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Introducing the Nanode RF and Wi-Node

November 10th, 2011 No comments

In my previous post, I introduced the Nanode - a low cost, internet connected Arduino board.

I mentioned at the end of the post that Ken had been working on two new products – the Nanode RF and the Wi-Node and I wanted to go into more detail about those here.

Firstly the Nanode RF – discussed by Ken here,  here and here. The Nanode RF is an evolution of the existing Nanode 5 board. It features a number of improvements and additional features. It will be available from December 2011 for around £30 to £35 depending on the build option (around £30 for the basic kit including RFM12B module and SRAM, going to up around £35 with the RTC, micro SD slot and super capacitor).

Ken has also announced that the Nanode RF PCB will at some point start to be sent out in all basic Nanode kits as it contains a number of improvements and the only thing it lacks over the Nanode 5 is the screw terminals for easy connection of external power and serial – both of which are available elsewhere on the board. Users can then at a later date chose to effectively upgrade their Nanode to be a Nanode RF module and/or the other optional features of the Nanode RF.

The Nanode RF brings the following changes/improvements:

  • Four – better spaced mounting holes.
  • Fully sealed vias for better soldering – less chance of solder shorts
  • Improved screenprint for better identification of connections.
  • Extra LED – for monitoring RF activity – or whatever.
  • 3V3 operation – but retains 5V compatibilty for use with Arduino shields.
  • mini B USB connector for powering at 5V.
  • Removal of screw terminals.

The Nanode RF brings the following new features:

  • A Hope RF RFM12B transceiver for 2 way communications with other boards.
  • A microSD card for general datalogging storage, storing applications and webpages
  • A realtime clock IC with alarm function which also holds a unique ID – or MAC address
  • An 8 pin socket (under the H logo) to allow you to add non volatile RAM for program download
  • An 8 pin SOIC footprint to accept an alternative memory device – instead of micro SD card
  • Super capacitor for maintaining SRAM and RTC non-volatility.

I was lucky enough to get a pair of Nanode RF prototype boards and have documented the full build process in a Nanode RF Pictorial Build Guide. You can see the photos I used to create the build guide here. I’ve also started collecting as many links and as much information about both the Nanode and Nanode RF as possible on my Nanode Information Page.

 

The second new product is the Wi-Node (short for Wireless Node) which you can read more about here.

The Wi-Node is a dual purpose product. It can either be a “backpack” to extend the functionality of a Nanode 5 board, or it can be used as a remote wireless node which can communicate to either a Nanode 5 with Wi-Node connected or a Nanode RF.

The Wi-Node includes:

  • ATmega microcontroller 16MHz
  • 868MHz wireless transceiver Hope RF RFM12B (433MHz or 915MHz as options)
  • 32K x 8 nonvolatile SRAM with super capacitor for non volatile backup
  • Real Time Clock with super capacitor non volatile backup – using the cool Microchip MCP79411 – which contains a unique ID – i.e. MAC address
  • Micro SD card for datalogging
  • 4 analogue/digital inputs – tolerant to 16V
  • 4 high current drive outputs – 1000mA for motors, relays steppers etc
  • Analogue inputs and digital drives brought out to 3.5mm pitch screw terminals
  • Serial interface/expansion/programming port
  • Battery operation where needed 2x AA 3V 2500mAh
  • 62 x 23 x 103 mm case
  • 5V Solar power option
  • Compatible with Nanode, Arduino and shields

The initial Wi-Node PCB’s should be arriving shortly and i’ll be writing up a pictorial build guide as soon as I receive some. The actual Wi-Node kits will be available from December and priced around £17.50. The basic kit will include all the standard build components and an RFM12B RF module. Optional extras of RTC, SD Card Socket and Motor Drive will be available for around an extra £7.50.

 

Another useful extra arriving soon is a low-cost Nanode branded programming adapter which saves buying an expensive FTDI cable.

Categories: electronics Tags: ,

Nanode – a low cost, internet connected Arduino board

October 28th, 2011 No comments

Back in August 2010, an Electronics Engineer from the UK called Ken Boak wrote that he had built a web connected Arduino for £12 and later shared the schematic.

These posts became the basis of a whole new product he would create which is known as the “Nanode”. Nanode is short for “Network Application Node” and is an open source, low cost Arduino board with built in Ethernet courtesy of the Microchip ENC28J60 chip. Over 1000 Nanode’s have been sold in the past few months.

The Nanode consists of a standard Arduino circuit with an ATMega328 IC, 16Mhz crystal and supporting circuitry, a Microchip ENC28J60, 25Mhz crystal, Magjack, supporting circuitry and a 74HC125 IC to increase the 3.3v levels coming from the ENC28J60 to the 5v levels used by the ATMega328.

The Nanode is fully compatible with the Arduino and fully supports both the Arduino software and expansion boards, which are called “shields”. It also supports memory expansion using SPI or I2C devices, a handy port for connection of the RFM12B wireless RF modules, a serial bus for interconnecting multiple Nanodes on a wired network and is powered by way of a serial programming header, USB or through a standard DC transformer using the on-board 7805 voltage regulator.

Pictured below are my two completed Nanode’s (one of the original green boards and one of the newer Red boards and an un-built kit).

The Nanode is available as a build yourself kit for around £20 from the following retailers:

As the Nanode is ideal for reading data from sensors and uploading it onto the internet, a site dedicated to that task, Pachube are offering a free upgrade to their Pro tier for Nanode users.

Here are some useful links relating to the Nanode:

 

On the back of the success of the “Nanode 5″, Ken has recently been working on two new Nanode boards which are scheduled for general availability at the end of the year:

  • The Nanode RF
  • The Wi-Node
These are discussed in the following blog post: Introducing the Nanode RF and Wi-Node.
Categories: electronics Tags: ,