Romeo BLE – An Arduino Based Powerful Robot Control Board With Bluetooth 4.0

Romeo BLE is an all-in-one Arduino based control board specially designed for robotics applications from DFRobot. This platform is open source and it’s powered by thousands of publicly available open-sourced codes. Romeo BLE can easily be expanded using Arduino shields. The most important feature—Bluetooth 4.0 wireless communication, allows the board to receive commands via Bluetooth. So, users can now use their smartphone, tablet, or computer to interact with the control board.

Control Robot From Smartphones by Bluetooth 4.0
Control Robot From Smartphones by Bluetooth 4.0

Even the codes can be uploaded over Bluetooth a USB Bluno Link adapter, without requiring any wired USB connection between the board and a PC. This is a great advantage for mobile applications where codes are debugged and uploaded frequently.

The Romeo BLE also includes two integrated two-channel DC motor drivers and wireless sockets, which makes project development more hassle-free. One can start the project immediately without needing an additional motor driver circuitry. The motor driving section also supports extra servos which need more current.

There are two ways to power the Romeo BLE board. But, the polarity must be correct. Otherwise, the board may get permanently damaged as there exists no reverse polarity protection. The two powering methods are:

  • Power from USB: Plug in the USB cable to the Romeo controller from a power source (i.e. wall jack or computer). If the input voltage and current are sufficient, the Romeo BLE board should turn on and a LED should light up. While powered from USB, do NOT connect anything else like motor, servo etc. except LED. Because the USB can only provide 500mA current which is certainly not enough for driving loads like motors.
  • Power from External Power Supply: Connect the ground wire from your supply to the screw terminal labeled “GND” on Romeo board, and then connect the positive wire from your supply to the screw terminal labeled “VIN”. The maximum acceptable input voltage is 23 volts. Do not exceed this value anyway.
Romeo BLE Board Pin Diagram
Romeo BLE Board Pin Diagram

Specifications:

  • Microcontroller: ATmega328P
  • Bootloader: Arduino UNO
  • Onboard BLE chip: TI CC2540
  • 14 Digital I/O ports
  • 6 PWM Outputs (Pin11, Pin10, Pin9, Pin6, Pin5, Pin3)
  • 8 10-bit analog input ports
  • 3 I2Cs
  • 5 Buttons
  • Power Supply Port: USB or DC2.1
  • External Power Supply Range: 5-23V
  • DC output: 5V/3.3V
  • Size: 94mm x 80mm

Features:

  • Auto sensing/switching external power input
  • Transmission range: 70m in free space
  • Support Bluetooth remote update the Arduino program
  • Support Bluetooth HID
  • Support iBeacons
  • Support AT command to config the BLE
  • Support Transparent communication through Serial
  • Support the master-slave machine switch
  • Support USB update BLE chip program
  • Support Male and Female Pin Header
  • Two-way H-bridge motor Driver with 2A maximum current
  • Integrated sockets for APC220 RF Module

You can program Romeo BLE using Arduino IDE version 1.8.1 or above. Select Arduino UNO from Tools –> Boards in the IDE. Go to arduino.en.cc to download the latest version of Arduino IDE. Read the Romeo BLE wiki to learn more.

Harvesting Sound Energy From Passing Cars

by Mechanical Attraction @ instructables.com:

There is energy everywhere around us and in many different forms. Many devices have been developed to harvest light, wind, waves, and more. One unusual place of energy harvesting is from passing cars. As cars pass by some of their energy is released in form of sound. Even though the overall energy maybe small it can be harvested. In this Instructable I will show how to apply the solution of Euler–Bernoulli beam theory to design a cantilever beam to oscillate at such a frequency to adsorb sound waves as well as converting its mechanical motion into electricity.

Harvesting Sound Energy From Passing Cars – [Link]

Should you build or buy your next single-board computer?

by Markku Riihonen @ EDN Europe:

Does it make sense to design and build your own single-board computers? It used to be the sensible option for anyone concerned about matching features to production cost.
Traditionally, with your own board design, you have the freedom to add only the components that are absolutely vital to achieving the right level of functionality for the target application. But the relentless rise of the system-on-chip (SoC) device has changed that equation in a number of ways.

