Computing stuff tied to the physical world

Strobit boards

In AVR, Hardware on May 22, 2009 at 00:01

Stephen Eaton, the guy behind Strobit, very generously sent me two of his boards and prototype boards:

Strobit boards

These units run at 3.3V by powering them off a corresponding USB interface, such as the boards from Modern Device and SparkFun. And it’s fully compatible with the RF12 driver and the RF12demo sketch – I’ve run a successful test with it. This particular unit has no crystal, so it’s running off its internal 8 MHz RC clock. Works fine, just treat it as an Arduino LilyPad in the IDE.

As you can probably see these well-designed boards are slightly shorter and wider than a JeeNode. Very neat to see the SMD stuff on there – clearly lots of room left. Note that the board doesn’t have a voltage regulator – it’s intended to run straight off a CR123 battery, for which connections exist on the back.

A really neat trick is that the holes for the header pins are slightly staggered. This means that when you push in a header, it fits snugly even before soldering – a huge convenience, considering how soldering those headers is always a bit tricky on the JeeNode, especially with 4-pin headers.

Lots of attention to detail, such as the silkscreen text where you can mark which frequency band module has been used. And two (pretty bright) red leds.

Another neat feature is the prototype board (“shield” in DuinoSpeak):

Strobit boards

Lots of room for some custom stuff. Room for 4 through-hole LEDs + resistors, a reset button, and an ISP connector. This could also be used to mount a LDO voltage regulator. Given that the Strobit board itself is so flat, I’m inclined to place this shield underneath to keep total height to a minimum – but that’s just me, and would not be optimal while trying out stuff.

Anyway: congratulations, Stephen – I’ll report further when I get to do more with these units.