Can The Project Board Be Modified To Allow WiFi Programming Like The Propeller Activity Board WX?

I would like to modify a Propeller Project Board to allow WiFi programming like the Propeller Activity Board WX, however I am uncertain about the complexity or the simplicity of such an undertaking. I have been reviewing the Propeller Activity Board WX Schematic (https://parallax.com/sites/default/files/downloads/32912-Propeller-Activity-Board-WX-Schematic-Rev-B-and-C.pdf), but more particularly page 2 of this document, and it does appear that some of the circuitry could be eliminated, such as the circuitry for the LED's.

I would just purchase a Propeller Activity Board WX, but I need the through hole prototyping area. I assume it can be done, but I am wondering about the absolute necessities.

Comments

  • Would the Circuit Overlay Board have enough prototyping area for your needs?

    https://www.parallax.com/product/32999

    They plug into the Propeller Activity Board WX, so breadboard becomes protoboard.

    I think if you needed multiple different protoboard circuits, or wanted to experiment with a few circuit options, then the PAB-WX + Circuit Overlay becomes a pretty handy and resource friendly combination. Much cheaper to stock up on Circuit Overlay boards than entire protoboards.
  • I don't know what your goal is with the WiFi module but I would purchase a WiFi socket board and then attach it to the project board.

    Every thing is there 3.3v GND, Tx, Rx and even Reset if you want to do remote code load.

    Mike

    XBee Adapter Board
  • @VonSzarvas - I would prefer not to have any breadboard at all, but I will keep your suggestion in mind. I suppose I will wait and see what kind of input I can get to this thread.

    @iseries - As mentioned in my last thread, I already have the Propeller Project Board USB and Parallax WX ESP8266 WiFi Module - SIP. My current goal is to solder the WiFi Module to the protoboard, wire up the absolute necessities like VIN, GND, DO, and DI, which makes it usable. From that point, I want to make it so that I do not have to rely on USB for programming the Propeller, but instead, program it using the WiFi connection.
  • Mike GreenMike Green Posts: 22,930
    edited 2020-02-15 - 17:40:21
    I've managed to get this sort of thing working using a Prop-Mini and a WiFi Module on a little board. You should be able to do the same thing with the Propeller Project Board USB. You need an inverter between /DTR (pin 18) on the WiFi Module and the Project Board's /RESET line. I'd just duplicate the inverter used between the Project Board's USB interface's DTR and /RESET.
  • That's all I use now is a Propeller Mini and program either with a Prop Plug or the Parallax WiFi module.

    The Parallax WiFi work just like a Prop Plug. You just plug it in and it works. I did not use any special inverter or circuits.

    Mike


  • msrobotsmsrobots Posts: 3,104
    edited 2020-02-15 - 21:12:09
    Oh,

    the propeller mini comes w/o usb and uses a propplug, cool.

    I thought Parallax does not make any boards w/o usb anymore.

    As stated often the mandatory FTDI on the boards even drove me to use a hacksaw to remove USB from my Project boards, weld in a 4 pin header and gain another propplug, when rescuing the cut out FTDI.

    Thanks @Duane Degn for the tip...

    Mike
  • @iseries
    You just plug it in and it works. I did not use any special inverter or circuits.

    Okay, let me step back for a minute. As mentioned, my intentions are to use the WiFi module with a Project Board, however I am currently testing with a Propeller Board of Education USB.

    With the WiFi module plugged into the breadboard area of the BOE, I can currently load and run programs using USB, however if I disconnect the USB and use the WiFi port for loading the program, the loading fails.

    It is noteworthy to mention that I have DI and DO hooked up to pins P8 and P9. Are you using pins P30 and P31?

    If so, I wonder if the BOE or Project Board has any special circuitry that would prevent me from hooking up to these pins. I certainly do not want to short anything.
  • Yea, it would have to go to pins P30 and P31 for the EEPROM. I tried hooking up the module to the BOE through the J5 XBEE header, using the DO and DI sockets, but no joy.
  • Think of the WiFy thing as a wireless PropPlug. Any board you can program with a proplug can be programmed via this modul (except you need a additional wire for power). But you need access to the serial pins used for loading/programming thus them wify module needs P30/31. And here is the trouble, there is a FTDI chip using the lines.

    EEPROM is 28/29 but that does not matter P1 needs 30/31.

    So what to do? bypass FTDI on your board. I am talking about attaching in-between P1 and onboard FTDI.

    first you need ground and power for the WiFy module
    the TX(on propeller) and RX on FTDI are not a problem, you can just listen, directly connecting your WiFy RX to either pin(P1 or FTDI).
    I think /RTS(/DTR) is also ok to simply connect directly.

    The problematic line is TX from FTDI to Propeller, Propeller is fine, just listening.

    But FTDI drives that pin and your WiFy module wants to drive it also.

    There is the conflict you asked for.

    I am not good at electronics, my solution would be to cut the trace and solder some jumper there to connect either WiFy TX or FTDI TX to P1 RX.

    Maybe two diodes could do the trick, I simply don't know

    Mike
  • In reality, I would really like the same capability as the Propeller Activity Board WX, which can be programmed wirelessly or by USB, but first I need to know how I can utilize the WiFi module to it's fullest potential in my current project. I suppose I will have to wait until payday to buy a Propeller Activity Board WX and the Circuit Overlay Boards that VonSzarvas suggested. Until then, I will just have to work on various aspects of programming.

