Saturday, 15 November 2014

Arduino ArmdroidShield

The restoration of TNMOC's Armdroid is getting closer to completion, and attention has shifted towards designing suitable displays for the robot at the museum.

Initial displays are likely to be Arduino based, and in time, we'll probably add other historical computers into the mix.   In the meantime, something I had not given much thought about, was what to do with my 'temporary' breadboard interface that's been used over the past year, a more permanent solution is however needed.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to design a PCB to be called.... wait for it.... ArmdroidShield !

Having a purpose made PCB will of course be more reliable, and better suited to a harsher museum environment.  The goal was to keep things flexible - perhaps we'll use these at a future Summer/Winter Bytes and students can design other Armdroid-based control systems, so making the board using a Shield design, was an obvious choice.

This was my first attempt at designing a double-sided PCB.  Fortunately, the design doesn't require many components, so from start to finish - 2hrs including inspection of final design, and correcting contacts positioned too close together.

The PCB arrived the following week directly from the fabricator, and as you can see the results are pretty good:

ARDUINO ArmdroidShield

The shield has been designed around the Arduino R3 header standard making it compatible with the following products:
  • Arduino Uno (Revision 3)
  • Arduino Leonardo
  • Arduino Yun
  • Arduino Ethernet
  • Arduino Tre & Arduino Zero (when available)
It's a very simple board, really just an adapter - only Digital Pins 2 through to 9 are utilized, along with common grounds.

The tricky bit was soldering the Stackable Headers and keeping everything properly aligned, but with perseverance, got there in the end.

ARDUINO ArmdroidShield

ArmdroidShield installed on the Arduino Leonardo:

Completed assembly ready for bench testing: