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How to make your own Arduino shield

Arduino Shield

After perfecting your Arduino project, a great way to finish it off is to create your own shield. A "shield" is an accessory board which plugs into the headers "shielding" the Arduino. I wrote this blog post back in 2008 after creating my first Arduino shield. It also happened to be my first custom PCB, so please forgive my poor layout. This tutorial assumes a basic understanding of Cadsoft Eagle.  For more information about Eagle, see the Eagle Tutorials section below.  Without further ado, here are the steps to make your own Arduino shield:

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AVR Power Saving Techniques

Check out this great demonstration on power saving techniques for AVR microcontrollers with picoPower. I used some of these techniques in my energy harvesting sample project. My favorite low-power mode is the power-save mode with 32 kHz RTC, which draws just 0.75 μA at 1.8 V.

Using the Energy Harvester to Power a Wireless Sensor Node

Breadboard prototype showing the energy harvester, XBee, AVR microcontroller, and solar cell

This blog post will demonstrate how to use the energy harvester breakout board to power a wireless sensor node. In this application, the wireless sensor node measures the temperature using a thermistor and transmits the data. A microcontroller will monitor the energy harvester’s power good pin and deliver power to the radio module using the energy harvester’s secondary output enable pin. The microcontroller will also control the maximum frequency that the radio module is allowed to transmit. In this application, energy will be harvested from a solar cell, but other energy sources will be discussed as well.

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