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The Balancing Robot

March 4th, 2012 599 comments

Now avaliable as a kit
A balancing robot kit is now avaliable via Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tkjelectronics/balanduino-balancing-robot-kit. Check out the blog post as well: http://blog.tkjelectronics.dk/2013/03/balanduino-balancing-robot-kit-kickstarter/.

Hello everybody
I have for a long time wanted to build a remote controllable balancing robot aka Segway – that’s was actually the main reason why I created the PS3 Bluetooth Library both for Arduino and the FEZ Devices. It has been a long time since the sneak peak and the performance has been improved a lot since then. The original one had a FEZ Rhino as the main processor, but I discovered that it was not fast enough to read the encoders, as it is not running embedded code. Also I was already using more than 10ms per loop, which I used as a fixed time loop, so I decided to step up a notch and go for a much more powerful device: the mbed microcontroller, which is an ARM Cortex-M3 running 96MHz.

It might have been possible with just a normal Arduino (NB: I have now ported the code to Arduino, see update for the code), but I didn’t want the speed of the processor to be an issue, so I decided to go for the mbed. The robot also features an Arduino Duemilanove with a USB Host Shield on top running a sketch based on my PS3 Bluetooth Library. The mbed board actually has USB Host functionality, but I decided not to port the PS3 Bluetooth Library as my original thought were to use an Arduino Due, but as you might know it hasn’t been released yet, despite the Arduino team announced, that it would be released by the end of 2011. But as soon as it is released I think I will port the code to it instead.

Video Demonstration
Here is a short video demonstration of the robot and me explaining some of the concepts of the design and how it works:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N28C_JqVhGU]
Read more…

Raspberry Pi – a BeagleBoard competitor

February 18th, 2012 No comments

Soon a BeagleBoard competitor will be released – the Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi - Embedded ARM11 Computer


The Raspberry Pi is a small credit card sized ARM11 embedded computer, capable of running embedded Linux or WinCE.
When released it is supposed to be available in two models, where the biggest difference is the ethernet connector.

The first model, which comes with 128MB RAM, 1x USB but no ethernet will be priced at $25.
That’s an insane price for an embedded computer capable of doing HD video by using the onboard HDMI connector.

The second model, which comes with 256MB RAM, 2x USB and also ethernet, will be priced at $35.
And most of the times embedded applications requires some kind of internet connection as almost everything in this world becomes online. So why not spend those $10 extra to get the ethernet capability too.

The Raspberry Pi is expected to be sold in the end of February, though the initial stock is limited to around 10.000pcs so you have to be fast. Hopefully we will be able to do a review of the board soon.

Via: Raspberry Pi

Categories: ARM, Development boards, Raspberry Pi Tags:

Review: ITeadMaple (and 2.4" Touch Display)

November 30th, 2011 3 comments

Name: ITeadMaple + 2.4″ Touch Display
Distributor: ITead Studio
Price: $33 + $25

Evaluation Type: Development Board, ARM
Application you used the part in: Embedded Graphics Display
Was everything in the box required?: Yes! A USB A to USB Mini-B cable was also required for programming
What were the biggest problems encountered?: None – it’s a very easy board to use for a beginner, just like the Arduino

Read more…

Categories: ARM, Development boards, Reviews Tags:

NXT Shield Version 2

October 19th, 2011 31 comments

Update
The NXT Shield is for sale in our shop: http://shop.tkjelectronics.dk/product_info.php?products_id=29. A easy to use library is also provided: https://github.com/TKJElectronics/NXTShield.
Three examples that demonstrates reading the encoders, turning the motors and using the ultrasonic sensor is found in the library as well: https://github.com/TKJElectronics/NXTShield/tree/master/examples.

More pictures of the NXT Shield can be found at the following blog post: http://blog.tkjelectronics.dk/2012/04/nxt-shield-library/.

I finally made a new version of my NXT Shield. The big news is that it now supports the Lego Ultrasonic Sensor and it has NXT Compatible Sockets from mindsensors.

Read more…

mbed – Rapid Prototyping with Microcontrollers

October 18th, 2011 15 comments

Name: mbed
Distributor: Silica Avnet
Price: $60

Evaluation Type: Development Board
Application you used the part in: Easy embedded development with microprocessors
Was everything in the box required?: Yes
What were the biggest problems encountered?: Requires an internet connection for software development (compiling)

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Categories: ARM, Development boards, Reviews Tags:

Review: POWERAVR NXP LPC1768 board V2.0+3.2"LCD

September 2nd, 2011 90 comments

Name: POWERAVR NXP LPC1768 board V2.0+3.2″LCD
Distributor: WayEngineer
Price: $70

Evaluation Type: Development Board
Application you used the part in: Development/evaluation of the LPC1768 part
Was everything in the box required?: Yes
What were the biggest problems encountered?: Examples only provided for the Keil uVision compiler

Read more…

Categories: ARM, Development boards, Reviews Tags:

NXT Motor Shield

June 29th, 2011 12 comments

Update
The NXT Shield is for sale in our shop: http://shop.tkjelectronics.dk/product_info.php?products_id=29. A easy to use library is also provided: https://github.com/TKJElectronics/NXTShield.
Three examples that demonstrates reading the encoders, turning the motors and using the ultrasonic sensor is found in the library as well: https://github.com/TKJElectronics/NXTShield/tree/master/examples.

