Friday, April 01, 2011

Preparing for Posting

Having rushed the first pair of Nanodes through on Wednesday and proved that they work together, I have been putting some further documentation on the London Hackspace Wiki page.

I'm a very infrequent visitor to the Hackspace, now living and working some distance from central London, and so I have offered the Hackspace "first bite" at the Nanode, as an open source design which will benefit their members, allow them to develop new applications given a boost of very low cost hardware. There will be a special "Hackspace" branded board, bearing the distinctive Hackspace logo and a construction and use workshop session planned to coincide with the arrival of the first batch of Nanode boards bearing the Hackspace Logo.

The new "Hackspace" Nanode features one or two corrections and updates over the first prototypes.

It has an easy to connect 4 way screw terminal block on the left to connect 12V power, ground and the wired local network. Boards can be connected together easily with 4 way telephone cable on a bus that supplies both communications and power for the applications.

The reset switch is now either a vertical or horizontal type and located at the edge of the board for easy accessability when a shield is fitted. Likewise for the LED, now on the board edge.

The biggest upgrade is to include provision for Virtual USB or Vusb. This is a USB transceiver which runs in firmware on the ATmega328, and means that the Nanode can be programmed and communicate with a PC without having the need of the FTDI cable. I have implemented it the same as the Metaboard, thus making it compatible with their programming software drivers which can be installed as part of the Arduino programming environment (IDE).

The first of the Hackspace Boards will be available in early May - if all goes to plan.

Meanwhile, on the first 10 samples, I have been busy preparing kits of parts for some Beta testers of the Nanode. Hopefully these boards will be shipped this weekend. These first boards will go to friends and associates who have assisted with the project, and best placed to do something special with the newborn Nanodes.

Two will go to my friends at Openenergymonitor, a further two to Andrew Lindsay who wrote the improved ENC28J60 Ethernet library for the Arduino, two to John Crouchley of Nottinghack who assisted me with the Pachube Getter code, and two for Stephen Blomley and Samuel Carlisle - members of the London Hackspace who wish to take it on as a collaborative project. That just leaves two for me, which I hope to demonstrate at the end of next week at the Pachube Internet of Things 24 hour Hackathon. Just 166 hours off......

I have done some costing of the Nanode, and by choosing Cool Components, Rapid Electronics and Spirit Electronics for the PCBs its possible to build a batch of 10 Nanodes for £18 each (and that includes VAT and shipping). This low cost should appeal to Hackspaces, Colleges and amateur enthusiasts alike.

I have also adopted Thingiverse as a repository for all the build and construction files for the Nanode. As it is a work in progress, there are likely be a number of changes in the next few weeks. Remember to check for regular updates. Already there have been a couple of corrections around the ethernet magjack connector and the power supply connection.

So now its back to kitting, three 10 resistors, check, four 51 ohm resistors, check and so on......

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