Computing stuff tied to the physical world

Meet the Ether Card

In AVR, Hardware, Software on May 24, 2010 at 00:01

Yesterday’s post was a sneaky way to show you a glimpse of an exciting new addition to the always-evolving Jee Labs product range – meet the Ether Card !

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It’s a low-end Ethernet extension card, with a form-factor specifically made for the Carrier Board + Box:

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It is based on the good ol’ trusty ENC28J60 chip, with all the components needed to hook it up to a JeeNode (or any other unit running the SPI bus at 3.3V).

I’ve started working a bit on the software side. The Ether Card is pretty standard in every respect, with the GPL2 code by Pascal Stang and Guido Socher working just fine with it. All it needs is a different chip select pin (PB0, Arduino pin 8) and proper interrupt guards to prevent the RF12 driver from interfering.

The card has been running smoothly for days on end here. It gets slightly warm, I’d estimate some 20°C above ambient. The regulator stays cool when powered from 5V. Total current draw is ≈ 150 mA, incl. JeeNode.

The Ether Card only uses through-hole parts, no SMDs. It has been added to the shop as kit and as PCB-only version. Here’s the PCB – in glorious blue-and-gold:

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Here’s a sample web server requiring under 10 Kb of flash and showing a page with the last 25 RF12 packets:

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So there you have it. JeeNodes can now handle wireless and wired networking.

It’s going to be oodles of fun to develop software for / on / with this Ether Card!

Credits: I would like to thank Andras Tucsni, who started the ball rolling by prototyping a complete working system and implementing the chip-select and interrupt changes needed for inter-operation with the RF12 driver on SPI. Andras also wrote the demo sketch which generated the above output. Knowing that it can be done and having working sample code makes a huge difference!

  1. Wow! Now this is a very cool addition. Might be able to doaway with the OpenWRT idea for internet connected Jeenodez!

  2. How cool is this? :D Keep it up!

  3. What will be the next one, a wireless card?!?!? PLEAAAAAAASE!

    • What would the usage scenario be? JeeNodes are wireless, so all you need is one of them close the the LAN, right? Isn’t this just a matter of adding an EtherCard in one of the JeeNodes to get WiFi connectivity via your wireless router?

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