USB Extender Rev 1


My first revision of the USB extender that will be used to extend the Arduino USB connections to the outside of my electronics box on the back of my machine. I added in the footprints of the USB connectors and re-routed the traces in a simpler fashion. This will allow me to re-program the machine without having to open up the access panels.

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Testing the 8 Channel Relay Module Video

I finally got around to making a video of my new relay module! Check it out!

I am using the Arduino Mega 2560 to drive the relays. The digital outputs on the Arduino (5V) are used to switch the relays on and off. The relays are switching a 3.3V source from the Arduino to turn on the green and yellow LED’s. The program divides the time delay by 2 on every loop through the 8 channels until it reaches about 10 milliseconds between switching.

Here is a link to the code that I wrote: relay_test_code

Post your Comments!

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Relay Module For Mixer Valves

I finally purchased this 8 channel relay module to control my mixer valves. This was sourced on eBay for less than $10 and is worth every penny. If you were to buy the parts individually and build it yourself it would cost much more.


This module is easily controlled by the Arduino. It only takes 5V and less than 30mA (convenient that the Arduino digital outputs are exactly this) to turn on the relays. The relay can switch up to 30V and 10A DC. Perfect for my 12V valves I have chosen.

There are many different versions of this module that you can purchase that use different types of parts to accomplish the same task. I chose a mechanical relay version with status LED’s mostly because I like to hear the clicking sound when the relays turn on, and the LED’s are nice so you can have a positive indication of when a relay is on or off.

I will be posting a video of me testing the module with my Arduino soon.

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USB Extender PCB

I was inspired by multiple blogs that explained how to create your own printed circuit boards. This can be a very time consuming process, however, it has benefits. Outsourcing your PCB’s to get made can cost hundreds of dollars but you can do it all yourself with some things that you might already have laying around. I have not gone through the whole process yet but I will post it when I do. For now I will just talk about my design.

I downloaded the Eagle CAD software here for designing my board:

It is fairly self explanatory to use without much instruction. That is if you are familiar with electronics terms and how PCB’s are made. If not there are plenty of tutorials online about how to use the software.

My first design was for a USB extender card. I plan on having a case mounted to the back of the Liquorator to house all of my electronics and wiring. Including the Arduinos. This will be something like a desktop computer case where there are ports on the outside for inputs and outputs. The card will allow me to extend my Arduino USB cables for programming to the outside of the case. I ordered USB type A and B through-hole connectors from eBay that will solder to the card. I will be able to plug in my computer to program my Arduinos into the side of the case, instead of having to open the case and plug into the Arduinos directly for making programming changes. Below is a screenshot of my board design: The board is about 2.15 x 1.8 inches.



After I finalize my design, I will print this using a laser printer. Since the material the printer uses is a plastic type, it can be easily transferred to a copper clad board using a hot iron. I will then use a chemical to etch away the copper that is not covered with the plastic material. This will create the circuit traces for the PCB. I will post the process in more detail later. Search “DIY PCB with laser printer” on Google if you want more information.

Please post your comments!


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Liquorator Cocktail List!

Here it is everyone, the first draft of the cocktail list for The Liquorator. After many searches online for good cocktail ideas, I think I have come up with a list that has quite a variety of drinks to suit many tastes.

Click on the link below to download the Excel spreadsheet. It is organized in a table so you can sort by drink name and ingredients.


Please post your comments or drink ideas! I will read them!

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First Sketchup drawings of The Liquorator

I have finally got around to posting some screen shots of my initial google sketchup drawings  for The Liquorator. This is a very rough idea of what I would like the frame and some of the other parts to look like. (Control panel, X axis cart rails, Y axis cart rails)


At the moment, the main support frame is about 50″ in length, 20″ in width, and 20″ in height. This will most likely change significantly as I start gathering materials and finding out what is realistic. The first prototype frame will probably be made out of mild steel due to cost and ease of welding. Eventually I would like this to be constructed of aluminum so that it is much lighter and easier to transport.liquorator_frame2

The blue colored part underneath the cart is the stepper motor that will be used to move the cart along the X axis. I will have a small timing belt pulley attached to this stepper motor, with a neoprene, fiberglass re-enforced timing belt attached at both ends of the frame to allow the cart to move back and forth with precision. The rails will be made out of stainless steel so that we avoid rusting and extra friction on the cart sliders. An acrylic type material will be used to guide the cart on the rails with its lower friction qualities. Blocking will be placed underneath the rails to give the cart something to push down on while activating the liquor dispensing optics. These “optics” will be the topic of another post really soon.

Please post your questions, comments, or ideas!

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Wiring Diagram of The Liquorator (Revision 0)

Here is the first schematic drawing of The Liquorator wiring. This is a rough draft of what I would like to see. It only gives general pin out configurations. Nothing specific. That will come in the next revision when I have time to figure out exactly which pins on the Arduino are going where.

Schematic Rev 0

(Click to enlarge)

The power supply shown will be a desktop computer power supply from the first computer I ever built. It should be able to supply the current that all of my components will need. The stepper motors (for cart movement) and electronic solenoids (for mixer liquid control) will draw the most current, (possibly up to 1 or 2 amps) but should still be under the maximum that the power supply can handle. Everything else is fairly low powered.

I had to add in an Arduino UNO to control the 16 RGB LED’s. The pins on the Arduino Mega used to control the stepper motors happened to be the same pins needed to control the TLC5940 chips on the LED controller. So the two Arduinos will communicate via serial to avoid pin conflict issues.

The stepper motors I will use can be found here: They can also be found on Amazon for a few dollars more.

The solenoid valves I spoke of above can be found on eBay. They are 1/4″ NPT Electric Solenoid Valves. A quick Google search could reveal other similar options as well.

More component details will be posted soon.

Please post your questions, comments, or ideas!

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