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.

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EEWeb Site of the Day

EEWebHobbybotics will be the Electrical Engineering Community (EEWeb) featured site of the day on Friday 22 February, 2013.  I have been to the site on numerous occasions but was not aware of the user engineering blog section.  there is a lot of good resources available for experienced engineers and hobbyist alike.  EEWeb also provides a free circuit simulation tool know as PartSim.

PartSim-Sidebar-Graphic“PartSim is a free and easy to use circuit simulator that runs in your web browser.”

A plus for PartSim is the integrated Bill Of Materials (B.O.M) that allows one to assign Digikey part numbers to their designs.  I’ll definitely add the site to my “Daily View List” and give the circuit simulator a whirl.  Hey, it might save me from some of the design mistakes I tend to discover after I have already sent board files off to be produced.

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 – File2Part: Software That Makes 3D Printing Easy

I am now a supporter of the crowd-funded open-source project known as File2part.  File2Part provides slicing and file fixing software compatible with a range of 3D printers including MakerBot and Bits from Bytes.  The software provides an easy OneClick solution for 3D printing and supports importing of STL, PLY, VRML, 3DS, DXF, OBJ, LWO and SketchUp Collada files.  Each file is automatically checked for printability and repaired if necessary.  Parts are automatically positioned in the build box and all the user needs to do is press a build button.

Pledge $99 and you will receive lifetime upgrades.  Versions will be available for Windows and Mac with Linux to follow in future upgrades.  More information can be found on their website here.