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Gadget Freak
Gadget Freak Case #234: We Love This Automated Mailbox
3/12/2013

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Willden started with a servo motor and some mechanical linkages, which he connected to an Arduino UNO microcontroller development board. He then connected a light sensor to one of the microcontroller's analog inputs.
Willden started with a servo motor and some mechanical linkages, which he connected to an Arduino UNO microcontroller development board. He then connected a light sensor to one of the microcontroller's analog inputs.

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Nancy Golden
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Platinum
What a Great Combination!
Nancy Golden   3/12/2013 9:28:03 AM
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What a great story! It is very cool to see that Jeremy's older daughter drove the project with her idea to have the mailbox open by using a sensor to trigger it. Dad had a great opportunity to have some awesome family time with his daughters while stimulating in them a desire to learn about electronics. What a great combination! And the cuteness factor is off the charts!

Elizabeth M
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Impressive
Elizabeth M   3/12/2013 10:52:34 AM
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These are great! And certainly more high tech than anything I ever did for Valentine's Day when I was a kid. What a creative and a wonderful way to teach your children about gadget-building while providing enjoyment at the same time.

Charles Murray
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Re: Impressive
Charles Murray   3/12/2013 8:05:27 PM
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A great example that shows how easy it is to prototype applications with Arduino.

Mydesign
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Technology Influence
Mydesign   3/13/2013 4:07:50 AM
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"My 11-year-old daughter came home one afternoon with an idea for her mailbox. She asked me to help her design one so that a sensor would open the box automatically when someone walked by.'

Jeremy, now a day's kids are more talented and technology has influenced them too much. My 2 year old nephew is very much interested in using laptop and mobile, which I had used in 40's.



Elizabeth M
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Re: Technology Influence
Elizabeth M   3/13/2013 6:07:35 AM
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Isn't that the truth, Mydesign?? I remember when my school project was to build an American settler house with toothpicks! We have come such a looooonnnng way from that. It's amazing how tech savvy kids are today. Sometimes a bit frightening, even!

William K.
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Automatic mailboxes: cute indeed
William K.   3/13/2013 9:18:04 AM
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These two mailboxes are definitely neat!  But why in the world waste time and effort using an Ardunio module to control them? A dual comparator chip and two transistors could simply duplicate the functions described, and do it with a lot less standby power consumption. Beside that, it would be a far more educational exercise.

OLD_CURMUDGEON
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Platinum
That ain't nuttin! Wait 'til you hear this .....
OLD_CURMUDGEON   3/13/2013 10:09:03 AM
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Our 18 month-old great grandson came home from the office the other day, announcing that NASA had chosen him to write the code for the main booster ignition system for the new HEAVY-LIFT rocket which is going to propel some Argonauts to a distant galaxy.  The chief software engineer at NASA said that our boy would have complete control over the project, and that he could choose any "efficient language" to program the system.

So!, being the smartie pants that he is, he's decided that he will program the code in ARAMAIC, which is a new language that he's been working on for about 3 weeks already.  Before leaving his high chair after his mother gave him his afternoon bottle, he said that he would be retiring to his lab to finish work on the compiler.  He expects ANSI to give it a final approval in about a week, at which time it will have received the formal certification, so it will be qualified under NASA administrative rules.

 

ChasChas
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Gold
Hope Springs Eternal
ChasChas   3/13/2013 10:13:50 AM
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Charlie Brown would like one of these.

loadster
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Re: That ain't nuttin! Wait 'til you hear this .....
loadster   3/13/2013 10:42:29 AM
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what a lovely rainbow of responses to this application of excess from the cutesy to the crotchety. There are a galaxy of ways to build a jack in the box.

I had a comparable project when I started with an outdoor solar powered water pump that kept burning out because it was allowed to run dry.

By the time I'd come up with a circuit to detect water and protect the pump in the event of dry conditions, I had a 10 Ahr 6V lantern battery involved with all the overhead of weatherproofing that came with.

The final analysis was I really needed a thermal protection circuit on a 6Volt 80 mA, 1 foot lift 15 gal./hour submersible pump. Problem there was its operating temp. bordered on the seize temp.

Mind you, an $18 pump.

We bought more pumps and tried to pay closer attention to the water level.

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Automatic mailboxes: cute indeed
Nancy Golden   3/13/2013 11:18:21 AM
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William - I think it is all in your perspective...My hardware husband would much rather use discretes but to me - writing code for microcontrollers is so much fun and any excuse will do!

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