DIY Arduino

Over at fizzPOP we’re exploring group dynamics and how to strengthen our community at the same time as running compelling events and extending our skills.

We’ve been doing free-style hack sessions for over a year now and we’ve also run a fair number of workshops and events (Such as Howduino and Theremin Day) on specific areas. We’ve been paying attention and, whereas the atmosphere at the events we run is absolutely fantastic, it’s not sustainable for us to run things at this level on more than an occasional basis. We can however incorporate elements of the big events into the little things we do every fortnight.

Right back in the beginning we pondered on the importance of shared goals and working as a group. We’ve recently returned to this with themed sessions – Hack a Toy and Processing Anonymous being two examples.

Starting on Wednesday the 18th of August we’ll be experimenting with themed hacksessions on a more formalised basis. You’re still welcome to come along and work on individual projects if you like, but the steering group and other members of fizzPOP will be taking it in turns to initiate and coordinate clusters of activities around particular themes. It’s really interesting watching theses themes get negotiated online as people discuss what skills they can share and also what skills they would like to acquire.

This Wednesday the theme will be DIY Arduino – home-made versions of the Arduino board that are more minimal, less expensive, or simply do a specific job – and it is I who has been herding the cats. There are a range of different interests and skill levels at fizzPOP (all are welcome!) but several common focal points seem to have emerged in the online discussion:

  • building a barebones arduino board, either on stripboard or breadboard
  • burning the bootloader using ArduinoISP and building daughterboards to make this easier
  • designing and building low power variants
  • and using the barebones board as a case study for learning about PCB design

Since there’s a bunch of us interested in building our own modules, I’ve been able to buy a load of components in for a lower price than compared to smaller quantities. I’ll be selling components for a bare bones Arduino (NB, it really is just the basics!) for £4.50.

This kit of components (plus battery connector) will be available for £4.50

This kit of components (plus battery connector) will be available for £4.50

This is significantly cheaper than the £25 or so you’ll pay for the full-blown board and, as an artist, it’s what makes multiples and building things like the sonar goggles possible in my work.

So, if you’ve dabbled with Arduino before and are looking to take things to the next level, or perhaps you’ve not yet dipped a toe in because you’ve found the cost prohibitively expensive, than this is the session for you. It won’t be a formal, led workshop, but there will be a room full of people applying their brains to related challenges and with assorted relevant kit etc. Think of it as being in a room with 20 mentors.

There is more information on the fizzPOP website:
and a sign-up page on the wiki: