If you want a productive hobby to take up to keep you busy one weekend, Arduino is a great little micro controller that has thousands of documented projects by users ranging from simple to very complex. Due to the compact size of Arduino you can mount it anywhere and there are many development board enclosures that allow you to discretely mount your Arduino anywhere you want, even outside if you use an IP rated enclosure. Here are our top 5 picks

  1. Motion-Triggered Night Lights Under the Bed

If you get up in the night and don’t want to disturb your partner, or just blind yourself with switching the mains light on, then this project might just be for you. LED lights are hooked up under your bed and then are triggered to be switched on using a motion controller and an Arduino.

  1. Ambilight Sensor to Your LCD Display

If you are a PC gamer then you may be familiar with the gaudy trend of RGB lighting. However, if you want something a little more subtle this project looks light a great way to add some lighting to your display, making movies and gaming a little more immersive. You will need some woodworking skills but the project looks quite straight forward and you can read more about it here

  1. A Tiny Weather Display

This Arduino project uses an Adafruit HUZZAH board (that runs Arduino) and a small OLED graphic display to show off the current weather, today’s highs, and tomorrow’s weather. Plus, it’s tiny, and everyone loves tiny electronics.

  1. BB8 Droid

One of the more advanced projects for a hobbyist is to build a life-sized, phone-controlled Starwars BB-8. It requires an awful lot of parts to complete it but as you can see from the Instructables page the end result is amazing

  1. Arduino Etch-a-Sketch Clock

I have no artistic talent so always sucked at Etch-a-Sketch, but they were a great toy and are still popular today. With this project you can build a great retro looking etch a sketch clock. The instructions are quite detailed but it requires quite a lot of parts and if you look at the cost of things, the final project ends up being quite pricey at over £70 in the end!