This new revision includes a JST cable and also fixes the TX/RX swap from the last revision. Now you can use an FTDI correctly. We are also including a 16-pin header instead of a 40-pin header (only 16 pins are necessary).
This kit is a re-hash of Nuxie’s FunCount frequency counting kit. It includes everything you need to build a frequency counter capable of measuring frequencies from 1Hz to over 6MHz. The measured frequency is displayed on a 16x2 black on green LCD.
Our new design is based on the popular ATmega328. The ATmega comes pre-programmed with both the frequency counting firmware, and a serial bootloader, so you can program it as you would an Arduino. If you want to program it via Arduino, you’ll need a FTDI Basic Breakout. Unused pins of the ATmega328 are broken out for all your custom firmware desires.
The ATmega328 runs at 16MHz, and should be able to reliably count frequencies up to around 6.4MHz (assuming a 50% duty cycle). Voltage supplied to the kit should be 5VDC. The voltage input on the frequency pin should not exceed the supplied voltage, and should not go below 0V.
The kit includes a 3-pin JST male connector, so you can use this wire to deliver +5V, ground and the frequency signal to the Counter. You’ll also be able to piggy-back the counter onto our Function Generator Kit (see below).
Solder in the two resistors first. They go in the spots on the board labeled 10K. The next parts to add are the capacitors. There are three different kinds in the kit. Start with the 0.1uF caps labeled “104” These both go to the right of the IC. Next place the two 22pF caps in the positions above the IC. Lastly, place the 10uF cap to the right of the IC. This part is polarized and needs to go on the board with the white stripe facing the top of the board.
Now we need to add the crystal. It’s the little metal can. Place the crystal between the two 22pF caps. Next part is the IC. Solder the IC in the center of the board. This part is polarized and needs to be put in with the notch facing the right hand side of the board.
The next part to add is the white socket. It goes on the left hand side of the board with the open end facing the edge.
Solder in the transistor. It’s the black three terminal component that is flat on one side and round on the other. Follow the markings on the board to tell which way it goes in.
Now add the blue contrast potentiometer. Use the marking on the board to see which way it goes in.
Next, solder the header pins into the board so that the short end of the pins are soldered on the top side of the board and the longer ends stick down out of the bottom.
Last step! The LCD display gets connected to the long end of the header pins. In this step you need to space the boards so that the metal tabs on the back of the LCD do not make contact with anything on the back of the controller board. You can do this by eye or use something as a spacer to create a gap. I would suggest only soldering one end pin to the LCD module first, then lining everything up even and then soldering the the other end pin. If everything is nice and straight, solder the remaining pins.
If you ever decide to write your own custom code for this product, you can upload it with a FTDI Basic Breakout and the Arduino IDE. Just set your board type in Arduino to “Arduino Pro or Pro Min, ATmega328 (5V, 16MHz)”
This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.
Skill Level: Rookie - The number of pins increases, and you will have to determine polarity of components and some of the components might be a bit trickier or close together. You might need solder wick or flux.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Based on 2 ratings:
Easy to assemble. Works as advertised. Excellent customer service when I needed it.
I wished the kit had a sip receiving header to mate with the sip pin header used to connect the two boards. Would make it easier to take apart to replace a failed component. For that reason, I am considering returning it and requested an RMA. After all that, I probably won’t, but for the sake of a 25 cent part (it would cost much more in single pc purchase) this would get 5 stars. Very nicely packaged.