Should you build or buy your next single-board computer?- [Link]

Edgefx Kits, Get Your DIY Project Kit Now!

Aiming to bridge the gap between the academics and industry in electronics, communication and electrical sectors, Edgefx Technologies was born at 2012 as an online store for project solutions.

Edgefx provides practical skill building solutions to the engineering students in the form of Do It Yourself (DIY) project kits. These kits support wide areas of electronics and communication, and also the latest trends like IoT, Android, Arduino, Raspberry Pi and many more.

Edgefx kits are easy to use and self-explanatory. They come with hardware and training material in the form of extensive audio-visuals and can be purchased online.

The company has grown to have a very strong focus on customer service, quality and morale of the staff and most of all, a passion for what we do. And although we’re a team of almost 30 right now, nothing about us is corporate. We don’t have multiple tiers of hierarchy. The vast majority of our employees work on the front lines, taking care of our customers or shipping items out of the Edgefx Fulfillment Centers.

The website contains more than 200 projects in about 15 different categories. Kits prices range from Rs. 1500 to Rs. 50000 (~ $23 to $750). In addition to the project kits, Edgefx also conducts practical workshops in colleges and schools.

School students, starting from 8 years old, can opt for school electronic projects that empowering them to innovate. It includes three basic level STEM kits and one intermediate level kit. All of these kits are edutainment and fun, with real time applications using latest technologies, and also can create multiple experiments.

Each basic kit has a three project inside, these projects are:

  • Security protection for museum items
  • Touch controlled fan
  • Touch me not LED warning
  • Bike theft alarm
  • Upside down  indicator for fragile item
  • Toll gate auto light LED
  • Security area protecting alarm
  • Auto door opening motor
  • Human detection under debries

The intermediate kit is an Arduino project kit. This project is designed for digital sensors solder-less Arduino projects on breadboard. It will light flasher of different color light on single LED each time on sensing finger swipe with the help of IR obstacle sensor. Also, the project makes different unique sounds on sensing each time.

Beginners Arduino Project Kit

So, if you are searching for some project kits you have to visit the Edgefx store, explore the kits to find the project you want to make and then order it. In the end, don’t forget to share with us your experience once you buy and use the kit!

New parts library for Mentor PADS & DX Designer accelerates PCB design

Designers can build circuit boards faster with millions of symbols & footprints on SnapEDA.

July 18, 2017 –  SAN FRANCISCO –  Mentor, a Siemens business, and SnapEDA, the Internet’s first parts library for circuit board design, are announcing new support for Mentor PADS® and DX Designer on SnapEDA.

Whether building satellites or medical devices, hardware designers spend days creating digital models for each component on their circuit boards, a painful and time-consuming process that hinders product development.

With today’s launch, Mentor PADS & DX Designer customers will gain access to SnapEDA’s extensive component library containing millions of symbols, footprints, and 3D models, further enhancing the vast resources available for Mentor PCB design software.

All parts are auto-verified with SnapEDA’s proprietary verification technology, helping to reduce risk and unneeded, costly prototype iterations. This technology answers common questions designers have about libraries, such as “what standards does this footprint conform to?”

As the world becomes more connected, electronic devices are proliferating and diversifying, and time-to-market is more crucial than ever for companies to stay competitive.

Slimline SMD Bamboo IN-14 Nixie Clock

@ instructables.com writes:

There are a lot of nixie clocks out there and a lot of them are based on the IN-14 tubes. I wanted to design my own for the sake of designing my own, but also had some specific requirements: Make it as small and thin as possible. A lot of the clocks out there have very bulky bases. CNC a nice case out of bamboo. Because I like bamboo and wanted to get some use out of my little desktop CNC machine. No RGB leds under the tubes. I hate those. Single spin of the PCB, no prototypes. I wanted this to be a relatively quick project. This meant using a microcontroller and RTC I have used before, heavily borrowing from proven designs and using a pre-made power supply to limit the risk of having to iterate the board.

Slimline SMD Bamboo IN-14 Nixie Clock – [Link]

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LTC7003 – Fast 60V Protected High Side NMOS Static Switch Driver

The LTC7003 is a fast high side N-channel MOSFET gate driver that operates from input voltages up to 60V. It contains an internal charge pump that fully enhances an external N-channel MOSFET switch, allowing it to remain on indefinitely. Its powerful driver can easily drive large gate capacitances with very short transition times, making it well suited for both high frequency switching applications or static switch applications that require a fast turn-on and/or turn-off time. When an internal comparator senses that the switch current has exceeded a preset level, a fault flag is asserted and the switch is turned off after a period of time set by an external timing capacitor. After a cooldown period, the LTC7003 automatically retries.

LTC7003 – Fast 60V Protected High Side NMOS Static Switch Driver – [Link]

Integrated 36V buck battery charger provides seamless backup power

By Graham Prophet @ eedesignnewseurope.com:

LTC4091 is a complete lithium-ion battery backup management system for 3.45V to 4.45V supply rails that must be kept active during a long duration main power failure. The LTC4091 employs a 36V monolithic buck converter with adaptive output control to provide power to a system load and enable high efficiency battery charging from the buck output.

Integrated 36V buck battery charger provides seamless backup power – [Link]

Carrageenan, a seaweed derivative, can stabilize lithium-sulfur batteries surprisingly

Lithium-sulfur batteries are suitable for both vehicle and grid applications as they are ultra-cheap, high-energy devices. Sulfur is a very low-cost material and the energy capacity is much higher than that of lithium-ion. So, lithium-sulfur is one chemistry that can possibly meet the demand for energy storage at a cheap price. However, the serious problem is, lithium-sulfur batteries suffer from significant capacity fading that makes them almost practically unusable. But, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers’ recent surprising discovery could fix this problem.

Carrageenan is extracted from this red seaweeds
Carrageenan is extracted from this red seaweeds

The research team at Berkley Laboratory surprisingly found that carrageenan, a substance extracted from red seaweeds, acts as a good stabilizer in lithium-sulfur batteries. Better stability in a battery means more charge-discharge cycle and an extended lifetime. Gao Liu, the leader of the research team, said,

It (Carrageenan) actually worked just as well as the synthetic polymer—it worked as a glue and it immobilized the polysulfide, making a really stable electrode.

Lithium-sulfur batteries are already been used commercially in limited applications but the “critical killer” in the chemistry is that the sulfur starts to dissolve and creates polysulfide shuttling effect. Polysulfide shuttling is the primary cause of failure in lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery cycling. To solve the problem, the research team was experimenting with a synthetic binder that holds all the active materials in a battery cell together.

A binder is like a glue and battery makers want this glue to be inert. The synthetic polymer Liu experimented with, worked remarkably well. The reason is, by chemically reacting with the sulfur, the binder formed a covalent bonding structure and was able to stop it from dissolving. This finding motivated the researchers to find a natural material that would do the same thing. Finally, they discovered that carrageenan has similar chemical properties as the synthetic polymer they used in their initial experiments.

Bekley Lab's researcher is working with advanced light source
Berkley Lab’s researcher is working with advanced light source

With this discovery to stabilize lithium-sulfur batteries­ Liu now wants to improve the lifetime of lithium-sulfur batteries even further. The target of the researchers is to get thousands of cycles from lithium-sulfur chemistry. They are striving to find answers to questions like after this polymer binds with sulfur, what happens next? How does it react with sulfur, and is it reversible? Liu said,

Understanding that will allow us to be able to develop better ways to further improve the life of lithium-sulfur batteries.

As lithium-sulfur batteries are much more lightweight, cheaper, and have higher energy density compared to lithium-ion batteries, they are ideal for airplanes and drones. Hence, Berkeley Lab researchers’ surprising discovery may be a game changer in the world of batteries.

BME680 measures pressure, humidity, temperature and indoor air quality

The BME680 measures pressure, humidity, temperature and indoor air quality. by Bosch Sensortec:

BME680 is an integrated environmental sensor developed specifically for mobile applications and wearables where size and low power consumption are key requirements. Expanding Bosch Sensortec’s existing family of environmental sensors, the BME680 integrates for the first time individual high linearity and high accuracy sensors for gas, pressure, humidity and temperature. It consists of an 8-pin metal-lid 3.0 x 3.0 x 0.95 mm³ LGA package which is designed for optimized consumption depending on the specific operating mode, long term stability and high EMC robustness.

BME680 measures pressure, humidity, temperature and indoor air quality – [Link]