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Background: I'm looking to start on my first real electronics project and I have an Arduino Uno I bought a while back. I've only done a few of the starter Arduino tutorials and that was a while back as well. Starting from very little electronics knowledge, I'm trying to get a bit of advice on how to tackle my first project. TL;DR: I have an Arduino Uno but very little experience with it or electronics.

Project: I want an object that locks, I want the duration of the time it stays locked for to increase by ~1-3% every time it locks. I want to put my nicotine products in there to gradually pull myself off nicotine. I have designed a rough 3D model of the box, which I can 3D print so now I'm looking at the electronics. TL;DR: A box which stays locked for longer, every time it locks.

Electronics: A microcontroller/Arduino/Pi to increase the locking duration; a locking circuit and some form of power supply.

My 2 questions are

  1. Would the Arduino Uno be suited to this type of project?

  2. What sort of components should I be looking for for the locking circuit and power supply (I'm thinking some sort of solenoid actuator and a battery pack)?

  • Sounds like an excellent project to use an Arduino for. I was thinking about using a servo, but a solenoid will work too. I probably would try to avoid using batteries. It's very hard to make an UNO not use a lot of power. And you probably want it to run for weeks. – Gerben Jan 17 '17 at 15:37
  • Short answers: 1) yes, even if smaller boards are "more" suitable IMHO (but just for aesthetics); 2) power supply: usually I use a 5V USB charger, but any is fine. I suggest you not to use batteries (they tend to discharge...). actuator: a solenoid (with a transistor) is fine, or an RC servo (which complicates a bit the mechanics but is simpler in the electronics project) – frarugi87 Jan 17 '17 at 15:48
  • @Gerben I usually avoid writing double comments, but I didn't see yours before posting ;) Sorry – frarugi87 Jan 17 '17 at 15:49
  • @frarugi87 there is some value added by your comment. – Gerben Jan 17 '17 at 15:54
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    An Uno is ideal for prototyping, but it's too power-hungry for the final thing. I recommend you go for a plain AVR microcontroller, aka “barebones Arduino”, and have a look at Nick Gammon's tutorial on power saving. – Edgar Bonet Jan 17 '17 at 15:54
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It is a great occasion to use the Arduino!

There are many tutorials for the Arduino out there, so thats a good place to start. This forum is a good place to ask any Arduino related question if you need to do so.


The following contains MY OPINION

In my opinion, an Arduino Nano would be great for this project. It is really user friendly and can pretty much accomplish many things. A Pro Mini would be better, but seeing sa you're a beginner, stick with the Nano.

A good long lasting batteRY would be a simple USB power bank. It outputs 5V and has a lot of juice. For a locking circuit, a simple servo would work IF THE THINGS THAT IS IN THAT "SAFE" ISN'T 1M $$. A servo does a decent job as a lock.


Good luck!

  • Thanks for the advice. I think I will use the Arduino Uno simply because I have it laying around and I'm not a stranger to programming. I'd not thought of using a power bank, thanks for the tip. I'm not trying to build something super secure so I don't think safe is the right word. I just want it to be more of an inconvenience to hack it open than to wait for the timer to run out. – Era Jan 19 '17 at 16:58

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