Have you ever wanted to control electronics with your smartphone?  The Arduino ADK (Android Development Kit) is the Arduino Mega with a built in USB host device, ready for your smartphone to be plugged in!  We'll make a simple introductory project with a few LED strips and a relay (to control the high voltages of the LED strip).  For this project, you will need no Android programming experience (or even learn how to code Android!), but a moderate Arduino code understanding.  We'll use the easy Handbag app for Android.

This Instructable will cover how the Arduino ADK works, how to use it with Android devices, and how to make a cool example project of lighting up LED strips with Android!!!

Please vote for me in the Make to Learn Youth Contest and Lamps and Lighting Contest!!!  Every vote counts!

What did you make?

I made a tutorial on the Arduino ADK, which I found little documentation on in the past.  I wanted other people to learn all about the Arduino ADK easily, once they got one and didn't know how to use it.  The 'ADK in-depth' part of this Instructable is a compilation of many resources that I have found on the internet.  I also created an 'example project' in Step 4-8 to interface an LED strip (with a relay, which I have never worked with in the past) with the Arduino ADK, and an Android device.  The simple program uses the Handbag application and libraries (wasn't designed by me) to make a simple application menu for the Android to turn on/off the LED strip.

How did you make it?

I used many of my prior electronics and soldering skills, and some electronic components I have gotten in the past.  My parents gave me the LED strip last Christmas, and I got the Arduino ADK at Maker Faire Bay Area 2012, but didn't know what to do with it.  Later on, I looked online and found the Handbag application, and started coding in minutes.  Using only Arduino programming (which is the great part of Handbag, you don't have to write any Android code), I coded a simple application menu that activated the relay that switches the LED strips on and off.

Where did you make it?

I made the project mainly in my garage/hackerspace (Qtechknow Labs), where I teach many of my friends DIY electronics.  I also used my soldering iron and project desk.  I have gotten many of my soldering skills at booths at Maker Faire, and lots of my electronics skills around the internet!  I looked at Arduino.cc as well as Google Developers to get to know what the Arduino ADK was about, even though I didn't understand it at first.

What did you learn?

I learned all about the Arduino ADK, relays, and Android devices, all of which I had no experience with in the past.  I learned that everything fails at first, but you have to keep on trying to get it the way you want it.  I'm super excited that I now know all about the Arduino ADK, so I can design some more cool Android projects!

Step 1: Parts and Tools

The total cost of the parts is about $28.50, excluding the Arduino ADK and LED Strip.


Arduino Mega ADK (Makershed, $85)
USB-B Cable for Arduino ADK Programming (SparkFun, $4)
LED Strip - 1M (you only need 2 feet; Adafruit, $20)
2N2222 Transistor (Digikey, $0.34)
Relay SPDT (SparkFun, $2)
Diode Small Signal 1N4148 (SparkFun, $0.15)
10K Resistor - 1/6W (SparkFun, $0.25)
Half Size Breadboard (SparkFun, $6)
12V DC Power Adapter (SparkFun, $6)
Jumper Wires (SparkFun, $4.50)


Android Phone (Check OS requirements)
USB cable for Android Phone
Soldering Iron
Wire Strippers
Safety Glasses
Safety Mask or Solder Fume Extractor
Wire (only a little bit is needed)
Nice project- no matter what your age. I am teaching an Arduino class & I' ll have them link to this. Never heard of Handbag but will have to give it a try. Thanks.
Qtechknow, great tutorial. I always learn so much from you. Keep it up. Thanks!<br><br>How would you make it detect your presence and turn the light on and off based on your proximity?<br><br>Just curious.... thanks again!<br><br>-mat
Thanks!<br> <br> I think that you could use a <a href="https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8630" rel="nofollow">PIR Motion Sensor</a>&nbsp;for sensing your presence. &nbsp;The PIR motion sensor works by taking a picture every second, and comparing them to see if the picture changed/motion occurred.<br> <br> You could use a <a href="http://www.parallax.com/tabid/768/productid/92/default.aspx" rel="nofollow">Ping proximity sensor</a> to tell how far away something is, like your hand.<br> <br> Using the Arduino ADK, the Android could be a digital display for the sensor data, and the Arduino can decide based on the readings for the sensors whether to turn the light on or not.<br> <br> I've seen a project done like this, called the <a href="http://blog.makezine.com/projects/luminch-one/" rel="nofollow">Luminch One</a>. &nbsp;It uses only a proximity sensor (basically a ping sensor, but a different brand), and when you wave your hand over the lamp, it fades on, and you can adjust the light by moving your hand up and down.
<p>Hi, I have been having problems with the files, things such as &quot;'UsbHost' was not declared in this scope&quot; and other issues. Could you post a tutorial video on youtube or make these instructions more clear on setting up the code to run on the arduino.</p><p>thanks</p><p>BTW Im 15 and studying engineering</p>
<p>same with me, hope so you can share tutorial video on youtube</p>
<p>same with me, hope so you can share tutorial video on youtube</p>
<p>What would i put in this section to make the leds blink until turned off?</p><p>void turnLedOn() { </p><p> digitalWrite(ledStripPin, HIGH); // turn LED strip on when button is pressed</p><p>}</p><p>void turnLedOff() {</p><p> digitalWrite(ledStripPin, LOW); </p><p>}</p>
Awesome I like it very much. Your instructables are so great I'm as old as you, but I'm just a begimner and you're an expert. It looks like you're able to build and make everything
<p>wow...your genius</p>
it good to have young kids inerested in electronics <br>ps im 11
I am glad to hear that you are working with ADK and Handbag . I bought an Electric Sheep board , but I have not done anything with it yet. <br>Great work Q! <br>Build_it_Bob
Thanks for all of your comments! I believe that the handbag app is compatible with the electric sheep. :D
Great project. <br>Can i use another Arduino set, say Uno, beside Mega?
Thanks! You can use the USB host shield from SparkFun with the Uno to have the Arduino work as the USB host, however I have not tested this with Android devices.
If I ever get an Arduino ADK I will definetly use this instructable.
Nice i'ble! <br>I gave ya votes on all of the contests! <br> <br>Good luck!
Thanks for the votes! <br> <br>Love your Lockduino Instructable, too!
Happy you like it!
Cool project! How did you come up with that idea?

About This Instructable




Bio: White House Maker Faire // 15 years old // CEO of Qtechknow, maker and electronics enthusiast, I teach Arduino classes, and put making into schools!
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