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Topic: Sainsmart (Read 2 times) previous topic - next topic

dannable

I'm not sure where to put this, so here seemed as good a place as any!

I have just ordered a Sainsmart 2560 & touch screen tft display combo. I have read a few topics on here about them but the number of problems raised compared to the number sold must mean that either a lot of people are happy with their purchase or couldn't actually get it to work but were too embarassed to say so. (We've all been there!)

Would anyone care to share their experience?
Beginners guide to using the Seeedstudio SIM900 GPRS/GSM Shield

Constantin

In a way, you get what you paid for.

There is a reason that folk are willing to pay more for similar products at Adafruit. Between the online guides, the forum support, etc. there are ample reasons not to bang your head against a poorly-documented wall. That's not to say that I buy everything from Adafruit, but there are things I have bought there specifically because the support is so good.

alfiesty

I have purchased several items from Sainsmart, including a 2650. All arrived working. All still do!

Jim
8000ft above the average

Constantin

Whether Sainsmart can make good stuff is not the question. If you're buying a board for which someone else has developed a reference hardware and software package then there are fewer opportunities for issues to arise. After all, the Arduino team enables the IDE and publishes the hardware specification.

Where vendors like Sainsmart can fall down flat is new hardware that someone developed for them but which is largely undocumented, for which there are no easy-to-use libraries, etc. They're not alone, BTW, even Sparkfun will copy someone else's hardware (USB host controller shield, for example) but not offer working software (because they want their users to copy Oleg Mazurovs work and then adapt it for their own use).

This is where Adafruit is different. They offer lots of internally developed libraries and sketches to support their user base in developing their own work.

MichaelMeissner

#4
Sep 12, 2012, 02:17 pm Last Edit: Sep 12, 2012, 02:21 pm by MichaelMeissner Reason: 1

Whether Sainsmart can make good stuff is not the question. If you're buying a board for which someone else has developed a reference hardware and software package then there are fewer opportunities for issues to arise. After all, the Arduino team enables the IDE and publishes the hardware specification.


Though you do have to watch out for the IDE 0.xx -> 1.xx changes, where if the code was written for 0.22 and you are using 1.01, you will need to do some changes to the code.


Where vendors like Sainsmart can fall down flat is new hardware that someone developed for them but which is largely undocumented, for which there are no easy-to-use libraries, etc. They're not alone, BTW, even Sparkfun will copy someone else's hardware (USB host controller shield, for example) but not offer working software (because they want their users to copy Oleg Mazurovs work and then adapt it for their own use).


When I started with the UNO, I ordered one of the starter kits with LEDs, resistors, etc.  The company just dumped everything into a few plastic bags with no labels on the bags.  Now, I look at the manufacturer's site and if they don't have sample code, I move on to another manufacturer if the item is common like a LCD.  The manufacturer http://www.dfrobot.com tends to impress me with their downloads.


This is where Adafruit is different. They offer lots of internally developed libraries and sketches to support their user base in developing their own work.

Yes agreed.  I also like Terry King's site (http://www.yourdunio.com).  He posts in this site quite often.  While adafruit has more depth in terms of the variety of parts available, as an electronics beginner, I tend to look at yourdunio over adafruit, because yourdunio often times has pre-assembled versions as well as versions that need soldering, while most things at adafruit need soldering.

I also like distributors like http://robotshop.com and http://pololu.com, since they are USA based, and the shipping times are much shorter.

pico

#5
Sep 12, 2012, 04:20 pm Last Edit: Sep 12, 2012, 04:35 pm by pico Reason: 1

If you're buying a board for which someone else has developed a reference hardware and software package then there are fewer opportunities for issues to arise.

Interesting difference in perspective. Overall, I find that the less of the Arduino code developed by the Arduino team I use, the less headaches I have!

I break up "Arduino" branded stuff into five parts:

a) Hardware: A breakout dev board for an AVR atmega of some description, or an add-on shield
b) Firmware (bootloader and USB)
c) Software: Core libs (wiring, etc.)
d) Software: Add-on libs (e.g. "standard" Ethernet library)
e) The Arduino IDE

For the breakout board, almost anyone's will do. I actually don't think the quality of manufacture is noticeably higher in a real branded Arduino over a clone. Indeed, in many cases, I suspect the clone hardware is often *better* made. But I've yet to come across anything unusable. The worst thing I've come across so far was a noticeably cheaply made shield that had a break in a trace I had to fix. But even that shield was completely usable after that.

For firmware, just load up what you want using the ICSP pins if not already loaded! I use a usbasp programmer for convenience, but of course even this isn't necessary. And most of the time, the clone hardware comes with the latest firmware anyway.

