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Arduino Returns to My Maker Workbench

arduino returns

After four years absence, Arduino returns to my top of mind. Time to do some more remote motor control projects.

Hard to believe, but it’s been four years since I did some projects with my Arduino or its WIFI cousin NodeMCU. If you read this blog a lot, you may recall that microcontrollers were my main focus during 2016-2017. Then, I started focusing on wideband loops and diversity reception.

Now, with my next project of a remote controlled magnetic transmitting loop, motors and microcontrollers are back in the picture.

Above, you can see my collection of goodies for remoting this project. On the left are the motors. Top left is a small highly geared stepper motor which I will use to tune a butterfly capacitor. Bottom left is a highly geared (5 RPM) 12V DC motor, which I will use to rotate the loop. My stepper will work with a worm gear to get me tuning steps of less than 1 picofarad. My DC motor will use gears and a GT2 timing belt to rotate the antenna.

So, building the loop is one challenge, and I will get to that. But first, my focus will be on simple remote control for rotation and tuning.

Wow, I am getting excited. I forgot how much fun I had a few years ago with Arduino and NodeMCU. It’s been so long, I have to update my Arduino IDE and Visual Studio tools. I hope I can remember this stuff easily and leverage my prior learning curve. Fortunately, I have archived all my old code for Arduino motor control projects like this one. So, I won’t have to start from scratch.

Arduino Returns – My Old Friends

Top right is an Arduino UNO with a DK Electronics motor driver shield. You may recall this combination will drive combinations of servo, stepper or DC motors. I can remote this combination by adding a simple ESP8266 wireless module. If you are like me, you probably have all of these lying around.

Bottom right is my NodeMCU ESP-12E with a new L293D motor shield. Of course, my NodeMCU has wireless built in. It should also do the job for driving the rotator motor directly, and the 28BYJ-48 stepper motor through digital output pins.

And, if you want some nostalgia, you might visit my Arduino Ham Radio Starter Kit series from 2017.

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