Cold. After trying the obvious, I took the cover off the business end, and we could see that although power was getting to the fan, the auger wasn’t going round. The only thing I could think of was that in the recent awful weather, my pellets had got damp, and seized the auger. The only question was had it just seized, or had I burned out the motor too.
After hesitating over how the device is going to connect to the outside world, I decided to abandon the idea of a WiFi shield, and bought a standard Ethernet Shield instead. The reasons for this were various.
Having the arduino control a relay.
One reason for this was that I felt I hadn’t progressed as far with playing with the kit as I had plannned; spending the day in front of a desk and computer for work, I hardly want to do the same in the evenings! Having the netbook working meant I could experiment with it on the sofa downstairs, while watching TV.
I’m new to the Arduino (although not to programming), so my first step was to buy a simple Arduino experimenter’s kit and do some general non-BBQ projects, to familiarise myself with the kit and its capabilities. This is still ongoing. I made a point only to buy the Arduino kit, and not the add-ons I might later require, such as the WiFi and LCD Screen options – doing so means I will learn to walk before I run, and limits my spend, in case the project doesn’t fly.
I’ve just ordered the StartFun Inventor’s Kit to get me going, which is a heap of varied components together with an Arduino Uno controller – an easily programmable microcontroller. It looks a lot of fun, and it is possible to build quite a bit of stuff with a minimum of soldering, which suits me. It means I can play away developing my prototype, then call in a friend with a steadier hand when I have something worth building.