Computing stuff tied to the physical world

New board summary

In Hardware on Mar 7, 2010 at 00:01

Here is a summary of the boards which are currently being, eh … prepared? etched? sprayed? drilled?

First of all, a new JeeNode USB with improved voltage regulator setup:

Screen shot 2010-03-07 at 00.53.02.png

The Dimmer Plug contains a 16-channel LED dimmer with independent PWM brightness control, using I2C:

Screen shot 2010-03-07 at 00.53.25.png

The Lux Plug contains a sensitive light meter with high dynamic range, using I2C:

Screen shot 2010-03-07 at 00.53.36.png

The Gravity Plug contains a 3-axis accelerometer with 2..8G range, using I2C:

Screen shot 2010-03-07 at 00.53.45.png

The Proximity Plug connects up to 8 contacts as capacitive sensing switches, using I2C:

Screen shot 2010-03-07 at 00.53.58.png

The Input Plug supports 16 inputs, as either analog or digital inputs (not I2C):

Screen shot 2010-03-07 at 00.54.09.png

And three more boards. One of them is a mystery sensor – I’ve masked out its name for now :)

Screen shot 2010-03-07 at 00.56.00.png

The other two boards are experimental boards of a different kind – I’ll describe ’em when they work.

I’ve started setting up documentation pages for these new PCBs, but so far that’s just the EAGLE files. Will add more info in the coming week – with luck they’ll be back hereĀ for testing within the next 10 days.

I guess the best tactic for me now, is to just forget about this and work on some other stuff for a while. Drat.

Patience, patience, patience. I hope it pays off!

  1. Can I humbly suggest the jeenode usb has a pair of strain releiving holes so that we can thread in and solder wires to a clip for use with batteries? I.e. just like the battery connections on non-USB jeenodes? I know it will spend most of its time powered by USB, but it is vry useful to detatch it, add a battery, and go walkabouts – it make it very versatile for simple folk like me. Also, as has been said before, a hole through the board to make it easier to solder or resolder antennae; possibly with an earth connection nearby for the attachment of more fancy directional antennae. Thanks again for all you have done, Nick

    • The strain relief (as included on the “basic” JeeNode) would be nice, but it might be hard to fit in – I’ve had to spend quite some time to fit everything in there (my EAGLE skills are increasing, but still fairly limited…).

      The upcoming JeeNode USB revision has something else, though: an on-board LiPo battery charger (and charge LED). I’ve redesigned the power side of things, so that the on-board FTDI chip will not draw power from an attached battery. This means that more serious battery-powered use will hopefully become feasible for the JeeNode USB. The idea is that it’ll work as before on USB, but when a LiPo battery is attached, it’ll also automatically charge it from USB. Depending on the size of the LiPo battery, I’m hoping it can be fixed to the back… somehow.

      As for an extra hole for the antenna wire: look closely in the above board layout – it’s in there.

  2. So this version will be just as good on batteries as the non-USB JeeNode? That’s clever!

    Would it be possible to trickle-charge the whole thing from Solar etc? That would be exceedingly neat, especially for those of us who only need to wake up every 10 to 30 mins and take a reading.

    I wondered about the antenna hole, that’s great news too. Many thanks Nick

    • Solar-cell trickle charging would be neat. Yet another project I’d love to work on – never a dull moment, eh? :)

  3. A humidity sensor would also be nice, one that could be inserted in the earth of a vase so that we can control when the plants need watering…

  4. Ahh, these new plugs are just perfectly timed. I am working on a multi-aquarium controller, and have been looking for something like this.

    The plan is to support up to 16 aquariums. The dimmer plug seems perfect for dimming the lights. The new input plug seems perfect for the temperature readings and the proximity plug may be the solution for the capacitive level sensors.

    Hmmm, seems like I’ll need to make an order again soon….

  5. I am so glad i found your site for the second time! First time i was just surfing around and did not set a bookmark. More and more ideas popped into my mind every night and but then i did not find your site even trying for hours! But now, searching for XBee Infos – i am back and happy ;)

    I am ready to buy the starter pack but wonder if i should wait for the improved version of the JeeNode USB – what do you thin, when will the be available or in the starter Kit when all the older versions are sold out?

    • The only essential difference between JN USB v2 and v3 will be that the v3 will support LiPo batteries (I hope – it has yet to be tested). It will take another week before it’s ready for the shop (unless I made some silly mistake on the board).

      It is of course up to you, and as you say there will always be something new in the future. But I wouldn’t call this a “major change”. If you decide to go ahead – your Wireless Starter Pack can go out tomorrow (I have all the parts in stock again).

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