Drawdio: A pencil that lets you draw with music!
When I first saw the Drawdio at Maker Faire I knew it would be a great project for beginners: A lot of fun with instant gratification! Essentially, it's a very simple musical synthesizer that uses the conductive properties of pencil graphite to create different sounds. The result is a fun toy that lets you draw musical instruments on any piece of paper.
Fresh Breath, Fresh Tunes, Fresh Design
Tired of not being able to find cases for your projects? Stuck with those hideous ABS plastic RadioShack boxes? Try those ubiquitous tin boxes, not only do they block EMI, they come with free mints! Fresh breath and fresh design in one.
Dimmable Li-Ion Halogen Bike Light
Biking in the winter, or at night, is dangerous without a front light.
A good front-light is essential, not only for being seen, but to see the road. LED lamps will not illuminate the road, and they can be too dim for cars to see you (1W or better LEDs are quite nice as headlamps.) I offer here a simple (but high-quality) design to build your own 5 or 10W halogen lamp, which runs off of a rechargeable 7.2V or 7.4V Lithium Ion battery pack.
Low Level Magstripe Reader
To make a custom credit card swiper, we purchased a raw magstripe decoder head with track 1 reading. By writing some parity checking code, we were able to read the raw data off of the magstripe, and parse it into output that would be 'typed out' as an emulated keyboard using a USB-enabled Teensy.
SMT Breadboard Prototyping Using Breakout PCBs
Fear not the tiny packages!
This light tutorial will demonstrate how to prototype with SMD/SMT components using a 'breadboard-friendly' breakout PCB
Eagle Tutorial - How to add a new package to a component
Save time by re-using existing packages and symbols
This little tutorial will show you how to create a new package for an existing device. It's not a beginner tutorial so you'll have to learn how to use Eagle first, but its one of those skills that can save you tons of time
How to Find Hidden COM Ports
There, under a rock! Its a gaggle of COM ports!
This mini tutorial will show you how you can find and uninstall all those extra COM ports you may have registered from years of microcontroller-hacking
Ice Tube Clock Kit
Vacuum fluorescent display clock
Learn how to build your very own Russian vacuum fluorescent display tube clock.
Maker Business & Manufacturing Software - Our Tips & Tricks
The software & services we use for business and manufacturing
Adafruit is a high-tech company, run by fairly young people. All of us working here have spent our lives with computers, technology and the Internet. So it's not surprising that software and software-as-services (SaaS) are an essential part of running Adafruit. We're constantly on the lookout for useful new tools that can help Adafruit run efficiently, and cleanly.
Laser Cut PCB Stencils
How to Make PCB Solder Paste Stencils
This technique makes it easy to make basic stencils for SMT paste deposition. The stencils are cut from a thin plastic and last for 10-100 PCBs, great for prototypes!
Adafruit Ultimate GPS Logger Shield
Adafruit's Ultimate GPS, now in Arduino shield format
Brand new and better than ever, we've replaced our Adafruit GPS shield kit with this assembled shield that comes with an Ultimate GPS module. This GPS shield works great with either UNO or Leonardo Arduinos and is designed to log data to an SD card.
All About Laser Cutters
Free information and resources for laser cutter owners
Everything you wanted to know about this ultra-powerful prototyping and production tool
All About Batteries
Everything you ever wanted to know about batteries!
This article is about batteries (if you couldn't tell) - and how to decide which batteries will run your project best! I'll cover both rechargable and "one shot" batteries, trying to cover everything I've learned.
FTDI Friend is a friend, not an enemy
Long gone are the days of parallel ports and serial ports. Now the USB port reigns supreme! But USB is hard, and you just want to transfer your every-day serial data from a microcontroller to computer. What now? Enter the FTDI Friend! Learn how to use the FTDI Friend with a Mac, PC, or Linux machine and much more!
Arduino Tips, Tricks, and Techniques
Get the most out of your Arduino
Here is a growing collection of tips, tricks, and techniques for the Arduino.
Digital LED Belt
Programmable LED fashion from the futureProgrammable LED fashion from the future
By popular demand, we now have a project tutorial for how to make your own programmable, ultra-blinky LED belt. Perfect for parties, raves, parades, weddings, funerals, and bar mitzvahs. Wear it with pride, wear it with blinky! Follow this tutorial to build your own heirloom LED belt, and hand it down to your grandkids.
