Network Controller Update III

It’s not a monumental occasion, but this week we received our first part delivery from Farnell and sent our first PCB out for manufacture in China! Perhaps in years to come when were a happy thriving business ( something like sparkfun ) we can look back at this point and remember where it all started. That’s the dream!

While we wait for the boards, I can get on with designing the software to drive and control them, for part of that I’m going to need an Android phone. Stealing Rob’s phone for days on end probably wouldn’t go down well with him, so I’ve picked up an amazingly cheap Samsung Galaxy Europa Android phone. It’s got all the basic requirements of a smart phone these days, capacitive touch, Bluetooth, GPS and WiFi. I can’t wait to get writing code for it.

SolderSplash Remote control prototype parts delivered

SolderSplash Remote control prototype parts delivered

3D PCB Modeling

Being able to see in 3D what a PCB will look like before you commit to getting it made is invaluable, generally the tools to do that are quite expensive. Well that used was the case, now its easy and free! Using google Sketchup and the superb EagleUp you can export your PCB to a set of images and a .txt file. Once you have processed them you import the .txt file in to Sketchup and it draws the board and all its holes for you. Each component requires a Sketchup model but EagleUp has a beginner’s guide to help you get started. So with the Layout complete on our new Home/Garden automation controller we’ve made 3D model’s of the components before we commit to the PCB manufacture. Heres how it looks :

Were still not quite finished, so a few of the components are missing and the image cropping needs some work as were getting crescent shaped pads on some holes, but I think it looks fantastic!. With this model finding an enclosure or getting a custom one 3D printed from the many services that have appeared over the last few years will be easier too.

Update : Jerome Lamy, author of EagleUp has released an updated version that fixes the alignment issues I was having and removes the manual steps needed before.

Network Controller Coming Along Nicely

The Network Controller is taking shape, PCB Layout is almost complete, were down to checking and tweaking. Most of our time over the last week has been spent refining and reducing the cost of the materials. I can’t wait to write some code for it! Here is what the layout looks like :

PCB Layout of Texas Instruments Arm Cortex based network controller

PCB Layout of the Network controller (Click to Enlarge)

Since our last update we have re-thought the power topology instead of an AC input the board will now require a 12v DC input. We can use this to directly drive the relay coils and drop it down to 3.3v for the rest of the board. On the left we have an option of either volt free relay switching or you can supply your own power AC/DC  (0-240v) which can be switched to any of the 4 outputs. This will hopefully save some wiring, it will for Rob’s garden anyway!

We added a header for an external switch, which could have many uses, my first thought was this could be used as an override to open/close all the relays when pressed, if you don’t have your iPhone/Android handy.

Finally I added a SPI header, this probably won’t have any purpose for this application, but we have plans for our next product and this board could be its controller.

As a fun distraction we are also modeling the board in sketchup to make sure it ‘s all sensible before we press the button and order our first prototype PCB’s. I’ll post a photo soon of our progress on that.

Network Controller Update

We have been beavering away on our first product, the network controlled relay board ( need a catchy name really! ). Rob’s wasted no time and has a circuit and draft layout in progress. Here’s a simple block diagram of boards features ..

ARM Cortex M3 Powered network controller

For the Cortex M3 we have currently selected the LM3S6100, TI provide the StellarisWare Software library which includes a lot of example code and should make it easy enough to get it running. It also has a built-in Ethernet Mac and Phy to save on the external Phy costs.

The 4 output relays will have 2 modes, they will either be volt free contacts allowing you to attach 4 devices and switch power to them on/off. Alternatively they can be set to provide 12v AC out (from the input power supply) to reduce wiring for certain applications, like Robs garden lights.

An IRDA transceiver will let us experiment with turning the board in to a universal remote as well. This could be set up to fire off a pre-set series of commands to your home cinema whilst turning on the motor for your projector screen for example.

Which in turn is controllable via your iPhone/Android,  Exciting! If any one out there has any feature suggestions, let us know!

cheapest viagra
buy viagra mesa
non prescription viagra
buy cheap generic viagra
best place to buy viagra
viagra and cialis and
buy viagra usa
buy viagra prescription
buy cheap generic online viagra
buy viagra now
viagra by the pill
cheap pill viagra
buy viagra new york
buy viagra onli
cheap price viagra
free viagra
viagra and cialas
buy online online viagra viagra
buy deal viagra
buy viagra on-line
buy cheap generic viagra online
viagra for sale
buy discount viagra
buy viagra without prescription