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Thread: Micro-Morlock design thread - Now called the DNA board

  1. #1
    Insider Curt's Avatar
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    Micro-Morlock design thread - Now called the DNA board

    Greetings, This is Curt from KM2.

    Who from where? yeah I know its been awhile, but I have been re-bitten by the bug to make something cool so here it is, the Micro-Morlock.

    The original Morlock was a generic paintball board that was designed to fit into the grip of a paintball gun and run anything. The Mini-Morlock was an iteration on that design that was about 1/2 the size and did the same job. The Micro-Morlock is going to be even smaller (half will be a tall order..) and do everything I can think of.

    As I mentioned on the whiteboard, bust out your wishlists, I am considering everything. So much like when I did the Cheetah http://northarc.com/cheetah board I plan to blog the development of this project here.

    Here is the space I carved out due to a recent change of address that landed me somewhere with a workshop! My current project bench, and what the heck a selfie.
    bench.jpg
    me.jpg
    shop.jpg

  2. #2
    Very cool! Will this be put into production or just a fun project?

  3. #3
    not speaking for Curt, but like the Cheetah, Morlock, mini-morlock; this board would be made. it being fun, is just Curt's own being. plus, it is an excellent way to see what a programmer with talent can do. take notes, sit back and enjoy the ride.

  4. #4
    Ill start saving!

  5. #5
    Insider Curt's Avatar
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    Okay so I have done some research and consulting and I have decided to open up this design as a generic project board. In order to make it super-compact I am not going to have extra ground/V+ pins (which simplifies the header connections) and rather leave that up to the wiring harness.

    While this will run a paintball gun, It will definitely do a whole lot more, I am calling it the DNA board for now (working title, but I kinda like it).

    It will have 3 A/D inputs, two power-switch channels (can handle 20V at 9.4amps, with a 38amp pulse possible, I am confident it will snap any solenoid you can throw at it)

    Board voltage will be 3.5v, with a low-dropout regulator, so it will run from anything 4.5v and higher, on up to ... 18v so 3 AAA's will do the job if you really want, or a dual lipo.

    It will sense battery voltage, have an onboard LED and a separate USB connection terminal so you can talk to it to and from any smart device or windows box (I have the windows app already written, its very preliminary but it works)

    It is field-prorgammable, I have already written a boot loader for it so firmware upgrades (or hell just programming it) require only a windows box.

    All the code is written in avr-gcc, and I will be releasing substantial chunks of it.

    Now my favorite part.

    The board has a 3-prong connector coming out the bottom which will run either a single servo (it has a compatible pinout) OR use my "RNA" single-wire bus and communicate to an unlimited number of daughter-boards. I will have boards for servo breakout (as many channels as you want, I am thinking 8 to start), audio sampling, more power channels, a brushless speed control (and yes I will probably release the software used to drive it, which I don't think anyone else has ever done), and LCD display, a keyboard, hell anything we can think of.

    And... well anything you can think of. I will make the RNA bus an open standard and liekly publish my libraries in source form so you can do whatever you want and expand it, it will be kind of like an ethernet bus (look up THIN net) so as many devices on it as you want

    I like to publish snapshots so here is the current board layout. this is FAR from complete, it is very very VERY liekly going to change in size and dimention, but is currently 20mm x 9.25mm, including every feature I have just mentioned.

    The central chip for this design is going to be a an ATiny84 in SOIC.

    -Curt
    dna1.jpg

  6. #6

  7. #7
    Awesome! I'd guess that this is something you'd be able to use in your RC cars also, right?

  8. #8
    I'm in love with you

  9. #9
    Insider Curt's Avatar
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    Yes use in R/C is also one of my big applications, I just got finished with my last "big" project which was to design in 3D, and then build from scratch, a 1/4-scale Pitts biplane. I wanted a radial cowl and they didn' tmake one quite the size I wanted so.. http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_11..._1/key_/tm.htm

    So I just got finished mocking up the power distribution for the USB port. USB standard states that a device shall never backfeed along the Vcc line. On the other hand I really loathe designs that tell you to either "have the power plugged into access the USB" or to "never have the power plugged in to access the USB" to me that is lazy, since if I'm right a single diode will allow the device to be powered by either bus without worry.

    So I wired the USB power line to the LDO regulator through a diode (which has a voltage drop on it of ... .7? 1.3? something like that. I'll have to go look it up but I seem to recall germanium has a lower drop than silicon. Anyways my voltage regulator specs 1.3v drop minimum to ensure proper regulation, USB voltage is 5 and I want 3.5 so.. as long as I can get it to 4.8v I'm okay. hmm.. the voltage drop across the diode is going to matter. I better nail that down.

    In any case when main power is applied, the diode will essentially shut down the USB voltage without backfeeding, so the final result will be it doesn't matter if you have the DNA plugged in or not, USB will always 'just work'

  10. #10
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    Oh god, servo control???

    Excuse me, I have to return some video tapes.

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