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LED Strip Bricklet now with support for RGBW, LPD8806 and APA102

written by admin, on Sep 9, 2016 9:45:00 AM.

We just released the new firmware version 2.0.6 for the LED Strip Bricklet. When we started with the Bricklet, it only supported WS2801 LEDs. More LEDs were added over time and now we added three more.

http://download.tinkerforge.com/_stuff/led_strip_bricklet_11_785.jpg

The LED Strip Bricklet now supports

  • WS2801,

  • WS2811,

  • WS2812/SK6812/WS2813 (NeoPixel RGB),

  • SK6812RGBW (NeoPixel RGBW),

  • LPD8806 and

  • APA102 (DotStar).

Especially interesting are the new NeoPixel RGBW and DotStar LEDs. The former has an additional individually controllable white LED and the latter are available with an additional intensity channel or as completely white strips with 24 bit resolution per LED.

Additionally we added more API to make it easier to handle LED strips from different manufacturers. Since the order of the LEDs inside of a package is not standardized, some LEDs are controlled in the order RGB, others are BGR or even different. You can now define the order of the LEDs of your strip with the set_channel_mapping function. After the channel mapping is set correctly the LEDs are always in the sequence RGB or RGBW.

http://www.tinkerforge.com/de/doc/_images/Bricklets/bricklet_led_strip_w_reel_600.jpg

Two new Bricklets: CAN and RGB LED

written by admin, on Jul 14, 2016 2:42:00 PM.

We have two new Bricklets available: The CAN Bricklet and the RGB LED Bricklet.

http://www.tinkerforge.com/en/doc/_images/Bricklets/bricklet_can_tilted_600.jpg

With the CAN Bricklet you can send and receive frames on a CAN bus. A CAN bus is often used in cars as well as industrial sensors and other industrial parts. We are planning to offer a tutorial on how to use the CAN Bricklet with CANopen soon. The Bricklet has a configurable baudrate between 10kbit/s and 1Mbit/s. It is possible to apply filters to match for frames with a specific identifier.

The CAN Bricklet is available for 19.99€ including VAT.

http://www.tinkerforge.com/en/doc/_images/Bricklets/bricklet_rgb_led_tilted_600.jpg

The RGB LED Bricklet is equipped with a single controllable RGB LED. Each color channel (red, green, blue) has a resolution of 8 bit.

During the design phase of the RGB LED Bricklet we made a rather embarrassing mistake. We tried to fit the LED on Bricklet with a width of 15mm. It didn’t fit, so we had to make it wider. We accidentally ended up ordering the PCBs with a width of 17.5mm, which does not fit in our standard 5mm grid that we use for all Bricks and Bricklets. We will add another 2.5mm in hardware version 1.1. In the meantime the RGB LED Bricklet with hardware version 1.0 is available for half the price (3.49€ instead of 6.99€).

We only have 250pcs with hardware version 1.0 in stock, so we expect that hardware version 1.1 with the correct hole spacing will be available soon!

Brick Daemon Beta for Windows 10 IoT Core (Part 1/2)

written by admin, on Jul 12, 2016 4:00:00 PM.

A while ago Microsoft released Windows 10 IoT Core that can run on different embedded boards, such as the Raspberry Pi. The normal Brick Daemon for Windows does not work on Windows 10 IoT Core. But now we have a beta version of Brick Daemon that works on Windows 10 IoT Core.

Installation

This version of Brick Daemon has been tested on a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B with the Windows 10 IoT Core versions 10.0.10586, 10.0.14295 and 10.0.14376.

At the moment Brick Daemon for Windows 10 IoT Core can only be installed from source code. If you don’t have Visual Studio 2015 for Windows 10 IoT development installed yet then you can follow Microsoft’s Getting Started guide to install it.

Now you can download and unpack the required Brick Daemon and daemonlib source code from GitHub. The daemonlib source code has to be unpacked to src\daemonlib directory in the Brick Daemon source code directory:

brickd-2.2.2-uwp-beta1
-> src
   -> brickd
      -> client.c
      -> ...
   -> daemonlib
      -> daemon.c
      -> ...

Now open src\brickd\brickd_uwp.sln in Visual Studio 2015 and compile and run the project. You should now see a running Brick Daemon app.

http://download.tinkerforge.com/_stuff/brickd_uwp_beta1_700.jpg

It’s a beta!

