Computing stuff tied to the physical world

JeePlugs are on their way

In Hardware on Jun 25, 2009 at 00:01

Ok, I’ve decided to get a bunch of JeePlugs made.

A JeePlug is a little prototype board designed to fit exactly on one or two port headers of a JeeNode (or JeeLink). Here’s the layout:

Picture 6.png

See an earlier post for a description of how these plugs can be fitted to the JeeNode / JeeLink.

Some of the holes are connected in a pairwise fashion. With traces which can be cut when such a connection is not desired. The outermost two rows are for header pins and wires to connect to each pin, respectively.

The main intended use for these plugs is as a mini-breadboard hanging off the side of the JeeNode, so that up to four of these can be attached at the same time. But sometimes a single AIO + DIO pin just isn’t enough, in which case these plugs can be used as mini-shields bridging across two opposite ports.

It’s pretty low-tech obviously, but I expect these plugs to be a huge time-saver. Not just because they make it easy to hook up all sorts of sensors, indicators, and actuators, but because the result really is a plug. They can be mixed and matched at will, since all ports are equivalent. All that’s needed is to adjust the port number in the sketch / code to match the chosen header, a trivial 1-line change.

And because ports are so versatile, each plug can be an analog + digital I/O line, or an I2C bus, or a serial line. There are definitely limits to this approach, given that a JeeNode is after all based on a micro-controller, not a full-blown PC – but still.

Being flexible, modular, and inexpensive – that’s what JeeNode ports are really about. Oh yes… and wireless :)

I hope to get various plug examples going in the Jee Labs in the months ahead.