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Award Winners, MakerFaire & WiFi DipCortex Update

The last few weeks have been a bit crazy, in a good way!

On Friday our work was noticed by Smarta and O2, who in partnership award small companies for their achievements. We won their SmartBiz award, having recognition from them is a big deal for us! We are very proud of our achievement.

SolderSplash-Labs-Win-Smarta-Award

SolderSplash Labs – SmartBiz Winners

You can find their announcement here. Lets hope this is the first of many!

Also Brighton Mini Maker Faire have just confirmed that we have been accepted for a stand at the show in September. Where we will show off our Marble LAByrinth demo and WiFi Dipcortex, come along and say hello!

Finally, we have received a lot of interest in our WiFi DipCortex module. Both from large companies and fellow makers. The main questions are power, price and availability.

We want to get the WiFi DipCortex in your hands as soon as we can so you all can start to play with it, the next step will be a pre-order which will run for a short period of time. Once we have enough pre-orders we will press the button and get them produced. We shall announce pricing of the module once the pre-order is ready to go. Power consumption figures and more info will follow shortly.

Until then please keep submitting your interest!

WiFi DipCortex – An embedded WiFi module to power your next product

WiFi is something we have wanted to do for a long time, but there are a lot of technical and regulatory challenges around it. If you’re running an OS on an embedded PC like the Raspberry PI, WiFi is simple, you buy a cheap dongle and the intelligence is in the driver.

For a low power embedded project where you’re not running an OS it gets a lot harder and that means it’s expensive. So the only real option is to use a WiFi module and these are normally expensive.

A few months ago, whilst designing the DipCortex, we identified a module that is low cost and comes with FCC, IC & ETSI certification, saving huge costs assocaited with getting radio equipment through testing. The goal was to squeeze this module, the TI CC3000MOD, on to a board the same size as the DipCortex which was a massive challenge, as the DipCortex is sized to replace a 40pin DIP package.

WiFi DipCortex CC3000MOD

WiFi-DipCortex

Continue Reading →

LAByrinth – UK MakerFaire Newcastle

Just a few days to go before the UK MakerFaire, which we have been invited to, If you’re in the area, please come, checkout our stand and play the LAByrinth.

UK-MMF

Our last Mini MakerFaire in Bristol was a big success, we met lots of people and saw some amazing exhibits from other makers. It was great to see kids play the LAByrinth and ask about how it all works hopefully inspiring them to make things!

SolderSplash Bristol MiniMakerFaire

DipCortex – ARM Cortex in a Dip Package with USB

This week we have been playing with another new product, the DipCortex. It’s an ARM Cortex M3/M0 in a 40 pin dip package and USB socket. It has two versions a NXP LPC1347 M3 and a LPC11U24 M0, the pin out roughly follows a certain range of 40pin 8bit micros.

DipCortex - Blank PCB

DipCortex – Blank PCB

It’s perfect for quickly prototyping a product on a bread board. Both have USB peripherals and a USB stack in ROM saving flash space. Updating the code can be performed by plugging it into the computer, holding both buttons and then releasing the reset button. A mass storage device then appears and firmware can be drag and dropped on to this drive. Press reset and the new code is executed. Have a look at the product page for more info.

DipCortex

DipCortex – 40 Pin ARM Cortex M3/M0

SplashBase PC and Android Apps

The first SplashBases’s are now arriving at their new homes and we have been very busy this week packing orders, writing code and updating documentation. There are now user guides, schematics for the SplashBase, Relay and Gpio SolderBridges. As well as a update for those of you with v0.8 SplashBase firmware, Check out the project pages for those.

To control them you have the choice of USB serial, our PC application and now our first Android application. The PC Application & USB connection will have more features for now while the Android app will let you control the RGB PWM and Relay outputs of a SplashBase.

Next week, we continue to test an update to the SplashBase PC app that enables simple logic control.

Shop, Forum and MakerFaire

Bristol_MMF_logos2013_WordPressThe Shop and Forum have gone live! Sign up to the forum and say hi so we know you exist! First to go on sale are the SplashBase and the first two SolderBridges, lots more to follow. We are updating the website content, software and the user manual for the SplashBase over the next few days and preparing an update to those that registered an interest in the SplashBase.

