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Author Topic: CATkits and Kittens - long distance sensor connections over CAT5 cable  (Read 3440 times)
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Mayne Island, BC, Canada
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Hello,

I'd like to introduce our new product, designed to simplify sensor networks by using CAT5 or CAT6 cable.

The CATkit is an Arduino shield which connects with Kitten boards to distribute 18 signals over the CAT5 cable. Kitten boards are the satellite boards with 6 channels each and provide a versatile way to connect pretty much any sensor.

The CATkit shield has stacking headers so other shields can also connect.

This link will give you the idea and detailed information : http://smartgreenhouse.co/index.php/products/robotics/catkit-long-distance-connectivity

We do not sell these directly, but are seeking additional distributors.  email us at info@smartgreenhouse.org

Thanks for looking.


* CAT&Kitten.pdf (38.34 KB - downloaded 38 times.)
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nr Bundaberg, Australia
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How are you communicating with the Kittens?

Any technical details like speeds etc. ?


______
Rob
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Rob Gray aka the GRAYnomad www.robgray.com

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It is simply a wired connection. An extension of the Arduino signals, without buffers or amplification which works perfectly for most low speed communications.

These have been tested with I2C, 1Wire, Serial, Analog signals typically to 35m, with serial and analog tested up to 100m on CAT6 cable.

The CATkit is a powered device, with an 800mA regulator supplying power to the Kittens and sensor network as well as the host Arduino though Vin.  This version of the board is 5v only. A 3V3 version will be announced "soon".

Regards
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Looks good!

price?
availability in the Netherlands/Europe?
Would like to get some hands on experience..

And after breathing the magic smoke -- Do we get kittens on which we can place a shield? that would be awesome smiley-wink
« Last Edit: April 15, 2013, 12:52:10 pm by robtillaart » Logged

Rob Tillaart

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Yes our UK company can supply to Europe, Asia and Africa . From Canada we supply North and South America, and Asia.

Pricing is around $18 US for a CATkit, $6 for a Kitten or $23 for a starter pack (1 Cat & 1 Kitten) US dollars

You can connect Arduinos via CAT5 when each one has a CATkit shield. The only issue for serial comms is that Tx and Rx have to be reversed of course.  You could build a simple data network of four Arduinos using the pin mapping table on the website. http://smartgreenhouse.co/images/downloads/CATkit-Pinouts.pdf

Shields mounted on Kittens is a terrific idea and would be very appropriate for use with our sensor blocks.  I'll look into that!

Regards,
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Quote
$23 for a starter pack
So that would be a CATkit kit then.

______
Rob
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Ha! I love puns    smiley-lol

(The name came from a kit for CAT5.  The obvious name for the little board was Kitten  and yes, they are kits!)
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Shields mounted on Kittens is a terrific idea and would be very appropriate for use with our sensor blocks.  I'll look into that!
You may send me a some CatKits for that one smiley-wink
[I'll PM you another idea]

As I2C is on pin A4/A5 of Arduino will that also work over CatKit?
Also the use of analog pins as digital ones ?
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I have both an I2C display and an SPI display running over digital (25m cables) together with a 1-wire chain, and a collection of analog sensors on A0-A5 also over long cables. I have not tested I2C via the analog pins but see no reason why that would not work.

Generally analog devices perform correctly even over long cables (50m+) but some recalibration is needed (in software) if the readings need to be accurate. The voltage drop over 100m CAT5 is around 0.125v, slightly less over CAT6 so this should be taken into account. 

The power provided to the CATkit also powers the Arduino and Kittens (800mA) so the PSU should be 1000mA or better. I have found that a weak PSU affects the I2C more than other protocols.

Thanks for the suggestions Rob!   Very helpful!   smiley-grin

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 As a network engineer I have come across suppliers of  cheap pre-made  CAT5 patch cables who DO NOT connect all the pairs (since standard Ethernet uses only 2 pairs).  These cables will not work with Cat/ Kittens, best to make up your own and test any before use.

MacChard
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I bought one of these kits and plan on using it to do some home automation stuff.   Since I have all this Cat5 in the walls and attic already and its not used since I went Wi-Fi, it seemed like a no-brainer.
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