Computing stuff tied to the physical world

Mounting a JeeNode with plugs

In Hardware on Jul 9, 2009 at 00:01

As promised: here’s an idea how to combine things. First let me show that plug pinout again – because I can…

Picture 3.png

An idea I’d like to present is to mount the JeeNode facing down. The board would look something like this:


Each of the four port groups has the corresponding pins tied together. With a JeeNode plugged in you get this:


And with some example plugs added:


Note how plugs mount the proper way up, i.e. lying flat on the perf-board, because the upside-down mounting of the JeeNode takes care of mirroring the connector. The only thing to keep in mind is that port numbering now runs clockwise, with port 1 in the top right.

The extra female headers can be used for testing, or as simple breadboard pins for hooking up some LEDs. Some space could be saved by leaving them out, though.

I think there could be several advantages to this setup:

  • plugging stuff in the “right” way becomes quite obvious
  • if you wire up plugs appropriately, you can chain them sideways (i.e. for I2C use)
  • mix and match: put some components directly on the board if you prefer
  • it’s all easily constructed with off-the-shelf “perf board” (with or without copper)
  • it could even be made from a piece of cardboard with a few holes in it
  • my favorite fastening system works: a couple of zip-locks to tie things down
  • for better protection, simply add a cover and leave cables coming out the side
  • the whole sandwich can be solidified with spacers and remains low-profile
  • it’s all laid out in the plane – place a paper design on the board to guide you
  • it’s easily documented: just take a picture of it…

But perhaps best of all, you can still create a completely different setup for permanent use. Just unplug everything and re-assemble it in some other orientation. So while this approach takes up relatively much space for the connectors, it does give you total flexibility to re-arrange things any time later.

I’ll try this out in a couple of projects. But even just with this mockup I noticed that having the plugs flat on a supporting surface makes it all surprisingly stable, and easy to carry around.