Adafruit PN532 RFID/NFC Breakout and Shield
Radio Frequency ID and Near Field Communication using the PN532
This is not a full tutorial, it's just a quickstart guide while we do more research into RFID/NFC. There's a lot of info here but not everything is explained in detail. We hope to fill out the tutorial but there's not a lot of good information about NFC so it's taking a bit of time!
2.8" TFT Touchscreen
320x240 pixels in 16 bit color with a touchscreen
Add some jazz & pizazz to your project with a color touchscreen LCD. This TFT display is big (2.8" diagonal) bright (4 white-LED backlight) and colorful (16-bit 262,000 different shades)! 240x320 pixels with individual pixel control, this has way more resolution than a black and white 128x64 display. As a bonus, this display has a resistive touchscreen attached to it already, so you can detect finger presses anywhere on the screen. Learn how to use this LCD with an Arduino.
Nokia 5110/3310 Monochrome LCD
A guide to using our small Nokia 5110/3310 LCD w/backlight
This is a quick tutorial for our 84x48 pixel monochrome LCD display. These displays are small, only about 1.5" diameter, but very readable due and comes with a backlight. This display is made of 84x48 individual pixels, so you can use it for graphics, text or bitmaps. These displays are inexpensive, easy to use, require only a few digital I/O pins and are fairly low power as well.
Lady Ada's Bento Box
Waterproof, Crushproof Pack & Hack for Arduino
Portage for your projects! Lady Ada's Bento Box is a crush-proof, drop-proof & water-proof prototyping kit that combines the ultra-rugged Otterbox 3000 with a storage tin and half-size (400-point) breadboard . In the middle is a spot for attaching an Arduino UNO (or any other PCB that has the same shape and mounting holes). There's plenty of clearance for wires (even ones with plastic bits on the end such as our premium jumper wires or wire bundles) and parts on the breadboard, and the box is so sturdy you never have to worry about any delicate parts inside getting damaged. Toss it in your backpack, suitcase, duffel bag and you can be sure to work on it when you get to school, work or home.
Chumby Hacker Board
All the joy of Chumby, with extra chewy breakouts!
A collection of mini-tutorials on doing stuff with the Chumby Hacker Board. The CHB is a cool single board Linux computer that has much of the same hardware as the famous Chumby One. It's great for people who are experienced with Linux and want to have the power of a microcomputer with audio and video output while at the same time getting all the peripherals of a microcontroller such as analog-to-digital conversion, PWM outputs, sensors, bit twiddling, and broken-out GPIOs!
USB NeXT Keyboard with an Arduino Micro
Get out your 10 lb keyboards!
Ladyada and pt had an old NeXT keyboard with a strong desire to get it running on a modern computer. These keyboards are durable, super clicky, and very satisfying to use! We spent a few days and with a little research we got it working perfectly using an Arduino Micro as the go between. Now this lovely black deck works like any other USB keyboard. Sure it weighs more than our Macbook, but its worth it!
TIMESQUARE Watch Kit
Show up stylish AND on time to any event with this awesome looking DIY watch.
Show up stylish AND on time to any event with this awesome looking DIY watch. Build your own fashionable time piece, with multiple watch 'faces' and a bright 8x8 matrix display
2.8" TFT Touch Shield
320x240 pixels in 16 bit color with a touchscreen for your Arduino
Spice up your Arduino project with a beautiful large touchscreen display shield with built in microSD card connection. This TFT display is big (2.8" diagonal) bright (4 white-LED backlight) and colorful (18-bit 262,000 different shades)! 240x320 pixels with individual pixel control. It has way more resolution than a black and white 128x64 display. As a bonus, this display has a resistive touchscreen attached to it already, so you can detect finger presses anywhere on the screen. This tutorial will teach you how to use this shield with your Arduino.