    In the long run, I imagine that I will need a custom board to achieve my goals.
  • You should be able to modify the project board so that you can download programs to and receive data from it using a resistor and two signal diodes. Use the resistor to pull up pin 31 on the propeller and the two signal diodes to allow either the FTDI chip or the wifi board to pull pin 31 low. The data out from the Prop can be connected to both directly.
  • @VonSzarvas
    Would the Circuit Overlay Board have enough prototyping area for your needs?

    https://www.parallax.com/product/32999

    They plug into the Propeller Activity Board WX, so breadboard becomes protoboard.

    I think if you needed multiple different protoboard circuits, or wanted to experiment with a few circuit options, then the PAB-WX + Circuit Overlay becomes a pretty handy and resource friendly combination. Much cheaper to stock up on Circuit Overlay boards than entire protoboards.

    I have put a lot of thought into your suggestion and I must admit that the idea has grown on me. After doing some testing and working on a few issues with iseries help, I do believe that I will be purchasing a Propeller Activity Board WX, another WX ESP8266 WiFi Module (DIP configuration this time around), and several Circuit Overlay Boards.

    I now believe this is probably the best overall solution for what I am trying to achieve.

    @Everyone else

    I sincerely thank you for your input.
  • Hi Bruce,

    I don't know if you recall this Wixel thread or not, but I've used a pair of Wixels to wireless program propellers. I don't think the Wixels are as elegant of a solution as the one you're hoping for but if you wanted to try the Wixel approach, I could send you a pair (I have a couple I could spare).

    I haven't used this technique in a while and I haven't tested these with Windows 10 yet.

    Either way, good luck on your project.
  • @Duane

    I hope all is well with you and yours.

    At this point, I have all of my programming for the WiFi module written, to match the functionality of my current USB programming, with the exception of programming the EEROM by WiFi. All I need now is the previous items mentioned, and then I will be able to experiment more and expand upon the current programming by adding bluetooth capability.

    Anyhow, I truly appreciate the offer, and thanks for reaching out to lend a helping hand.

    I see that you are slowly but surely participating a bit more in the forums lately. It is good to know that you have not jumped ship :)

    Bruce
  • Well, I have been busy porting the code from the Parallax-ESP to an ESP32 module. After starting this I realized that they are vastly different units. This meant moving the code over was not going to work. I have had to rewrite most of the code.

    Anyway most of the functionality that you are using is done as well as the web pages and file system. I have not started working on the Bluetooth though and don't know how I would make that work at this point.

    I have been working with BLE 5 to see how it all works and this look very interesting but complicated as compared to straight Bluetooth. You get a headache trying to think about services, characteristics and GUIDs.

    Now if you have something that wants to publish some information I could use this as a blue print to see how one would build the services. So we would need a code to build the service and then the characteristics and finally reveal the values.

    Just a thought.

    Mike

    PS. I do not have remote code loading working and don't know how to make that work.
  • iseries wrote: »
    Well, I have been busy porting the code from the Parallax-ESP to an ESP32 module. After starting this I realized that they are vastly different units. This meant moving the code over was not going to work. I have had to rewrite most of the code.

    Anyway most of the functionality that you are using is done as well as the web pages and file system. I have not started working on the Bluetooth though and don't know how I would make that work at this point.

    I have been working with BLE 5 to see how it all works and this look very interesting but complicated as compared to straight Bluetooth. You get a headache trying to think about services, characteristics and GUIDs.

    Now if you have something that wants to publish some information I could use this as a blue print to see how one would build the services. So we would need a code to build the service and then the characteristics and finally reveal the values.

    Just a thought.

    Mike

    PS. I do not have remote code loading working and don't know how to make that work.
    Sorry you ended up having to rewrite all of the code. I started porting to ESP32 myself a while ago but didn't get very far before becoming too busy with other things. If you get your ESP32 code working you might want to contact Jeff Martin at Parallax in case they're interested in updating the WX module to use an ESP32 processor. In fact, it might be better if you took over the existing Parallax-ESP project since you're the only one who has done any work on it lately. Again, check with Jeff if you're interested.

  • idbruceidbruce Posts: 5,936
    edited 2020-02-24 - 23:57:00
    Okay, I just purchased a Propeller Activity Board WX, a WX ESP8266 WiFi Module (DIP), and several Circuit Overlay Boards. Moving forward :) Now I just wish I had done this with my last order :)

    @VonSzarvas - Thank you for pointing me in a good direction. If necessary, I can have a board made with the same form factor as the overlay boards. At this point, it is certainly the best way for me to go. SD card ready, wireless programming ready, documentation available, etc... And I can make it look very professional by having a board made with the same form factor as the overlays. No one will know the difference by opening the enclosure, unless they are an EE. It will make my product more expensive, but it will have functionality. :)

    @iseries _ Without disclosing too much about my current project, it is specifically all about motor control. It is only one stepper motor, but a webpage controls how this motor functions. For now, we will call it the user interface. There are many options available to the user, and when the user makes their selection of options, it formats a 3`5 charachter long string, and writes it to a file on a web server (but it could also be locally hosted). The WiFi module accesses this file on the internet and tells the motor exactly what to do, according to user selections and the format of the string from these selections.

    I currently believe that I can achieve all the functionality that I want, just with the WiFi module, but just in case, I ordered the Bluetooth module, because I want to be able control the motor with a cellular phone. I have not delved into that part of the project just yet, but I will, just as soon as I test my new code with my latest purchases. It will be very cool to be able to wirelessly program a stepper motors running chacteristics on the fly :) This is all very interesting to me, and I believe I have a nice product in the making :)
  • Thanks for sharing your progress @idbruce

    Big thumbs up for Making Stuff Happen!
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