Rallylog

Introduction

Rallylog is an open hardware project that is used in Rally time trial competitions.

Project Home : http://code.google.com/p/rallylog/

Specifications

  • RTC with battery backup
  • SD Card Data Logging
  • RFID
  • LCD
  • Battery Powered
  • Low Powered Handheld device
  • Atmega328P
  • USB
  • Arduino compatible

New #WidgetBoard boot loaders available for download

New boot loaders for the WidgetBoards have been uploaded to both SVN and to the downloads area.  The fuse settings have also been updated in the documentation.

I’ve also integrated the Atmega328P version of the WidgetBoard into the Arduino development environment so please update your boards.txt with the one from SVN.

Widget running on the smell of a single AA

For the next version of the widget, I’m planning to have an on board boost regulator. This design will allows the widget to run from just about any voltage source as low as 0.7v (so NiMh will be fine) and up to 5.5v, this boost regulator in conjunction with a standard LDO regulator will give me a nice input voltage range of 0.7v – 12V. Before I finalise the design I wanted to test things to see how well it’ll work.
Continue reading “Widget running on the smell of a single AA”

Widget Sensor Housings

I want to deploy widgets around the home, both inside and out, so I needed to find something that would allow some protection from the environment to the electronics, cheaply and easily.

On the weekend while doing some shopping I found the solution in the kitchen area of the local discount store, at $1.50 a piece it was the right fit for the job. They probably won’t like U/V in the long run, but will see how they go, at that price I can replace cheaply.
Continue reading “Widget Sensor Housings”

Reading Widget Battery Voltage

In my previous blog entry I described adding a solar cell to the widget and how I could measure the voltage produced by the Solar Cell, however I still need to monitor actual battery voltage easily, and preferably with not a lot of additional hardware.
Continue reading “Reading Widget Battery Voltage”

Solar Powered Widget

 Solar Powered Widget board

One of the tasks I want to use the widget boards for is a Wireless Sensor Network around the house for measuring environmental values. The sensors that I want to live outdoors will need to be self sufficient in terms of power, so I wanted to see if I could charge the batteries via solar, of course this can be done, but again I want to do it as cheaply and as simply as possible, I also want the widget board to monitor the solar voltage and report it back.

Continue reading “Solar Powered Widget”

Strobit Wireless Widget Photos

I had a chance to grab a few photos of the progress so far, also helps that most of my components that I had on order arrived today so the boards has been kitted out with all the headers. Now I can plug the prototype personality in, still waiting on my crystals, switches, and diodes.
Continue reading “Strobit Wireless Widget Photos”

Preliminary RF Tests

Today I did some testing on the RF side of things,  nothing scientific, just walking around the house seeing if it would dropout or report bad checksums, I’m happy to reports all is working as expected (using the 915Mhz RFM12B module)

The tests are done by using the RFM12B Example sketch found in the JeeLab RFM12B library by Jean-Claude over at Jeelab (RFM12B Arduino Library)

This library runs unmodified on the wireless widget board, just follow the instructions in the README about setting up node ids.

From the preliminary testing using some compact 1/2 wave GSM 900MHZ/1800MHZ antennas (http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.5237)  I’m easily getting all the way around the house with no dropouts, have yet to do outside tests.

Arduino Shields with Real Personality

As one does while in bed at 3am and unable to sleep, I was thinking of the Strobit Triggr (which is probably why I couldn’t get to sleep in the first place) an idea presented itself for Arduino type shields (in particular Strobit Triggr personality boards) where they could be given some real personality.
Continue reading “Arduino Shields with Real Personality”

Follow me on Twitter / Strobit Update

I know I’m a bit slack in updates on the blog.  If you haven’t noticed I now have a twitter account  http://www.twitter.com/madeinoz so you can follow what I’m doing when it’s not getting updated here.

However since the blog is way over due for an update here is what’s been happening in a nutshell.

Strobit Trigger:

I have finally gotten off my butt and done a redesign (hah and you thought the project had died a slow death, it may have stalled slowed, but certainly not dead!)

Features worthy of note in the new design (in no particular order):

  • 3V design, will run from x2 AA Alkaline or single CR123A 3V battery.
  • Fairly compact board, 30mm x 70mm. (without battery)  slightly lalonger on 2.4ghz design due to antenna.
  • Onboard on/off switch to save batteries when not in use.
  • FTDI 3.3v breakout cable port for connecting to either RS232 or USB using the FTDI cable.
  • Onboard ISCP port for programming.
  • Personality daughter boards.  Will allow users to create their own hardware modules, i.e. sound trigger, light trigger, LCD UI, or whatever they like etc
  • Atmega168V processor, low cost, low voltage design = longer battery life.
  • Can run Arduino bootloader, so developers have access to Arduino development libraries.
  • I’ve designed 2 different boards.  One using the RFM12B module at either 433Mhz or 915Mhz.  The second board I’m going to try a 2.4GHZ design using Microchips FCC certified MRF24J40MA 802.15.4 module, this is purely experimental so I don’t have any testing done yet, but I have some of these modules and would like to try them out, also being FCC certified will be an added benefit.  (not to mention I’ll be using these for a mesh sensor network project I have planned around the house)
  • RFM12B board design has external SMA antenna.
  • Base PCB board designs are done and I’m fairly happy with them so far, I’m just finishing a basic personality modules which I can used for testing and maybe another one so I can make up the  max designs I can have on a single panelized board (may as well get the most designs I can get fabricated when I send it off to GoldPheonix).  I’ve done some initial Eagle3D runs to get an idea of the boards and so I can post them on the blog, but I really need to learn how to create components in Eagle3D as it leaves unknown components blank, i.e. the RF modules and therefore looks incomplete.  (anyone that can help me here please contact me)

Still To Do:

  • Panelize boards
  • Send to GoldPheonix for PCB fabrication.
  • Assemble and test.

I’ve also been playing with learning Alibre, a fantastic 3D design package (they have a free version) so I can get some ideas for building enclosures design for these boards.

RFM12B PCB

image

MRF24J40MA PCB

image

Come join the Darkside Skywalker…..The Switch from PIC to AVR

I’ve been playing around with the Arduino Diecimila and the ATMEGA168 over the last couple of weeks to better familiarise myself with the AVR ATMega168 MCU, I’ve been using PICs on and off the last few years, but the decision was made to use the ATMEGA as the MCU of choice for the Strobit Triggr project, mainly due to the open source tool chains available, and the simply programmer required.

In short I’m glad I’ve made the switch and I must say I’m loving the learning experience.  I’ve moved from the Arduino software development platform as I found it very limiting and am now using the open source avr-gcc (win-avr) and Eclipse, using the AVR plugin and CDT plugin as my development platform of choice, I’m comfortable with eclipse as my editor as I’ve been using this for my Java development for the last 5 or so years.

As a task I set for myself to learn the onboard peripherals,  I’ve created a Weather Shield for the Arduino, so far it has the RFM12B RF module, DS1307 RTC, HH10D Humidity Sensor, a HP03D, combined barometric pressure and temperature sensor, and soon to have a light sensor and Dallas 1-Wire interface for talking to the Dallas Weather Station that I’ve had lying around in a box for the last 10 years, (yes one of the original ones released by Dallas in 1998, I’ve been waiting to move in my house for a long time),  I’ll post the weather shield design up on a separate topic later, but suffice to say, I’ve enjoyed playing with the SPI, I2C, ICP, UART and onboard timers.