines of code. There are thousands of hobbyists using the Arduino and many help forums on the internet so you can always get help when you get stuck. You can download lots of sketch’s from the internet and the software used to load the sketch to the board via USB comes with lots of examples.

Here is a snapshot of some code to make an LED blink connected directly to the board -  Turns on an LED on for one second, then off for one second, repeatedly

--- Quote --- void setup() {               
  // initialize the digital pin as an output.
  // Pin 13 has an LED connected on most Arduino boards:
  pinMode(13, OUTPUT);     

void loop() {
  digitalWrite(13, HIGH);   // set the LED on
  delay(1000);              // wait for a second
  digitalWrite(13, LOW);    // set the LED off
  delay(1000);              // wait for a second

--- End quote ---

An example of a simple application would be: Controlling an LED on/off using a 2 state(on/off) channel on your radio (Gear etc)

If you want to know more then check out these links or just Google Arduino

What is an Arduino -

Tutorial series -

There are other routes to accessing microprocessors e.g. Pic/Raspberry PI but here I would like to focus just on the Arduino.



I have a lot of arduino bits, boards and sensors  - I've played around with various bits of code.
I like the Arduino - as a retired software engineer who used to code in C   - the programming is
generally very easy and the boards are cheap!

With regard to uses - when I have cleared a bit of the backlog of boat building, the first idea
I want to explore is using an ultrasonic distance sensor to measure 'clear air' in front of the boat
and if a collision is imminent modify the signal between the radio receiver and the ESC to slow
and if necessary stop the boat - - I have some working code but the setup for testing needed
a bit of thought and I wasn't 100% happy with the way the signal from the receiver was being read.


Thanks Richard,

This is the underlying concept of what Richard is talking about (connected to the ESC to allow throttle control)


I'm a big fan of the Arduino - I'm currently testing a variety of circuits using stepper motors and rate/heading solid-state gyros controlled by WPM signals from a receiver. More on this later.

What I may well have to write up is my thoughts on Arduino-driven mixers, since there's a lot of questions about mixing channels on the forum and the Arduino is a cheap, easy-entry system into the world of achieving Exactly What You Need.


Andy - sounds very interesting.

You mentioned

--- Quote --- Arduino is a cheap, easy-entry system into the world of achieving Exactly What You Need.

--- End quote ---

For those that don't know there are several different models of Arduino - a good place to start is the Arduino Uno - it's roughly the size of a credit card.

The Arduino Uno genuine version is about £18, the cloned version less than £5 delivered (eBay) (you need to be careful which clone as some have challenges with the USB chip and can be a real pain) - Similar concept to original manufacturer RX or Orange RX.

Software (IDE) Integrated Development Environment - Free download.

I have used the Arduino clones many times without any issues so you could be experimenting with an Arduino for less than a £5 investment!



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