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If walls could talk. If fridges could email. If toasters could tweet. If garbage cans could blog. If sinks could post stories. If stoves could code. The Internet of Things can be in all the things. Adafruit, Digikey, and Nimbus the Friendly Cloud Entity are here to help you learn how to connect everything you need and nothing you don't.
Adding a character display to your project or computer has never been easier with the new Adafruit USB or TTL serial backpack! This custom-designed PCB sits on the back of any 'standard' character LCD (16x2 or 20x4 sized) and does everything you could want: printing text, automatic scrolling, setting the backlight, adjusting contrast, making custom characters, turning on and off the cursor, etc. It can even handle our RGB backlight LCDs with full 8-bit PWM control of the backlight.
This is a great battery-backed real time clock (RTC) that allows your microcontroller project to keep track of time even if it is reprogrammed, or if the power is lost. Perfect for datalogging, clock-building, time stamping, timers and alarms, etc. The DS1307 is the most popular RTC, and works best with 5V-based chips such as the Arduino.
If you end up buying a pick and place to assemble PCBs (or even if you're doing it by hand) you'll need to test out your boards! If you have an assembler do it for you, its still probably a good idea to have a jig you can give them. A good jig will tell you whats going right and whats going wrong. In this tutorial I will show how I designed a very basic jig with a "tested good" audible indicator. The board its testing is very simple but the basic premise can be expanded to large projects with ease.