New development board Idea

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About the same time last year, I created a development board with a 16x2 LCD, Atmega328 and a CH340 USB-TTL converter and various parts. (left) It works great and I am still using it. Over the year I have designed more than 10 boards, the latest two are on the right top with an atmega128A and right bottom with an Atmega32. They work great, but from a practical, learning, ease of use and fun to play with point of view, a 16x2 LCD is inseparable in my humble opinion. so, I decided to get back to the 16x2 LCD and upgrade this board. There are my ideas

-- Smaller board (that board measures 90mmX95mm)

-- An atmega8 for interfacing the 16x2 LCD , 5 buttons and 3 LED via I2C, and used as an ISP and UART(serial) as a bridge for the computer and the main MCU. 8K should be enough memory for this task? and it will be clocked @ 12Mhz

-- The atmega328 will be our main MCU, with all its pins port out in a logical way and it will be running with a high precision 10ppm crystal oscillator.

-- Both chip will be in DIP package, and have an ICSP header, easier to work with. DIP looks more pro.

1, What else do you think it's essential to include in this board?

2, what voltage? 3v or 5V or maybe both?

3, what will be the ideal board size? The LCD moudle measures about 80mmx35mm

I wonder what's the intended user group for your boards.

If it's for learning, what assistance do you offer (tutorials, examples...)?

What's the price?

I would love a on board WiFi or GSM module on those LCD developement boards, which could allow me to control lcd via phone or computer. Then it will be more fun to learn.

A big feature of the Arduino is its standard pinout arrangement that can accept many different shields.

If you don't intend to have the same arrangement you will have to think carefully about the intended market for your product because your customers will be cutting themselves off from standard shields.

If the principal purpose is learning then I think you should stick to the standard Arduino layout.

...R

A question, what's the point of the board? I mean what exactly it gonna do just for fun or a specific
purpose?

DrDiettrich:
I wonder what’s the intended user group for your boards.

If it’s for learning, what assistance do you offer (tutorials, examples…)?

What’s the price?

Probably newbie group since I am myself a newbie. what I have in mind right now is to write a library for the LCD to display various low level AVR stuffs, and with few buttons, people can scroll through a list of normally hidden things, and maybe even able to program the MCU itself by using buttons, this LCD and the rarely used EEEROM memory. what do you think?

Nirs11:
I would love a on board WiFi or GSM module on those LCD developement boards, which could allow me to control lcd via phone or computer. Then it will be more fun to learn.

that is some hard core stuffs. for me flashing a led is fun enough, but you are definitely right. Now a day, without a connection to cloud, any device is obsolete. will add a ESP8266 header to it. thanks

Hi flyandance,

One of the first things most newbies need is access to a bank of switches, potentiometers, and LEDs. If you put a number of these on the board and jumper them so they can be configured to different inputs and outputs it would help them.

You may also want to have a few servo output pins accessible on a header and some pins to allow users to connect various sensors.

Pat.

Now a day, without a connection to cloud, any device is obsolete.

That is BS. Many embedded devices do not need connection to the cloud.

Sounds like someone has fallen for Microsoft's plan :wink:

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patduino:
Hi flyandance,

One of the first things most newbies need is access to a bank of switches, potentiometers, and LEDs. If you put a number of these on the board and jumper them so they can be configured to different inputs and outputs it would help them.

You may also want to have a few servo output pins accessible on a header and some pins to allow users to connect various sensors.

Pat.

Hi pat. you are absolutely right. My old board has 6 hidden leds, 2 pots, 1 relay, and 1 beeper. One of the potentiometer, the black wheel, was intended to use as a scroll wheel function, but can't figure how to program it. I was thinking about getting rid of them, but that you mentioned it, I have second thoughts.

Here is my sketching design. A minimalist approach.

I did this a while back, maybe some ideas here for you:
BreadBoard2.jpg

2014-08-23_0-39-04.jpg

2014-09-11_23-15-44.jpg

2014-09-11_23-16-20.jpg

IMHO these interesting designs don't do a newbie any favours compared to a bog-standard Uno if the object is to introduce the newbie to the fun of micro-processor programming.

In general they are all abstracting away good learning opportunities as well as being totally incompatible with the standard Arduino pin layout.

If a newbie asked my advice on this Forum I would recommend a standard Arduino unless s/he had a very specific need.

It would be entirely different if they were designed for a specific application area - for example animating a piece of art. I'm sure there are many application areas where newbies just want to get one particular job done and really don't want to, or need to, learn programming. But those applications don't need ALL the bells and whistles - they just need the RIGHT bells and whistles. And, most importantly, they will need good libraries and extensive high quality documentation (so that the user can do what s/he wants without needing to ask questions here).

I think the people developing these ideas should reflect very carefully on the obvious fact that they themselves are very far from being a newbie.

However if anyone puts a product on the market I hope it is a success.

...R

Robin2:
IMHO these interesting designs don't do a newbie any favours compared to a bog-standard Uno if the object is to introduce the newbie to the fun of micro-processor programming.

