[MakingThingsWork] wanted an accurate way to keep track of the weight of his beehive, so he decided to build himself a data logging electronic scale. First he ripped the strain gauges from an old electronic scale which he then fitted to his home made beehive base. He then went about designing and building the control board which is based about the Attiny 85 (if you hadn’t guessed by the banner). An instrumentation amplifier was used to amplify the signal from the strain gauge, which is then read by the ADC on the Attiny. It looks like he had some trouble getting consistent results from the scale, so to eliminate the error caused by temperature variations he set up a fixed voltage divider for reference. With this setup the scale can produce results at +/- 0.5lb accuracy, sounds just fine for a system that cost less than $50. The V-usb project software has been used to connect the scale to his PC which he uses to collect and graph the data. All in all a very neat project and by the looks of it, some very productive bees.
If you like messing around with electronics, one of the best tools you can have on hand is a solderless breaboard. These handy little chunks of plastic just let you “plug n play” so you can quickly develop a circuit before committing it to solder and fiberglass. Handy as they are, they do have their downsides such as: stuff not fitting, split up power rails, running out of jumpers or just taming what can quickly become a birds nest of a mess.
Luckily the folks over at [Proto Stack] have published a handy article giving us 8 Breadboard Hacks. While anyone that has used breadboads for any length of time will have probably figured most of these out, its still good knowledge for any newcomers to the sometimes aggravating world of plastic and jumpers.
Also we know there are more hacks you can do to make your lives easier and would love to hear them in the comments.