Tag Archives: Products

Meet the New SolderBridges

PCBs for Six new prototype SolderBridges arrived on Friday, thanks to our friends at Quartz TSL for the quick turnaround. Robs soldering skills have been put to the test soldering tiny Gyro’s and Barometers on to our IMU SolderBridge. This week we start testing and setting to work each board.


The first SolderBridge, DMX512, is working and on button press sends out DMX512 data. USB CDC is functioning sending and receiving serial data to the PC. As is the built in boot loader on all the SolderBridges we’ve powered up. Almost all the new SolderBridge have their own small ARM cortex M0 and can be used standalone, with other SolderBridges or on top of SplashBase for network connectivity/control.

Here are the six new SolderBridges :

More updates to follow. Interested in any of them, want more info? Drop us a comment to a tweet!

For more photos click “continue reading”

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SplashTag – Jtag Debugger for ARM and DSP

We have just sent off another batch of gerber files this time it’s for a new product, SplashTag. With our up coming product range we thought it would be helpful of us to offer a Jtag for those of you wanting to write your own code for the board and not use our ethernet bootloader. SplashTag is a programmer & debugging device that will work with Coocox, TI’s Code Composer, Rowley CrossWorks and more. It’s based on the XDS100v2 so should also mean it’s compatible with TI’s free Code Composer license I blogged about previously. We deviated slightly from the standard XDS100v2 and broke out the spare Uart on the FT2232HL giving you a USB serial port, which always comes in handy when debugging.

The SplashTag uses a standard 20pin ARM jtag connector. To make it as flexible as possible we will also sell a couple of adapters allowing the SplashTag to connect to TI’s DSPs via their 14pin jtag connection or to an ARM based microprocessor using a 10way JTag header.

SplashPixel – 16x RGB LED Tile

While I’m working on the SplashLight, Robs been cracking on with our next product. This time we have a name decided up front, were calling it the SplashPixel. The SplashPixel has 16 RGB LEDs, each is capable of 30mA and is driven using a  TI TLC5947 on a SPI bus. Unlike other matrix LED panel designs all 16 LEDs are independently controllable and can be on at the same time, giving you a higher possible brightness.

We have designed the SplashPixel with easy expansion in mind. Our goals are to make it quick to set-up multiple SplashPixels and reduce the wiring needed to do it. Using edge connectors you can attach a number of them together to form a larger surface. Each board has its own switch mode power supply, this means we can supply a network of SplashPixels with a higher voltage and lower current.

The boards are on order from our friends in China, it’s going to be a fun Christmas!

Hello My Name Is SplashLight

After much indecision about what to call our : Network connected home automation device that lets you control ‘things’ from your iPhone/Android/PC and select RGB colour patterns. We have finally picked a name!! Cue loud music, fanfare and fireworks …

My Name is SplashLight

It’s name is SplashLight, so what do you think? like it? hate it?

Expect lots more updates about our SplashLight board very soon! At this very moment I have it running a set of ikea dioder RGB led strips in my office and it’s looks amazing!

Wow the PCBs are here!

Just 2 weeks after ordering from Seeed Studios in China, SolderSplash’s first PCB is here. Robs wasted no time and quickly populated the first PCB for me to develop the software with. Here are some shots ..

TI has helped us out with a few samples of the LM3S6100 and the relays are on back order from Farnell, they will be with us in a week or two. The only issues so far is the RJ45 socket we ordered didn’t quite fit, altering it slightly gets it in, an easy tweak for the next issue.

I love the next bit, getting a new board running is always exciting.

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!

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