My wife surprised me recently with a few new additions to my electronics set. There have been a few components I was in the market to get and experiment with. These were the Ethernet shield, Wiichuck adapter and mechanical relay.
The shield I have is manufactured by DFRobotics called the “DFRduino Ethernet Shield V2” as an Ardunio Ethernet Shield clone. It has network capabilities and supports SD Card read/write. All official Arduino libraries work on this board.
Adding network capabilities to your existing Arduino comes at the expense of 4 digital pins (namely 10,11,12 and possibly 13) but is a small sacrifice if you can connect to the internet. This board also supports network connections up to 100Mb/s.
The shield stacks atop my Arduino Uno and feels like solid workmanship. The shield is compatible with the Uno, Dumlinove and Mega boards.
The next component is the Wiichuck adapter which integrates with the Wii’s nun-chuck controller. This gives you access to a top quality 3-axis accelerometer, 2-axis joystick as well as 2 buttons. Can only imagine what I can get up to with this mmm…
Now a mechanical relay is basically just a switch for high voltage current applications. Your Arduino cannot handle high voltages, and this is where relays come into play. Relays act as a switch to pass high voltages, but only need a small current to “activate” the switch. So think of your household light switch. The switch itself would be the relay, and your finger would be your Arduino, where you can control the lights just by moving the switch up and down, without having all that voltage flowing through you.