If you want to see the SplashBase in action and your in the UK come at see us tomorrow at the Bristol Mini Maker Faire and see if you can beat the LAByrinth. If you can’t make it tomorrow we will be at the main UK Maker Faire in Newcastle next month.

Testing Times

In the Lab this week, Rob and I have just completed testing the first batch of SplashBase Dev boards ready for our grand online shop opening. Our test rig has really helped us track down any issues and fully test every feature of the board. We have also built a batch of Four relay and 32 GPIO expander SolderBridges.

Stock we be limited once released to the website, we shall contact people who have registered on our interest list first. The following batches we hope to get built for us by an assembly partner, speeding up the process significantly! As for software initially we will provide a PC application, communication protocols and details for USB control. After that the applications for Android and iOS to offer control of the SplashBase.

LAByrinth Gets It’s First Show

Last weekend we attended Geek 2013, hundreds of people went head to head on our newly built dual LAByrinths trying to beat the quickest time. Plenty of kids wanted to know how it all worked and it was great to explain it all, hopefully sparking their imaginations. The LAByrinths withstood some light abuse and got through it unscathed ready for their next showing at Bristol Mini Makerfaire, followed by the big Newcastle Makerfaire. Come meet us and have a go!

SolderSplashGeek2013Table 550

SolderSPlash LAByrinth

SplashBase First Batch Update

After many late nights of pasting PCBs, tweezing (tweezering?) components and reflow ovening, we are getting close to completing the batch and making them available. Before putting them up for sale we want to 100% test each board’s hardware. In production the goal of a test rig is to exercise each part of the hardware at least once, to do this we will be making an automated test rig, possibly using our 32 Channel IO Expander SolderBridge, looping back all of it’s IO on to the stacking connector. Next week we will also complete a small batch of Relay SolderBridges.

SplashBase In Production

Building this lot has been a huge amount of work, if they sell well we have a quote for getting them produced by an assembly partner, freeing us up to get the other SolderBridges into production.

You might have also noticed the website has changed a little, expect more of that once we enable the shop.

LAByrinth

While we are building SplashBases to begin to sell we have been invited to attend a few shows. We wanted to make something fun to take along that promotes making things and shows what you can do with our development boards or others.

So Rob had a brainwave and came up with a Marble Labyrinth. Aim of the game is to get the marble to the end, avoiding the holes. Now this is an old game, no point re-inventing the wheel, so with ours you have to complete it without touching it! So how do you control it, with network connected servos! Rob dusted off his AutoCad skills and drew it up, sent it off for laser cutting and the jigsaw arrived a few days later.

Using a SplashBase and our prototype Servo SolderBridge we have control over the LAByrith using an iPhone or PC. For the show the user will then operate the LAByrith with one of our 9DOF SolderBridges sensing the movement using it’s accelerometers and gyro. Our goal is to build 2 of these and then have head to head races to see who can complete the LAByrith in the quickest time. Through out the maze is also a series of optical switches which can let us know when a ball passes by, we may use this to add an extra dimension to the game like shaking your opponent if you get to the gate first!

Our first show will be at Geek 2013 in Margate we shall be there on the Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th Feb. Come along and Say Hi! Following that we hope to attend the Newcastle UK MakerFaire.

Update : Our Newcastle Makerfaire submission has been accepted!

SplashBase Dev Kit Update

Good news, most of you fine people who pledged via KickStarter have filled in the interest form to tell us you still want one. Which has put the smile back on our faces and made our effort seem worthwhile.

The plan was to eventually setup our own online store and sell direct, we will now do that sooner and start selling to those of you that have registered an interest. We have a Paypal merchant account ready to go and have trialled a few different e-commerce platforms. We have chosen Paypal so that we don’t handle any credit card details, which requires a PCI approved infrastructure, firewalls and lots of expense.

The next step for us is to order a solder paste screen and components to cover the first run through our reflow oven. We have final working PCBs in stock the only issue with them was a last-minute silkscreen change has caused some over lapping of text on our logo, nothing a sticker can’t solve! Besides that they are working fine.

Shipping the first SplashBase’s in January is our goal and it sounds achievable.

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