Tom.DeVito 2-24-2011

Arduino research:

  • Found many links regarding the Arduino electronics platform:
  1. Explanation of different version:    http://www.ladyada.net/library/arduino/unofaq.html
  2. Tutorials: http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage
  3. 414 Arduino projects and counting: http://hackaday.com/category/arduino-hacks/
  4. Search engine for chips: http://www.findchips.com/
  5. Ada’s Store: http://www.adafruit.com/
  6. Sparkfun Store:  http://www.sparkfun.com/
  • I determined that the version we want is the Arduino Uno.  I believe that all latest versions have similar specs, but this one is probably the best for our stage of prototyping.  A smaller one, which mounts onto a board may be better once the electronics are finalized.
  • Due to the recession, DIP chips are getting hard to find because many producers are cutting costs by only make SMTs, which have higher demand.  This is making it so the arduino’s main chip is becoming increasingly rare.  There is a SMT version now to help keep up with demand.  I figured we should stick with the DIP chip while we still can.
  • The Arduino cannot directly control our amplifiers.  This can possibly be done using a gate to route the current through a volatage spliter maintaining a Float, open or close the gate with a second pin to bypass the voltage splitter to make a High and turn off the main pin to make a Low.  This may be easier to program then the current method because you just have to control 2 pins.  That said the Arduino can communicate with i2c devices like the rheostats
  • The Arduino is very easy to program.  Basically you just initialize and loop.  Communication to the device works very similarly to communication with the usb-i2c master chip.  Just set the arduino loop to listen to the com port and do various things depending on what it is sent.  On the PC side its identical to the i2c program, since the Arduino has more memory, I believe the commands can be in the form of char arrays as opposed to hex only.
  • When we were looking at ladyada.net you asked where do people get the time to do all this stuff?  The answer is MIT.  All the students are required to have a website.

Other Electronics

  • I’m going to call the murata company and see if we can get some samples of http://www.murata.com/products/catalog/pdf/p82e.pdf.   They are finger tip sized full-ranged peizoelectric speakers.  Currently I can only find them in quantities of 2000….  They really look perfect for our application but don’t think we will need 2000 til we start production.  (not to mention its still $5 each at this quantity)
  • There are some other options for speakers but I haven’ sen any that look as good as those.  Most speakers this size have a far more limited range of sound.

Amplifier Circuit:

  • Waiting on a few capacitors that were not at the electronics store.
  • Found a small portable break-out board to play audio with. http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9534.  Its has somewhat of an amplifier but only 7 volume settings so our amp chips will still be needed.
  • Needed a bigger breadboard to prototype this circuit.  Not nearly enough room on the one I have
  • Audio will be driven by the aurdino.

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