In general they are all abstracting away good learning opportunities as well as being totally incompatible with the standard Arduino pin layout.

If a newbie asked my advice on this Forum I would recommend a standard Arduino unless s/he had a very specific need.

It would be entirely different if they were designed for a specific application area - for example animating a piece of art. I'm sure there are many application areas where newbies just want to get one particular job done and really don't want to, or need to, learn programming. But those applications don't need ALL the bells and whistles - they just need the RIGHT bells and whistles. And, most importantly, they will need good libraries and extensive high quality documentation (so that the user can do what s/he wants without needing to ask questions here).

I think the people developing these ideas should reflect very carefully on the obvious fact that they themselves are very far from being a newbie.

However if anyone puts a product on the market I hope it is a success.

...R

I have my uno for years, not really use it too much. on the other hand, I use my nano more because it's much easy to play with, especially on a breadboard. For any newbie, he is either wanting to build something with an arduino, or is interested in learning how things works by playing with it. This board that I have in mind is for the latter, both in term of electronic and programming skill, and since any newbie, including myself, can only get better in programming by doing more programming, this board is like a hot girl, very encouraging and fun to work with, while in contract, the uno is like an old man, not very fun to play with, will not get you excited in the night, but is a well-known gentleman whom works very hard over the years and is a well-respected teacher.

It may be just me, but I'd love a board where I could start relatively easy playing with sound generation via a headphone-jack. I have vague plans for wave-form-generation with the arduino, possibly using one or two programmable resistors, but haven't come further than the idea stage, as surely there are hardware concerns to address, when driving a set of headphones, for instance.

The 16x2 LCD screen may or may not be important, given that to program this thing, it has to be connected to a computer via USB anyway (Serial Monitor).

The board should have a number of individually controllable LED's in different color. Blinking LED's can become very interesting once you hook them up to actual, dynamic state of your program.

As an example, I wrote a simple cooperative scheduler, operating at microsecond resolution. I wanted to know how often the "tasks" were running more than 10 micros behind schedule. Writing to Serial was out of the question, since Serial is slow, and would introduce delays altering the behaviour. So I added a simple LED, and its intermittent flashing provided excellent feedback, allowing me to tweak callback-intervals of the tasks.

Some buttons and pots of course.

Robin2:
IMHO these interesting designs don't do a newbie any favours compared to a bog-standard Uno if the object is to introduce the newbie to the fun of micro-processor programming.

In general they are all abstracting away good learning opportunities as well as being totally incompatible with the standard Arduino pin layout.

If a newbie asked my advice on this Forum I would recommend a standard Arduino unless s/he had a very specific need.

It would be entirely different if they were designed for a specific application area - for example animating a piece of art. I'm sure there are many application areas where newbies just want to get one particular job done and really don't want to, or need to, learn programming. But those applications don't need ALL the bells and whistles - they just need the RIGHT bells and whistles. And, most importantly, they will need good libraries and extensive high quality documentation (so that the user can do what s/he wants without needing to ask questions here).

I think the people developing these ideas should reflect very carefully on the obvious fact that they themselves are very far from being a newbie.

However if anyone puts a product on the market I hope it is a success.

...R

Agree totally.

The stuff I make is for my use only.

A new person to Arduino and electronics, IMO, will be better off using basic components with interconnecting wires.
Being able to draw a simple schematic, so one can visualize how things are wired, is something that should be learned right at the beginning of ones introduction to the hobby.

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I lean more towards adapters (as opposed to shields) to connect to controller boards, over all-in-one boards.

I do understand the dev/teaching value of not having to solder. Between my eyesight and hands, soldering is not a happy task even though it's the best way I know to make a product 'solid'.

I wouldn't mind seeing small sub-system boards like SD with built-in 328 for buffering as well as control and able to connect via SPI, I2C, TTL serial (and possibly 1-wire) with software for itself and a host. Both newbies and accomplished builders might get a boost from that.

I'd like to see shift registers on the undersides of small boards with a socket on top to plug leads into and SPI pins at both ends. Ditto for ULN280x or other motor drivers.

GSM with the miserable blocky library really needs a dedicated controller.

Smart adapters could give everyone easier to use solution pieces without the extra parts to make a total solution that a Nano or Micro likely provides.

One reason I'm less than thrilled with shields is the cost. So far I have seen is that the smaller the actual board is, the lower the cost gets. It's very simple, products that fit on a blank going into manufacture process share the pipeline time. If there are 4 then each costs more than if there are 20 at least when it comes to mass production where parts cost less and the process is at full speed.

Heck, I've saved on boards I had to snap off the set myself. For someone to break off and bag individual boards has a real cost when in bulk the things work out to $1.50 each.

CrossRoads:
That is BS. Many embedded devices do not need connection to the cloud.

Exactly. The last thing I need or want is my toaster ratting me out to the calorie police.

That's a good one my doctor would have a field day with that.

Just add the header pins to use a shield, Then everyone is happy.

The only thing worse would be to give it artificial intelligence...
https://www.google.com/search?q=red+dwarf+toaster