Haven’t had much time to blog lately, too much stuff going on all fronts. That’s not to say LowPowerLab is idle, no no…. On the contrary the shop is keeping me busy and I have a few new projects I am working on. I am trying to bring a few kits to fruition.
First and foremost I’ve spent a lot of time developing an integrated solution for SwitchMote. I want this thing to come to life and just be awesome, I think I’ve spent way too much time on it to just let it die. I now have another prototype including a shield with 3 user buttons and 2 LEDs per button, which can all be used in any way, or left unpopulated if only 2 or 1 buttons are desired for a light switch. The point of having multiple buttons is being able to control or synch with other SwitchMotes or … do anything else you want like say … interact with GarageMote. I’ve managed to get a cover plate also that will be mounted on the wall to cover the switch box. I used the same diffused white I laser cut for the MotionMote project. I like that diffused white a lot, but there’s many possible colors on inventables.com to choose from. For now I am continuing to develop this project, write code, adding some basic mains protection and getting all the physical engineering of this thing right. So far I’m pretty happy, it’s a pretty good improvement over the first prototype I had:
Then I would like to get a kit ready for the motion sensor. A lot of people asked. There’s a lot more to getting this done than might be obvious. I think I have most parts ready but I still don’t have enclosures which have to be laser cut.
I’ve been looking for a good source for some low power LEDs, ones that only draw about 2mA and still fairly visible. Now I have them in the shop in 3 colors, red, green, yellow. I think these will be the only LEDs I will offer in the future since all my projects are targeting low power:
To complement MotionMote and to satisfy user’s requests, I’ve also been working on a shield for Moteino that would allow you to power your Moteino from a Lipo battery or from a single cell AA/AAA battery. As such, I came up with PowerShield, a little add on board that packs a bunch of features that should cover a lot of needs:
- Lipo battery charger based on the popular MCP73831 chip
- boost regulator to provide 5V to the Moteino and any other peripherals that might run on 5V only – can take anything from 0.7V to <5V
- battery monitoring circuit using the simple resistor divider + 0.1uF cap solution used in the MailboxNotifier project
- small prototyping area with 0.1″ spaced independent pin holes
- JST Connector TH/SMD footprint to connect the battery
- USB-mini connector to charge the battery or power the whole thing at 5V
- SMD/TH power switch to cut power from the battery
- small compact size with enlarged side header holes such that machined headers can be stacked compactly when used in tandem (the metal underside of the machined headers can sit inside the hole instead of on top of the PCB)
PowerShield will allow a pretty compact stack of itself + Moteino + a small Lipo + PIR sensor in an overall quite small laser cut enclosure, even thinner/smaller than just the Moteino + 9V + PIR sensor that I’ve implemented before, that’s for those who want rechargeable and care to trim the extra 5-10mm fat of the 9V battery.
So that’s it for now. There’s still a lot of planning and sourcing and work to get all these ready for prime time. By posting these updates I hope to keep people interested and try to be open about in what’s coming, if all goes well.