This is a beta version because there is currently one major issue: USB device auto-detection doesn’t work properly for all Bricks.

The Windows.Devices API to access USB devices requires that every USB device has a DeviceInterfaceGUID assigned. Normally this would just work out-of-the box with all Bricks, but Windows 10 IoT Core (at least versions 10.0.10586, 10.0.14295 and 10.0.14376) seem to have a bug that breaks this for all Bricks except the RED Brick. It’s unclear why the RED Brick is not affected by this problem.

Becasue of this all Bricks except the RED Brick need a manual change in the Windows Registry to make the Windows.Devices API accept them. Here’s what you need to once do for every Brick:

Connect the Brick to USB first, then connect to Windows 10 IoT Core using Power Shell and modify and execute the following command:

reg add "HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Enum\USB\VID_16D0&PID_063D\6K9mW5\Device Parameters" /v DeviceInterfaceGUIDs /t REG_MULTI_SZ /d "{870013DD-FB1D-4BD7-A96C-1F0B7D31AF41}"

This adds the missing DeviceInterfaceGUID for a Brick with UID 6K9mW5. To add the DeviceInterfaceGUID for your Brick replace 6K9mW5 with the UID of your Brick in the command.

Afterwards you need to reset the Brick. Now Brick Daemon should find it. But sometimes the reg add command hangs for some unknown reason. If this happens restart Windows 10 IoT Core and try again.

There is a thread in our forum for your feedback.

The second part will discuss the technical details and challenges of porting Brick Daemon to Windows 10 IoT Core.

WIFI Extension 2.0 available

written by admin, on Jun 29, 2016 6:43:00 PM.

The new WIFI Extension 2.0 is finally available!

http://www.tinkerforge.com/en/doc/_images/Extensions/extension_wifi2_hand_600.jpg

It features the now ubiquitous ESP8266. We use the ESP-WROOM-02 module which is FCC/CE compatible. As you can see on GitHub the development for this new Extension started on July 27th 2015. Nearly one year ago, holy moly!

http://www.tinkerforge.com/en/doc/_images/Extensions/extension_wifi2_tilted_600.jpg

The new WIFI Extension 2.0 comes with it’s own firmware that can be updated completely automatically by the Brick Viewer through a Master Brick. So you don’t need a FTDI cable or similar to update the Extension. Compared to the old WIFI Extension we have many new features and even more are planned:

Property WIFI Extension WIFI Extension 2.0
Price (incl. VAT) 59.99€ 29.99€
Modes Access point or client Access point or client or both at the same time
Encryption WPA2 for client, WEP for access point WPA2 for client and access point
Tinkerforge Protocols TCP/IP, authentication TCP/IP, authentication, WebSockets
Firmware updates No Yes
Mesh networking No Comming soon
Internal homepage No Comming soon
Weight 18g 12g
External antenna Yes No (PCB antenna only)

Every other property between the two are either equal or very similar (RF output power, etc.). As you can see, the new WIFI Extension 2.0 can replace the old WIFI Extension in all but one feature: You can’t connect an external antenna. We realize that this is necessary for some applications. Unfortunately none of the ESP8266 modules with a external antenna connector that are currently available on the market is FCC and CE compatible. As far as we can tell they have neither been tested, nor would they pass a test.

As a workaround we will still offer the old WIFI Extension for the time being. In the last production run a few weeks ago we made sure to produce a full batch. So we expect the old WIFI Extension to be available as fallback for a long time :-)

http://www.tinkerforge.com/en/doc/_images/Extensions/extension_wifi2_w_master_600.jpg

Tinkerforge at Automatica 2016

written by admin, on Jun 13, 2016 4:02:00 PM.

http://download.tinkerforge.com/_stuff/automatica.jpg

This year the Automatica is from 21st to 24th June in Munich. We will present our building blocks at this trade fair for automation and mechatronics for the first time. We are very curious about the feedback. Our booth is in hall A5 stand 139A. You will be able to see applications four our building blocks in the areas of low cost automation and rapid prototyping.

As an exhibitor we will have an allocation of free tickets again. If you want to visit us at Automatica, please write an email to info@tinkerforge.com.

Maker Faire 2016

written by admin, on May 23, 2016 1:28:00 PM.

http://download.tinkerforge.com/_stuff/MakerFaireHannover.jpg

The Maker Faire in Hannover is from 27th to 29th May this year. Friday (27th) is reserved for school classes. Saturday and Sunday are normal faire days, as always. You can find more information on the Maker Faire Website.

