Friday, February 25, 2011

Spreadsheet: "Date Added" Column, More Boards

So many people have asked for a column on the Arduino-compatible board spreadsheet showing the date when each board was added, so I put that on the spreadsheet this week. I had to sift through the revisions, but it wasn't too much of a pain.

Also new to the spreadsheet:
  • Six boards by the Indian company Bhasha, all through-hole except for the FTDI USB chips, mostly simple designs but it's clear from the traces that the boards were reworked slightly. Interesting to see the "Severino" Single Sided Serial V3 design offered for sale, something I haven't seen elsewhere.
  • Zigduino by Logos Electromechanical is offering their first run of IEEE 802.15.4 radio-equipped boards for $70. I've been looking forward to these boards coming out, but the price seems high given that you could buy an Arduino FIO for $25 and an XBee module for $19, so $44 total, or a Freakduino Chibi for $33. I hope the high price is only for this first run and that it is lower when Logos goes into full scale production, but I also wonder if it's as easy to use as the widely available XBee modules for which there are many example sketches available. It does have XBee "Pro" capabilities though, and I'm not familiar enough with 802.15.4 to really compare it to other offerings. I look forward to more complete documentation on its specs along with full design files since it's unclear what its equipment and capabilities are.

Open Source Hardware Definition 1.0

The Open Source Hardware ("OSHW") definition version 1.0 was released a few weeks ago, and a bunch of organizations and people (like me!) have signed on in support of the definition and of OSHW in general.

One of my favorite parts, emphasis mine:
4. Derived Works
The license shall allow modifications and derived works, and shall allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original work. The license shall allow for the manufacture, sale, distribution, and use of products created from the design files, the design files themselves, and derivatives thereof.
If I'm reading that right, by allowing and not obliging derivative works to adhere to the definition, industry is encouraged to incorporate as much or as little OSHW thinking as they like into their products. I think this is key for encouraging manufacturers at large to think in terms of making their products hackable, but more importantly, servicable. Of course companies will need to lay out all kinds of disclaimers for when you break their products when you were trying to fix them, but that's already standard practice. This is getting interestinger all the time...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Spreadsheet Edits

I've made some changes to my Arduino-compatible boards spreadsheet lately: I added a few boards, removed boards which are no longer available, and made some general changes.

  • Stripduino by TinkerAct! has a small SMD area for its Arduino-compatible core, with IO pins in a line next to a stripboard area for on-board prototyping. There was an initial issue with the name of the board, but it seems straightened out now, and the design is lovely-- nothing extraneous. It reminds me of one of my favorite boards, Prototino by Spikenzie Labs.
  • "Drum Kit - Kit AI" by SpikenzieLabs, a "maybe not" Arduino-compatible board for creating a MIDI 6-pad drum kit using piezo sensors stuck to just about anything.
  • rEDI Education Board by Rogue Robotics is a prototyping board with buttons, LED's, a piezo speaker and volume knob, real time clock, high-powered 5V voltage regulator, servo headers, and a breadboard area. Also "maybe not" Arduino-compatible since it runs an ATmega644P, so it needs a custom bootloader.
  • A bunch of boards by Fundamental Logic which apparently stopped accepting orders in May of 2010. That makes me sad since they offered some interesting boards, but thankfully the designs are still online for reference. My favorites: iDuino, StickDuino, MPGuino.
  • Modified Pico was a very compact, breadboard-friendly Duemilanove-compatible board. Thankfully details (including design files) are still available.
  • Rampage Robot Base V4 was an Arduino-powered robot platform with headers for a shield. Looks like its creator has moved on to more complex microcontrollers.
  • Zuccherino by Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories was to be "a low-cost, scalable, and extremely versatile open-source motion control platform," but the project has not had an update in a while. I look forward to more from this project.
  • "Flexi" was an inexpensive breadboard-friendly clone, not sure what happened but the domain now hosts a useless/spammy link page.
  • I just added a "By" column for designer, author or manufacturer. I'd like it to be simply "Author," but some companies [cough] mostly sell other peoples' designs, so I'm not sure whom to credit.
  • I'd like to add more information about when boards were edited or checked, but wading through the revision history in Google Docs is a pain. A few people have suggested this and I like the idea, but I can't figure out how to track down the details.
  • I updated a bunch of boards' links, prices, and chip; a few use ATmega328s but used to be ATmega168s.
As always, please email me with any suggestions or corrections!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Minimal*duino V.96

I've done a little work on my "Minimalduino" Arduino-compatible board design lately:
  • Moved the fourth standoff mount hole to line up with the Uno's new fourth standoff hole (which they didn't make aligned to the one across the way!).
  • Fattened up the traces to make it more home-etcher-friendly: .016" and .024" traces, .018" min. separation.
  • Spread out the components, reduced the jumper count, and removed the I2C header.
  • Added pads for a mini USB jack, for power only. (I'm not sure about the grounded heat sink of a 7805 shorting to the 5V trace so I put in a solder bridge, but it's fine for making at home using real wires for the top layer jumpers.) So many options for powering this sucker!
Files can be found here.

Thinking about running this at 3.3V, I don't think it would work right for programming or for running with the FTDI cable attached.

Update: I had some v.97 boards made (DorkbotPDX order ftw!), same as .96 but with curvy traces and a few parts moved a little, here's one assembled: