Sunday, May 16, 2010

Breakout boards - first test

Yesterday my wife went binge drinking (bachelorette party) so I finally had some time to assemble my Meshnetics breakout boards. They contain only five elements each, but assembling them is a real PITA because of the Meshnetics modules. I soldered them with normal soldering iron and used solder wick to remove any jumpers. Afer soldering I tested the boards with a multimeter set to beep. For the power supply I used two AA NiMH batteries in nice battery holder with a switch (sadly it has no place for screws). I measured the output voltage of the battery packs - it was around 2.6V for each. Meshnetics need between 1.8V and 3.6V to work properly. After assembling I connected the modules to the AVR Dragon JTAG programmer, and tried to read their signatures using AVR Studio. It worked perfectly - photo:

Breakout boards can be programmed and tested without any additional hardware, so they can be used as a very primitive WSN nodes. I didn't include any sensors and actuators on them - even LEDs or microswitches - so using them in such way would be really painful. However for a single module I can use AVR Dragon for fake I/O so it should be possible to run some software tests without designing and building target boards.

In the meantime I've also been thinking about some name for my devices. In my opinion name is a very important thing - human brain needs names to process data, and a bad name might be harmful to entire project. I'm not a native English speaker so inventing a good name is not so easy. At first I thought about "smartlets" - like smart droplets :). However it has already been taken up by Apple - from a totally different angle - smart outlets. I need to think a bit more.

Now the coffee for my wife...


  1. This break-out board is really neat. Are you interested in selling one or two PCBs ?

  2. I have a single PCB left at the moment. I can send it to you for free (provided the stamp cost is reasonable). Just email me your info like that:

  3. If it's OK for you, you could send me your email address to so I can contact you. If not, I then will post my real address here.