RGB LED Strips
We love some good LED blinking as much as the next person but after years of LED-soldering we need something cooler to get us excited. Sure there are RGB LEDs and those are fun too but what comes after that? Well, we have the answer: LED Strips! These are flexible circuit boards with full color LEDs soldered on. They take a lot of LED-wiring-drudgery out of decorating a room, car, bicycle, costume, etc. Here is a quick tutorial on how to get an LED strip working with an Arduino.
Adafruit 16x2 Character LCD + Keypad for Raspberry Pi
This new Adafruit Pi Plate makes it easy to use an 16x2 Character LCD with a Keypad
This new Adafruit Pi Plate makes it easy to use an RGB 16x2 Character LCD. We really like the RGB Character LCDs we stock in the shop. Unfortunately, these LCDs do require quite a few digital pins, 6 to control the LCD and then another 3 to control the RGB backlight for a total of 9 pins. With this in mind, we wanted to make it easier for people to get these LCD into their projects so we devised a Pi plate that lets you control a 16x2 Character LCD, up to 3 backlight pins AND 5 keypad pins using only the two I2C pins on the R-Pi!
Adafruit Optical Fingerprint Sensor
All-in-one fingerprint sensors make ID easy
Secure your project with biometrics - this all-in-one optical fingerprint sensor will make adding fingerprint detection and verification super simple. These modules are typically used in safes - there's a high powered DSP chip that does the image rendering, calculation, feature-finding and searching. Connect to any microcontroller or system with TTL serial, and send packets of data to take photos, detect prints, hash and search.
Adafruit INA219 Current Sensor Breakout
Measure high side voltage and DC current draw over I2C
The INA219B breakout board will solve all your power-monitoring problems. Instead of struggling with two multimeters, you can use this breakout to measure both the high side voltage and DC current draw over I2C with 1% precision.
MCP4725 12-Bit DAC Tutorial
Add an analog output to your microcontroller
Your microcontroller probably has an ADC (analog -> digital converter) but does it have a DAC (digital -> analog converter)??? Now it can! This breakout board features the easy-to-use MCP4725 12-bit DAC. Control it via I2C and send it the value you want it to output, and the VOUT pin will have it. Great for audio / analog projects, such as when you can't use PWM but need a sine wave or adjustable bias point.
Adding a Real Time Clock to Raspberry Pi
Keep time at all times with a real time clock
To keep costs low, the Raspberry Pi does not include a Real Time Clock module. Instead, users are expected to have it always connected to WiFi or Ethernet and keep time by checking the network. Since we want to include an external module, we'll have to wire one up. We'll go with the easy-to-use and low-cost DS1307.
2.2" TFT Display
220x176 pixels in 18 bit color with a microSD breakout
This lovely little display breakout is the best way to add a small, colorful and bright display to any project. Since the display uses 3-wire SPI to communicate and has its own pixel-addressable frame buffer, it can be used with every kind of microcontroller. Even a very small one with low memory and few pins available!
1.8" TFT Display Breakout and Shield
128x160 pixels in 18 bit color with a microSD
This tutorial is for our 1.8" diagonal TFT display & microSD in both the shield and breakout board configurations. These displays are a great way to add a small, colorful and bright display to any project. Since the display uses 4-wire SPI to communicate and has its own pixel-addressable frame buffer, it can be used with every kind of microcontroller. Even a very small one with low memory and few pins available!
Adafruit Motor Shield
Control servos, steppers and DC motors with an Arduino!
Arduino is a great starting point for electronics, and with a motor shield it can also be a nice tidy platform for robotics and mechatronics. Here is a design for a full-featured motor shield that will be able to power many simple to medium-complexity projects. Build the kit, and learn how to use it with these detailed instructions.
i2c/SPI LCD Backpack
Saving you 4 pins, every day
LCDs are a fun and easy way to have your microcontroller project talk back to you. We wanted to make a 'backpack' (add-on circuit) that would reduce the number of pins without a lot of expense. By using simple i2c and SPI input/output expanders we have reduced the number of pins (only 2 pins are needed for i2c) while still making it easy to interface with the LCD.
DHT Humidity Sensing on Raspberry Pi with GDocs Logging
Humidity and Temperature Logging From Your Pi to the Cloud!
