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1  Community / Products and Services / Re: Introducing Q-kits and more from Aztec MCU Prototyping on: February 22, 2013, 05:38:35 pm
My point was that there are dozens of sites where someone can purchase the same items at far less cost than Aztec offers.  I used Mouser as an example because they are normally thought of as an expensive option for components, and yet they beat Aztec's price in this particular area.  If Aztec wants to succeed, the should revisit their pricing and shipping policies.  I would much rather give my money to an independent business than to a large corporation, but not when the price differential is that great (approximately 20% higher).  If I can purchase single quantities of parts cheaper than Aztec sells them for, then they need to find a new supplier for their bulk purchases.

We looked into the price of that LM35DZ and your instincts were correct.  We can actually supply that part for $1.20.  The other price was based on some older information.  It has now been corrected, however I am not certain what you mean about our shipping prices.  Mouser's minimum is $4.99 and ours is $5.00.  They offer free shipping over $200, so do we.

2  Community / Products and Services / Re: Introducing Q-kits and more from Aztec MCU Prototyping on: February 22, 2013, 05:31:36 pm
Aztec probably carry some common parts as a convenience to their customers. 

This is exactly right.  While we can compete with Mouser on some items, we cannot in most cases and we offer components on our site as a convenience for people buying other things so that they do not have to go to another site to get a few common parts and have to pay additional shipping.  When compared other MCU enthusiast sites, our prices are very competitive (as was pointed out by DirtBiker in another thread).

3  Community / Products and Services / Re: Proposed new Proto Shields from OMS and Aztec MCU Prototyping on: February 22, 2013, 05:17:57 pm
I like the 2nd a 3rd ones.  Do you know when they will be available?

We don't have a time frame yet.  OMS wanted to wait to get feedback from this site and some other sources.
4  Community / Products and Services / Re: Proposed new Proto Shields from OMS and Aztec MCU Prototyping on: February 22, 2013, 05:16:39 pm
I'll have to look at them in more detail, but compared to your previous prototype boards, in addition to my previous complaint (in email) about stackable headers which is addressed in the boards with offset headers (or as you mention female headers), the top side silk screening did not indicate which pins are connected to which.  As I was looking at it, I had to keep flipping the board over to make sure I had the alignment correct.  Please have the silk screening indicate what pins are connected to what, particularly as you will soon have several different board layouts.

The previous boards are to be updated with top-side silk screening of the connections, bottom side identification of the pins and the new shape.  We also added a link to the stackable headers from the web page for ordering the previous boards.

I also did a circuit continuity test, and the two power rails down the middle aren't connected to ground or 5v.  Now obviously, that can be more flexible, but I suspect it will be friendlier to people like me moving from breadboard to prototype shield (or use other prototype shields that do connect the rails) if the connections are made.

There are too many possible configurations for the power rails to make it generally beneficial to connect them to one power pin or another.  On the Adruino, there are 3 choices (5V, 3.3V and Vin) and then there is the possibility of external power, two voltages and no ground connected via wires, which side should be power and which side ground, or even using them for something else besides power. 
5  Community / Products and Services / Introducing Q-kits and more from Aztec MCU Prototyping on: February 19, 2013, 01:19:19 pm
Hi again All,

We’d like to introduce you to what we hope will be a growing line of Aztec Q-kits.  The concept behind the Q-kit is to allow the customer a simple, quick and cost effective way to order a device and all the all the parts they need to support it.  We currently have Q-kits for the DS1307 RTC and the ATmega328 with more in the works.  If you have any ideas about what other Q-kits would be useful to you, let us know and we’ll do our best to get them in.

Last week also we added a lot more components including some common capacitors, some MOSFETs and both stackable and regular female header kits as well as a couple of Arduino based breadboard kits
6  Community / Products and Services / Proposed new Proto Shields from OMS and Aztec MCU Prototyping on: February 19, 2013, 01:16:14 pm
HI all.

The folks over at OMS drafted up 3 possible additions to their prototyping shield offerings.  They asked that we show them here and ask for your comments.

All of the designs currently feature a little extra width and this serves two purposes.  First, it provides for very legible and easily seen markings of the pins, which will be marked on both the top and bottom of the board.  Second, by placing the pin makings on the outer edge of the board it allows the full space between the headers to be utilized for component placement.  Additionally, the topside silk screen on each depicts the foil pattern that is on the bottom and they are cut out for the Arduino USB connector.  This was done to allow use with the more common stackable female headers with 10.5mm pins.  Each also provides the ability to accept regular perf-board as shields by correcting the right-side connector spacing.

This first one is just a sea of 406 uncommitted plated through holes.  It has a single set of header rows and is ideal for use with stackable female headers, or male headers if it is to be the top board.



This one provides two DIP areas, one with 19 rows and the other with 10 rows each with 3 connected holes on both sides and power busses between the rows.  It has 69 additional hole pairs and 2 additional hole triplets to simplify the mounting and connection of other components and connectors.  It has a single set of header rows and is ideal for use with stackable female headers, or male headers if it is to be the top board.  It also includes a properly located area to connect to or provide connection to the ICSP header on the Arduino.



The third one has an identical pattern to the second one with the exception that it has a double set of rows for headers so that is can be used to provide staking via offset male/female headers.  This has a couple of advantages over stackable headers due to the size and shape of common male header pins.  They are .6 mm square rather than the .6mm x.35mm rectangle of the common stackable female header.  This allows them to make better contact with the Arduino sockets, especially on older more worn boards.  They are also much stronger due both to the square section and their shorter length and much less prone to bending and breaking. However, that said it could also be used with stackable female headers if one wished.


