What makes the perfect FLiP project board? Leave your ideas here please!

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  • Here is my approach for a Flip project board. It uses the propeller platform model. It has a socket for the propeller memory card and separate connectors for the i2C port, the prop console, and an auxiliary serial port. I use a rechargeable 6 volt RC battery connected to a 5V power module. The platform dimensions are 2.5x3.75 inches.

    Nick
    600 x 356 - 187K
  • jmgjmg Posts: 11,066
    About the power supply, do recall that the FLIP has a rather sophisticated power supply scheme. There is a switcher that can provide up to 1.8A at the 3.3V output from either USB or the external power. Also it can supply 1.5A current limited at the USB_5V output, but only when the FLIP is powered through USB by an external supply/brick. (The usual 0.4A limit applies on computer USB).

    The secondary supply input is limited to 9V maximum input though, and when the FLIP stands alone without external power, the USB_5V supply is not available. That is too bad, and I agree that an on-board 5V regulator that could run from 12V or more and could supply the regulated 5V power to both the FLIP and to the projects in standalone mode would be very useful, essential.
    The FLiP SCH shows a AOZ1281DI, which seems to be 3~26V, 1.8A regulator - the regulator looks to be fine at 12V in
    Looks like C101 is 22uF 10V, so that's what limits the specs, - not a good choice there.



  • jmg wrote: »
    About the QuickStart touch pads. I agree they are flaky and a bad option for either a beginner or a pro. However some kind of switch input is needed for instant gratification with the LEDs. The kit could have locations for through-hole SPST switches to ground, with pull-up resistors, but to keep with the philosophy of not dedicating any pins, the switches/pull-ups would have to be isolated with diodes. Probably dirt cheap 1N4148s, since diode arrays tend to be pricey. The kit would not need to include all 8 switches.
    The link I gave above has Tact buttons for ~1.6c/each in modest volumes. The clock kits have 2 or 3 buttons, so agree 8 is not needed.

    A thru hole tach switch for 1.6 cents, wow! Well, I see that even e-switch TL1105 series tach switches from Mouser get down to 11 cents @ qty 1000. So it is attainable. I think I'd still leave positions for 8 if it is to keep compatibility with the QuickStart.
    About the sigma-delta. Only SMT pads. The QuickStart has it on p8/p9. The path on FLIP from those pads to the edge of the pcb is not too bad. It would be simply a demo for people who want to take a stab at it.
    I think I'd rather see through-hole pads for a two-channel, 8-ypin ADC chip. I2C would be optimal.

    -Phil

    I sort of agree.The thing is, there are so many possible requirements in an ADC in terms of speed and resolution etc etc. For myself, I'd want a 16+ bit multichannel differential converter with PGA like the ADS1115, but it comes in a 10-pin msop package only. On the other hand, from an educational or beginner's standpoint, it would be nice, as you say, to have a basic 8 to 12 bit ADC footprint included (the FLIP includes pull-ups on both p28/p29). Quick gratification, quick project build.. More specialized ADCs, RTCs, and so on, as chips or as rider boards, should be built up on the plugboard. Your MOBO Stamp advanced the notion of a daughter microprocessor for the ADC and other functions. I wonder how that approach would gain traction with something like a QuickFLIP?


  • jmg wrote: »

    Tact Switch ? - always popular, these look to be sub 2c
    https://lcsc.com/product-detail/Tactile-Switches_6x6x14-Plastic-head_C10890.html 1.6c/600

    Hi jmg

    The tactile switch you've linked has a ~11.5mm-long actuator (14-3.5+1mm(1mm = estimated actuator protrusion inside switch body)) that, when combined with the expected actuation force (260GF(+-50GF??)) could lead to the possibility of exerting excessive lateral forces (moment) because, being the switch body and actuator totaly exposed to operator's reach, soldered over a printed circuit board, it's expected that it would be directly pressed by (human) finger tips, that weren'tt designed to exert forces, in absolute parallelism to any actuator axis, though they could be trained to behave as a softly-touching stick, but, at least to me, it seems it would be some try-crash-retry process.

    Those kind of switches could find better use behind polycarbonate or thin-metal-covered panels, where the operator can't directly reach them, though yet needs to feel they where correctly actuated (tactitile feedback).