In this tutorial we'll be showing how to utilize C for high-speed GPIO polling to handle bit-banged sensor output. Many low cost sensors have unusual output formats, and in this case, a "Manchester-esque" output that is not SPI, I2C or 1-Wire compatible must be polled continuously by the Pi to decode. Luckily, the C GPIO libraries are fast enough to decode the output.
Adafruit Ultimate GPS
One GPS to rule them all and in the darkness find them!
We carry a few different GPS modules here in the Adafruit shop, but none that satisfied our every desire - that's why we designed this little GPS breakout board. We believe this is the Ultimate GPS module, so we named it that. It's got everything you want and more. This guide will teach you how to wire it up to a computer or an Arduino, and how to use it.
Tutorials for the TI embedded Linux board
New from the fine people who have brought us the Beagle Board, we now have a smaller, lighter, but powerful single board linux computer, Beagle Bone! We like this move to a more compact and integrated SBC. For example, there is onboard Ethernet and USB host, as well as a USB client interface (a FTDI chip for shell access). It even comes preloaded with Angstrom Linux on the 4 GB microSD card! Here are some tips and tricks to get your BeagleBone up and running.
Hacking the Kinect
Reverse engineering the Microsoft Kinect
Here's a step by step guide on how you can reverse engineer a Microsoft Kinect for the Xbox 360.
Working with Electroluminescent Wire
EL Wire, also known as Electroluminescent wire, is a stiff wire core coated with phosphor and then covered with a protective PVC sheath. When an AC signal is applied to it, it glows a cool neon color. Find out how to solder, power, and work with EL Wire in your next project.
TTL Serial Camera
This guide is for our new TTL serial camera module with NTSC video output. These modules are a nice addition to a microcontroller project when you want to take a photo or control a video stream. The modules have a few features built in, such as the ability to change the brightness/saturation/hue of images, auto-contrast and auto-brightness adjustment, and motion detection.
Adafruit LED Backpacks
Control small LED matrices with ease
What's better than a single LED? Lots of LEDs! The matrices use a driver chip that does all the heavy lifting for you: They have a built in clock so they multiplex the display. They use constant-current drivers for ultra-bright, consistent color, 1/16 step display dimming, all via a simple I2C interface. Here is a detailed guide showing you how to solder, wire and control the display.
Our mods, hacks, tips and tricks for SMT manufacturing.
Here are a bunch of tutorials for manufacturing small to medium scale (10 - 10,000) piece surface mount electronics.
Lets use the Seebeck effect!
Thermocouples are best used for measuring temperatures that can go above 100 degC. This is a bare wires bead-probe which can measure air or surface temperatures. Most inexpensive thermocouples have a vinyl covering which can melt at around 200 degC, this one uses a fiberglass braid so it can be used in high temperature measurements such as heaters and ovens. This is a handy guide which covers thermocouple use including an Arduino library and example code.
USB SNES Gamepad
Make a USB gamepad with an accelerometer inside
This project tutorial will show you how you can convert a console game pad into a USB keyboard mouse for playing games on your PC. The USB game pad can be used with nearly any software, such as a MAME emulator, game, simulation software, or for custom user interfaces. We will also show you how to add an accelerometer to the gamepad for tilt based gaming.
Force Sensitive Resistor (FSR)
Thin sensor that detects physical pressure.
FSRs are sensors that allow you to detect physical pressure, squeezing and weight. They are simple to use and low cost. This guide will show you how to wire an FSR, connect it to your Arduino, and give you some project ideas.
CdS Cells, Photoresistors, & Light Dependent Resistors (LDR)
Photocells are sensors that allow you to detect light. They are small, inexpensive, low-power, easy to use and don't wear out. For that reason they often appear in toys, gadgets and appliances. This guide will show you how they work, how to wire them, and give you some project ideas.
TMP36 Temperature Sensor
Reading temperatures to 0.1 degree precision!
An analog temperature sensor is pretty easy to explain, its a chip that tells you what the ambient temperature is. This guide will show you how an analog temperature sensor works, how to wire one up, and some project examples.
Bosch BMP085 Breakout Board
Barometric Pressure, Temperature, & Altitude Sensor
This precision sensor from Bosch is the best low-cost sensing solution for measuring barometric pressure and temperature. This is a detailed guide so you can understand the sensor in depth including how to properly calculate altitude based on sea-level barometric pressure.
