SparkFun Inventors Kit - Littlebirdelectronics

Arduino™ based RedBoard™ – First Steps

I recently purchased my first Arduino, well not quite. It’s actually an Arduino based RedBoard from SparkFun. Details below

RedBoard programed with Arduino

RedBoard programed with Arduino

RedBoard programed with Arduino

RedBoard programed with Arduino

SparkFun Inventors Kit - Littlebirdelectronics

SparkFun Inventors Kit – Littlebirdelectronics


  • ATmega328 microcontroller with Optiboot (UNO) Bootloader
  • USB Programming Facilitated by the Ubiquitous FTDI FT231X
  • Input voltage – 7-15V
  • 0-5V outputs with 3.3V compatible inputs
  • 14 Digital I/O Pins (6 PWM outputs)
  • 6 Analog Inputs
  • ISP Header
  • 32k Flash Memory
  • 16MHz Clock Speed
  • All SMD Construction
  • R3 Shield Compatible
  • Red PCB!

So far the kit has given me a brief insight to the world of programming and a gentle start back into electronics. Finding the time to fit all this in with the day job, travel time and that certain need to eat and sleep, is equally as fun.

I purchased this kit from a supplier here in NSW – Little Bird Electronics the kit came with the usual components to get you started, ranging from the simple to more difficult to test your attention to detail skills. The good thing about this kit, it starts you on a path of discovery, learning and a wealth of information from talented individuals who know these devices like the back of their hand. There is a plethora of sites, forums and blogs that have more code and resources than you can shake a stick at. For me it’s early days and already have decided on a number of projects I would like to try out and use in a real world environment. My first plan is for a remote control for a DSLR, second project would be some form of a weather station. Other plans or ideas are going to be based on Music and the Model rail.

For the music side of my projects, MIDI connectivity and control, possibly look into CV – Control Voltage to work with the Minimoog Voyager XL which by design is CV controlled and based. The model rail will be a completely different story. Sensors by the ton and what will they do for running Locomotives and trying to automate to some extent? The outcome of this is to be decided on how much automation I want or need. Being too dependent on automation can be a bit of a spoiler, however there is nothing wrong with a helping hand, plus adding further interest always helps.

I have already added one project to my list of things to do and itemized in my Current Projects – location of which really needs to be moved from its current location I think.

So onwards and upwards, lets see where this takes me.

Friday – Home Alone

It’s great to have a Friday off, making my weekend a long weekend, that’s always a winner. However, i cannot start any of the things I need to do today as there are workmen in the back garden, working on the sewer at the base of the garden. The joys of having an easement on your property. Thus far they have removed whatever blockage was in the main sewer, I can tell by the stench that has bubbled its way through the toilets in the bathrooms. Thankfully our sewer lines must be free of incident, either now or before.

So whilst I wait for them to finish, I thought I would have a look round YouTube and Google+. Yes I am bored. Google+/YouTube or GooTube or YouGle as I call it, has changed in so many ways. I could blame Google, or maybe its the people on YouTube these days. It could also be the fact that people have become painful and awkward. It seems that people’s boredom threshold has decreased, attitudes have changed, mentality has for the want of a better expression, gone to the dogs (polite version of my original thought) and finally, it seems that the only thing that interests us are no-name/no-talent reality TV which appears to have destroyed our perception of what is ‘entertainment’ these days!

My time on YouTube wasn’t for naught. I managed to find some information I need for my future projects. I have already started bookmarking video’s and pages relating to what I need to make an informed decision. All that remains now is cost. I want this to be as frugal as possible, I don’t want to be spending hours of my time and not make any progress, nor do I want to spend copious amounts of money. Start simple is always the best option. But, what is simple these days? What qualifies as being a good but cheap investment? These are the questions I need to answer. I also need to look at what I can use these devices for, can I use them in my Music? Can I also use these for the Model Rail project? I also need to get my head around the coding, can I start to learn C/C++ without banging my head against the wall and end up with a lot of cheap stuff lying around gathering dust?

So now the workmen have left, I can now start my jobs for the day.

When is hard too hard?

Starting back seemed like a great idea at the time, except, adding all those details, images, oh…and the text part, yes writing takes time. I know Rome wasn’t built in a day, however, trying to make good use of this site by adding worthwhile content on here is going to take more than one night. So its important to get this right from the start, making sure that whatever I post on this blog fits with whatever appearance this site takes.

I could have used Dreamweaver or some other html editor to create a static based website, then update the pages ‘as and when’ I get round to it. That is a little more time consuming and personally, very distracting and time consuming, especially when there are so many ready built options, that create dynamic pages such as WordPress and a dozen other Blog applications that allow you to just login and post. No hassle.

For now, its a simple case of starting to buildup the relevant pages required to fulfill the reasons why I started this website back up.

Another attempt at Blogging, oh no!

And so it begins, welcome one and all.

After a long time away from blogging, losing my old site, including backups of my old blog. I now find myself starting from scratch. Am I upset? In short, the answer is no. Sure there was some good content on the old blog, mostly it was just a whole lot of nothing.

There is good reason for all of the above, mainly the part about losing my site and the blog but more on that later. For now, it is a work in progress as to what makes the cut here and maintaining the site to keep it fresh.

The plan is to direct my attention towards more technical matters, an online self help for me and anyone else that cares to drop by. Content to be posted include the following items, some of which I have already started;

  1. C++ (I must be insane…)
  2. RaspberryPi
  3. Arduino
  4. Model Rail (already started back into that)
  5. Music (been involved with this for years)

So onwards and upwards…Stay tuned.