New Project: Driving MAX7219 Serial LED Matrix with OLIMEXINO-85

Olimexino 1

MAX7219 is simple serial shift in/out with LED driver. In this project Mr. Paolo PerCdS demonstrates how 8×8 LED matrix can be driven serially with OLIMEXINO-85

sent via Olimex.com Project page.

New product: The popular HC06 Bluetooth to Serial modules are now in stock

BT-HC06-1

HC06 are popular Bluetooth to Serial modules bases at CSR BC04 Bluetooth technology. They have with build-in 2.4GHz antenna, support Bluetooth class 2 power level and operate with voltage in range 3.1V~4.2V

If you want to add Bluetooth wireless connectivity to your next device without hassle with Bluetooth protocol, HC06 will allow you this working as simple as with UART. The module have AT commands to listen and pair to other nearby BT devices, then you exchange data like if you worked with wired uart.

Tons of Arduino examples are available on the net. The module is made to be easy soldered on your own custom board.

New KiCAD OSHW PCB project – Getting rid of FTDI – BB-CH340T USB to Serial converter

BB-CH340T-3

Many of you probably remember the FTDI nasty drivers they released just to mess up with the FTDI clones.
This caused lot of trouble to people who use FTDI devices, we have been also affected.
We try to buy FT232RL from local distributor and they had no stock, then we look around and found the chips from other supplier, but unfortunately we got clone FTDI chips.
We made production with these chips and sent boards to customers, then at one point of time we start to get complains (only from Windows users) that boards stop working.
All these windows users were affected by the evil drivers released by FTDI which make VID/PID as zero if the chip is recognized to be not FTDI original.

We try to help our customers who have been affected on our forum and got nasty message from FTDI lawers to remove all the help instructions from our forum and pull back all boards which use these clone FTDI chips from customers and distributors. WTF?

No wonder from this moment we took decision to avoid dealing with this cheeky and nasty company as much as possible. Re-designing all our boards which were unfortunate to use FTDI chips.

CH340T is nice alternative to FTDI chips and have same features and even more, but cost exactly 1/10th of FTDI chip price.

BB-CH340T is nice small board which takes power from USB and can provide 3.3V and 5V to target together with Serial Tx and Rx (transmit and receive) signals and GND.

Note that by default neither 3.3V neither 5V is selected.

BB-CH340T is specially made to be used easy with breadboard. The design is open source hardware made with KiCAD and files are on Github under Apache 2.0 licensee.

New UART to WIFI chipset will unleash low cost Internet of Things

ESP8266_Wi-Fi_Module

WiFi infrastructure is everywhere which makes easier to make network of devices connected to WiFi.
There is also great range of WIFI routers with different space coverage and speeds, and as they are mass produced product the prices are at the rock bottom if we have to compare to Zigbee or Bluetooth.
WiFi stack require resources though and not quite good for smallish 8bit populary hobby processors, this is why UART-to-WIFI solutions were made and become popular.
Texas Instruments released CC3000 which cost about $20-25 in single quantities and $10 in volume.
It took no longer and Chinese company Espressif released their ESP8266 highly integrated UART-WIFI bridge IC, it requires just quartz crystal and balun to make WIFI module, their reference design is with just 11 x 12 mm board space!
And of course this comes at Chinese prices: you can buy ESP8266 module in single quantity from Seedstudio for $6.95 or from Alibaba for $5!
On top of this you can easy connect devices to Internet and send and receive data through UART!
This will definitely wipe out the $50-60 Arduino WIFI shields and even Microchip’s MRF24WB0MA etc modules.

We are going definitely to release MOD-ESP8266 which to connect to all our boards with UEXT and give possibility to connect to Internet with simple AT commands!
With MOD-IO2+MOD-ESP8266 for instance anyone could make WIFI enabled relay and Inputs and monitor through web page the inputs and drive relays for extremly low cost!

Chrome Serial API – yahoooo!

Image

Chrome recently announced Serial port API http://developer.chrome.com/apps/serial.html

This is big, as now you can make applications running in your browser which to check the available serial ports, open and communicate through them.

What does this means? Easy integration of electronics, boards, sensors etc which data to be captured and visualized in the browser.

I will no wonder if soon we see Arduino cloud Chrome Browser based IDE where you write your code in your browser then upload to Arduino without need for Java, 100MB downloads for different OS multi platforms and so on, and best of all – every time you open Arduino IDE URL you will have most up to date version, so need to download again and again 100MB of new IDEs every couple of months.

What other? Boot-loaders, processor programmers, Digital oscilloscope, Logic analyzers running in the cloud or in your browser. With this move Google enables whole new range of applications which could run in your browser!

Well done Google!