Another two-day workshop about microcontrollers, soldering and Tinusaur

Another two-day workshop about microcontrollers, soldering and Tinusaur

There was another “Microcontrollers, soldering and Tinusaurworkshop in our town of Veliko Tarnovo, few days ago..

The first day we assembled some boards, the second day we wrote some programs.

For the younger kids, there were much simpler things to do – soldering blinking LED with 2 transistors, few other components, and a battery.

Day 1

Just assembling various boards.

Tinusaur Board

This is the Tinusaur Board from the Tinusaur Starter 2 kit.

Tinusaur Board Parts

It wasn’t difficult for anyone to do that. There are markings on the PCB that tell you where to put each component and in what direction.

The only important thing to know is that you solder the RESET button last, before that you solder the batter socket on the bottom side of the PCB.

Tinusaur Shield LEDx2

This is the Shield LEDx2 from the Tinusaur Starter 2 kit.

Tinusaur Shield LEDx2 Parts

This shield is an upgrade from the previous Tinusaur Starter where we had to solder the LED and the resistor to a tiny 2-pin male header. With the shield is so much easier and fun.

LED Matrix 8×8 with MAX7219 Controller

This is a LED matrix 8×8 with a MAX7219 controller.

LED Matrix 8x8 MAX7219 Controller

That was something new. They sell on eBay at very affordable price: http://www.ebay.com/itm/191736585164

Even while we’re soldering it people were coming with ideas what we could do with it.

Day 2

The second day was dedicated to programming what we’ve assembled the previous day.

Software and Arduino IDE Setup

That’s how we started the day 2.

Short guide about how to setup the Arduino IDE to work with the Tinusaur boards is available at Arduino IDE Setup page.

Blinking LED

The “Hello, World!” in the microcontrollers’ world.

Source code available at https://bitbucket.org/tinusaur/tutorials/src/default/tut004a_blinking_leds/.

Separate blog post and tutorial page will be available soon.

LED Matrix 8×8

The biggest challenge here was to make the MAX7219LED8x8 library to work in the Arduino IDE environment.

We’ll do another post about that in the next few days.

 

Assembling Guide

This a short guide about how to assemble the Tinusaur Board.

Tinusaur Board

The Tinusaur Board is what the Tinusaur project is built around. It is rather simple PCB with a dozen components on it.

The board is easy to assemble and does not require very special skills or instruments.

IMPORTANT: If you are uncertain about anything please consult with our website, community or someone more knowledgeable in the subject.

Tinusaur PCB design and layout

There are 4 areas that the Tinusaur board could be divided to: A1, A2, A3, A4.

Assembling

Here is the recommended order of soldering the parts:

  1. MCU socket. Note: do not insert the chip yet.
  2. Capacitors C1, C2 and resistor R1.
  3. Headers H1, H2.
  4. External power header – red.
    Battery on/off header – yellow.
  5. ISP header.
  6. Battery holder.
  7. RESET button.

The battery holder and the battery are optional but if you decided to put them on make sure you solder the battery holder before the RESET button.

IMPORTANT:

External power header (JP1, red, the one closer to the 8-pin header H1) is to connect external power. DO NOT put a jumper there – that could damage the board.

Battery On/Of header (JP2, yellow, the one closer to the mount hole) is to connect/disconnect battery to/from the board. DO NOT have this on while the board is connected to the programmer or external power source – there is no circuit to protect the battery from overcharging.

If you’re not going to use an external power source or the battery on the board don’t put any jumper on at all.

Tinusaur Schematics

Board Components

Name

Description

PCB

Tinusaur Board

MCU, Attiny85

Atmel AVR ATtiny85 microcontroller

Socket, DIP-8

DIP-8 socket for MCU

H1, Header

Header 2×4, Female

H2, Header

Header 2×5, Female

ISP, Header

Header 2×5, Male, for ISP

RESET, Button

Tactile push button, for RESET

Power, Header

Header 1×2, Male, red – external power

Battery, Header

Header 1×2, Male, yellow – battery power on/off

Battery, Jumper

Jumper, 2-pin, yellow – for battery power on/off

C1, Capacitor

Capacitor 100uF, Low profile 5×5 mm

C2, Capacitor

Capacitor 100nF, Small

R1, Resistor

Resistor 10K, Small, 1/8W

Battery holder

Battery holder for CR2032

Battery 3V

Battery 3V, CR2032

Note (about external power source): If you’re going to use external power source (JP1, red in color, the one close to the 8-pin header H1) make sure you connect the negative pole (-) to the outer pin of the header and positive (+) to the inner one.

Note (about battery placement): If you’re going to use the battery in the holder make sure you insert it correctly – that is to have the negative (-) downwards (facing the holder) and the positive (+) (the side with the text markings) upwards.

 

This guide as well as other documents are available as PDF at the Guides page. Please note that any updates will be posted there.

Small changes on the board

Some of the people who received the Tinusaur Starter kit wrote us that it isn’t that easy to figure and remember how to put and use the 2 small 2×1 headers for the external power and the battery on/off. So, we decided to make a small change – have those in different colors.

Tinusaur Starter Kit Assembled

PS1 (external power source) is now red.

BS1, BJ1 (battery switch and jumper) are now yellow.

 

Your feedback is really valuable to us.

 

Pros and Cons

20140316_tinusaurstarter_06_470x140fx

Tinusaur PCB design and layoutIs there anything special about this board? No! Absolutely nothing.

Even though the Tinusaur is a very simple thing it has its advantages as well as disadvantages that need to be addressed.

It is a platform that is simple and easy to understand for everyone – perfect for a quick start and in learning how to create things.

The board consists of the minimum required components for its micro-controller to function properly. There are no missing parts that could save on space and cost but may impact stability. There are no extra components that you may not always need.

