Assembling the Freakduino v2.1a is almost completely the same as assembling the original Freakduino v1.1 version with the exception of one extra jumper. In this tutorial, we'll be walking through the assembly of the Freakduino v2.1a partial kit version. Familiarity with soldering is assumed along with a soldering iron, solder, and flush wire cutters. A nail clipper could be substituted for the flush cutters as well.

So, let's get started...

Hi all.

No, I haven't been dead these past few weeks. I've actually been spending a lot of my free time researching how to build a weatherproof enclosure for the rice farm sensing project in the Tokyo Hackerspace. I've mentioned it previously and the project takes place in Kamogawa which is about an hour and a half outside of Tokyo. The place is a complete contrast to Tokyo and has problems with monkeys, boars, poisonous snakes, and some nasty bugs. Overall, quite interesting, although I am a bit scared of poisonous snakes.

Anyways, we'll be going out there this weekend to check out the terrain and I thought it might be good to bring out a prototype of what I have in mind for the outdoor sensor network project. There's not enough time to build a finished device, but I figured that I could at least put together a mock up that's very close to the real thing. It would at least give people in the hackerspace and others involved an idea of what I mean when I'm talking about agricultural sensor networks. 

The real difficulty in keeping anything outdoors for extended periods of time is how to ruggedize it to withstand the elements. Nature has a way of decomposing anything you put in front of her, and since there's going to be issues with wild animals, it would have to withstand being hit, bitten, nibbled on, and trampled as well. 

I finally got a proper video camera and was looking for something interesting to use it on and it just so happened that I've been itching to make some tutorials. Luckily, the camera came with Adobe Premiere Elements so I took some time off to learn some very basic video editing. I've found that I'm a horrible speaker on-camera and become completely tongue tied, even though it seems that I talk completely fine when I'm by myself.

Anyways, I figure that nothing beats hacking a high frequency radar module for a video tutorial. It's actually pretty cool and you can use it as either a speed detector or a motion detector.  You can see a couple of my dirty design practices in here that are okay for doing a quick throwaway prototype, but I wouldn't recommend to include in a final design. I completely skip the decoupling caps and use the microcontroller input voltage thresholds directly rather than using a proper interface...things that would make my university profs turn over in their graves (they're actually all still alive...I think). But before I start, its probably best to introduce the sensor and explain a bit about how a microwave speed sensor works.