Circuit Learn NANO: One PCB. Easy to Learn. Infinite Posibilities.

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About: Hi, I'm Samy. I make electronic projects with Arduino and Raspberry Pi. I love sharing my projects and I want to help the open-source community! I hope you like my projects as much as I enjoy making them.

Starting out in the world of electronics and robotics can be quite daunting at first. There are many things to learn at the beginning (circuit design, soldering, programming, choosing the right electronic components, etc) and when things go wrong there are many variables to keep track of (wrong wiring connections, damaged electronic components, or error in the code) so it is really hard for beginners to debug. A lot of people ended up having a lot of books and buying many modules, then eventually lost interest after encountering multiple problems and getting stuck.

Digital programming made simple with the Samytronix Circuit Learn - NANO!

Starting 2019 I will label my projects Samytronix.

The Samytronix Circuit Learn - NANO is a learning platform that is powered by an Arduino Nano. With Samytronix Circuit Learn - NANO, we can learn the necessary basic concepts that are needed to get started to dive deeper in the world of electronics and programming with just a single board. It simplifies the learning experience of Arduino programming by eliminating the need of soldering or using a breadboard and rewiring the circuit every time you want to start a new project. Better yet, Samytronix Circuit Learn - NANO designed to be compatible with the famous block-line programming language, Scratch, so you can learn programming concepts quicker and easier while still having the flexibility to add more components like a continuity tester, servo-motors, and a distance sensor.

Step 1: The PCB Design

The PCB itself is designed by me using EAGLE. If you are interested to learn more about designing your own circuit board you can head over to Circuit Board Design Class by randofo. If you just want to download the design and order it to a PCB manufacturer you can download the files in the next step.

If you want to modify my design for your own purposes please feel free to do so!

Step 2: Ordering the PCB

To order the PCB you need to download the gerber files (.gbr). These are the files you will be providing to the manufacturer. Once you have downloaded all the files, you can send them to a PCB manufacturer. There are many PCB manufacturers out there, one of the most recommended PCB manufacturer is PCBWay.

Step 3: Gather the Electronic Components and Solder Them

Most of the electronic components used are quite common and can be found on your local electronics shop. However, in case you can't find all the components you can get them online from amazon, ebay, etc.

  • 1x Arduino Nano
  • 1x 10mm LED pack (red, yellow, green, blue)
  • 1x 12mm Buzzer
  • 1x Photoresistor
  • 1x Thermistor
  • 2x Trimpot
  • 2x 12mm push-button
  • 1x DC Jack
  • 1 set male header
  • 1 set female header
  • Resistor:
    • 4x 220 Ohm 1/4W
    • 4x 10k Ohm 1/4W
    • 1x 100 Ohm 1/4W
    • 1x 100k Ohm 1/4W

Optional extension:

  • Battery holder with DC connector (4x AA recommended)
  • Up to 4x Servo
  • 2x Cable with alligator clip
  • Sharp infrared distance sensor

Once you have collected all the electronic components it is time to solder them to the PCB you have ordered.

  1. I recommend soldering the resistors first as they are the most low profile component. (Solder the resistor based on the value I put in the photos)
  2. Snip the resistor's leg on the other side of the PCB
  3. Solder the other parts as shown in the photos (you can check the cathode/anode position in the notes in the photos)

Step 4: Laser Cut Acrylic

You can download the files attached here to order your laser cut. The acrylic sheet must be 3mm thick. Transparent color is recommended for the top of the case as shown in the photo. Please note that there are also small parts such as the spacer that will be needed.

Step 5: Build the Case/enclosure

Prepare:

  1. The acrylic sheet for the case
  2. 4x acrylic spacer
  3. 4x M3 nut
  4. 4x M3 15mm bolt

Put the case together with the bolt and nut in this order (from above):

  1. Top acrylic sheet
  2. Acrylic spacer
  3. Samytronix board
  4. Acrylic spacer
  5. Bottom acrylic sheet

Once you have finished putting together the case/enclosure you can start testing to program the board. There are some example projects included in this instructable that you can try (step 7-9). You can choose between the Arduino IDE or use a block-line interface using Scratch or Mblock which is much easier if you are just starting out. If you want to use the Samytronix Circuit Learn NANO to its full capabilities I recommend doing the next step which is to build the robot extension for the board.

