July 07, 2010
I love seeing the imaginative things that people create using either Freetronics products or ideas from Practical Arduino. Phillip Stevens has been working on a retrograde clock, and it's a great example of using the prototyping area on the TwentyTen to save fitting a prototyping shield for just a few parts.
Check out Phillip's excellent work on his blog:
May 31, 2010
The 433MHz Receiver Shield has been an unexpected smash hit, and now we've made it even better. The original design used an RXB1 receiver module just like the ones you can buy in Jaycar and other parts retailers. It's the small green PCB you can see here attached to the top of the shield.
The RXB1 is a self-contained radio receiver module that does the job of taking the raw radio signal with its ASK (Amplitude Shift Keying) modulated data stream and turning it into logical 1s and 0s to send out via a data connection to the Arduino for analysis in software. It's a handy little module that does the job very well.
But now thanks to some detective work by Marc and the assistance of contacts in China we've switched to the RXB6 module.
The main improvement in the RXB6 is greater sensitivity, allowing it to pull in weak signals that the RXB1 just can't latch onto. One of the things I personally use a 433MHz Receiver Shield for is collecting data from a La Crosse weather station (hmmm, I think that may have been documented in a book somewhere) and it's been very marginal with the weather station on the other side of a metal roof. Once I switched to a newer shield using the RXB6 all the reception problems went away and it's been perfectly reliable ever since.
May 28, 2010
One of the first TwentyTens to ship was promptly modified by Phillip Stevens to increase the MCU frequency from the factory 16MHz to 22.1184Mhz! Phillip removed the original crystal and replaced it with a higher-frequency part, and modified the MCU bootloader to operate correctly at that frequency.
See all the details (and a brief review of the TwentyTen) on his blog:
May 26, 2010
Sometimes I come across symbols in circuit schematics that make me double take and say "what the...?" under my breath. Engineers seem to have a tendency to want to keep tweaking things even when they're "good enough", and the result is a huge variety of symbols used to represent even common parts.
There have been many symbol guides published online over the years, but "Electrical WHAT?!" is probably the best I've seen yet. Check it out at http://electricalwhat.com/
May 13, 2010
The first production run of the Freetronics TwentyTen is complete and we're in the process of getting stock over to our resellers Little Bird Electronics and Toys Down Under as quickly as we can. In the meantime feast your eyes on this little beauty:
The TwentyTen has been specifically designed to be a successor to the Arduino Duemilanove ("2009") design, and maintains all the great things about the Duemilanove while applying a few fixes and improvements. There's plenty more information on the TwentyTen page, but some of the highlights are:
- USB port switched to mini-B connector. No more problems with shorting out against shields! We even bundle in a free mini USB cable.
- Prototyping area so you can use the TwentyTen in many permanent projects without requiring a prototyping shield.
- LEDs brought out onto the edge tab so you can see them when a shield is mounted on top.
- PCB markings on the top and the bottom so you can easily see what you're connecting to.
- Retained the DIP-format MCU so you can unplug it.
- Bit-bang programming headers (marked "X3") as header pads for maximum convenience when using the TwentyTen as an AVR programmer.
- Pin 13 LED is driven by a MOSFET so you can use it as a digital input.
May 11, 2010
At long last the first batch of TwentyTen ("Duemiladieci") boards have arrived from the assembler, and it's like Christmas morning. But better!
That's 26Kg of Arduinos. Just getting it in the door was a tight fit.
Most have already been pre-ordered by our resellers and there are a few destined for extra-special people including the Arduino core team, but in a little while I'll be setting the stock level on the site to a non-zero value and they'll be available for order.
After a couple of delays caused by problems with PCB manufacture the TwentyTen is now rolling off the line at the assembler, and this morning they emailed through the first ever pics of it fully populated and ready to go:
The Arduino bootloader has been burned, test sketches have been loaded and operation verified, and they’re now going full steam ahead with assembling the full first batch.
It’s nearly here, folks!
April 18, 2010
To make the Freetronics site a bit more useful we’ve just started writing up short tutorials on specific Arduino-related topics. The first one is about how to solder headers (both regular and stackable) onto Arduino shields and make sure they go on straight, which can be harder than it sounds. The tutorials section is accessible using the “Tutorials” navigation link on the side of every page on the site.
To start with we’re just going to take some wild guesses about the sorts of things that people may find interesting, but we’re definitely open to suggestions (and maybe even bribes!) so if you want us to write up a specific topic please zap an email at us.
March 16, 2010
I received the shipping notification from PCBcart on Sunday, and Tuesday morning the PCBs for ProtoShield v3 and the 433MHz receiver shield were delivered by Fedex.
Unbelievably fast service.
We’re waiting on a pack of 2000 stackable shield headers that are on their way from Taiwan, but all the other parts are now in stock so hopefully by later this week we’ll have fully-assembled v3 ProtoShields and 433MHz RX shields available for sale. We don’t have the packaging sorted out yet, but that’s in the works.