This year we will have our booth in the Niedersachsenhalle. You can find us at stand 100.

As an exhibitor we have a small number of free tickets that we can hand out. Please write to info@tinkerforge.com if you want a free ticket for Maker Faire Hannover. We will give the tickets out first come first serve as long as supplies last ;-).

The free tickets are all gone!

Tinkerforge with Volavis at Hannover Messe

written by admin, on Apr 25, 2016 9:49:00 AM.

Today the Hannover Messe starts (25th to 29th April). While we are not there ourselves, you will still be able to find some of our products in Hannover at the booth of Volavis GmbH (hall 6, booth K46).

http://download.tinkerforge.com/_stuff/volavis_tf.jpg

The setup consists of lots of Industrial Bricklets that switch valves as well as a RED Brick. The latter provides the control software as well as a user interface that that is shown on a HDMI display with touch. The mini production plant simulates different fabrication steps including the inspection of work pieces and polishing.

Volavis is a cross-sector software service provider with know-how in the development of web applications, embedded software and mobile applications. At the trade faire they are showing “Internet of Things” solutions. They retrofitted an old demonstration production plant with Tinkerforge hardware to make it suitable for “Industrie 4.0″ applications. The machine is now connected to cloud software, it can be controlled from a tablet and production processes can be analyzed online.

New Bricklet: Real-Time Clock

written by admin, on Mar 22, 2016 4:19:00 PM.

The CeBIT last week was a success for us. Our booth was always busy, sometimes we couldn’t even talk to all of the visitors. We are sorry for the visitors that wanted to visit us but couldn’t wait long enough to speak to us. There definitely wasn’t any boredom for us ;-). Many thanks for all of the nice conversations and suggestions.

Now that the CeBIT is done, we want to publish a new Bricklet this week:

The Real-Time Clock Bricklet.

http://www.tinkerforge.com/de/doc/_images/Bricklets/bricklet_real_time_clock_tilted_600.jpg

The Bricklet is equipped with a real-time clock, that keeps date and time. Typically you would use it in applications where the current time is needed but not available. This is often the case if you use a single board computer without a real-time clock (e.g. RED Brick or Raspberry Pi) and there is no connection to the internet for NTP.

A RED Brick example program is already available on github.

http://www.tinkerforge.com/de/doc/_images/Bricklets/bricklet_real_time_clock_red_master_600.jpg

CeBIT 2016 - Day 2

written by admin, on Mar 15, 2016 3:50:00 PM.

The first day at CeBIT was a success from our point of view. We got many visitors with questions and suggestions. Some of the visitors already use Tinkerforge and shared their project ideas and their experiences with us. Many thanks for this!

At the end of the first exhibition day we were awarded to be the third in the hardware category of the Innovationspreis-IT.

http://download.tinkerforge.com/_stuff/cebit_2016/innovationspreis.jpg

A (german) description of the price can be found here. Of course, we attached the award signet directly on our stand. ;-)

http://download.tinkerforge.com/_stuff/cebit_2016/cebit_2016_day2_1_small.jpg

We are at CeBIT until friday. We still have some free tickets for the exhibition. If you are interested in a visit and need a free ticket, please contact us.

CeBIT 2016 - Day 1

written by admin, on Mar 14, 2016 2:18:00 PM.

Journey and setup went “reasonably” well. We were already late and on top of that there was a traffic jam on the way to Hannover. Because of that the exhibitor entrances had been closed already and we had to bring our stuff through the normal visitor entrances. But here it is:

http://download.tinkerforge.com/_stuff/cebit_2016/cebit_2016_day1_1_small.jpghttp://download.tinkerforge.com/_stuff/cebit_2016/cebit_2016_day1_2_small.jpg

We made a new display stand to show all our modules neat and tidy. Additionally we brought a Starter Kit: Camera Slider with RED Brick Extension, a workbench equipped with some Bricks and Bricklets and an extra box with more Bricks and Bricklets for testing.

http://download.tinkerforge.com/_stuff/cebit_2016/cebit_2016_day1_3_small.jpghttp://download.tinkerforge.com/_stuff/cebit_2016/cebit_2016_day1_4_small.jpg

Bastian in conversation with with some visitors.

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