OK folks, I’ve received quite a few requests so here’s what’s up with the circuit boards I have available. They are Revision 1, and have some hardware bugs (all of which can be corrected with a scalpel, soldering iron, and a fair amount of skill). I’d like to go through the rundown once here so everyone understands what’s up.
The plan is to get started with Revision 2 soon. There are quite a few feature improvements that would make the ZephyrEye work a lot better, and I’d like to list them. I’m not trying to talk anyone out of a Rev1 board, I will gladly send them (without charge but unpopulated) to anyone until I run out, but I would like to avoid anyone having false expectations of what it can do. That being said, it will probably be at least a few months before Revision 2 is ready.
If you are thinking about building a ZephyrEye, please use this post to consider your options. Remember, it really can’t do much of anything by itself – it only tracks other ZephyrEyes, so think in pairs. And Rev2 is very unlikely to be backwards compatible with Rev1.
I feel kind of like I’m hanging out my dirty laundry, these are some pretty silly mistakes:
- LCD connector is missing two traces, which requires hand soldering wires to this connector.
- Traces ran too close under the LCD connector, so installing the connector requires bending the pins down at an angle and soldering them without the connector having full flush contact with the board. This bug proudly brought to you by the autorouter.
- An extra voltage regulator needs to get patched in for the XBee, which outdid the current supply capabilities of the original regulator.
Hardware that is still untested:
- Microphone to ADC
- ADC channel for voltage monitoring
- Charging indicator from LiPoly chip
State of Software:
- Has a bootloader for easy, wireless program updates
- Can do simple system setup
- Can play King of the Hill, but currently limited to 2 players (I currently only have two ZephyrEyes to play with ;)
- Still has a few bugs, graphic artifacts, etc.
- Still needs other games programmed into it.
I only have unpopulated circuit boards (e.g., bare as the day they were born), so it’s up to you to have the tools, AVR programmer, XBees, GPS module, and pretty much every other part if you are considering putting one of these together. Alternately, if enough people request it and are interested, I might put together some kits. Email me or leave a comment if interested.
On top of the features Revision 1 already has, I would like to add the following features. Note that some of these are crucial to be successful in playing paintball with a ZephyrEye.
- Clear epoxy filled case that can take direct paintball impact and other abuse
- Capacitive touch buttons, which would enable the above feature. These would replace the tact switch buttons for the menu, zoom, and power buttons.
- Digital compass for heading compensation. This way the “radar” is oriented the direction you’re facing, rather than just pointing north, which is a little confusing if you aren’t a well-oriented person.
- Helical GPS antenna, for better reception when near other objects (like your arm, body, or hopper)
- GPS module (or chipset) with higher sensitivity and output frequency (> 1Hz)
- Swap out the Series 1 XBee for either a 900MHz XBee or a MeshNetics ZigBit module, which have longer range and more complete, ZigBee compliant firmware.
- If possible, an optional external ZigBee antenna for better transmissions in, say, densely forested or urban arenas.
- Use the newer, faster XMega256. More peripherals, and runs at a blazing 32MHz. She’s fast enough for you, old man.
Make sure and post comments here or join the Google Code project if you’d like to have input on what Version 2 will be able to do.
Edit: I’ve also just created a Google Group for project development discussions. If you think you’d ever be interested in using a ZephyrEye, for paintball or other, please join the group and put your thoughts up. Revision 2 hardware development will begin in earnest soon, so now is the time to ask for features. I’m torn between adding a can-opener or laser pointer … surely your ideas are better.
So, the stats tools on WordPress are kind of impressive … and useful at correcting idoits like me. I’ve talked all around it, but I noticed I haven’t released an actual bill of materials and noticed quite a few people have been searching for it. Maybe they want to build a ZephyrEye? I’ll try to do my best to appease the masses. It’s been quite a while since I actually built the hardware, but here it goes…
Lucky for me, and anyone else using EagleCAD, there’s a handy User Language Program (ULP) called bom.ulp that autogenerates a BOM. It only lists items that are actually on the schematic, however, so don’t forget things: the LCD connector denotes you should also buy an LCD display. I’ve never made that mistake though.
Partlist exported from /home/brad/Development/zephyreye/trunk/cad/ZephyrEye Rev0.2.sch at 2/11/10 1:32 PM
|8||TAC_SWITCHPTH||SW_DOWN, SW_IN, SW_LEFT, SW_OK, SW_ONOFF, SW_OUT, SW_RIGHT, SW_UP|
|7||.1uF||C-USC0603K||C3, C7, C17, C18, C21, C22, C23|
|3||1uF||CAP_POL1206||C8, C9, C12|
|2||2.2uF (TANT)||C-USC0603K||C14, C15|
|4||10uF||CAP_POL1206||C1, C2, C6, C10|
|3||470||R-US_R0603||R6, R8, R16|
Most of the “primary” components are from Sparkfun, with most of the passives, voltage regulators, etc. coming from Digikey. So, on top of this list, you’ll also need:
- Case: Pac-Tec PP Enclosure
- 1/16″ Acrylic, available from local hobby shop
- LCD connector
- EM408 GPS module connector
- 2mm headers for the XBee
- An extra 500mA rated LDO regulator for the GPS.
If anybody is seriously interested in making one of these guys, let me know. If at least 10 people are interested, I would be willing to make kits at cost (should be ~10-20% cheaper), and help those wary of the SMT soldering (for a nominal reimbursement). Keep in mind the programming either comes from you, me, or the community and that the software has basic functionality but is not yet complete. Also, you’ll want at least two (unless you want to use it for something other than paintball/laser tag gaming).
Note: I’ve started adding a few product links in. As I have time, I’ll fill in the rest. Feel free to help out in the comments if you find links to products (from SparkFun or DigiKey generally) before I do.