Saturday, December 29, 2012

Misson Accomplished!

Today on December 29, 2012 at 8:44AM, we reached our fundraising goal! I can't thank our supporters enough. This will definitely help jump start Fried Circuits (our new shop) and enable us to prototype some projects we have designed. 

You can still place an order and once the fundraiser is over, I will order the PCBs which will take about two weeks from OSH Park.

Friday, December 28, 2012

USB Tester 2 Days Left!

It has been a great two weeks, not just because of the holidays, but our fundraiser is doing well. With only two days left, we are very close to reaching our goal. Currently we are at $552, with a goal of $600. If you haven't ordered, please come help us out. I look forward to starting the new year making and shipping the USB Testers as well as getting the OLED backpack into your hands.

USB Tester Front

USB Tester OLED 3D Model

Thank you so much for your support!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Disassembly of an 8 Pin Connector

For a new upcoming project I bought an 8-Pin Mini Din connector from Fry's Electronics and for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to take it part. They really should sell it to you separated so that you don't have to disassemble it yourself, possibly damaging the connector. Now that I figured it out, I thought it would be a good idea to to share it since I couldn't find any other sites. Unfortunately, their site doesn't list it, so I couldn't find the part to link to.

The 8-din packaging with the other parts for the project

3D Model of USB Tester OLED Adapter

Before I head out for a holiday break, I wanted to post a teaser of the USB Tester OLED Adapter. I ordered a few PCBs for the first prototype. I was able to breakout all of the unused pins on the Atmega32u4. There are a few that have a via close to the pin instead of a normal header on the edge of the board. I used eagleUp to create the 3D model. You can find it here if you would like to try it: The model is only the PCB, I haven't had a chance to get the parts working yet.

Happy Holidays! Enjoy!

Bluetooth Roomba Part Two

Continued from Part One.

After the MOSFETs arrived! I attempted the rear MOSFET labeled U4 first. Instead of desoldering it, I just clipped the legs and heated up the other side. It come off without a hitch. Cleaned up the pads, added some flux and soldered the new part. Piece of cake, one more and I am done.

Back side MOSFET before removal

Monday, December 17, 2012

USB Tester Fundraiser

Today on 12/17/2012, Tindie launched a new fundraiser system to help new products get off the ground. The USB Tester is one of the first products to use this new system. Our goal is to reach 50 orders or $600. This will help further development of the USB Tester backpacks and will help jump start FriedCircuits.

The way it works is a shop sets a minimum order and you can prepay using the normal Tindie checkout. You are not charged unless the fundraiser meets the goal. Once the two weeks is over and the goal is met, you are charged and we are able to build and ship out the orders. This allows you to support a new product but not put money upfront until there is enough interest.

The orders that were submitted before the fundraiser started will be processed and shipped as soon as the PCB's come in.

You can find the fundraiser here:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Our First Product: USB Tester

Today on 12/12/12, we launched our first product! Check out the product description below. If you would like to purchase one you can do so here:

We have launched a new name, FriedCircuits, which will be used for any products that we sell. I am working on a site for product information and documentation (will be shared when completed). 

USB Tester v1

USB Tester v1 Front

USB Tester v1 Front with Jumper

USB Tester v1 Rear

USB has become the core of many projects. In my experience I’ve found it to be troublesome to test USB voltage levels and current usage using a breadboard. They usually consist of holding wires attached to the DMM’s test leads, making it difficult to get solid readings. The USB Tester will make it much easier to monitor any USB project’s power source.

As part of the USB spec, you are limited to 500ma, so you want to monitor how close you are. Most people use USB hubs, both powered and unpowered, and with many devices connected, you can end up with less than 5V which can cause havoc on you projects. The USB Tester will make it a snap to monitor voltage levels and current usage without having to re-wire your breadboard. Just connect to your oscilloscope or DMM test leads, and you’re good to go! The USB Tester has both banana clip sized drills and standard 0.1” headers. When you are not testing current you can add a jumper for normal operation. The USB D+/D- pins are also broken out so you can monitor those on an oscilloscope, or for USB sniffing.

The USB Tester PCB size uses Dangerous prototypes Sick of Beige standard DP5031 so that a case can be used or at least a half of one as a base. The current batch is made in the U.S. using OSHPark’s PCB service. 

Here is a list of features:
Monitor voltage levels
Monitor current usage
Monitor data lines via an oscilloscope
Banana clip testing points
Jumper connection to bridge current connection when not testing/normal operation
Dangerous Prototype’s Sick of Beige standard PCB size 
Headers for future expansion via backpacks
Uses SparkFun's 0.1" locking header footprint

Assembled PCB with both USB A and mini headers
14 unsoldered 0.1” pin headers
1 jumper
Note: a USB mini cable is not included

This product listing is to get a feel of interest of the USB Tester. If it does well, I will develop the backpacks, starting with an OLED display and any other ideas that conspire. Some of the ideas I currently have, is the ability to do data logging, either via local storage or a desktop application over a second USB connection.

Comment below with your thoughts or suggestions.