The simple way to detect orientation or inclination
Tilt sensors allow you to detect orientation or inclination. They are small, inexpensive, low-power and easy-to-use. If used properly, they will not wear out. Their simplicitiy makes them popular for toys, gadgets and appliances. This guide will show you how they work, show you how to wire them up, and give you some project ideas.
Make remote controls and listeners
IR detectors are little microchips with a photocell that are tuned to listen to infrared light. They are almost always used for remote control detection - every TV and DVD player has one of these in the front to listen for the IR signal from the clicker. In this guide we will explain how IR sensors work, how to pull IR codes out of a remote control, and show you how to wire them up to a microcontroller.
Measure temperature using a resistor!
A thermistor is a thermal resistor - a resistor that changes its resistance with temperature. Technically, all resistors are thermistors - their resistance changes slightly with temperature - but the change is usually very very small and difficult to measure. Thermistors are made so that the resistance changes drastically with temperature so that it can be 100 ohms or more of change per degree! This guide will teach you how thermistors work, and how to wire them up and use them with your favorite microcontroller.
Basic temperature & humidity sensors
This guide covers the low cost DHT temperature & humidity sensors. These sensors are very basic and slow, but are great for hobbyists who want to do some basic data logging.
TSL2561 Luminosity Sensor
Low power, digital luminosity (light) sensor
The TSL2561 luminosity sensor is an advanced digital light sensor, ideal for use in a wide range of light situations. Compared to low cost CdS cells, this sensor is more precise, allowing for exact lux calculations and can be configured for different gain/timing ranges to detect light ranges from up to 0.1 - 40,000+ Lux on the fly. This guide will show you how this sensor works, and how to use it with your favorite microcontroller.
Adafruit Pi Cobbler Kit
Assemble your Adafruit Pi Cobbler Kit
Once soldered together, the cable plugs between the Pi computer and the Cobbler breakout. The Cobbler can plug into any solderless breadboard (or even a prototyping board like the PermaProto). The Cobbler PCB has all the pins labeled nicely so you can go forth and build circuits without keeping a pin-out printout at your desk. We think this will make it more fun to expand the Pi and build custom circuitry with it.
Adafruit Prototyping Pi Plate
Serve up your Pi projects on a Prototyping Pi Plate
Now that you've finally got your hands on a Raspberry Pi® , you're probably itching to make some fun embedded computer projects with it. What you need is an add on prototyping Pi Plate from Adafruit, which can snap onto the Pi PCB (and is removable later if you wish) and gives you all sorts of prototyping goodness to make building on top of the Pi super easy.
Monochrome OLED Breakouts
Using our small mono-OLED displays
This is a quick tutorial for our 128x64 and 128x32 pixel monochrome OLED displays. These displays are small, only about 1" diameter, but very readable due to the high contrast of an OLED display. Each OLED display is made of 128x64 or 128x32 individual white OLEDs, each one is turned on or off by the controller chip. Because the display makes its own light, no backlight is required. This reduces the power required to run the OLED and is why the display has such high contrast; we really like this miniature display for its crispness!
Wiring up a character LCD to an Arduino
We sell tons of lovely character LCDs for use with Arduino, they are extremely common and a fast way to have your project show status messages. This tutorial will show how you can easily connect a character LCD, either 16x2 or 20x4.
Arduino Prototyping Mounting Plate
Securely hold your Arduino next to a breadboard
By popular demand! We now have the plates from the ARDX available separately. Acrylic plate is engraved and cut here at the Adafruit factory. There are mounting holes for your Arduino and a space that fits a half sized breadboard very nicely.
0.96" mini Color OLED
Mini color OLED displays
Our 0.96" color OLED displays are perfect when you need an ultra-small display with vivid, high-contrast 16-bit color. The visible portion of the OLED measures 0.96" diagonal and contains 96x64 RGB pixels, each one made of red, green and blue OLEDs. Each pixel can be set with 16-bits of resolution for a large range of colors. Because the display uses OLEDs, there is no backlight, and the contrast is very high (black is really black). We picked this display for its excellent color, this is the nicest mini OLED we could find. This guide will show you how to hook it up and use it with an Arduino.
