Ralph S Bacon

MicroControllers, Electronics and IOT

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

postYes, this is a default post but better this than a blank blog.

Don’t worry, I’ll soon have more to say. In the meantime check out my YouTube videos on Arduinos and other electronic devices.


17 replies

  1. Hi Ralph, this Arduino journey is irritating ,that is I’m irritated with myself, please shed some light on this, when I’ve made a sketch,it states include libraries , I needed a library which took me to another site and it said down load this utouch library ,ok down load it to where,,apart from that I don’t know where or what to do with libraries, do they do there stuff automatically.
    Paul from the land of the bewildered


    • Hello Paul (from the land of the bewildered), I feel your frustration sitting here in my workshop! First things first.

      The first thing is to take a deep breath and say to yourself that if others can do all this, to a lesser or greater extent, then it is *not* rocket science! After all, when you learned to drive, it didn’t happen overnight, it took a while – and some people are still learning to drive years later even after getting their licence!

      Secondly, you would do well to look at my entire list of videos, cunningly numbered from #3 to #100+ and look at the earlier ones (which have poorer sound as I didn’t have my current equipment at that time) but which contain some useful information for absolute beginners.

      Now to answer your actual question: when you download a library, you must unzip it and put it in the “libraries” folder, which is sub-folder in the folder you use to store your sketches in. So if you have a library for a sensor, and it is called magno_sensor_library that will be the name of the library folder for this sensor. You may have to rename it, as the author often appends the “-master” name to it.

      Here’a link that may help you understand this: https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-all-about-arduino-libraries-install-use/how-to-install-a-library

      If you really have not used an Arduino before, ever, then you absolutely MUST get the flashing LED sketch (program) working. It is called BLINK and can be found by clicking on File > Examples > Basics > Blink and then try and get the blink program to do a double-blink, so blink-blink, pause, blink-blink, pause.

      Once you have that running you will have learned a lot without realising it along the way. So click on my link that says YouTube Videos and start learning!


  2. Hi Ralph, I’ve been having a little ebay shopping spree with the “Slow Boat from China” and got this …

    Now my problem is with buying the cheapest item(s) i can find is now i got it i cant find any useful info on how to implement it. there seems to be tutorials for a slightly different version board (that has only 1 row of header pins).
    I just can’t seem to get any info into the serial port from it. it says it takes AT commands and runs at 115200 baud but still no joy even directly connected to PC via an FTDI Serial adaptor. any ideas?


    • I found this site http://www.ayomaonline.com/programming/quickstart-sim800-sim800l-with-arduino/ which deals with the SIM800L (not the “C” variant) but I haven’t determined the difference between the two modules yet. Do read the datasheet for this module and make absolutely SURE you can supply 5v to the VBAT pin as it seems to indicate that might be too high, with 4.4v being the highest. The data pins seem 5v tolerant though (it says).

      However, this site does demo YOUR version: https://hackaday.io/project/28613-gsm-remote/log/71903-hardware-build so have a read and see how far you get.

      And next time ensure you can get the info before ordering (a lesson I learned the hard way, believe me, Gary!) ha ha!


      • thanks, for info you just can’t beat impulse buying with settings set to lowest price first, well via a bit of trial and error i found out that the pwr pin needs to be pulled low for a second or 2 to switch on the unit, and to get comms to arduino the DTR needs to be kept low for comms now i can send the AT Commands just gotta work out how to read/write serial data and format to usable strings.


  3. Thank You Ralph,I’m pleased she lives door,I am interested in arduino and Yes I want to take it further, there are a lot of things I want to build all have arduino’s in them,I’m already subscribed, and I am going through the video’s, this recent experience has made me feel vulnerable, something I can’t allow ,sorry your stuck with me now.


  4. Ralph , Hello, I’ve got my self in a right old pickle,I’m an old analog man ,I thought I’d take a walk on the wild side, and built a DC Voltage calibrator electronics fine easy, they I realized, I need coding got the coding with the projet, OK i thought just copy and paste into the arduino ide Wrong,error everywhere,asked me for a set up code, and a main loop something,plus other faults.so can you point me in the right direction,t’s cost me around £150.00p in parts expensive paper weight until I figure this stuff out,if set it aside. ,I will get there I hope


    • If you send me the link to where you copied the code from I can have a look for you, Paul. At least that way you can get a compilable sketch.


      • Thank you Ralph,The 15 Year old daughter from next door came around she’s doing programing at school,and showed me where I was going wrong, we also discovered the touch screen is faulty.
        I Still want to learn coding, very much, I now have a book on it Arduino for dummies, sits well here
        Thank you for offering to help, that was really nice of you.


      • I’m delighted for you that you got it working, Paul. I’m equally delighted that young people are still interested in programming (and, girls are not being discouraged, fabulous) and can show us old-timers a thing or two. It’s their future, after all!

        If you are really getting into Arduino stuff, you could do worse than follow my entire series of videos; they cover all aspects and if you discover ones that are just not to your liking, or are perhaps too advanced, then skip them. It’s what my channel was built for!


  5. Good luck with your new blog, Ralph, I hope it goes from strength to strength. I made a post on your latest YT video saying that I have spent some time away from Arduino projects due to work and other things, one of which was obtaining my Amateir Radio License – yay – though another way more important one was that I recently became a first time grandad! Anyway… I hope to get back into it all now, and very much look forward to watching your videos and reading your blog posts. Incidentally, when I put Arduino projects to the back of my newly built workshop (I see you’re doing one now, and am about to read up on that blog post this evening!) I unsubscribed from several YT Arduino/Electronic channels, but didn’t do so for yours as I find your presentation style simply top class. Anyway, enough of my ramblings, hope to catch you online soon.


    • Very nice of you to say those kind words about my channel, John and our posts must have crossed in the ether as I’ve just replied to the one you left on my channel. You didn’t mention becoming a first-time grandad so congratulations on that too! Yes, there will be more videos and photos of my workshop very soon, assuming they turn up on Monday. Exciting times!


  6. Well, aren’t we posh? Thrilled to get more of Benny’s thoughts and musings. I suspect you will be poking your nose in, from time to time. I expect this will be the case until you finally come up with a FFK (feline friendly keyboard).

    Good luck with this new venture, Ralph. Your videos are the best on youTube but the possibility of going into the various issues in depth will be even better.. The youTube model is glorious but it doesn’t encourage unemotional debate/discussion of detailed thoughts, ideas, or confusion.

    I am so looking forward to your future posts.


  7. Good luck with the blog! Sometimes seeing things written down can help especially when you’re struggling with a concept and can’t keep pace with the video!


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