Stiff Breadboard Problem

Often a new electronic breadboard will be too stiff to insert components or jumper wires. When attempting to insert a wire or lead of a component into a tight breadboard, the wire or lead just bends.

Too Tight Breadboard

Too Tight Breadboard

How to Insert Components into a Stiff Breadboard

Use a pair of pliers to hold the wire or component lead before inserting it into the breadboard. Take the lead or wire as low down as possible and use the pliers to push the lead into the tight breadboard hole or tie point.

See the article on how to insert a component into a stiff breadboard, which contains more details. The article also has photos and a video which shows exactly what to do.

Breadboard Prototyping with Atmel Xplained Boards

Breadboard prototyping with an Atmel Xplained board is not as easy as using a board such as an Arduino which allows jumper wires to be connected directly from the board’s headers to the breadboard.

Easily Connecting to an Atmel Xplained Board for Breadboard Prototyping

One solution to easily connect to an Atmel Xplained board from a breadboard is to make up a ribbon cable with two female IDC connectors. This allows jumper wires to be inserted into the IDC connector which can then be connected to a breadboard or breadboard circuit. The image below shows how this is done.

Breadboard Prototyping with an Atmel Xplained Pro Board

Breadboard Prototyping with an Atmel Xplained Pro Board

The above arrangement of breadboard prototyping is used in the ASF ARM tutorial series that teaches how to use the Atmel Software Framework on ARM Cortex microcontrollers.

The board in the above image is a SAM4N Xplained Pro board.

Raspberry PI Security Camera

How to build a Raspberry PI security camera using a Raspberry PI camera and a USB camera. I built these two cameras using older Raspberry PI B and B+ boards (not the version 2 or 3) using motionEyeOS for the operating system.

The camera live video, recorded video, recorded images and settings are accessed by connecting to the camera with a web browser. Cameras are connected to the network by either wired Ethernet or WiFi from the Raspberry PI boards. The camera can be set to start recording as soon as motion is detected.

RPI Camera Raspberry PI Security Camera and WiFi

The first camera uses a Raspberry PI camera and Raspberry PI model B+ board. Connection to the network is via WiFi. The image below shows the Raspberry PI board set up with the RPI camera, USB WiFi dongle and micro SD card.

Raspberry PI Security Camera with WiFi Connection

Raspberry PI Security Camera with WiFi Connection

USB Camera and Wired Ethernet

The second camera uses a Raspberry PI model B board, full sized SD card and an external USB camera as shown in the following image.

Raspberry PI Board with USB Camera and Wired Ethernet

Raspberry PI Board with USB Camera and Wired Ethernet

A cheap USB camera is attached to the board via the black USB connector in the above image.

Cheap USB Camera

Cheap USB Camera

Installing and Setting up the motionEyeOS Software

Details on setting up the Raspberry PI camera and motionEyeOS software can be found on the Starting Electronics website. The article shows how to set up the Raspberry PI camera and wired Ethernet connection.

Security Camera Video Image in Web Browser

Security Camera Video Image in Web Browser

The motionEyeOS software is a complete operating system and camera motion detection software all in one. A SD card image is simply installed onto the SD card to install all the software. The Raspberry PI board and camera can then be accessed from a web browser.

Even if WiFi is to be used, the board must first be connected to a network using wired Ethernet so that the board can be accessed from a web browser and settings changed to use WiFi.

Further details and settings can be found on the motionEyeOS wiki pages.

Raspberry PI Security Camera Performance and Issues

Recording Reliability

I have found that the camera, whether USB or RPI, does not reliably trigger and start recording every time that motion occurs in front of the camera. This problem occurs even with a fairly modest frame rate and fast SD card. I suspect that it is due to the performance of the Raspberry PI board. Performance should improve with a model 2 or 3 board.

Triggering on Unwanted Motion

If there is a tree or anything that moves when there is wind, this is a problem. Because of this, the camera will detect unwanted motion and start recording. On a windy day this is a big problem as the SD card will start to fill with unwanted recordings.

Atmel Software Framework Tutorial – ARM Cortex

An Atmel Software Framework Tutorial series that shows how to use Atmel Software Framework (ASF) to program ARM Cortex microcontrollers using Atmel Studio and the C programming language.

About ASF

Atmel Software Framework (ASF) consists of a number of modules that can be added to a C language project in Atmel Studio. Adding ASF modules to a project makes various functions available for initializing and using hardware and software services, cutting down development time.

As an example, adding the IOPORT ASF module to a project allows pins and ports of a microcontroller to be initialized and accessed using functions from the IOPORT module. Functions from the IOPORT module can then be called to set up pins or ports as inputs or outputs and other functions allow the pins or ports to be read or written to without having to use the hardware at a register level.

Atmel Software Framework Tutorial Contents

The ASF tutorial series consists of the following parts thus far. More parts are being added to the tutorial series each week.


Introduces the Atmel software framework tutorial and shows how ASF is structured.


How to create a new ASF project for an Atmel Evaluation board. The example project blinks the on-board LED.


How to create an ASF user board project. If you are going to use ASF on your own custom or user board, you will need to know how to write ASF user board projects from scratch. This type of project can still be created and tested on an Atmel evaluation board. Most of this tutorial series shows how to create various projects from scratch using an ASF user board project as this is what is needed in real world applications that use a custom board.


How to add ASF to an existing project that was not started as an ASF project.


There are slight differences between ASF projects created for Atmel evaluation boards and user board ASF projects. This part of the tutorial shows the differences between the project types such as which files are different and where to changes settings in the files.


How to enable the on-chip oscillators of the microcontroller to use the external crystals instead of the internal R/C oscillators in ASF.


A quick start checklist for creating new ASF user board projects. Where to add code and to change settings in a new ASF project.


Using ASF functions to read and write individual microcontroller pins used for general purpose input/output.


How to write to a microcontroller port or group of pins from a port using ASF functions.


Reading and writing a port or group of port pins rather than individual port pins.


How to configure C standard input/output functions such as printf() and scanf() to use a UART for input/output.

Further Parts of the Tutorial Series

Further parts will be added to the tutorial series until it is complete. Check the index and menu of the tutorial for additional parts.

Arduino Projects for Beginners

A list of easy to build Arduino projects for beginners and kids. These projects use easy to obtain components and can be built on an electronics breadboard. Suitable for use with an Arduino Uno or similar board.

Arduino projects for absolute beginners below list very easy projects for first time Arduino users. The section that follows lists projects for beginners who have learned the basics of how to use an Arduino.

Arduino Projects for Absolute Beginners

The simple projects below are suitable for absolute beginners with Arduino. They are part of a series of tutorials that introduce beginners to basic electronics. For beginners who have not yet used an electronics breadboard, see how to build a simple circuit on breadboard.

Arduino Projects for Beginners

The Arduino projects for beginners area on the Starting Electronics website has various projects for beginners such as:

Other projects suitable for beginners:

Programming Arduino

Beginners wanting to learn how to program Arduino can look at the Arduino programming course.

Arduino Ethernet Shield

For those wanting to know how to use the Arduino Ethernet shield as  a web server, the Arduino Ethernet shield web server tutorial explains all you need to know.

Other Arduino Resources

Also see the following areas on the Starting Electronics website:

  • Arduino Projects – various Arduino projects for beginners and more advanced users.
  • Arduino Tutorials –  interesting Arduino tutorials.
  • Arduino Articles – various articles and small projects such as how to battery power an Arduino, connecting a buzzer to Arduino, using Arduino to measure voltage and more.
  • Arduino Software – various Arduino software projects and information on installing Arduino software.

Another useful resource for projects is the Arduino tutorials page on the Arduino website.