Confirmed, Maker Faire Bay Area is the greatest maker show in the Earth. What an unforgettable weekend! We can only recommend participating in this big festivity at least once in your lives. Big thanks to all makers and enthusiasts having taken the time to visit us and thanks Californians for having made us feel like at home.
I'm writing this announcement whilst preparing our baggages for the trip. More than 9000 Km to cover in a single day so please don't blame me if I take some time to respond your e-mails and posts in the forum.
This is by no doubt one of the most exciting events we will ever attend and we want to be ready for the challenge. Besides showcasing a full demo we want to show some of our ideas and prototypes for the next months. We have also created a new product bundle called panStamp minikit, consisting of three panStamps and a panStick for the show. These minikits will be offered to attendees and participants at $60 so don't miss this opportunity if you are attending Maker Faire on 18th-19th May. Remember, panStmap will be at booth 408 in the Expo Hall (Startup Area).
We have gotten a good experience from the meter-board
project. We have learned about the potential of measuring energy consumptions from a DIY perspective and how each application may differ from the other. Meter-board is called to become one of our most popular reference designs, a very cheap way to read up to seven power circuits from a single panStamp. And we are not talking about simply reading RMS current values but complete readings about active and apparent power, power factor and RMS currents and voltage. However we have finally decided to not to produce these boards in a regular basis. Our reasons may be summarized here:
- Atmel AVR's ADC's are probably not the most suitable converters for this kind of applications.
- Meter-boards needs to be calibrated for each new voltage or current transformer.
- Meter-board can only read single-phase circuits. Users interested in reading 3-phase lines had to search elsewhere.
- Selling this board implies maintaining a stock of current transformers at different currents. Then we had to source voltage transformers for different voltages and frequencies too.
- Again, we hit against the usual certification issues. Even if we were using voltage and current transformers, the risk of electric hazard is always there, specially when these devices have to be mounted into an electric box.
- And finally, we don't want to become a supplier of sub-metering products. We believe that doing this would require us to allocate an important part of our time and resources.
As result, we have a nice reference design but we need to take a very different approach. The question is: why re-inventing the wheel? There are tons of power meter devices in the market, each one for its own specific use. We have single-phase meters for sub-metering applications, we have all those utility meters, three-phase devices, bi-directional managers, expensive professional devices, cheap DIN-rail meters, certified products for each market, etc, etc. And you know what?, a good amount of these products already provide a serial interface. This is the case of all the families of Modbus meters, RS485 proprietary devices and other serial solutions based on RS232 or opto-isolated TTL.. Thus, why not taking the readings from existing power meters?
After concluding the above, we put our tired minds to work. Some hours after that got a new design, our new RS485 gateway:
Figure 1 : RS485 gateway for panStamp
The potential for this device is huge: a cheap wireless gateway capable to read energy meters from many companies, metering or submetering, single-phase or 3-phase, The available enclosure would let us mount the gateway on a DIN-rail or on the wall, close to the power meter.
Figure 2 : RS485 gateway with cover
As a starting point, we will develop a SWAP-enabled application for Modbus-compatible meters. We have even ordered some of these cheap (Modbus) power meters from aliexpress
(take a look at those prices!).
Maker Faire will be a good place where to validate the concept. We expect to get comments and fresh ideas from visitors and makers before diving into a new promising development adventure. Remember, we will be at booth 408, Startup area in the Expo Hall next weekend in the greatest Maker Faire event in the world. Can't wait!!
has proven to be very useful in building automation and energy management applications. However, these boards are a bit bulky for mobile applications where a person or pet needs to carry or wear a wireless device. As result, we have been working on a new concept, a more compact design powered from a single cell coin.
Figure 1 : minibat-board with membrane keypad. To be used as remote control or wall switch
This is minibat-board, a 50x30mm board featuring a MAX1724, the same boost regulator included in our battery-boards, capable to take power from a battery below 0.8 V.
Instead of focusing on usual ambiance monitoring applications, we think that this board has a huge potential for all those applications having to do with healthcare monitoring or motion sensing. In fact, we have mounted a 3-axis accelerometer (Intersil) on one of our prototypes to do some tests.
Figure 2 : minibat-board for panStamp powered from coin cell
This small board will be showcased at Maker Faire Bay Area at the end of this week. Remember to come to visit us at booth 408 in the Expo Hall (Start-up area) if you have the opportunity.
This was a natural and predictable evolution. Our Raspberry Lagartos needed a compact panStamp shield directly connected to the RPi UIART... and this is the result.
This is a special low-profile shield relying on the attached panStamp for all the RF communications. The product page shows how to configure Raspbian and lagarto to use the UART for the serial communications with the panStamp. Our shield also includes a real time clock (DS1338) with battery backup so that the Raspberry is also able to get the correct time even in the absence of a network connection.
This new hardware will be showcased at Maker Faire Bay Area 2013
(May 18th - 19th). In the meantime, you can purchase your panStamp shield for RaspberryPI from our store.
This was a must; panStamps had to be able to measure soil moisture as well! A new low-power application has been released This application reads moisture levels from up to two soil sensors, probably installed at different depths. panStamps running this application can be mounted on one of our battery-boards or simply be powered from a couple of AA/AAA batteries.
Figure 1 : Soil moisture transmitter
Our transmitter can be connected to any soil moisture sensor providing a voltage signal between 0 and Vcc (3~3.3VDC). We have been using some cheap resistive sensors for our tests but you can use any other professional transducer.
In order to build your own transmitter you have to grab a panStamp with the "soilmoisture" application, downloadable with the rest of sample sketches from our download section. Then the Tx interval has to be set from SWAPdmt accordingly since we may want to do just a few measurements per day. In fact, powering the sensors from digital pins lets us remove the power when the panStamp is sleeping.
Building a final SD image for the RaspberryPI
has taken us some time. We started by adapting an initial version of Debian for the Raspberry. Then we switched to Raspbian as a way to ensure medium-time support for the OS and also try to solve the issues about incompatibility between different hardware versions. We now come with a final image, compatible with any version and revision of the Raspberry hardware.
Figure 1 : RaspberryPY running lagarto and OpenRemote
We have updated our wiki
with this information. You can follow this tutorial
in order to install the panStamp image into a SD card. The rest is simple: just connect a panStick + panStamp USB dongle, connect the board to the network and apply power. Lagarto-max
are then launched without user intervention.
We hope Raspberry users will not find installing Python, zeromq, lagarto and its dependencies to be a complicated process any more. Just flash and play!
Yes, you read well! panStamp is sponsoring the Maker Faire
Bay Area event this year. A good opportunity for us to meet makers, enthusiasts and professionals overseas. This is probably the most important event in terms of creativity and entrepreneurship in the world and we can not miss it!
Of course, we will showcase the best of our wireless products. We are also preparing lots of surprises, including special promotions and unreleased projects and products. Stay tuned and please, come to visit us if you have the opportunity!
Nice article about panStamp in the latest OpenRemote's newsletter
. Thanks OR friends for letting your big community know about panStamp.
Figure 1 : OpenRemote newsletter April-May 2013
There are so many stories, articles and discussions around the Internet Of Things concept... Like it or not, the IOT movement has brought shine to the M2M industry, a sector traditionally oriented only to professionals, which has been experimenting an explosion in terms of new markets, new products and new technical possibilities.
We are glad to announce our participation in the IOT Madrid Event 2013
. This event is being organized by the IOT Madrid group
and will connect simultaneously with other similar events around the world.
We are then looking forward to meeting some of you in Madrid next Tuesday, April 9 2013, at the Makespace Madrid
, Calle Escuadra 11. See you there!!