7  Community / Products and Services / Re: Introducing the OMS Prototyping Shields on: January 08, 2013, 03:11:24 pm
Thanks everyone for your input.  This discussion is very helpful.


I talked with the OMS folks.  They said they would draft something up in the bigger board department.  Ill post the pattern here for comment when it's done.  Unfortunately they are quite busy right now with custom work, which is their mainstay, so not too sure when it will be ready.


OMS say the have several different patterns coming, including one that is just plated through holes with pads like that one.


You got it right.  That's exactly what this particular board is for.  Thanks for your oder too, it went out this morning.


You have the right idea too.  That's what this shield is all about.  Thanks for your observations too.  Maybe the next time you need to stock up.  I know one the ones OMS are planning has a similar pattern all the way from end to end, but with 4 holes joined on each side.

@terryKing228 (& DirtBiker)

Please let us know what you think once your boards arrive.

Again, thanks everyone, I appreciate your input.
8  Community / Products and Services / Re: Introducing the OMS Prototyping Shields on: January 07, 2013, 02:21:20 pm
I would like a prototype shield that you can stack and where the prototyping area is "outside" not "inside"
typical size = 3x3 normal shields (get the idea?)

It contains of course some holes to easily connect something mechanic e.g. a PING sensor or a servo o wheels or solar panel or lcd or rtc ...

might give some balancing problems but still fun

So something considerably larger than a normal shield, where the Arduino would mount to it like a piggy-back board, and that would have a series of larger holes around the perimeter for mounting to a chassis or to allow the mounting of other sub-assemblies.  Does that sound about right?
9  Community / Products and Services / Re: Introducing the OMS Prototyping Shields on: January 07, 2013, 02:13:44 pm
Thank you for your patronage Mr. King.  Your orders shipped out this morning.

We hear you on the "Shield On Top" problem.  These shields could indeed be used with the 'stackable' female headers if the user wishes.  However, one of the reasons that they are not offered with long-lead 'stackable' headers is because those headers do no allow the boards they are used with to clear the components on a lot of the other shields properly and even on the MCU boards themselves.  Including the genuine Arduino UNO, Duemilanove and other boards with the full size USB 'B' connector.  Since the long-lead headers mount from the top, they are missing that extra 2.5mm of plastic that the regular male header has and just do not to fit very well in a lot of cases.  We have noted this with all the shields we have seen that use these headers.

We have spoken to the folks over at OMS and they have promised to respond by adding another board to the system that will have a staggered header arrangement so that regular male headers can still be used on the bottom of the shield for better fit.  This new board will share the same mini-breadboard foil pattern and will be ideal for building up mid-stack shields.  We hope to see those in the next few weeks.

So, for those that wish to stack on top of the current shield, they could go ahead and use the long-lead female headers.

It should also be noted that the current shield corrects the pin spacing along the inner (female header) rows.  That means a user could use standard 0.1" spacing perfboard to build piggyback boards to fit onto the shield via regular female headers in those rows.  Not a stacking solution, but a fairly unique little bonus.

Thanks also for your input, we appreciate it very much.
10  Community / Products and Services / Introducing the OMS Prototyping Shields on: January 05, 2013, 12:06:31 pm
Happy New Year Everyone!

This is just a quick note to introduce you all to Omega MCU Systems little shield prototyping system kits.  They consist of a small 62mm x 52mm PCB that has a foil pattern made up of an Uno compatible shield layout so it will work with all of the Arduino boards and 100% compatible derivatives, a 170-point mini-breadboard layout and some additional pads for headers, connectors or other components.

There are 2 basic configurations available.  One comes with the PCB, 40 pins of male header for plugging into the shield base, a set of female headers and a 170-point mini-breadboard.  This configuration allows you to build a solderless shield prototyping platform for breadboarding and testing your design.

The other configuration is just the PCB and 40 pins of male header and is intended as an inexpensive platform for building permanent samples of your shield projects.  Since the foil pattern matches the mini-breadboard, transferring the finished design is a simple as possible.

The mini-breadboard version is only $5.95 and the build version is only $2.95.  They are available from our website, or in combination packages on eBay here, and here.

Thanks everyone.
11  Community / Products and Services / Introducing the Omega MP shield and Aztec on: December 15, 2012, 12:24:44 pm
Hello All,

Aztec MCU Prototyping is an authorized Arduino dealer.  In addition to Arduino we sell a variety of Arduino derivatives (Omega), prototyping accessories, components and some items related to other MCUs, which we'll never mention here.  We are small and just getting going, but can promise to offer the absolute best in customer service and overall value.  

One of the most recent items we've gotten in stock is the Omega MP programmer shield.  This is a handy little shield that helps turn your Arduino Uno, Duemilanove or 100% compatible, into a programmer.  It has on-board support for AtmegaXX8, AttinyX313, ATtinyX5 and ATtiny13 chips as well as both 10 and 6 pin ICSP headers.  It uses the ArduinoISP sketch to emulate an avrisp and has been tested with the latest release of the Arduin IDE and the version of avrdude that comes with it.  Best of all, it only $19.25.

For more information on the Omega MP shield you can find a link to the documentation here:

Or have a look at what else we have to offer here:

While you're over there, check out our new Dollar Store.  Everything in that category is a buck or less.  We've worked hard to bring you some great bargains there, but there is always room for more.  Let us know what you think we need to add and we'll do our best.

We really appreciate feedback of any kind, good or bad.  If you have any comments, concerns or information, please feel free to let us know at info (at) aztecmcu (dot) com, go to our "Contact Us" page, or just leave a reply to this post.

We'll be adding to what we currently have on an on-going basis, so check back once in a while and thanks for giving us a look.
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