Step 6: Build the Robot Extension

This step is not required for some of the projects. The robot extension is designed for you to learn more about motion using continuous servos for the wheel movement and avoid obstacles using the distance sensor.

Prepare:

  1. All the acrylic parts for the robot extension.
  2. 20x M3 nut
  3. 14x M3 15mm bolt
  4. 16x M3 10mm bolt
  5. 4x M3 15mm spacer
  6. 2x M3 25mm spacer

Steps:

  1. Put together the acrylic sheet without the bolts first
  2. Secure the acrylic parts together using the bolts and nuts
  3. Put 2x continuous servos and the wheels to the acrylic frame
  4. Screw the battery holder to the back of the acrylic body frame
  5. Screw the ball caster and use to 25mm spacer to give it a distance from the frame
  6. Screw the little plastic part to the acrylic frame (the plastic is included when you buy a mini 90g servo)
  7. Put together the head part
  8. Screw the Sharp infrared distance sensor
  9. Mount the servo to the little plastic thing
  10. The final step is to mount the Samytronix Circuit Learn NANO to the robot frame and wire them as shown

Step 7: Pong Using S4A (Scratch for Arduino)

The pin mapping on the Samytronix Circuit NANO is designed to be compatible with the s4a program. You can download the s4a program and also the firmwarehere. You can make any project you want, the scratch programming language is pretty straight forward and very easy to understand.

In this tutorial I will show you an example of one of the possible implementation of the Samytronix Circuit NANO, to play Pong game. To play the game you can use the potentiometer located in the A0 pin.

  1. First you need to draw the sprites, which are the ball and the bat.
  2. You can check the photos attached and copy the code for each sprites.
  3. Add a red line in the background like shown in the photo, so when the ball touches the red line it is game over.

After trying the example, I hope you can also make your own games! The only limit is your imagination!

Step 8: Controlling Servo Robot Arm Using S4A

You can control up to 4 servos with the Samytronix Circuit Learn NANO. Here is an example of using servos as a robotic arm. Robotic arms are usually used in industrial application, and now you can make one for yourself and program it easily with S4A. You can copy the codes from the video and it is highly recommended that you try to program it yourself!

Step 9: Smart Car Using Arduino IDE

If you are a more experienced programmer, then you can use the Arduino IDE instead of scratch. Here is an example code for a Smart Car that can avoid obstacles using the infrared sensor. You can watch the video to see it in action.

Wiring:

  1. Left servo to D4
  2. Right servo to D7
  3. Head servo to D8
  4. Distance sensor to A4

Step 10: Plant Protector Using Arduino IDE

Another idea to use the Samytronix Circuit Learn NANO is to place it near your potted plant to monitor its temperature, light, and humidity. Samytronix Circuit Learn NANO is equipped with a thermistor (A2), photoresistor (A3), and a resistance continuity sensor (A5). By attaching the resistance continuity sensor to a pair of nails using alligator clips we can use it as a humidity sensor. With these sensors we can measure we can make the plant protector. To output the values we can use three servos as gauges as shown in the video.

LED indicator:

  • Red LED = Temperature not optimum
  • Yellow LED = Brightness not optimum
  • Green LED = Humidity not optimum

If all the LEDs are off it means the environment is optimum for the plant to grow!

Step 11: Star Wars Imperial March

There are plenty of inputs and outputs that you can play with using the Samytronix Circuit NANO, one of them is by using the piezo buzzer. Here attached is an Arduino code originally written by nicksort and modified by me for the Circuit Learn. This program plays the Star Wars Imperial March and I think it is pretty cool!

Step 12: MBlock Project

mBlock is another alternative to S4A and the original Arduino IDE. The interface of mBlock is similar to S4A, but the advantage of using mBlock is that you can see the visual programming block side by side with the real Arduino code. Here attached is an example video of using the mBlock software to program a music.

If you are new to the Arduino environment but and just getting started in the world of programming, then mBlock should be suitable for you. You can download mBlock here (download mBlock 3).

It is important to keep in mind that one of the most important things when learning is to keep experimenting, with Samytronix Circuit Learn NANO things are made less complicated so you can experiment and try new things faster while still getting all the important concepts of programming and electronics.

If you enjoy this project please VOTE. Thanks!!

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