Precision measurements in your hand!
This tutorial is for the Mitutoyo digital calipers we carry in the Adafruit shop. They're the best calipers one can get and we're pleased to offer them. We've put together a basic usage guide here to help people get started.
This mini tutorial will cover how we use barcode scanners. This isn't necessarily an Arduino project, but it is a tool that we use every day when shipping packages - instead of entering in invoice numbers, we use a barcode scanner.
Digital Shipping Scales
This tutorial will cover digital shipping scales! I know, exciting, right? But really, if you need to sense weights and get them into a computer or microcontroller, these are really easy to find, fairly accurate and easy to use.
FPGA RGB Matrix
Control large RGB LED matrices using an FPGA
Adafruit currently sells a really cool 16x32 RGB LED matrix panel in their store that is "designed to be driven by an FPGA or other high speed processor." The purpose of this tutorial is to help you get started driving a small handful of these displays with the DE0-Nano board, which contains a mid-range Altera FPGA.
DIY 8x2 LCD Shield
Soldering an LCD to a shield
This tutorial will show you how to solder together a shield for an LCD with a 8x2 header.
Li-Ion & LiPoly Batteries
All about the power packs that propel your projects!
If you want to take your project portable you'll need a battery pack! For beginners, we suggest alkaline batteries, such as the venerable AA or 9V cell, great for making into larger multi-battery packs, easy to find and carry plenty of charge. If you want to go rechargable to save money and avoid waste, NiMH batteries can often replace alkalines. Eventually, however you may want to upgrade to the shiniest new technology - rechargable lithium ion/polymer batteries. In this guide you will learn all about these batteries, and how to properly use them in your projects.
Understanding the functions of a multimeter
The most important debugging tool in any E.E.'s toolbox is a trusty multimeter. A multimeter can measure continuity, resistance, voltage and sometimes even current, capacitance, temperature, etc. It's a swiss army knife for geeks! This guide will teach you how measure continuity, resistance, and voltage with a multimeter.
Power in, power out!
A power supply is a device that supplies power to another device, at a specific voltage level, voltage type and current level. While it sounds simple, power supplies have a lot of little hang-ups that can be very tricky for the uninitiated. This tutorial will try to help explain all about power supplies.
Basic Resistor Sensor Reading on Raspberry Pi
Reading resistive sensors with RC timing
The best way to read analog sensors on a Pi is to use an external ADC like the MCP3008. But if you don't want to wire up an extra chip and you're OK with low-resolution sensing, you can read many sensors that act like resistors using the RC timing trick!
RGB LCD Shield
Control a 16x2 Character LCD using 2 pins
This tutorial will show you how to build and use the Adafruit RGB LCD Arduino shield. We have a great library that makes it incredibly easy to use the LCD and the 5 included buttons while only using 2 pins on the Arduino!
USB, DC & Solar Lipoly Charger
Power your projects from the sun!
Make your projects to go green this summer with our specialized USB/Solar Lithium Ion Polymer Battery charger! This charger is a very unique design, perfect for outdoor projects, or DIY iPod chargers. We've spent over a year testing and tinkering with this charger to come up with a plug and play solution to charging batteries with the sun and we're really pleased with what we ended up with.
Adafruit Raspberry Pi Educational Linux Distro
Our tweaked distribution for teaching electronics using the Raspberry PI
Our tweaked distribution for teaching electronics using the Raspberry PI
Downloads / Adafruit Microphone Amplifier Breakout
Measure Sound Levels with the Adafruit Microphone Amplifier
This guide shows how to assemble the Microphone Amplifier and connect it to an Arduino for measuring sound levels.
Test it / Sitcom SFX Door Trigger
A sitcom soundtrack for your life
Using a Raspberry Pi, some sensors, and a speaker, you can fulfill that life-long dream of having sound effects play every time you walk into - or out of - a room.
F.A.Q. / Digital RGB LED Strip
Glowy, flexy and addressable!
Digital LED strips are flexible circuit boards with full color LEDs soldered on. They take a lot of LED-wiring-drudgery out of decorating a room, car, bicycle, costume, etc. The ones we carry come with a removable waterproof casing.