Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Stuff I'm up to and Tindie

First, I'm very honored that Bot Thoughts blog has been selected as one of the Top 100 Resources for Electrical Engineers

Stuff I'm Up To

As usual, I have a number of irons in the fire.

In prep for the 2013 AVC, I plan to add an Xbee radio to Data Bus, my autonomous rover, to implement remote telemetry and control. I must first free up a serial port on the mbed. I bought an I2C-based Digole LCD adapter to replace the rover's invaluable serial LCD. 

I discovered and repaired an mistake (the wrong 0603 resistor was installed) and now it works with I2C on the mbed. I'm currently porting the company-supplied Arduino Library to mbed while learning more about C++ inheritance and virtual member functions.

I'm redesigning the Data Bus baseboard. It will be pro-fabbed after home-etching the first few iterations. It'll either be mbed- or LPCXpresso-based. Next version will get an onboard ARM, either LPC1769 or STM32.

My Raspberry Pi telepresence rover is done. Or, at least the initial phase. I'll share more about that soon and document enhancements as I go, too.

I'm also starting to gear up for STM32F4 development. I'm planning a machine-vision system based on the Toshiba tcm8230md camera. Some of the STM32 series have camera peripherals that should work with the this Toshiba 640x480 color camera. 

If a little ATmega8 at ~17MHz can run the AVRcam to track multiple colored objects, then a 168MHz STM32 with far more memory and the benefits of DMA should be able to do a lot more.

On a related note I've been working on interfacing a Game Boy camera (Mitsubishi M64282FP) with a dsPIC33F and digging into assembly on that MCU. It's really quite fun. It's on hold for a little while but I'll get back to it soon.

The mailbox notification project, using JeeNodes, is on the back burner but not forgotten.


The eeZee Propeller is back in stock on the Bot Thoughts Store and the ATtiny24/44/84 Board should be soon. Same for the ATtiny2313/4313 boards. My eeZee Power usb breadboard power module is funded and then some. Cool.

The fundraiser microSD boards will be delivered in the next few weeks, populated, and sent to supporters. 

I'm also working on a a couple new products: a Sharp IR Ranger I2C adapter and a VGA breakout adapter for Propeller.


  1. Hey, Michael!
    A XBee on Databus? Cool, man! But why not use a XRF from Ciseco ( You can attach an external antenna, the range will be increased a lot.
    Good luck on AVC!

    1. Forgot to say: The XRF have the same pinout as the XBee, so you can use the same shields, adapters and even libs to communicate with it. Also its programmable and can proccess some stuff if you need. I have one pair, having so much fun driving my r/c heli (prototype) from the PC with a playstation joystick.

    2. Thanks for the tip!! That looks like a good option.

      Honestly the main reason I'm looking at Xbee is because I had a gift certificate to get one. Once I get the basic capability in place, I'll switch to something else as I only have the low power 2.4GHz version now.

      Ted (another AVC competitor) suggested looking at a Synapse which is Xbee-like module that has an embedded Python interpreter.

      Still another option I'm thinking about is XBee Wifi.


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