This has been a long post in arriving. Why? I keep finding new stuff to throw into the project. I’ll do some of the major items right now, but there will be more as we go along – there’s a LOT going on in the embedded and low power processor and sensor spaces.
Let’s start with the processors:
This is my SJJ Micro Framework board (I’ve stuck the breadboard on top.) I’ll be using this for where I need a small, low powered remote processing unit that has access to an Ethernet cable (very handy feature that last one.)
Next is my GHI USBizi board – again, Micro Framework, but smaller and with more serial ports. This is useful for even lower power situations, and those with the need for local storage and USB Host capabilities. Note no Ethernet onboard, but I’ve got some ways around that a bit further down.
And a base Arduino (with prototype shield.) Useful for quick and cheap, but fewer control lines and memory/storage size. It is worth a note that the Arduino Mega is out and answers a number of these concerns.
And (not quite stand alone but even easier to prototype with) my old V1 Phidgets 8/8/8 controller. Requires at least a USB connection to a PC so it’s not for remote usage, but it’s really easy to put together various configurations, has a LOAD of great sample code, exposes functionality as a web service, and has Robotics Studio support for features. Oh, and the wiring is keyed for the analog I/O so I don’t fry all my sensors when I get distracted and forget to make SURE that everything’s hooked up right. (Yes, I tend to multitask far too often.)
A number of XBee radios – not the processors themselves, but allowing me to do wireless serial over some nice distances. Handling point to point communications right out of the box, this nice little radio is fairly inexpensive, pretty good with power, and it has a good many tricks up it’s sleeve (including star network and mesh networking configurations.) Below I show the radio itself and one of the several breakout boards that are used to talk with the radio both from the embedded controllers above and my main controller computer.
The Sparkfun weather board. This is a prototype from Sparkfun that gathers up environmental data and reports on it in a text format through a serial interface at a rate of 1Hz. I’m throwing this in on the controller section because it really is stand alone – the processing happens locally and then opens up that data for remote usage. I could even rewrite the firmware for different local functionality (but I probably won’t.)
Next time – OK, so you’ve got a bunch of procs floating around – what are you going to use them for?