123D Circuits : Blink LED with an Arduino

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This week's video on Electronics teaches you how to blink LEDs with an Arduino in the 123D Circuits virtual circuit simulator.  Its super-simple because the code is already pre-written and saved into the Arduino.  Opening it and making changes is a snap!  And don't stop there... we're growing the list of how-to videos every week!

This link will take you to the playlist of all videos 


So far we've been keeping it simple by getting the main point across in under a few minutes, but if you watch the whole video you'll also learn some engineering science!  Check out the video below.

Click here to open the original circuit in 123D Circuits.

123D Circuits is a fantastic place to go to build electronic circuits without leaving your computer.  It's as simple as dragging together components and watching them come alive in your web browser.  It's fast, it's free, and it's quite powerful.


You can do this yourself, just head over to 123D Circuits and sign in, then create a "New Breadboard Circuit" then follow along with the video.  You never know, this could be the beginning of something big - we think so!

 

 

123D Circuits adds Arduino MICRO and ATTINY

For almost a year now you’ve been able to simulate a virtual Arduino UNO in 123D Circuits and in that time tens of thousands of people have used an Arduino board in their virtual breadboard projects.


Today we're announce two Arduino components new to 123D Circuits:  The MICRO and the ATTINY!

Having these two new components is valuable for a few reasons:

The first is that you may want to design your projects with components that are a lot smaller than an UNO and fit on a breadboard.  Your projects will look cleaner, use less wires, and if you’re also building a physical project using the smaller MICRO or ATTINY you’ll save some money over the bigger UNO.


ATTINY graphic 220 pixels wideSecondly, if you think about it the ATTINY isn’t really an Arduino board, it’s a chip made by Atmel that you can program with the same code as regular Arduino boards.  Almost all Arduino boards use these Atmel chips (called “AVRs”) so it makes perfect sense that you can also use just the chip to make your projects super small.


code editor 220 pixels wideThirdly, if you can write code for the little ATTINY from Atmel in 123D Circuits that means you can write and compile code for any of Atmel’s AVR-series chips.  This is a big deal because it opens up the possibilities of being able to design with different chips based on your needs like: How many analog inputs?  How many digital pins?  How much memory?  Does it fit in a breadboard?  Is it tiny?  Is it super cheap?

Click the Read More button to see an example ATTINY project being simulated... Read more »

You Can Simulate a 555 Timer in 123D Circuits

It is an absolute joy to make this announcement about a tiny, unassuming chip that has changed the world:  You read it first here.  You can simulate a 555 in 123D Circuits!

Whether you knew it or not, we've all touched a 555.  They're inside appliances like toaster ovens, microwaves, alarm clocks, little robots, zillions of toys, early computers and even a few spacecraft.  They're everywhere!

Don't believe us?  According to their original 1971 inventor, Hans Camenzind, production has steadily ramped up to an astonishing 1 BILLION 555s being made per year, and they crossed that threshold in 2003!


For the announcement we put together an example circuit that when connected to a servo lets you control the angle (or position) by turning a potentiometer.  Click the Read More button to load it.   Read more »

Harsha P’s Clock Simulation is Right-on-Time

123D Circuits user and Instructables contest finalist Harsha P is back in the news again with his most excellent digital clock simulation.  Try it out, press the PLAY button in the upper right corner:

"Hours" by Harsha P.


Although Harsha does make printed circuit boards he has mostly focused on the breadboard simulation in 123D Circuits.  He says his favorite aspects of the application are the multimeters that can pinpoint the voltage at any node and measure the current through loops.  We agree, the multimeters are great, check out an example below:

three multimeters shown in breadboard simulation


There's more... Read more »

Light Tracking BEAM Robot Comes To Life

Last week we announced a new theme: ROCKETS and ROBOTS so I'm super excited to post about a BEAM ROBOT that we've given life in 123D Circuits

"BEAM" is an acronym for Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics.  It refers to a style of robots that don't require programming - instead they use analog logic to react to stimulus of various types (like light, sound, and heat).  The great thing about BEAM robots is that you can learn a lot about electronics just by making one or even taking one apart.  To get an idea, check out this BEAM robot simulator in 123D Circuits and experiment by clicking on its components to see what happens.

There are a ton of BEAM robot-related Instructables and we chose to build a simulation of one that reacts to light.  This is called a Phototrope, as it will try to move toward a light source.  That's pretty buggy!

Below is the simulation of the left 1/2 of the BEAM robot.  For clarity, we've linked a simulation of just one side of the BEAM robot (the second half would be identical).  Full left-right schematic here.

Press the PLAY button (top right) to get started.

link to this project in 123D Circuits - with full description and schematic

Whats What

We’ll be releasing this as a finished circuit board so you can build one, too.  We're also working on a 3D model for an enclosure in Tinkercad that you can use or build off and make your own Phototrope Bug.  Stay tuned!