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Re: [makersalliance] Embedded Electronics Classes/Kits for Ingenuity

Joe ODonnell Aug 31, 2012 9:53 AM
Posted in group: Makers' Alliance
 Woops, I mixed up that megawing add on board with the Papilio FPGA board. We Don't need the add on board to start learning with the $50 Papilio board, though the add on board and free book sound like an ideal beginner package.

 If we did get 1 Papilio and 1 megawing, we could set up a nice educational display showing how high school students can work on their own stand alone video game system. We would just load the Arduino emulator and get it to output a test pattern minimally controlled by a joystick. So by doing that we would obtain a beginner oriented FPGA system while also educating and entertaining the ingenuity audience.

 A second device which would educate and entertain both us and the igenuity audience, is this $40 6 degrees of freedom position sensor:

This sensor can be used with well established persistence of vision projects to make more precise and readable displays, such as an upgraded version of this:

My plan for the festival would be to use the sensor to replace spin timing with manual shaking as above with this simple project:

 This sensor is also the most inexpensive position sensor that is capable of providing full 3d movement feedback for robots and drones. In other words if we want to build a decent drone some day we need this sensor.

I think the drawduino looks like a great, inexpensive project, which despite it's name doesn't require the arduino. The speaker could also be used for a cheap and easy backup/additional optical thermin project for either the arduino, msp430 or stellaris:

The Stellaris is a new $5 launchpad board with an advanced 32 bit chip, 40+ gpio, etc,etc. Most Arduino's are 8 bit.

 I think by spreading the budget around a bit, will will increase our chances of having at least one both popular and workable project, while also educating both ourselves and the public in new areas.  That would maximize the benefit to both ourselves, the audience and future audiences.

 To reduce the cost of the drawduino, we could just go with perf board, and hand out wiring diagrams printouts. That also avoids the chance of not getting the pcb back in time.

 So here is my suggested budget, to maximize both our own and the audiences 'learning bang for the buck':

Learn to Solder Skill Badge Kit
150 for $275 including shipping.

EMSL Diavolino (w/6&8pin header set)
50@12.50 w/headers & 3AA battery holder ($620)
Adafruit FTDI Friend -
5@$15 each ($75)
Stahl Tools SSVT Soldering Station (we already have 6 of these already)
6@$15.98  = $95.88

60/40 solder, 1 lb
2@$23.49 =46.98

Tip cleaner

-Total cost so far: a bit less than $1110
1 Papilia + 1 mega wing + free FPGA book= $90

6 DOF position sensor=$40

TI MSP430 FRAM development board=$30
-FRAM is similar to having a fast solid state disk drive on an embedded chip, and is a new technology. Thus by working with this board one can do things that literally haven't been done before.

4 Stellaris development boards= $5 x 4 = $20
-This is roughly equal to a low end 486 computer with 64KB of memory, with GPIO,PWM,IW,etc for only $5. This is also a new device. Imagine the possibilities of an embedded rasberry pi computer with just less memory for a few dollars.

15 MSP430G2 chips at $2 each=$30
These are similar to the Arduino with a 16 bit upgrade and cost $2 instead of $15+. That price is cheap enough that for example one could use one chip per servo in robot projects for much greater control.

-Cost of above $210. Only $210 for 5 cutting edge technologies most of us haven't worked with yet, 2 of which where just released.

-Total cost: $1110 + $220= $1330

We can than spend $300 on the drawduino project using perfboard + additional sensors like cds, which would equal about 100 or more kits plus material for many optical thermins (which can be set up on both Arduino and MSP chips), bringing the total to $1630. Leaving $170 for incidentals.


--- On Thu, 8/30/12, Joe Gorse <> wrote:

From: Joe Gorse <>
Subject: Re: [makersalliance] Embedded Electronics Classes/Kits for Ingenuity
Date: Thursday, August 30, 2012, 9:49 PM

Joe O,

I really liked this idea until I found out that it needed the Papililio in addition to the LogicStart, making it around $90/unit. I am fond of FPGAs, though at this price we may be able to do better for the quantity or functionality in the FPGA world.


On Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 4:23 PM, Joe O'Donnell <> wrote:
 That's a good, reasonable list. It would be great to include 2 of these on it as well:

A $40 student oriented FPGA board that can be programmed with classic video games:

And can also be programmed to be a custom configured Arduino:


--- On Wed, 8/29/12, Sam Harmon <> wrote:

> From: Sam Harmon <>
> Subject: [makersalliance] Embedded Electronics Classes/Kits for Ingenuity
> To: "Makers Alliance Google Group" <>
> Date: Wednesday, August 29, 2012, 3:29 PM
> Ok, here is my "mostly readymade"
> submission of a plan for the Ingenuity kits:
> This plan gets us:
> A- a really quick & easy to put together thing that is
> cheap ($1.50 each in quantity, can sell for $2-$3, or just
> in exchange for a donation or something)
> B- An "Arduino Enough" thing that hopefully keeps us in the
> spirit and close enough to the letter of what we're supposed
> to be doing. If no one buys them, we'll have a bunch of
> extra Arduinos to do workshops and crazy stuff with in the
> future…
> Also: If people really want a morse code blinky thing:
> - which will blink the Diavolino's built-in LED.
> C- Some additional tools so people can put these together
> about a dozen at a time...
> Learn to Solder Skill Badge Kit
> 250 for $375 (+ $5 shipping), ships in 1-2 business days
> from California (time to receive  1 week-10 days?)
> EMSL Diavolino (w/6&8pin header set)
> 75@12.50 w/headers & 3AA battery holder ($937.50)
> Adafruit FTDI Friend - Not really for us to sell, just so we
> can program the Diavolinos a few at a time, and maybe cope
> with one or two walking off...
> 10@$15 each ($150)
> TOTAL FROM EMSL=$1087.50 (Free Shipping over $75, time to
> receive 1 week-10 days?)
> Parts-Express
> Stahl Tools SSVT Soldering Station (we already have 6 of
> these already)
> 6@$15.98  = $95.88
> 60/40 solder, 1 lb
> 2@$23.49 = 46.98
> Tip cleaner
> $8.48
> TOTAL FROM PARTS EXPRESS: $162.69  (7.5% Ohio sales
> tax, free shipping, total time to receive 1-2 business
> days)
> TOTAL COST: $1630.19, leaving us with about $170 for
> incidentals (AA batteries for the Diavolinos?, more tools?
> anything else?)
> That's my thought, anyway.
> Sam
> --


Joe Gorse

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