    There are even other models, with higher actuation forces (520GF and above) specs, intended to be used in heavy-duty (industrial??) applications, but, and this is the trully important thing, if the actuator is from such a long-lenght type, surely they would not be intended to be directly pressed by fingers, even when the operator is expected to be wearing reinforced-leather gloves..

    The eventual reason for using such kind of switch could be related to the switch-carrying board mounting plane being unusualy distant from the operator's acessible panel's face.

    IMHO, it would be better to select another thru-hole mounted, 6x6mm-body switch with a 6mm-long or even shorter actuator (total moving lenght), designed to be used, perhaps, under a 160 +-50GF actuation force condition.

    Henrique
  • jmgjmg Posts: 11,066
    Yanomani wrote: »
    IMHO, it would be better to select another thru-hole mounted, 6x6mm-body switch with a 6mm-long or even shorter actuator (total moving lenght), designed to be used, perhaps, under a 160 +-50GF actuation force condition.
    There are a whole range of heights available, and also right angle ones.

    Final height would come down to where it was placed, but being able to access thru a case is worth thinking about. ( eg RaspPi offers plenty of cases )

    With some buttons & 4 digit LEDs, you can make a lot of useful Stop-watch / timers / event counters / clocks, that students/schools might want to build, and then run outside the lab.

  • Frank Freedman Said:
    Unless Ken wants to position the board as a educational tool, building a board for flip seems a non-starter given all the flavors that wold be needed to make most people happy. The greatest value of the flip stems from the fact of drop in and build the project. The fact that I can just drop a fully operational prop into a dip position anywhere on the (bread)board and concentrate on the project at hand provides huge value in time saved. Maybe a good kit would be the Flip, a breadboard, and some of the same components as the Prop Ed kit. Maybe a CD or (think show promo gimme priced) USB stick copy of the Prop Ed manual, Prop manual, App notes, and prop tools with Ed examples propellant etc......

    I agree 100% with this. The flip is designed to go into a bread board for proto-typing. The flip is not a perf-board device. Perf-boards suck for proto-typing, but make a semi permanent board for projects if you can't make a PBC for what ever reason, usually cost in my experience.

    If you want too compete with arduino shield boards expect to make more than one kind of board that the flip can plug into.

    I bought one of the ASC+ boards so that I could plug in an arduino board. I thought it was pretty nice, but I don't know how much interest has been associated with it.

    Whatever board is created, I would say throw a Microchip 3208 or 3204 adc on it, Xbee plugin and 3.3V and 5.0V regulators. Headers to access all the pins like the quickstart board.

    I personally would like to see a board that has 8 relay outputs, 8 opto isolated inputs, 8 ADC inputs and 2 to 4 DAC outputs. I realize that doesn't fit the pricing guideline, or keep the interest of a beginner.

    Ok, final thought.
    3.3v and 5.0v rgulator with an input voltage of at least 12v.
    Servo Connectors
    ADC
    DAC
    XBEE
    Header spots for all the other pins, but at that point might as well plug it into a proto board, I would vote on making a assortment of parallax breakout boards that the flip could be plugged into.

    Blocklyprop in my experience so far has been great, expand its capabilities rapidly and watch people fall in love with the prop!

    Thats my 2 cents.
  • kwinnkwinn Posts: 7,775
    edited April 16 Vote Up0Vote Down
    With dip chips becoming an endangered species and more chips/sensors using I2C or SPI as the interface I think it makes more sense to have a board that connects the flip I/O pins to to blocks of headers that provide connections to those signals along with power to plug on small adapter boards.

    Picturing something like an array of 4 rows by 4 columns of 2x8 pin headers connected to P0 - P15. The odd pins would have the I/O signals, the even ones power & ground.
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
    Life is unpredictable. Eat dessert first.
  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 21,772
    edited April 16 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Your MOBO Stamp advanced the notion of a daughter microprocessor for the ADC and other functions. I wonder how that approach would gain traction with something like a QuickFLIP?
    I've thought about that, too. The key is being able to program the onboard coprocessor with canned firmware that performs, say, the ADC function. It's really curious that small micros with built-in ADCs cost so much less than dedicated ADC ICs. But, hey, the firmware work is done, and there's no reason the GPIO3 firmware for the MOBO couldn't also work with a FLiP module. The only thing new is the Prop and host code required to upload the firmware to the coprocessor.

