Projects – Hobbybotics Reflow Controller Quad V1.0

Here’s a quick update to the new reflow controller project I introduced earlier.  I have fully populated one of the prototype boards and began to write test sketches to ensure it functions properly.  The project is moving a little slower right now as I am in the process of closing on a new house and that has been taking up a lot of my time.

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The last picture shows an early prototype for the LCD/Button interface for the controller.  I am in the process of redesigning the LCD/Button interface to use a 4-way rotary navigation switch with a center select button.  I borrowed this idea from the Viki LCD project over on Kick Starter.  I’ll post more updates in the coming weeks.

Projects – Hobbybotics Reflow Controller Quad V1.0

I’ve been working on a redesign of the original reflow controller.  Here are the features for the new board:

  1. Four MAX31855 Type-K Thermocouple interfaces
  2. DS3234 Real Time Clock with battery backup
  3. FT231x USB
  4. XBee or Bluetooth Wireless
  5. MCP23008 I/O Expanders for 2-wire expanded communication
  6. ULN2803 Darlington buffered output relay/SSR control
  7. Internal or external micro SD interface
  8. External LCD I2C interface/input
  9. ATMega 1284P TQFP AVR with Arduino bootloader
  10. 16 MHz Crystal

Take a look at the new board:

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download

 I’ll post more on this project in the coming days.  I’ll be offering this project as a full kit for those who are interested.

Parts – Teensy 3.0, an affordable 32 bit ARM Cortex-M4 board, for development in Arduino or C/C++

It took me a while to jump on board the Arduino bandwagon but, I found myself hooked on how easy it was to learn, the many libraries available and the subset of the C/C++ programming language that it uses.  What I do not like about the Arduino is its limited flash memory.  I’d like to have something with more flash memory and the same ease of use.

Along comes the Teensy 3.0 that just wrapped up a very successful Kickstarter campaign.  The Teensy 3.0 is a small breadboard friendly development board designed by Paul Stoffregen and PJRC.  The design uses a low-cost 32 bit ARM Cortex-M4 chip and is compatible with the Arduino programming environment as well as the C/C++ programming language.

Technical Specifications:

  • 32 bit ARM Cortex-M4 48 MHz CPU (M4 = DSP extensions)
  • 128K Flash Memory, 16K RAM, 2K EEPROM
  • 14* High Resolution Analog Inputs (13 bits usable, 16 bit hardware)
  • 34* Digital I/O Pins (10 shared with analog)
  • 10 PWM outputs
  • 8 Timers for intervals/delays, separate from PWM
  • USB with dedicated DMA memory transfers
  • 3 UARTs (serial ports)
  • SPI, I2C, I2S, IR modulator
  • I2S (for high quality audio interface)
  • Real Time Clock (with user-added 32.768 crystal and battery)
  • 4 general purpose DMA channels (separate from USB)
  • Touch Sensor Inputs
  • All pins have interrupt capability
  • 14 Digital-only and 10 Analog/Digital pins are accessible around the exterior of Teensy 3.0, and available when used on a breadboard.  10 more Digital-only pins, and 4 more Analog-only pins are accessible at interior and bottom-side pads.

Checkout the Kickstarter and project website for further details and to purchase.  Check out the Teensy forum for support and updates.

Software – codebender: A Web Platform for Hackers, Makers and Artists

I am now a supporter of the crowd-funded open-source project known as codebender.  Codebender is a cloud-based Arduino IDE that provides the capability to edit, compile and upload your code to an Arduino from a web browser.

The cloud based IDE implements clang which is a compiler that provides descriptive warnings, fast compile times, low memory usage and compatibility with GCC.  In addition, codebender contains built-in highlighting, Arduino documentation, support for libraries and a serial monitor.

  

  

  

Pledge $150 and you will receive exclusive access while the project is still in development, a monthly newsletter and an Arduino Ethernet preloaded with codebender’s (upcoming) TFTP bootloader.  The bootloader will allow any Internet connected Arduino to be programmed through a web browser locally or away from home.

All of the sources for codebender can be found on the associated Github page.

Project – Internet Enabled Multi-zone Thermostat (DesignSpark Challenge Entry)

I’m currently working on documenting this project but, here is a link to my entry for the DesignSpark Challenge. The competition has already been decided and my entry garnered an honorable mention award! This was the first competition that I entered and to win an honorable mention out of over 1000 entrants means a lot to me. I also won a Community Choice Award during the competition for the most popular project. I have to say this was a difficult competition as there was a lot of requirements. For instance, I had to learn how to use DesignSpark PCB as it was required to produce an extension board for the ChipKit Max32. I had to learn the ins and outs of the Max32 as it is/was not entirely compatible with all of the Arduino libraries. This meant some modifications to libaries in order to make them compatible with the Max32. Lastly, there was a long wait for the PCBs to be shipped from China which meant any mistakes in the board files meant lost development time (I made a few mistakes). Time management was definitely crucial in this competition and I ran all the way until the last few minutes for project completion trying to get everything together. A few mistakes kept me from adding all of the software features that I had intended but, I have pretty much completed them since the competition. Check out my entry here and be on the look out for full documentation on my blog to include some extension projects (There’s a lot of goodies in this design that can be carried over into other projects).

General – Optiboot 4.4

Been a long time coming but, today I officially updated all of the Hobbyduino boards to Optiboot 4.4 (same bootloader that is on the Uno).  I’ll follow this post up shortly with a tutorial on how I did it.  For those that cannot wait, you can take a look at my introduction for the Hobbyduino Mini Bootloader ISP Shield.  The process to load Optiboot is pretty much the same as that for the Arduino Duemilanove w/ ATmega 328 bootloader except the board type is now ‘Arduino Uno’.