Now that my overarching concept has been solidified, I have been working on some of the more detailed aspects.These include specific feats the project will able to tackle, and how they will do so using circuit modules.
I began by creating a list of introductory projects that a new arduino user would attempt to try, using a variety of harware components. These include simple programs like the Blink example, by turning an LED on and off in a loop. Some examples use both inputs and outputs, using harware such as buttons to control an LED. I am using these beginner examples as a base so that I can reduce hardware set up time, allowing more experimenting with the programming side.
It also lists the hardware necessary to complete these programs. These pieces of hardware will be my focus for this project, with the ability to expand after.
I am beginning to look at the modules and how they will interact with eachother and the board. Connections between modules and the board has shown a lot of challenges that I am addressing.
Using an arduino with a breadboard lets the user wire all the the ground wires to a single column on the breadboard, where it then goes to the single ground connection on the arduino. With modules this creates more of a challenge, especially with both series / parallel circuits. I am looking at adding a ground pin to pair with every output/input to allow easier wiring.
This can allow for connectors between the modules and boards to have both a hot and ground wire within them, instead of everything being forced to one pin on the board. Now all the grounds converge on the circuit board itself.
Connections between the modules is still being tweaked but the general concept is there. Modules such as a button and LED may be in a series circuit while two LED's may be on seperate circuits. This means that the modules must be able to connect with others CONTINUING the circuit, while other times being able to loop directly back to the board. I am still working on the details but this image shows my direction.
Now because that multiple modules (I will use LED modules for example) may need to be connected in a series circuit, what does that mean for the resistors? If the resistors are in the module, then it creates problems with multiple LED's in a line with a a resistor between each. So I decided maybe it would be better for the resistor to be a small module itself that can tack onto any module. It would go between the connector wire and the module.
Finally I plan to continue designing the main arduino type board itself. It will be important for it to be:
- Easy to read / understand
- Simple connections
- Safe / strong -> Plastic Enclosure
I will be looking closer at specifics for this but in a very rough sense this image shows the plastic enclosure. A simple clamshell to protect the device and also allow for better labelling of the various ports / connections.
I made various paper prototypes to look at how connections could be made between modules and the board. These prototypes show a basic understanding of how the system could work.
The image below shows a simple circuit with an LED and resistor module.
Now if we want to add a button before the LED, KEEPING a series circuit it could look like this:
The connections allow the circuit to continue when another module is added. If not the circuit loop stops at the last module.