Thursday, January 16, 2014

LCDuino is ready to go!

I built the latest prototype LCDuino this evening, and it worked perfectly. I'm ready to add LCDuino and the Arduino shield adapter into the store now.

To recap, LCDuino is a marriage of an Ardunio Uno with an AdaFruit RGB LCD shield, but as a "backpack" board for the LCD module. The LCDuino main board is 80x36 mm - the same size as the board for the LCD module itself. The board houses an ATMega328 in a TQFP package along with an FTDI USB-to-serial adapter chip and an MCP23017 i2c GPIO chip to interface to the LCD. The board also has a micro USB connector (used for getting power from a PC and uploading sketches), along with a DIP-26 connector to connect a ribbon cable to whatever else you want to play with, and a DIP-14 to carry the button signals from the MCP23017 off to a button board.

The ribbon cable is intended to terminate in a 28 pin .3" DIP plug for easy attachment to a breadboard. You can either power the LCDuino through the ribbon cable or power the breadboard from the LCDuino via the USB connector (there is a 500 mA self-resetting fuse to protect your computer).

You can also, alternatively, connect the ribbon cable up to the LCDuino shield adapter, which includes a 2.1mm barrel connector for a 7-12v power input, which is regulated down to 5 volts and 3.3 volts to provide power for standard Arduino shields. Of course, you still get the i2c RGB LCD display along with whatever shields you want.

JP1 is actually pins 17 and 18 on the RGB LCD, which provide the "green" and "blue" backlight control. The "K" pin is actually the red backlight.

JP2 and JP3 are actually extensions to the high digital and power connectors (like on an Uno rev 3), which add dedicated i2c pins and the IOREF pin.

The LCDuino as a "quick kit" is $30, and the shield adapter (also as a "quick kit") is $20.

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