More pictures of the NXT Shield can be found at the following blog post: http://blog.tkjelectronics.dk/2012/04/nxt-shield-library/.

The shield mounted on a Arduino

Hallo everybody

I recently made a NXT motor shield for my arduino. It can control two NXT motors and also read the onboard encoders. In true Arduino spirit I decided to share it with the rest of the community. But first i will talk about how everything works, and then show the finished shield including a short video demonstration.
Read more…

Categories: Arduino, Development boards, Guides Tags:

Review: Microchip Multimedia Expansion Board (for PIC32)

April 26th, 2011 No comments

Evaluation Type: Evaluation Boards
Application you used the part in: Evaluation of PIC32 USB Starter Kit II
Was everything in the box required?: Yes
What were the biggest problems encountered?: It requires some time to find the sufficient examples, and unfortunately most of the examples are pre-compiled HEX-files, so it is impossible to change something in the demos.
Though it is possible to find the same demos in the Microchip Application Library, it’s difficult to get theese working together with the Multimedia Expansion Board.

Scoring
Product Performed to Expectations: 10
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 8
Demo Software was of good quality: 8
Demo was easy to use: 7
Support materials were available: 8
The price to performance ratio was good: 9
TotalScore: 50

Prelude
In this review I will be demonstrating and reviewing the PIC32 Multimedia Expansion board. This is a expansion product from Microchip, which extends the capabilities of their PIC32 Starter Kits. In the end you will find my conclusion, whether you should buy this board or not.
In the following review, the Multimedia Expansion board will be called MEB board.
Read more…

Categories: Development boards, PIC, Reviews Tags:

FEZ Panda

March 24th, 2011 2 comments

Last week I recieved a new product, the so called FEZ Panda.

FEZ Panda from GHI Electronics


The FEZ Panda is an ARM7 board, in an Arduino-form-factor, running the .NET Micro Framework. This makes it possible to develop the applications inside Visual Studio using C#. Debugging is also done thru Visual Studio and in my opinion it is very easy to get started.

The great thing about the FEZ Panda, compared to a normal Arduino is the features and the speed.

FEZ Panda features


Instead of a simple 8-bit processor, this is a 32-bit ARM processor clocked at 72MHz. This makes it a monster compared to the Arduino series! The board contains 4 COM ports, 2 SPI ports, real SD interface, a lot of PWMs, Analog inputs (ADC), Analog outputs (DAC), I2C, CAN, USB Client, USB Host – you name it.
Inside the ARM processor, the .NET Micro Framework is running, which includes a FAT filesystem stack. This makes it possible to connect FAT formatted SD card or USB memory sticks to the board.

With this board you get a lot of power and a growing community. There is a lot of examples included, and many more can be downloaded from the .NET Micro Framework projects page.
GHI Electronics, who is the manufactor of this board, has other boards running .NETMF too. They have a bigger version of this FEZ Panda, but still in the Arduino-form-factor, called FEZ Domino
This board is almost twice as expensive, but in my opinion you don’t get twice as much – only a USB Host connecter and an SD card slot. You actually have far less IO’s on the FEZ Domino than on the FEZ Panda, which I think is bad. So I recommend you to try the FEZ Panda!

In my next post I will show how to use the “hidden” USB Host function on the FEZ Panda – as it isn’t stated as supported on the product page, the ARM processor support both USB Host and Client. The only thing it requires, is a little USB Cable tweaking and a firmware update of the ARM to the latest firmware from GHI Electronics.

Categories: ARM, Development boards Tags:

LPC1766 & LPC2368 STAMP boards

December 19th, 2010 No comments

This friday I recieved two STAMP boards as a donation from MCUZone.

LPC STAMP Board


They are both STAMP boards, which means almost every pin is spread out for easy interfacing, but there is also a JTAG port and a USB port on the board.

The first one contains NXP’s LPC1766, which is a Cortex-M3 ARM processor with 256kB FLASH, USB Device/Host/OTG, Ethernet and more.
The other one contains NXP’s LPC2368, which is an ARM7 with 512kB FLASH and almost the same periphirals as the LPC1766, except the USB Host and OTG function.

In the video below you can see the two boards, and the LPC1766 in action, blinking an LED

Categories: ARM, Development boards, Reviews Tags: