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At the Electronics&Automation event in the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht they had a new gadget.
It's more common these days that technological events have eventgadgets. You have to walk past some company's in order to gather the components. So company's get people to sell their stuff to and the visitor gets a gadget.
At the E&A event you could gather a Helios gadget.
Even better, for the electro geeks. They build them at the event. There was a whole production line for making the gadget at the event.
Due to the publicity all the Helios gadgets where reserved they even needed to produce 500 pieces on the event itself to get all visitors happy.


What is a Helios. Well basically it is an:

  • Arduino with a:
    • WiFly module
    • LED matrix
    • RGB LED
    • high power LED's
    • color sensor
    • light sensor on board

So worth at least $60 of components for free, or like we Dutch people always see: "is gratis" (everywhere I come I hear this).

What's in the pack

When gathering this gadget this is what you get:

  • Battery's
  • USB A -> USB micro cable (standard)
  • Gadget itself, loaded with:
    • a software sketch which broadcasts a SSID
    • tested in front of you
    • calibrated at the event


Because of its popularity all the company's who worked on the Helios decided to make a support site where you can read (in dutch only) some information. At the moment of writing there is not that much data available but it will come in the future. Even for a n00b haxx0r Arduino is good place to begin so it couldn't be that difficult.


Actually legions of possibility's are within grasp. But maybe this is a nice tool for enhancing our space-automation.

Starting Problems

As in every project there are startup failures. In this case I got compile errors from my Arduino IDE:

Helios_EEPROM_24AA014.cpp:27:21: error: arduino.h: No such file or directory

So after thinking a lot and investigating my own machine, because that's where are problems start I decided to take a better look at the program code. Because the default blinky programs worked on a normal Arduino Uno.
So when I compared some .cpp files I noticed that a #include statement was including a file with lowercase chars. And the file I had on my system in /usr/share/arduino/hardware/arduino/cores/arduino started with a capital char 'A'. So it had to be

#include "Arduino.h"

To make sure I did a recursive grep in the library directory to the files which belong to the Helios device with the following command:

$ grep -R "arduino.h" ./

As a result I got these files:

  • Helios_EEPROM_24AA014.cpp
  • Helios_Temperature_Sensor_TMP006.cpp
  • BEURS_Colour_Sensor.TCS3414.cpp
  • Helios.cpp
  • Helios_Colour_Sensor.TCS3414.cpp

After changing those particular files, which wasn't that hard, the compile errors disappeared.
To commit something to the community I placed a post on the Helios website as well, which is documented in Dutch --> HeliosGadget - Forum Linux !! klein probleempje.
But after all the work we've got it working, as proof I placed a small video on youtube.


After some problems with the WiFi library's I placed a post on the Helios forum with my possible solution. But someone had actually read the datasheets and told me that the WiFly module is connected to the Serial1. The post I mentioned can be read here.

Short, this is the solution to it: Change this

WiFly wifly(2, 3);

into this:

WiFly wifly(&Serial1);

And place this in the setup()


Better Library's

For better WiFly library's look at these. These are the ones I used for updating and prototyping. https://github.com/kasperkamperman/WiFly_communicator



Serial output from a read_EEPROM program