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • jmgjmg Posts: 11,066
    Your MOBO Stamp advanced the notion of a daughter microprocessor for the ADC and other functions. I wonder how that approach would gain traction with something like a QuickFLIP?
    I've thought about that, too. The key is being able to program the onboard coprocessor with canned firmware that performs, say, the ADC function. It's really curious that small micros with built-in ADCs cost so much less than dedicated ADC ICs. But, hey, the firmware work is done, and there's no reason the GPIO3 firmware for the MOBO couldn't also work with a FLiP module. The only thing new is the Prop and host code required to upload the firmware to the coprocessor.
    For the ATtiny13A, that firmware angle is not going to be simple ? - it has no bootloader, and no native i2c hardware, nor UART nor SPI.

    Something with a UART bootloader might be easier to manage, and talk to after programming ?

    EFM8BB1 series have UART Bootloaders installed in the factory, and have 12b ADC.
    The EFM8BB10F8G-A-SOIC16 is ~ 44c, similar price to the older tiny13, but with much more Flash/RAM/peripherals & 3 channels of 8, 9, 10, 11 and 16-bit PWM modes (center or edge-aligned operation)

    Other parts with bootloaders with Web support, could be
    STC15W408AS-35I-SOP16 4080 in stock 100+ $ 0.5548
    STC15W401AS-35C-SOP16 Backorder 100+ $ 0.3772
    Those have 10b ADC, & 2.4~5.5V operation, & you can get them also in DIP, however, because the focus here is to provide ADC, the 12b ADC is probably better choice ?


  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 21,772
    edited April 16 Vote Up0Vote Down
    jmg wrote:
    For the ATtiny13A, that firmware angle is not going to be simple ? - it has no bootloader, and no native i2c hardware, nor UART nor SPI.
    It's not a big deal; I've already done it. The MOBO supports ATTiny-13 firmware uploads through the BS2pe. It doesn't need any of that other cruft that you mention. Also, I've found that the simplest app interface to it is 1-wire, for which there already happens to be a Spin object.

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • jmgjmg Posts: 11,066
    edited April 16 Vote Up0Vote Down
    jmg wrote:
    For the ATtiny13A, that firmware angle is not going to be simple ? - it has no bootloader, and no native i2c hardware, nor UART nor SPI.
    It's not a big deal; I've already done it. The MOBO supports ATTiny-13 firmware uploads through the BS2pe. It doesn't need any of that other cruft that you mention. Also, I've found that the simplest app interface to it is 1-wire, for which there already happens to be a Spin object.
    - but how do you get the first copy of the firmware into the tiny13 ?
    Figure 17-1. Serial Programming and Verify shows 4 pins required, for SPI programming of the part.
  • I've been reading all the comments and thank you for the ideas.

    One of the requirements is that this is very low-cost, low enough that you can sacrifice the PCBs for projects (which gives us some volume). The Propeller Project Board USB provides something in the same class, but it is expensive enough and the Propeller circuit can't be easily reused once the soldering begins.

    Almost serving the same purpose as the Circuit Overlay Board https://www.parallax.com/product/32999. Yet this requires a Propeller Activity Board, which is quite expensive in comparison to a FLiP.

    A statement above is that the FLiP is for breadboarding. Yes, it is. But with a low-cost "carrier board" it would be possible to build a project without the concern of sacrificing a Propeller circuit to soldering gone awry since the FLiP would be in a socket. Just use another FLiP Carrier Board.

    It seems a 5V regulated supply and Vin access would be required. The FLiP's 5V comes from USB, but it also provides a regulated 3.3V.

    Keep the discussion going.

    Ken Gracey

  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 21,772
    edited April 16 Vote Up0Vote Down
    jmg wrote:
    Figure 17-1. Serial Programming and Verify shows 4 pins required, for SPI programming of the part.
    Right. None of the app firmware includes a bootloader. It just uses those four pins, three of which (/RST excluded) do double duty for the firmware apps. In the MOBO, blank ATTiny-13s are soldered to the board. The default GPIO3 firmware is uploaded after the board is completely built using a combination of a BASIC Stamp program and a PC host program. After that, the AVRs can be reprogrammed at any time with new firmware.

