Introduction of Industrial Bricklets

As you may have already seen in the timeline, we are about to release a new series of Bricklets, the “Industrial Bricklets”.

The new Industrial Bricklets are 100% compatible to the old Bricks and Bricklets, they can be distinguished by the following properties:

  • Power supply comes from the outside.

  • All in and outputs of the Bricklet are opto-coupled and thus galvanically isolated.

  • They are Software-Groupable (this allows to operate pins from different Bricklets concurrently).

  • Size: 4x4cm.

  • Connection: 8 pole pluggable terminal block.

With these properties we anticipate a high grade of inteference resistance, as it is needed in industrial environments. At first we will release three different Industrial Bricklets:

  • Industrial Quad Relay: Control four Solid State relays (example use case: Switching of big relay)

  • Industrial Digital In 4: Read four digital inputs, up to 36V (example use case: Communication with PLC)

  • Industrial Digital Out 4: Write four digital outputs, up to 36V (example use case: Control of frequency inverters)

Below you can see a pototype of the Industrial Digital In 4.

Other Industrial Bricklets are in the works, including a Bricklet that can measure a 4-20mA sensor with high precision.

The Industrial Bricklet circuit boards are already ordered. We are currently planing to put them in our shop in week 47.

To illustrate the opto-coupling, you can look at the layout of the Industrial Digital Out 4 Bricklet:

In the image you can see two copper layers and the conducting paths in them. As you can see, there is no electrical connection between Bricklet input from Brick (top) and output (bottom).

Sneak Preview: After the Industrial Bricklets and the new TF Protocol 2.0 we will also release a Master Brick 2.0 (with, among other things, EMI protection of up to 8kV for all 40 Pins that are outbound by the Bricklet ports) and shielded Bricklet cables. Stay tuned!

Elektor Live

We will be at the Elektor Live as an exhibitor.

If you always wanted to give us your opinions in person, you can do so on October the 20th in the Kongresszentrum of the Westfalenhalle in Dortmund. We will have our booth in the Goldsaal Forum.

Barometer Bricklet available and more "Made in Germany"

The Barometer Bricklet is now available:

It uses the very precise MS5611-01BA01 air pressure sensor. While testing we found out that it is really easy to detect doors being opened and closed. In the 0.01mbar range the air pressure is changing quite a bit. So if you want to reach a stable altitude calculation with this resolution (10cm) you will need to do some sensor fusion with a motion sensor, like the IMU Brick.

On a related note: We changed our circuit board supplier. Starting with the Barometer Bricklet, all of the circuit boards we are using will be “Made in Germany”:

Now the whole manufacturing process (PCB production, PCB assembly and testing) is done in Germany!

WIFI Extension Update

Last Friday our EMS manufacturer produced the first WIFI Extensions. The production preparation was not easy since the WIFI modules are only solderable with a peak temperature of 240°C. We have to produce them lead-free, so this is not an easy task for our manufacturer. Unfortunately the reflow process produced a huge amount of solder bridges.

After some investigation we found the reason for it. Since we were soldering with low temperatures there is not much tolerance for the used materials. It turns out that the surface finish and pad dimensions of the circuit boards do not have the same quality as the circuit boards we got before. The boards are electrically fully usable, but these minor divergences are enough to make troubles. Below is a microscopic image of the stack connector pads of a WIFI Extension (top) and another Extension (bottom):

You can see that the pads are for some reason not completely filled in and the surface finish is of poor quality. To solve the soldering problems we ordered modified stencils and another type of soldering paste. We are currently waiting for both to arrive. We will restart production presumably on friday and use the additional time for testing and to implement more WIFI features (more configuration possibilities). If everything works as expected we will add the WIFI Extension to the shop on next Monday.

Problems with LCD 20x4 Bricklet

We had some customers reporting problems with the LCD 20x4 Bricklet. In some cases, especially in conjunction with the usage of a Dual Relay Bricklet, there seemed to be a problem with non responsive displays or slowly dimming backlights. After some investigation we found a possible reason for this. The I2C Port Extension MCP23017 is used on this bricklet. Unfortunately there is a bug in the reset circuitry of this chip on all of our LCD Bricklets. In some cases it can happen, that the reset circuitry of the IC is triggered. Fortunately we found a workaround for this problem and have shipped LCD 20x4 Bricklets with it since early August. Since the feedback for the LCD Bricklets with the workaround was all around positive, we have to conclude that this was really the reason for the problems. You can recognize a fixed LCD Bricklet by a small capacitor that is soldered between two pins on the big IC in the middle of the LCD 20x4 Bricklet:

If you have the described problems with your LCD20x4 (not responsive or slowly dimming backlight): Please contact us at, we will replace your old LCD 20x4 Bricklet with one that has the workaround.