  • There are benefits of choosing the Tinusaur over some other similar projects.
  • There are of course things that are not perfect with the Tinusaur and we must mention them a.

Still interested …

More details are laid out in the Pros and Cons page.

 

All parts and boards arrived

Tinusaur PCB boards by OSHPark

Dear friends, I’m glad to inform you that all the parts and the boards finally arrived.

So we’re ready to offer the Starter Kit to those that are interested.

Boards were produced by OSHPart – they look great, as usual.

Tinusaur PCB boards by OSHPark

We also received small batch from SeeedStudio – cheaper but still look good.

We are now preparing the purchasing option – a PayPal button or may something more complex – we haven’t decided yet. There is this “Start your own online store front” list of options that we consider looking at. Any feedback or shared experience we will appreciate very much.

Initially we will put up for sale very small batch – 20 or so packages – we don’t know what the interest will be, but we have the capacity to ship about 80 more.

February: Quick update

Tinusaur Project Milestones

This is quick update for what is happening in the lab.

Tinusaur Proto

And by the way, our project was featured on OSHPark Blog, here’s the link … http://blog.oshpark.com/2014/02/staff-picks-for-the-week-of-2-february-2014/. Very glad to see that people are interested in this project.

As follow up to our first Tutorial 001 we are planing to put another one – Tutorial 002, probably about how to connect a push-button to the board and receive input from it.

The Tinusaur boards are now available for purchase from 3rd parties

Tinusaur PCB from OSHPark

The design of the board will not change very much so the prototypes should be considered useful.

Tinusaur Proto Boards

Boards are available for purchasing from the following 3rd parties:

When you go to these websites look for the link for ordering boards.

This information will be permanently available and constantly updated at the Where to buy page.

 

The Tinusaur Board Designing Principals

Tinusaur Proto v0.1 m2

In this post are discussed some of principals used while designing this board.

Size and form factor

The goal of making this board is not to have a smaller or the smallest PCB that runs on ATtiny. The goal is to have a board that could be used for prototyping simple projects as well as fitting reasonable small (or large, depending on the view) circuits on an additional shield board.

Headers

There are 2 header – one 2×4 – H1 and another one 2×5 – H2.

The idea is that all the outer pins are GND while all the inner pins are connected directly to the MCU. The longer header H2 has its top-left pin connected to the Vcc like the 2nd-row one on the left. That gives us one more power source wire.

MCU

This board could work with the smaller Atmel AVR ATtiny controllers such as ATtiny 25/45/85, ATtiny13 as well as most of their variations – as long as they are in DIP-8 case.

Programming

The programming is done through the standard 10-pin ISP connector using any compatible AVR ISP programmer. On the diagram below it is marked as PC.

The connector is placed on the board in such a way so it could be chopped off if not needed and make the board little smaller. The programming probe, marked as PP on the diagram below, has holes that could help in the cutting. In case you need to connect the board to a programmer again at later time you can solder some wires to what’s left of the probe.

Board

Technical parameters: 2 layer board of 0.90×1.40 inches (22.96×35.66 mm).

There are 4 mounting holes marked as MH on the diagram below.

Power

During the development the board could be powered through the ISP programmer.

External power source could be connected to the board through a jumper marked as PS on the diagram below.

There is an optional button-cell battery mount on the back of the board, marked as BM on the diagram below. The battery could be switched on and off using the jumper that is marked as BS on the diagram.

Areas

There are 4 areas that a Tinusaur board could be divided to: A1, A2, A3, A4. That is applicable for the actual Tinusaur main board as well as any shield boards one could produce.

A1, the bottom part of the board:

  • this is the area where the RESET button is placed on the main board.
  • for a shield board that area could be used to put some components and produce a simple circuit.

A2, the mid of the board – heads:

  • there are 2 header – one 2×4 and another one 2×5, they are different for a reason.
  • on the main board, between the headers, is placed the MCU.
  • on a shield board, between the headers, could placed a 8-pin chip or other components.

A3, the top part of the board:

  • there are the minimum required components for the MSU to work – 2 capacitors for the power source and one pull-up resistor for the RESET.
  • jumper for external power.
  • jumper to switch on/off battery.

A4, tip of the board:

  • standard ISP programming connector.

Additionally …

A5, the other side of the board:

  • there is optional cell-button battery mount.
Tinusaur Reference Design
Tinusaur Reference Design
Tinusaur Proto v0.1 m2 - Schematics
Tinusaur Proto v0.1 m2 – Schematics

New PCB Designs Sent to Fab

Tinusaur Proto v0.1 m2

This is the Tinusaur Proto v0.1 m2 that I just finished and sent it to OSHPark for fabrication.

You can look at the latest schematics on http://123d.circuits.io at this address: http://123d.circuits.io/circuits/66662.

Below are the schematics and the PCB design, for reference.

Tinusaur Proto v0.1 m2
Tinusaur Proto v0.1 m2 – schematics
Tinusaur Proto v0.1 m2
Tinusaur Proto v0.1 m2 – PCB

The new prototype PCBs just arrived from OSHPark

Tinusaur PCB
Tinusaur prototype PCBs from OSHPark
Tinusaur prototype PCBs from OSHPark

The new prototype PCBs just arrived from OSHPark – great quality as usual.

I noticed that there are only few things that I may change before call it official: slightly move some components around so they fit better and become easier to solder; add one jumper for switch on/off the optional button cell battery on the bottom of the board; make some pads and holes larger; … and few other things.

The schematics available on 123d.circuits.io website at this address: http://123d.circuits.io/circuits/58269.

Tinusaur prototype schematics
Tinusaur prototype schematics

The board is shared on OSHPark website at this address: http://oshpark.com/shared_projects/bFNU3LQB.

Tinusaur prototype PCB
Tinusaur prototype PCB