Saturday, October 30, 2010

Introducing Wiseduino+

Updated June 10/2011
Added images of the schematic and board and provided the Eagles files.

On this new Arduino-compatible board, similar in form and function to the older Wiseduino, DS1307 was replaced with the extremely accurate real time clock DS3231 from Maxim.

All the other feature were left intact:
  • ATmega328;
  • on-board real time clock with battery backup;
  • on-board EEPROM (32K);
  • connector for XBee adapter from Adafruit (with remote upload capabilities);
  • parallel row of prototyping board-compatible headers;
  • power switch;
  • prototyping area (which can be cut off, if desired, and used as breakout for an 8-pin SOIC SMD);
  • 6-pin FTDI connector;
  • sketches for Wiseduino work without modifications.
Enhancements include:
  • ability to use either resonator or crystal (and 2 capacitors);
  • ability to connect to the interrupt pins of DS3231;
  • better (manual) trace routing.

Here are the top and the bottom of the board:

Here are Wiseduino+ and Wiseduino (both partially assembled) side by side:

As a note, the PCB manufacturer cannot currently make black boards anymore (or it is prohibitively expensive).

Monday, October 11, 2010

Contest - enclosure for BookClock

I am of the opinion that an electronics project is not finished until it is encased. I have lots of working boards sitting around and collecting dust (literally). They cannot be displayed/shown and sometimes not even touched as they are, since there is a potential for shorts or breaking connections because of the open circuitry or fragile wiring.

Here is an idea: a contest for the design of an enclosure, specifically for the BookClock project. I originally used a cardboard box as case, but that looks rather shabby. I tried to explore other, mostly wood-based (because opacity should be a requirement) solutions, but they are too complicated to manufacture (involving tooling, die-cuts etc). I think that one of the best suited solution for "mass" production and also accessible to amateurs and hobbyists, is laser-cutting the box sides, but this is just my suggestion.

So here are the contest rules and details:
  1. submit plans, containing drawings with dimensions, for a box for BookClock; basically, the book-sized box should hold the 8x32 LED matrix display from Sure Electronics (datasheet here) on a side, and the Arduino board inside.
  2. email the design file (PDF, DGW, DXF, PNG, BMP, JPG) to s o m e o n e @ c i f o . c o m;
  3. deadline for submission is Nov 15, 2010;
  4. the best design(s) will be awarded DWex watch(es);
  5. the design must be open source (publishable, downloadable);

The winner(s) will be chosen based on the following criteria, not necessarily in this order:
  • solution cost: the cheaper, the better; this involves materials and processing work (labor/machining/assembly/finishing);
  • design: how it looks;
  • originality, special features, cool factor.

I will be posting on the contest entries and announce the winner a few days after the contest ends on Nov 15.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

DWex is here! Real and ready!

Thank you for 17 days of unbelievable patience.
I will ship all outstanding orders tomorrow, plus the promised (see comments here) gift (a small step to your next clock project).
It may sound like an excuse, but this kind of delay happens in the big leagues as well, even at a grander scale. I myself ordered from Texas Instruments their Chronos watch development kit, in November of 2009. Almost one year later, I received the shipping confirmation. If you don't believe me, look at the snapshot below.