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February 15, 2018
Tutorial - Simblee Concepts
about a year ago
This is / (was?) a fantastically useful, unique product offering IMO. I experimented for months with ways to control small robots wirelessly, aiming toward phone app control. Tried wi-fi w/ various Arduino-based methods, ESP8266 boards like the Feather Huzzah, BT and BLE with various HC-## and HM-10 modules serially connecting to Arduino. All worked to some extent, but were exceedingly cumbersome to program and use; and phone apps would need custom programs (each) for iOS and Android! Tried to understand the variety of offerings of Nordic-based boards at the __fruit dealer -- could never sort out the options or programming complexities despite hours of re-reading 'Tutorials'.
The Simblee platform and Sparkfun's dev boards made this totally do-able. With the Arduino IDE, you can program the board to do all basic microcontroller operations, creating the phone app GUI in the process -- which works identically on iOS and Android. Sadly, interest in the Simblee line seems to be fading. Rfduino company has apparently gone under; the present European ownership seems to have no interest in moving the product forward. The boards are still for sale, but meagre interest in the Simblee here, on Youtube, demise of product forum 6 mo. ago, lack of any new documentation or app development in ~ 2yrs -- all bad signs. Will be a real loss for the hobbyist market if Simblee disappears.
A company like Sparkfun, that already knows this product well, should really take it over. Correcting some fundamental mistakes, such as non-standard form-factor of dev boards, could / should make this a viable product line.
Tutorial - TB6612FNG Hookup Guide
about 2 years ago
the spec sheet says to design circuit to provide back EMF protection when controlling inductive device (as this motor controller always is, Duh!). If current from controller to motor was unidirectional, this could be done with a snubber diode as you do with a relay. But this device outputs motor current in both directions normally (for reversing), so diode(s) won't work.
BUT: It also seems to show that when the In1 and In2 (either channel) are in H/H or any H/L config except L/L, or PWM drops to L (I guess that means near 0 for your pulse width), the motor output goes to L/L, i.e. shorted to gnd, same as 'brake'. So that should keep any back EMF from damaging the MOSFETs, right? Thus, if you always code for PWM to drop to 0, OR set both inputs to H, momentarily, just before you 'stop' or reverse, that should protect the device? Or is this actually not a problem you even need to consider -- because the schematic on p. 3 of the data sheet shows protection diodes already present inside the IC?
Tutorial - Simblee LilyPad Hookup Guide
about 2 years ago
I've used a 3.3v FTDI-type USB-TTL adapter to power & program the Simblee LilyPad (w/ nothing else attached) without problem. BUT 3.3v is not enough to charge an attached LiPo battery. So if there's a battery attached and it's < 3.3v. or so, it's possible the 3.3v dongle might not have enough juice to charge batt, (or drive LEDs, et.al.), AND power the module. Using the 5v FTDI USB-TTL dongle is advised and should be safe since there's an onboard VR, and resistors on both Rx and Tx lines.
No public wish lists :(