Computing stuff tied to the physical world

Building the JeeNode v4

In Hardware on Dec 6, 2009 at 00:01

Here are the updated build instructions, using the latest v4 board.

This is the contents of the kit:


You’ll need some basic skill at soldering but don’t worry, as there are only a few parts to solder on. The best way is to start with the lowest-profile part, that way you can place things flat on the table and press down to keep the parts in place. So let’s start with the 10 KΩ resistor:


Turn the board around and solder the leads:



Then carefully cut them off:


Don’t cut them too short, the bottom one is a bit too close to the board:


Now add the four 0.1µF ceramic capacitors and solder them:


Then add the 10 µF capacitor. This one is polarized, so make sure it is connected the right way around (the gray band is “-“, the long lead is “+”):


Newer kits contain a smaller version of this capacitor:


It sits upright, instead of bent to the side – again, make sure it’s inserted the right way around:


Next the IC socket, which is a bit more work – note the notch on the left side:


Update – May 2010 – if your IC socket doesn’t fit on the PCB, check this post (or this note) for a way to fix it.

The best thing is to solder two diagonally opposite pins, then check that the socket is pushed in all the way:


After soldering the remaining 26 pins, you’ll end up with this:


Next the voltage regulator IC. Unlike previous versions of the board, the markings are now correct for the regulator in the kit. Just bend the middle pin out and push the wires through – don’t bend the wires too far or too often, they break off easily:


The 16 MHz resonator is next, it’s the tallest part on the board – be sure to cut those remaining leads off:


The FTDI header is for connection with a serial/USB interface board. If you have flat pins, solder them to the top of the board:


In some of the kits, an angled header is used instead (this offers less mounting choices):


Push it on the board from above, and solder the underside, to end up with this:


You’re almost there now. The radio module is a surface mounted module and needs a slightly different approach. Put a bit of solder on one pad:


Then place the module over it and reheat to stick it in place:


Once correctly positioned, add solder to each of the remaining pads to make shiny round joints:


A yellow antenna wire is included in the kit – attach it to pin 1 of the radio module. You can bend it as needed afterwards:


The last step is adding the four 6-pin port headers.

The holes for these headers are staggered – it’s slightly harder to insert the headers, but the big advantage is that they will stay in place when you turn the board around for soldering:


I just insert pins from one end to the other, “wiggling” the header a bit to get all the pins into their holes.

Good, the soldering is over. Now bend the pins of the ATmega microcontroller slightly inwards so it fits into the socket. Make sure you only press it firmly down after all the pins are in the proper position.

Voilá! Your finished JeeNode:


If you have a USB-BUB adapter, you can now plug it in and try out the board (note the 3.3V jumper – the JeeNode uses 3.3V logic signals). The ATmega that comes with the kit is pre-loaded with the RFM12demo sketch to get you up and running in no time:


That’s it. Congratulations with your new JeeNode v4 – you’re all done!

  1. I used your build instructions to build a JeeNode today. With these clear instructions it was easy to do it. As you wrote in earlier posts it was indeed fun to DIY ! It took me about 45 minutes to assemble it (I was very carefull to do each step right). I’m sure that I will complete my second JeeNode much quicker now.

  2. “The holes for these headers are staggered.” Brilliant!!!!!!!

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