    See the docs and the schematic on the last page. It shows how an external reset resets everything, but the Stamp can reset the AVRs for programming without resetting itself.

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • I think that there could be at least a couple of boards. Possibly a Flip circuit overlay board sized to overlay the Flipkit breadboard with a socket for the Flip. Just the connected through holes for soldering Flipkit circuits, same idea as the Activityboard overlay - build a prototype on the breadboard, solder it up on the overlay board, pop in the Flip // pop out the Flip & pop into a different overlay board with a different circuit.

    I'd also like to see a board similar to an old propeller board that that the prop in the center with solder holes around it (don't remember what it was called). That one could have hole groups for servos, the rgb Leds, etc. and pads for power in & regulation to the Flip, and maybe include the power supply components (or at least define what the user would need)?

    Those 2 should be inexpensive/ even promotional give aways.

    More expensive versions could add plugin strips and hole layouts for some of the ideas mentioned in the other posts.

    Tom
  • frank freedmanfrank freedman Posts: 1,314
    edited April 16 Vote Up0Vote Down
    @Ken, My note references both breadboard and perf board (one off customs or nearly one off in number where PCB cost does not work out). The Flip makes sense to me in that when mounted into a project board no matter how, I know that the compute device will do its thing so that part of the design, create and build time is saved for other parts of the project. And will not likely have to troubleshoot that part of the design; that's done and over with. That's what would motivate me to use the flip.

    If you really wanted to do something for more than the Flip, create a series of the parts most wanted that are only SMD, put them on breakout boards in dip format and sell those. But also use pins like the SamTec TS-132-G--AA or similar bread board and socket friendly pins. I found these when I ordered TI's DIP Adapter EVM, and ordered more from Mouser for additional higher pinout carriers from AdaFruit. It worked for me, but not everyone has the time and materials to do this well.
    Ordnung ist das halbe Leben
    I gave up on that half long ago.........
  • Connectivity, connectivity. I always have a problem connecting devices to my propeller.

    When I needed to build a board for one of my projects I ended up getting something from Digikey or Hobbyking. They have prototyping board that are reasonable size to use. I am sure there are many other vendors to choose from. I also like to use silicone wires and not have to plug the unit into my bread board. Nothing worse than having a bunch of stuff sticking straight out.

    It would be nice to have a board that I can just solder up some pins or sockets, maybe included, and then plug my device into it.

    We are no longer in the world of LED's and push button switches. We need to be able to use Bluetooth or WiFi and I want to be able to build my C# desktop program that communicates with my project or maybe I have an Android App that steers my project around the room.

    Maybe my project monitors a sensor and then sends an alert via email or pops up on my phone.

    I might want to control it with my Alexa or Google device. This is the future, are we ready, are we an enabler. Do we have an app for that?

    Mike
    2272 x 1704 - 1M
  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 21,772
    edited April 16 Vote Up0Vote Down
    iseries wrote:
    We are no longer in the world of LED's and push button switches.
    This brings up an interesting point. Is the purpose of the proposed board akin to that of a toddler's busy-box for Propeller newbies, or is it meant to provide a foundation for real-world applications? I'm not entirely sure that one board can do both.

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • That circuit overlay board that Ken tagged is a 1.5" x 2.2" PCB that sits on top of the headers in a Prop or Stamp project board and matchs the array of holes on your generic 1.25" x 1.75" white plugboard. $5.79 including three 40-pin headers, "for power and I/O headers, with some left over for making extra 3-pin ports in the prototyping area".
    Here it is attached for visualization, from the product page...

    Forget the fancy stuff. The FLIP is going to sit in a socket on a 3" x4" PCB, surrounded by an array of holes, some of which may be arranged in a way to facilitate 3-pin or 4-pin i/o breakouts. The remaining question is how to arrange those and allocate the ones for power and ground etc.. There has to be a place for a 5V regulator that can take >12V input. No LEDs or buttons or any application stuff.
  • jmgjmg Posts: 11,066
    Forget the fancy stuff. The FLIP is going to sit in a socket on a 3" x4" PCB, surrounded by an array of holes, some of which may be arranged in a way to facilitate 3-pin or 4-pin i/o breakouts. The remaining question is how to arrange those and allocate the ones for power and ground etc.. There has to be a place for a 5V regulator that can take >12V input. No LEDs or buttons or any application stuff.
    If it's only a simple perf board + 7805, why do we even need this thread ?

