Shop offline on 28th of October

On Monday the 28th of October we will introduce a new ERP system at Tinkerforge. Since it will replace parts of email notifications, billing and shipping that we currently do through our shop system, the shop will go offline at about 10:00 MESZ on 28th of October. We expect the migration to take 24 hours at the very most.

From a customer perspective the invoices, packing slip and order confirmation emails will look a bit differently after the migration, everything else should stay the same. The shop frontend also stays the same.

Internally we are currently using a whole bunch of island applications for the shop, for stock keeping, for shipping and packing, for calender functionality etc. This has worked very well for the first ~7 years of the company, but it is starting to fall apart now. Especially the ever increasing number of products, sourcing of the parts for the products and managing of the production as well as custom products for industrial customers is getting increasingly hard.

Thus our mix of the magento shop, spreadsheets, custom applications and hundreds of small Python scripts will be replaced by a proper ERP system on Monday.

Wish us luck! :)

Energy Monitor Bricklet

Today we want to introduce the Energy Monitor Bricklet and its features in detail.

We will start with the technical specification. The Bricklet can measure the following values:

  • Voltage (V): Voltage RMS with a resolution of 10mV
  • Current (A): Current RMS with a resolution of 10mA
  • Energy (Wh): Energy (integrated over time) with a resolution of 10mWh
  • Real Power (W): Real Power with a resolution of 10mW
  • Apparent Power (VA): Apparent Power with a resolution of 10mVA
  • Reactive Power (VAR): Reactive Power with a resolution of 10mVAR
  • Power Factor: Power Factor with a resolution of 1/1000
  • Frequency (Hz): AC Frequency of the mains voltage with a resolution of 1/100 Hz
  • Waveform Voltage (V): Waveform of the AC Voltage RMS with a resolution of 100mV
  • Waveform Current (A):  Waveform of the AC Current RMS with a resolution of 10mV

The waveform is returned as 768 data points. These points correspond to about 3 full sine waves at 50Hz. The Bricklet updates the measured frequency every 6 seconds. All other values are integrated over 10 zero-crossings of the voltage sine wave. With a standard AC mains voltage frequency of 50Hz this results in a 5 measurements per second.

To do these measurements the Energy Monitor Bricklet uses two different transformers:

  • AC/AC voltage transformer (230V/9V): This voltage transformer can be plugged into a power outlet (wall socket). It has an input voltage of 230V AC and generates an output voltage of 9V AC. The output voltage is safe and can be measured by the ADC on the Bricklet. All other properties of the voltage sine wave remain the same and can be analyzed accordingly.
  • 5A:1V and 30A:1V current transformer clamp (hinged): These current transformers can measure the current that goes through a wire contact-free by transforming it into a voltage (the ratio is 5A/30A to 1V). The output voltage is again safe and can be measured by the ADC on the Bricklet.

With both transformers together it is possible to measure the AC voltage and the AC current in a time curve waveform. These measurements in turn can be used to calculate all of the data described above. All of this is possible while there is no live mains voltage anywhere on the Bricklet. The Bricklet can be touched without any problems at any time.

The following video shows a test of the Energy Monitor Bricklet together with four different loads (fan, heater, LED and energy saving light bulb):

New Bricklets: 7 pole for everything!

With the arrival of the newest Bricklet panel we have now completely switched all of our Bricklets to the 7 pole standard. Additionally there are three brand new Bricklets! The following new Bricklets are available:

The new "2.0"-Bricklets replace the last old 10 pole Bricklets. With this release we now have finally reached our goal to convert all Bricklets to the new 7 pole connector. The old 10 pole Bricklets are still available (with a reduced price!) as long as the stock lasts. We will not produce the old Bricklets anymore, but of course they will still be supported.

The Distance US Bricklet 2.0 is completely redesigned and it comes with a new sensor. It uses the MaxSonar HRLV MB1013 which offers a much higher resolution and accuracy compared to the old sensor. The Bricklet can now measure distances up to 500cm with a resolution of 1mm.

The new Compass Bricklet is a 3-axis compass. It measures angles with a resolution of 0.1° and an accuracy of 1°. The update rate can be configured up to 600Hz. Additionally the Bricklet measures magnetic flux density for all three axis.

With the Energy Monitor Bricklet you can measure mains voltages of 120V / 230V AC. To do this, the Bricklet uses a voltage transformer and a current transformer clamp. We offer one compatible voltage transformer and two different current transformers in the shop. The Bricklet comes pre-calibrated for these transformers. The Bricklet can measure voltage (V), current (A) and energy (Wh) as well as the real, apparent and reactive power, power factor and frequency.

Additionally you can use the Bricklet to visualize the waveform for voltage and current:

We will give you a detailed presentation of this Bricklet in a separate blog post soon!

The XMC1400 Breakout Bricklet can be used to develop new Bricklets. The circuit board comes with a XMC1400 microcontroller from Infineon. The pin headers on the board offer access to all available pins of the MCU. An extensive documentation for this Bricklet is currently still under construction. Please let us know if you are interested in designing/producing your own Bricklets!

TInkerforge now availible at Mouser

Starting today our complete assortement of Tinkerforge building blocks is also available at Mouser. Mouser Electronics is a worldwide leading authorised distributor of semiconductors and electronic components for over 750 industry-leading manufacturers. They are specialised in the rapid introduction of new products and technologies for design engineers and buyers. Their extensive product offering includes semiconductors, interconnects, passives, and electromechanical components.

Mouser ships to over 220 countries. Especially for our customers in North America a shipment from mouser should be faster and cheaper!

HAT Brick and HAT Zero Brick

Today we released two new Bricks: The HAT Zero Brick and the HAT Brick.

These two Bricks are the first Bricks that are not in the standard 4x4cm Brick form factor. As you might have already expected from the name: They are Raspberry Pi HATs.

HAT Zero Brick

The HAT Zero Brick is in the standard Raspberry Pi Zero HAT form factor and it has four Bricklet ports. You can connect any of our >60 Bricklets with 7 pole connector to these ports.

We offer the HAT Zero Brick in our Shop for 14.99€ incl. VAT.

HAT Brick

The HAT Brick is in the standard Raspberry Pi HAT form factor and it has eight Bricklet ports. It comes with a 5V-28V DC power supply that puts out 5.3V/4A for the Raspberry Pi and Bricklets. This HAT is feature-packed. It has a battery backed real-time clock, watchdog for the RPi, sleep mode, it can measure and monitor the input voltages and the RPi and Bricklets can be turned on/off individually.

We offer the HAT Brick in our Shop for 49.99€ incl. VAT.

Both HATs are compatible to the new Raspberry Pi 4.

We also added a Mounting Kit for Raspberry Pi to our shop. It consists of M2.5 nylon spacers, screws and nuts. It can be used to properly mount our HATs to a Raspberry Pi and also to mount the Rapsberry Pi to something else.

The HATs are possible because of the new standardized protocol that comes with the 7 pole connector and co-processor on the new Bricklets. You need a 7p-7p Bricklet Cable to connect a Bricklet to one of the HATs. You can not connect old Bricklets with 10 pole connector.