|A glowing vacuum tube audio amplifier.|
#1 - Ordered 6 more HC-SR04 Ultrasonic sensors. One stationary one on the front of a robot is just not enough. I've considered mounting one on a servo and having the HC-SR04 scan back and forth, and I will probably still do that just for fun....but when you can buy the things for $3.82 shipped, why not just put two or three of them on the bot instead? These things are tons of fun, and they look like creepy eyes.
#2 - Finally got my serial LCD working. I bought this LCD panel on eBay a while back, and just now tried to use it. The library files linked on the eBay ad didn't work - I guess they're not Arduino 1.0 compatible. I then tried several other library files from around the net and none of them worked. I finally went to the product page for the DFRobot i2c LCD1602 Module and there was a link to a library that worked perfectly. The eBay LCD display is a knockoff of the DFRobot display apparently. The eBay model says 'yWROBOT' on the PCB instead of DFROBOT.
In any event, the display works great, and the white on blue lettering is crisp and bright. This LCD module only uses two pins - analog pins A4 & A5 on the Arduino Uno or pins 20 & 21 on the Arduino Mega. Not only does the display only use 2 pins, but you can connect a virtually unlimited number of other devices on the i2c bus on the same data pins concurrently. If you would like more information on the i2c bus, this would be a good place to start. The link does give the disclaimer that it is not Arduino 1.0 compatible, but it is still a good read and knowledge jump start.
#3 - Was browsing and happened to see a vacuum-tube stereo amplifier. These things are so friggin' cool. Inefficient, dangerous and a little pricey, but I have got to build one some day. For sheer charm, transistors and IC's got nothin' on vacuum tubes.
#4 - Got an email from Texas Instruments. Turns out I won their 'Make the Switch' contest for the month of January. They are sending me a limited edition 'Make the Switch' t-shirt and other fun prizes. I simply wrote a post in their 'Make the switch to TI MCU's forum' and my post was randomly selected. If TI's chips were as easy to program as the Arduino, they'd make some serious in-roads in the hobbyist market. You gotta give it to their marketing department - they are trying like hell. I'll show you guys what my TI prize pack looks like once I get it in the mail.