  • jac_goudsmitjac_goudsmit Posts: 386
    edited April 16 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Cancel. Try again.
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • jac_goudsmitjac_goudsmit Posts: 386
    edited April 16 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Here's an idea: How about if Parallax would make a board that would make it possible to "Flip the FLiP"?

    A small board (2.2" by 1.2" or so) with a FLiP socket, and an IDC header on the side. The IDC header could use the existing pinout of the QuickStart or it could simply be laid out so that the pins go straight through: pin 1 on the header is pin 1 on the FLiP, pin 2 is pin 2, etc.

    Even better: if there would be two interleaved FLiP sockets; mount it one way and the IDC header has the same pinout as the FLiP, mount it the other way and the IDC header is QuickStart compatible.


    FlipDaFlip_small.jpg

    I could probably design a simple board with just the 1-on-1 connections in an afternoon. The option of having the QuickStart as well as 1-on-1 connections would probably take longer or might be impossible with 2 layers.

    The result could easily be used (and would take up very little space) with stripboard and other designs, and if the FLiP-to-QuickStart layout is possible, it would be somewhat compatible with boards such as the HID board ("somewhat" because the header of boards like the HID board are on the wrong side. Maybe the FlipDaFlip should have a straight header as well as a 90 degree header?).

    I've also thought several times that there's a weakness in the QuickStart design: It takes away control over which pin is used for which function. I once took a piece of perfboard and soldered four 40-pin headers on it, in Male-Male-Male-Female order. I soldered wires between the outer connectors. Now I can use wire-wrap or jumper cables on the inner connectors to connect the pins together and I have full control over which Propeller pins on the QuickStart or Propeller Project Board are connected to which pins on the HID board or whatever I plug in on the other side.

    ===Jac

    360 x 640 - 52K
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • I think the circuit overlay board is on the right track.

    The Flip should sit in the middle and enough room around each side so that a header can be soldered in for connection to devices or maybe small circuits.

    Underneath the flip should be a barrel jack, that you like to use, that powers the flip and provides 5 volts and full power to other circuits that might need it.

    So if your going to use a 360 servo it needs 7 or 8 volts so you plug in a battery and run it straight though to the servos. This powers everything without losing real-estate to the power supply.

    Mike
  • IMO there are enough prototyping and robot boards. I'd love a PLC style board. Lots of power available, screw terminals, ADC, optos, RTC and piezo.
  • WBA ConsultingWBA Consulting Posts: 2,724
    edited April 18 Vote Up0Vote Down
    My input:

    TH socket headers for the FLIP
    DC Jack for power input
    IO breakout area
    Prototyping area
    Some holes for standard footprint parts (such as tactile switches, servo headers, etc)
    Do not spec parts that are "cheap", spec parts that have standard footprints so they can be purchased from a variety of worthy sources.
    No dedicated pins that restrict onboard features (all FLIP pins should have versatility)
    Board size to benefit end user the best. In other words, no need to stick to any existing format, even Parallax's 3x4.

    Leverage characteristics of other successful designs for similar uses:
    The original Parallax Propeller Proto Board could easily be used as a foundation for a FLIP plug in board. I still believe that this was the best board ever made for the Propeller for project use, even with the dreaded VGA/PS2 combo connector.
    https://www.adafruit.com/product/2077 Adafruit Proto shield fro Arduino
    https://www.adafruit.com/product/192 Adafruit Meg Proto Shield for Arduino


  • jmgjmg Posts: 11,066
    xanadu wrote: »
    I'd love a PLC style board. Lots of power available, screw terminals, ADC, optos, RTC and piezo.

    Interesting idea, something like the Bud DMB-477x series just need a specific PCB size.
    The DMB-4775 is (15/15) terminals, and 3.29" x 3.55" external, and has clear and infrared cover choices.
    This terminal might fit ok


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