Next: software. This is where things get stickier. I'm finding that whenever I'm getting problems, it is due to a (usually long reported but still unfixed) bug or inefficiency in the core libs. So, over time, I've found that my programming for Arduinos has simply evolved to where I'm using and relying on less and less of the core lib code. I still use delay(), millis(), delayMicroseconds(), micros(), and Serial but that's about it these days (as I recently found when porting about 5000 lines of code to another platform.) Interestingly, I find that many of the third-party add-on libs I'm using aren't using much of the Arduino core libs either. Hmmmm...

As for the add-on libs, generally, I find the third party libs to be of much higher quality in terms of design and functionality compared to the "standard" libs. As an example, porting code which used the Ethernet libraries of 0023 (when including the third party libs EthernetDHCP and EthernetDNS) to the new Ethernet libraries of 1.0.1 means losing functionality. Non-blocking DHCP requests, anyone? Unfortunately, porting the old third party libs to work under 1.0.1 is not quite trivial. I'm sure it can (and really should) be done, though.

Finally, I've now just about given up on the IDE, and in particular the buggy and unpredictable pre-processor, which has caused me the most grief of all.

So when it comes to brand "Arduino", sometimes less is more. At least from my perspective.






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Constantin

Pico,

In fairness though, your level of programming expertise is light years ahead of mine and that of many other users. We're just happy when our counters increment as expected and the serial port doesn't just blabber garbage.  :)

Based on the few observations / anecdotes I have, I'd say that the in-house Sainsmart-developed stuff (i.e. not clones like the Atmega 2560 board) requires a lot more hand-holding than the gear you can buy at Adafruit, dfrobot, Pololu, etc. Those sites have recognized that a key differentiator for their wares is having working examples that put their customers on the way to happiness - whatever customized form it takes in eventually.

Some of the third party stuff is eventually folded into Arduino... Mikal Harts work in Flash memory storage, Adafruits bootloader progeny (i.e. Optiboot), and so on come immediately to mind, I'm sure there are more. However, I agree that you can frequently find better implementations out there of various built-in functions, if you know where to look/ask. I'm thinking of the various SD libraries of Mr. Greiman, EasyTransfer by Bill Porter, etc.

Like the Arduino string bugs that have been fixed for years in Teensy, I am sure there are other outstanding issues like you noted. The good news is that I can copy the teensy malloc.c into my Arduino folder and be done with that problem. I wonder whether the more advanced users here should assemble a list of resources and 'fixes' for known problems that the Arduino team has not yet addressed (for whatever reason). I don't want to call it a fork, but maybe that's what it would take for the Arduino team to become a bit more responsive to addressing known, old bugs.

Seems to me, that the Arduino core is struggling with harnessing the awesome resources that could really help their project improve (and at virtually no cost) while also transitioning from a 5V Atmega core to a 3.3V ARM core. The temptation will always be to address the known issues on the next hardware platform rather than on the current cash cow. Never mind that a lot of later grief could have been avoided if the Arduino team had settled on a 3.3V platform from the outset. But that's for another day.

miguelsm

It's a Chinese imitation that may damage your computer. I know from own experience that they tend to create fake "free shipping" promotions, so that is a thing to avoid.

I believe we should all support the real Arduino boards, therefore supporting those who really contribute to its creation and development, not someone who decides to copy them without any I&D costs ;)

Riva


I have just ordered a Sainsmart 2560 & touch screen tft display combo. I have read a few topics on here about them but the number of problems raised compared to the number sold must mean that either a lot of people are happy with their purchase or couldn't actually get it to work but were too embarassed to say so. (We've all been there!)

Would anyone care to share their experience?

Very early days yet as I've only had mine about a week but it's performed as expected. I needed something with more RAM as I'm having problems getting an ILX511 working on UNO. I could not resist the price of £11.99 + free P&P, cheaper than either UNO's I own. Still have the ILX511 problems but at least I know it's not lack of memory now.
http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?action=unread;boards=5,67,10,11,66,12,15,17,21,22,23,24,25,29;ALL

pYro_65

I've been using a ssd1289 kit and its still going strong. Got a second kit and was disappointed as the crappy ebay merchant sent wrong screen. But the hardware is fine. I find it takes longer to reset than my older mega ( a different clone ) when opening the monitor.

I have used one set-up thoroughly anyway. The shield and screen have been inserted and removed many times as I made my own adjustments to the shield, allowing me to use the read functionality of the screen. Still no problems... Yet.

dannable

Just to update I ended up with three of the devices and all work perfectly. Never actually got around to developing the project they were intended for but that can wait until a rainy day. Oh, hang on, I live in the UK...
Beginners guide to using the Seeedstudio SIM900 GPRS/GSM Shield

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