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I believe it was John Adams that once said, "every problem is an opportunity in disguise."  This, as it turns out, is great advice for those wanting to come up with a new Arduino project.  When I first started to look for project ideas, I was just trying to make use of what I have and create something that looked cool.  But now that I am looking for problems to solve, well, the possibilities are endless!  Take my job for starters.  I am a logger.  If there is one industry that has completely lacked technological advancement for the last 50 years* and deals with some of the greatest problems any of us will ever face on a daily basis, it's the logging industry.  Cable logging to be more precise. 

The first problem I would like to solve is one of safety:

A grapple yarder (if you're already lost watch… ) is held in place by cables called "guylines".  These guylines are most often anchored on stumps that are called "tailholds".  A grapple yarder puts these stumps under major stress and sometimes the stumps are pulled right out of the ground.  This is never supposed to happen, because it can cause major damage to machinery as well as death.  But it happens.

So my solution would be to have a unit that is placed on the tailhold that alerts the grapple yarder operator if the stump is starting to move. 

My idea:

So I think I might be stepping a little too far out of my range of expertise, but I would like to try to use an accelerometer on the stump connected to an Arduino.  then the Arduino puts out an rf signal to another Arduino in the grapple yarder.  This second Arduino will then display on an LCD display or a row of LEDs how much the stump is moving.  I have never used the rf module although I have one.  Also, never even tried my accelerometer.

Any suggestions?


*In the last 5 years there has FINALLY been a slow trend of new technology in the bush, but by and large, we are still stuck in the 1960's.  Seriously.


New Project

Posted by sasquatch84 Sep 2, 2017

Well, although there is a small bug to figure out with my last project, I'm going to go ahead and chalk that one up as a win. 

Now I have some momentum, I just want to keep going as that project took forever to get started on! 

I don't have a specific project in mind.  I just want to keep learning and pushing my limits. 

I have always been a bit of a hoarder and so I thought I would post a list of old electronics on here and see if anyone can suggest a project that would incorporate some or all of what I have.

First, a list of new tech that I have:

Arduino Uno & Nano,

Raspberry Pi B 3,

Ultrasonic distance sensor X 2,


colour sensor,

light sensors,

assorted other sensors


Now a list of old stuff:

Old sansui record player/stereo system with speakers (don't worry, not worth a whole lot of money),

my wife's old breast pump,

an older digital picture frame.


Any project ideas? Hacks?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

So here's a schematic of the build.  I'm not sure I made the schematic very accurate when it came to the relay since on the schematic I was confused as to the purpose of each connection.  In real life, I have the relay powered off of the 5 volt converter, and pin 8 on the Nano controlling it.  I have the ground for the solenoid running through the relay. 


Any questions/ideas why the arduino is acting funny (see last post)?


One Last Thing

Posted by sasquatch84 Aug 31, 2017

Ok so the unit is working great.  There's just one small thing.  When I was testing different sketches out, I noticed that when the code said "HIGH" it would make the relay pin "LOW" and vice versa.  I tried a few different sketches and uploaded and re-uploaded and it just kept on doing this.  To add More confusion, I tried the classic "Blink" sketch and connected the relay to pin13, but when I did, the LED would light up at the appropriate time, but then when it went low, the output would go high and therefore activate the relay.  Like, totally out of phase with the LED.  So instead of breaking my brain over a problem that might just be explained by this Nano's country of origin (China) I just went back to the original pin I was using and the original sketch and just swapped LOW and HIGH.  Seems to be working great.  I'm still confused, though.



Posted by sasquatch84 Aug 31, 2017

Well, it works!  I glued everything into an old soldering iron container and added a little extra heatsink onto the 7805. 

I may be a terrible gardener, but at least those strawberries will be well watered!

Thanks to everyone who helped me out on here.  I'm brand new to the site and I have enjoyed the experience and the community.  Here's to many more projects!


Let's try this again

Posted by sasquatch84 Aug 30, 2017


Ok, so I grabbed another Nano and got it all wired up like the last one.  I soldered a diode directly onto the solenoid valve contacts.  Maybe I should have just put it on the circuit board?  Anyone think I should?  Let me know. 

Also, I tried my hand at making a schematic.  Let me know if this makes sense.


I'm not plugging anything in until I get at least a little feedback on here. (gulp!)



Posted by sasquatch84 Aug 29, 2017

So I got everything hooked up/soldered together and it was all working great.  The relay was clicking on when I wanted it to.  The power supply had everything going without any smoke or flames.  And then I hooked up the solenoid valve to the relay.  It clicked on once and then the relay stopped working.  The light on the Nano is still on and yet the relay light is no longer blinking.  I guess I should see if there is any voltage coming from pin 8 (the one hooked up to the relay. 

The solenoid power was coming directly off of the power supply, not from the Nano.  Should I have put  a diode in there somewhere?  I'm really new to electronics as I am a logger.  image.jpg


Power Supply for Nano

Posted by sasquatch84 Aug 29, 2017

So I am planning on using the Arduino nano for the brains of my garden watering project.  I have a 12 volt power converter I kept from an old set of boot dryers that fell apart years ago.  I know that the Nano can handle the volts but seeing as it's at the higher end of the acceptable range and I want to leave this thing plugged in 24/7, I think I'll use one of my 7805's.  And since they lower voltage to 5 volts, I assume I can just run the power straight into the 5v pin. 

Does this seem like a waste of time?

Also, am I blogging properly?  I am so green...:(



Et Voila

Posted by sasquatch84 Aug 28, 2017


Few things make me more upset than losing something.  I had ordered an adafruit 12volt solenoid valve for my automatic garden watering project but was so busy for the first part of the summer with work that I just put it on the shelf.  Now I have time to work on the project and I cannot, for the life of me, find the darn thing anywhere.  And it really could be anywhere between having a wife that is constantly (although unintentionally) hiding things on me and four sons under the age of 7 that always seem to be tucking my things under the couch cushions.  So after a week or two of turning the house upside down, I finally broke down and ordered another valve.  It is now here and I can get started on things now that I have the week off work.  We'll see what I can get done between beach time and changing diapers.  ♂️

Ok so I finally got some time to myself (difficult because I have 4 kids going on 5 under 7) to play around with this project.  I got my Uno out and my ebay-special 4 relay module.  I figured out how it works and what the little picture on the relay meant as far as which one is normally open and which one is normally closed. 

I have been reading up on different ways to get the Arduino to keep track of time and turn/off for long periods of time.  While doing this reading I am constantly being reminded of how little I acutally know about coding. 

I found this "Timer" library that seems to be pretty straight forward. 

A couple things I have always been confused about is the the concept of "returning" things.  When reading up on different functions and ways of doing things on Arduino people are always talking about something being "returned" and I have no idea what that means.  Also "ID", umm huh?  Also, this Timer library makes use of t.update or else it doesn't work.  What is being updated?  Am I just way over my head or are these easily explained to a noob like myself?


This is the first entry of my first project since joining here.  I work a lot and would like to have my garden watered by my Arduino.  I want the water to turn on every morning at the same time for the same duration. 

As far as parts go, I have an adafruit water valve, 4 module relay, Arduino Uno for prototyping and a nano for the finished product. 

It appears my first job is to figure out how to make the Arduino activate the solenoid at the same time.  I could ise a clock of some kind, but I could also have it turn on with the rising of the sun. 

Both ideas seem like they are possible for my level of skill.  Decisions, decisions.

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