February 7, 2014
All the stuff you read about this box’s shortcomings is true. I have had to modify them just to get an UNO R3 unit in them with a single shield on top. The form factor is nice, but the execution is not great. For $7, the expectations need to be reasonable, but there are some things that seem like they shouldn’t be an issue, even for $7. The fasteners that hold the enclosure halves together don’t always seat completely. They definitely strip out easily, both on the head, and on the threads.
There are gazillions of Arduinos in circulation – I’m not sure where all the awesome enclosures are, but they are scarce.
This unit has worked well for me, but it does have a hardware quirk. I have found that if the PPS output line has any kind of load on it, the GPS won’t always start. I finally had to tie the PPS line to logic through an NPN transistor, and that seems to have made the PPS reliable. I tried passing the PPS signal through the level converter breakout, but the FETs loaded the line too much and the GPS would fail to boot. Anyway, if you experience random startup issues, you might look at the digital output lines, to see if this is the same issue I encountered.
These are definitely handy to keep around in bulk. However, these are just the bags, and don’t have the zip-lock style fasteners on the ends, which would really be handy. SF uses at least a couple of different sizes of reclosable anti-static bags to ship parts to us, so I’m not sure why they don’t sell all those different styles to us. Having a reclosable bag is really handy for small parts.
But for Arduinos and larger parts, these are fine.
The iron definitely exceeds my expectations. It runs plenty hot for PCB soldering. I will probably use a Variac to lower the voltage a bit for some of the finer soldering. The included tip is fine for 0.1" PTH work but you’ll want to get a finer tip for anything smaller like SMT.
I was pleasantly surprised. The iron has a nice thick and flexible cord – that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I’m sure glad the cord isn’t some really cheap plastic like a lot of the RS models, because they are hard to keep on the desk with the springy cords. The tool itself has a very solid feel to it. I’ll probably grab another one for a spare. I mean, it’s just $10.
This may not be an R3 shield, but it is very handy for interfacing stuff off-board when prototyping. I combine these with the small breadboards. I need to build some that have extra terminals and headers, so I can have connections for things I add on the breadboard, like FETs. There is plenty of PTH space for more terminals. A Mega version would be very cool, but that would be a LOT of terminals.
I used one of these to drive an antenna rotor motor at 24V, and it worked great. I had to modify the board so that the LEDs were disabled and the Vin trace from the terminal blocks didn’t go to the Vin pin of the Arduino. The chip on this board is identical to the one on the official Arduino R3 shield, but this one doesn’t have braking control. I don’t miss the current sense, but having braking control would be very nice. I know why it isn’t on the board – it saves two digital pins. Maybe a solder jumper to enable/disable the feature, like on the R3 board?
Nice board, some very minor feature additions would be nice.
I have used this antenna and GPS-00177 on otherwise identical GPS projects, and this antenna has a definite advantage over the other one. Both work well, but this one consistently picks up two to three more satellites at a time. The long cord and magnetic base are a nice bonus.
News - Heartbleed
This is one of the best write-ups I have seen on this yet. Straight to the point and practical, yet enough technical description to be understood by people who can. You guys at SF have done a great job of staying on top of this. Thanks!
No public wish lists :(
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