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January 16, 2013
maker hacker arduino fan
about 5 months ago
i bought these to use with the EL-sequencer. They are a little difficult to seat because of their size (2mm centers) but if you want 8 connectors on a board that’s what you’ll live with. they are a little tight and you need to really wiggle them in and out.
sparkfun wish list - make these with zip-cord style wire instead of this twisted, and longer lengths. sell them as 12" extension cords with male/female so that el-wire can be extended. sell the female side as well.
about 5 months ago
i tried one out. basically vary the voltage on the control pins and dim the LEDS. but if i buy five of the 3W leds i would need five of the femtobuck or around $9.60 per light assembly.
it would have been nice if the femtobuck would manage five of the LEDS (4 amps) and have a service factor that is a little higher (rather than running at max).
you’ll need to mount this to a larger board. the terminals are small. note that the holes are centered at .01" - so you can fasten to a breadboard - kind of. be sure to put strain relief on - the wires will break right off.
overall seems like a nice product but it won’t even drive the 3W lights at max.
about 6 months ago
the 2mm header are much harder to solder.
this is a great little board to have around. pick up the 2mm headers. they are harder to solder than .01. use a small iron tip and a sponge. solder every other one to tack them down. you can use this instead of the xbee shield with a few jumpers.
about 6 months ago
using <softserial.h> on el-sequencer with the sparkfun xbee breakout board
i’ve scratched my head over this for weeks and got a working solution. the xbee radio shares communications with the serial UART / serial console. This means that the xbee S1 radio has to be removed from its socket each time you download an arduino sketch.
While the sparkfun xbee shield allows for this with the DLINE switch by redirecting the xbee communication to pins 2,3 (see my post below) the el-sequencer reserves pin 2-9 for light channels A-H. And so the S1 radio with 20 tiny pins has to be extracted and replaced each time you download.
Here is the work around. You’ll need to get the xbee breakout board (BOB-08276) and two of the 2mm xbee headers, as well as 8 tall .01" headers. Attach jumper wires from the xbee breakout board to the el-sequencer and leave the xbee off the shield until your final code rev. At that point you’ll have to change a few lines of code to use the standard serial.
Build the xbee breakout board by soldering two 10 pin 2mm xbee headers to it. Solder some tall headers into 8 pin NRFL connection on the edge of the board near the FTDI. You’ll need to solder the same tall headers to the 6 FTDI connectors.
If you have not noticed the other el-sequencer post, the FTDI is labeled backwards on early boards and you’ll need to flip the black to green.
jumper from breakout to el-sequencer
The Xbee S1 module will be on the breakoutboard - not the el-sequencer. Jumper from Xbee breakout 1 (vcc) to nrfl vcc. Jumper from Xbee breakout 10 (ground) to nrfl ground. Jumper from xbee (rx) breakout 2 to nrfl mosi which maps to D11. Jumper from Xbee (tx) breakout 3 to nrfl miso which maps to D12.
stop! before plugging the xbee S1 in get a volt meter out and check from pins 1-10 on the breakout board! check the polarity. you should get 3.2v dc
Within the arduino sketch
SoftwareSerial xbee2(11,12); // xbee rx pin2 to mosi D11; xbee tx pin3 to miso D12
// and then call the object xbee2:
char val= xbee2.read(); // pins 11 and 12
Serial.print("Character Received: ") // pins 0 and 1 for serial comm
about 6 months ago
looking to get some values for those resistors or pots. i bought their 12v inverter and would like to get 12v from the el-sequencer board. one option is to wire shut the J1 connector. i just don’t know how to do the calculation for the LM power regualtor.
data sheet says 9 watts at 12 volts. so this is .75 amps . i wish they had larger more robust inverters.
Have you actually made this work? The idea of running the extra line in (at 12v) and out (at 12v - back to inverter) is so that the board can shut on and off the invertor and not burn it out. that’s what i recall.
the schematic also allows that input voltage can be passed directly to invertor by closing SJ1 but warns that the inverter will see 5V with FTDI if power switched to USB. I guess this means that one should provide 12V to the middle input for board and leave the switch away from USB.
Still unclear if the board will switch the inverter on and off; and whether or not this is needed to prevent blowing out the inverter because there is no load.
about 7 months ago
please note the xbee hook up guide provides instructions for the DLINE switch actives pins 2/3 for rx/tx. This means that the uno UART serial is separate from the data to/from xbee.
also i found it good for debugging to use the tall headers on the arduino side - leaving about .25" exposed for probes or female jumpers.
had buffering problems. xbee can stream data at up to 80Kbps. Console baud rate is 9600 bps. Arduino has 64 byte buffer. Xbee radio buffers are 100 bytes in size. so some kind of flow control is needed to do more than the cute little console to console typing demo.
now switching to newSoftwareSerial(2,3) and experimenting with that.
about 7 months ago
I finally got this working and provide this updated post.
I have built a system that has one arduino uno / xbee S1 (master) that controls three el-sequencer boards with xbee S1. Bobby from sparkfun support was helpful.
It’s true that the xbee must be removed each and every time you download to the arduino chip on the el-seq board. I am experimenting with their (bent pin) approach to bypass this to mosi/miso pin on the el-sequencer.
the original sketch was built on the doorbell program (button/bell) in the o'rielly book. that book tends to jump around and was hard for me to follow.
Networked arduinos - and espsecially wireless networked arduinos require more planning. My test lab had two arduino uno, two sparkfun shields, and two xbees. I later substituded one of the unos (receiver) for three el-sequencer boards.
To test the transmission and reception between two boards I used the standard serial libraries and hardwired (rx/tx) and (ground) between the two arduinos. This worked - so I knew the scripts were ok.
Get familiar with XCTU. Buy the sparkfund xbee usb board and leave an xbee running on a separate system to monitor the radio transmissions real time. It’s also easier to manage firmware settings (DH/DL) in XCTU - and the monitor is split screen and shows the actual charachters next to an ascii conversion. the usb board can also be used with a standard “cool term” terminal program.
When i moved from three wires between the board to two xbee S2 the communication failed after 30 seconds. My test script sent a serial.write every 10 ms. Garbage on the screen
To fix this I had to do three things .
First off I had to downgrade to the xbee S1.
Second thing - I moved from arduino native serial libraries to < software.Serial.h> on the master (transmitter) which provides flow control but insists that you redirect away from physical pins 1,2.
//in the sketch you’ll do this
SoftwareSerial xbee(2,3); //Rx = 2 , Tx = 3
// and this in setup
// and instead of the serial.write
This is an advantage because i no longer need to take the xbee S1 off of the sparkfun xbee shield. Just flip the switch from UART to DLINE. I only needed these newsoftserial libraries on the transmitting end. These libraries are included in version 1.0 and above of the arduino IDE.
Third thing - I had to get the correct router settings. The transmitter needed to be set like this. (Radio a transmit) DH =0; DL=FFFF; MY=1. Each of the receiver - slaves needed to be like this: (Radio b,c,d receive) DH=0; DL=1: MY=2. Obviously you will need to set a unique PID for all four.
Finally - I moved the code off the uno to the EL-sequencer. Because pins 2-9 are hardwired to the el-wire pins i had to move some things around. And this also prohibits me from using <software.serial.h> so that i don’t have to unplug the xbee each time.
I now have the master uno transmitting with delay(20) to three el-sequencers. On the sequencers I’m using a 12 battery to power the inverter - and also to power on-board arduino.
No public wish lists :(
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