Posts by Kevin (Page 2)

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USB connectors: Mini or Micro?

Posted by Kevin on 4 February 2014
USB connectors: Mini or Micro?

When we designed the first version of the Pololu USB-to-serial adapter way back in 2004, using a USB Mini-B receptacle was an obvious choice: it was much smaller than the standard B-type connector, allowing us to keep the board compact, and it was readily available in surface-mount configurations that facilitate automated printed circuit board assembly.

We went on to use the Mini-B connector in lots of products, like our Maestro servo controllers and Wixel. Although the even smaller Micro-B connector became part of the USB specification in 2007, it didn’t seem to offer enough of an advantage over the Mini-B connector for us to immediately switch over. Continued…

Now with USB: New RoboClaw 2x15A and 2x30A motor controllers

Posted by Kevin on 21 January 2014
Tags: new products

We’ve started selling USB versions of these two RoboClaw motor controllers from Orion Robotics:

These new RoboClaws add a USB serial interface to the other three control interfaces available (TTL serial, RC, and analog inputs), but are otherwise identical to the V4 RoboClaw 2×15A and 2×30A controllers that we previously offered. Like their predecessors, they can drive a pair of brushed DC motors with up to 15 A or 30 A, respectively, at voltages from 6 V to 34 V. Integrated dual quadrature decoders make it easy to create a closed-loop speed control system; analog feedback is also supported for closed-loop position control.

For an even wider range of current capability, the RoboClaw 2×5A Motor Controller (V4) and the RoboClaw 2×60A Motor Controller with USB (V4) are also available.

New product: Adafruit Data Logging Shield for Arduino

Posted by Kevin on 14 January 2014
Tags: new products
New product: Adafruit Data Logging Shield for Arduino

This data logger shield from Adafruit provides an easy way for your Arduino to save data so you can process and analyze it later. It accepts any SD card formatted with a FAT16 or FAT32 file system, and it includes a real-time clock (RTC) for accurate timestamping of your data. Lots of documentation and resources are available from Adafruit to help you get started with the shield.

For more information, see the Adafruit Data Logging Shield for Arduino product page.

Free Elektor magazine January/February 2014

Posted by Kevin on 7 January 2014
Tags: new products
Free Elektor magazine January/February 2014

Get a FREE copy of Elektor magazine’s January/February issue with your order while supplies last. To get your free issue, enter the coupon code ELEKTOR0114 into your shopping cart. The magazine will add 8 ounces to the package weight when calculating your shipping options.

For other issues and more information, see our Free Elektor Magazine Offers page. All issues are now available for shipping worldwide!

New product: I²C Long Distance Differential Extender

Posted by Kevin on 19 December 2013
Tags: new products
New product: I²C Long Distance Differential Extender

We’re now selling an I²C long distance differential extender from SJTbits. When you connect one of these boards to each I²C device in your system, they transparently convert all I²C communications to differential signaling and back, allowing the range of your I²C bus to be significantly increased (they have been tested at ranges of over a hundred feet).

For more information, see the I²C Long Distance Differential Extender product page.

New product: A4990 dual motor driver carrier

Posted by Kevin on 10 December 2013
Tags: new products
New product: A4990 dual motor driver carrier

If you’re looking for an inexpensive motor driver that works with higher voltages, but our DRV8801 carrier’s single channel isn’t enough, we now offer another option: a carrier board featuring Allegro’s A4990 dual motor driver.

The A4990 can deliver a continuous current of up to 0.7 A per channel at voltages from 6 to 32 V, making it a good choice for small, low-current motors that run on relatively high voltages. Onboard sense resistors enable the A4990 to actively limit the peak motor current to about 0.9 A per channel, and the carrier board adds a reverse-voltage protection circuit in addition to the robust IC’s built-in protection against under-voltage, over-voltage, over-temperature, and short circuits.

For more information, see the A4990 carrier product page.

New product: LSM303D 3D Compass and Accelerometer Carrier

Posted by Kevin on 15 November 2013
Tags: new products
New product: LSM303D 3D Compass and Accelerometer Carrier

As smartphones and tablets become more popular and more advanced, they drive the rapid development of progressively better and cheaper inertial sensors, and we’ve come to expect a new 3D compass/accelerometer chip from ST every year or so. We’re catching up again with their latest technology (for the time being) with the release of our LSM303D 3D compass and accelerometer carrier.

The LSM303D offers a number of improvements over its predecessors, including a wider maximum magnetic sensing range (up to ±12 gauss). It also features a more unified I²C interface and adds support for SPI communication. Our carrier board includes a 3.3 V voltage regulator and level shifters that make it easy to use with 5 V systems. For more information, see the product page.

We’ve also lowered the price on our previous generations of compass/accelerometer carriers: the LSM303DLHC carrier is now $11.95, and the LSM303DLM carrier is only $9.95.

Speech synthesis with the Orangutan SV-328

Posted by Kevin on 2 October 2013

Forum user Jim Remington has been working on getting the Talkie speech synthesis library to run on an Orangutan robot controller. The Talkie library, written by Peter Knight for the Arduino, has its roots in a Texas Instruments speech synthesis system that dates from the 1970s and was used in the Speak & Spell educational toy.

When we read about what Jim was doing on the Pololu Forum, we wanted to try it ourselves. We modified Jim’s Orangutan LV-168 code to work on the Orangutan SV-328, and we discovered that the Orangutan’s motor driver could be used as an improvised audio amplifier. This video demonstrates the result:

(Yes, those numbers are a little implausible, but they’re a good way to show off Jim’s number-to-speech routine.)

Our version of Jim’s demo, converted to an Atmel Studio 6 project for the Orangutan SV-328, can be found in this post. To read more about Jim’s work and download his code, see his forum topic.

New product: CP2104 USB-to-Serial Adapter Carrier

Posted by Kevin on 1 October 2013
Tags: new products
New product: CP2104 USB-to-Serial Adapter Carrier

We’ve just released a new USB-to-serial adapter based on the Silicon Labs CP2104 USB-to-UART bridge. This tiny, inexpensive board makes it easy to connect a logic-level serial device to a PC, offering access to all of the data, control, and GPIO pins on the CP2104 while measuring only 0.6″ × 0.95″, including its Micro-USB connector. The adapter’s versatile pinout allows it to be used in a number of different ways, including on a breadboard or as a six-pin FTDI cable replacement.

And in case you don’t have a compatible cable lying around, we now also carry Micro-USB cables in two varieties: a standard cable that works with high-speed USB devices, and a thinner version that is lighter and more flexible but limited to low- and full-speed USB.


Sample project: Wixel USB Joystick

Posted by Kevin on 12 September 2013
Sample project: Wixel USB Joystick

We’ve published a new sample project that shows you how to use the Wixel and its Joystick App to convert a non-USB joystick into a USB device. This guide walks you through the whole process: all you have to do is make the right wiring connections and configure the app on the Wixel; no programming is required.

Check out the project page to see how we converted a Tandy Deluxe Joystick and learn how to adapt your own input device with a Wixel!

Related post: Joystick App for Wixel now available