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Posted by on in Hardware

Some history.....last December Ciseco started shipping the XRF v2.0. On the XRF v2.0 is the SRF v1.3 which saw the removal of the on board chip antenna. There were a number of benefits derived from the change, which were all covered in Matt's post at the time. One of these was that the complexity and cost of the SRF was reduced and this was immediately reflected in the bulk price of the SRF. Unfortunately due to the high cost of supporting less experienced users of the SRF the single unit option was dropped. However with some added disclaimers and pleas for the inexperienced to purchase other products it is back in the store as of today in quantities of 1 and upwards!

With it back in stock and available to all and sundry for the sum of £9.99 including VAT you'll be wanting to get the best performance from this small surface mount module. There are a few ways to do this.

The first is to use an 8.2cm wire whip antenna. Add a hole on your PCB close to the surface mount landing pad of the SRF antenna and solder the wire whip in place. Wire whip antennas seem to be the most robust solution to the problem of an RF antenna. They are the least affected by the layout of the board the SRF is to be attached to and therefore best.

The second solution is to add a chip antenna. A chip antenna will usually require tuning to the PCB layout to get maximum range (impedance matching). This is really only an option you'll want to consider if you want to make a product of your project and you want maximum benefit for minimum cost. We'll be covering more on the design and tuning of chip antennas in future posts, and Matt has published an example of a chip antenna layout in the Ciseco Github. Tuning requires selection of the three components used with the chip antenna. This can be done by trial and error or carefully calculated using some meaty formulae. 

 Third would be to add a socket for a larger external antenna. However the experience within Ciseco says that a wire whip will often produce better results than one of these more expensive bits of kit (the ARF however does love the new rubber duck, you'll get close to 20db more)

For now my advice if you're using an SRF with your own board is to............whip it, whip it good!

Tagged in: Antenna SRF Wireless XRF

Posted by on in Hardware

Some of our customers have asked for an example on how it intergrate the Johanson Chip antenna diretly into their own PCB designs, now that we have moved away from a integrated chip antenna on the SRF (it's all because the overall performance is related to how well the host PCB is impedance matched, some people got great range others got poor range)....ever wished the laws of physics would bend? :)

I have just updated the Eagle Cad design for the SRF Shield and the XinoRF with our latest version, which shows using the SRF and chip antenna in one pcb.

I've also produced a very baisc example of the new RFµ footprint using the same chip antenna, you'll notice the few parts before the chip antenna, these are to impedance match the antenna to the SRF, I'll publish the parts values once I get a PCB to test out from Ragworm. 

We are currently working on the documentation to accompany this so there'll be much more data to come but I wanted to help those who wanted an example footprint as soon as possible.

I always start with a single 0 ohm resistor and then use the VNA (posh test kit) to help me tune the design to it's optimum performance, I suggest you start with a 0 ohm also

 

BTW: An 8.2cm wire connected to pad 1 usually gives good dependable performance and is a good thing to compare a chip design against using the RSSI test modes of ATNT3 & 4.

Tagged in: RFu XinoRF

Posted by on in Uncategorized

As part of the current Kickstarter campaign for the SRF-Shield we are releasing the full schematics and eagle cad files. We are also releasing the lastest XinoRF and Slice of Radio files.

Our aim when designing products is to make them simple enough to use, that a schematic is not really needed. But as we grow so does the level of experience our customers have.

We know some like to get in and know every little detail. In posting the designs for these three products we also hope it show you just how easy it is to integrate the SRF directly into your own PCB designs.
I've posted all the files to a new github repo here and if your not comftorble with using github you can also get them all in a zip from here(link)

There are PDF version of the schematics as well as the native eagle files each in there own directory. Click the pics below to go straight to the PDF's or click here to read more

b2ap3_thumbnail_R017---SRF-Shield-v1.0.jpgXinoRF v1.3 schematic

b2ap3_thumbnail_R016---Slice-of-Radio-v1.1.jpg

I'm just trying to put the finishing touches to a Kickstarter project to help lauch a new wireless shield for Arduino shaped boards. Called the SRF shield it has some unique features:

Has the same advanced switching circuit of our XBee shield that means no jumper flipping or unplugging when you do a normal sketch upload

Has an onboard chip antenna (upto 100m) but has also pads for adding a wirewhip, SMA or u.fl connector to get ranges upto 1000m

Support wireless sketch uploads direct from the IDE without any extra software, we are the only people in the world to offer this

It's £9.99 including VAT (that's about a quarter of what an XBee + adapter would cost)

It's just the kind of producet we hoped we could make (exceptional price and performance), it's all down to the growing number of people who love our radios that we are now making SRF's in such quantity we can achieve such a low price.

Thank you to every single one of our customers

 

Miles 

Posted by on in Uncategorized

The Raspberry Jamboree 2014 is being held in Manchester on the 27th & 28th of February.

Miles and I will be there with a range of Ciseco products to show of and sell.

Due to the event we are out of the office for a few days and so forum registrations and question might not get processed or answered as quick as normal

Tickets are still available 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ocr-raspberry-jamboree-27-28-february-2014-tickets-8546357385

There is also a family Hack-day on Saturday 1st March which we are also attending 

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ocr-raspberry-jamboree-family-hack-day-tickets-10234763453

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by on in Uncategorized

In the 2013 Postscapes Internet of Things awards, our Wireless Inventors Kit achieved:

  • People's Choice runner up in the “Best Open Source Internet of Things Product” category

If you have not got one of these very popular Wireless Inventors Kits yet, you will want to get one from our shop:http://shop.ciseco.co.uk/raswik

 

Posted by on in Uncategorized

Our Raspberry Pi Wireless inventors Kit is up for Open Source IoT product of the year. If you can spare 8 seconds, I'd be over the moon if you were to click the heart icon and vote for us?

http://postscapes.com/internet-of-things-award/project/raswik-raspberry-pi-wireless-inventors-kit/

Miles

 

 

Congratulations and huge kudos to Andy.  Here is a link to a great blog post on how he created a colour LLAP display.

As a new initiative to encourage people to build new and exciting ideas with our hardware, we are going to be giving back the cost of the our parts used in projects as credits in our store.

YEP, that's FREE hardware (but you have to write it up and do something original so we can reblog it)

Check out his project

http://blog.thiseldo.co.uk/?p=920

More evidence that the IoT is one hot topic, excerpt from Gartner website

The Internet of Everything

The Internet is expanding beyond PCs and mobile devices into enterprise assets such as field equipment, and consumer items such as cars and televisions. The problem is that most enterprises and technology vendors have yet to explore the possibilities of an expanded internet and are not operationally or organizationally ready. Imagine digitizing the most important products, services and assets. The combination of data streams and services created by digitizing everything creates four basic usage models – Manage; Monetize; Operate; Extend. These four basic models can be applied to any of the four "internets” (people, things, information and places).  Enterprises should not limit themselves to thinking that only the Internet of Things (i.e., assets and machines) has the potential to leverage these four models. Enterprises from all industries (heavy, mixed, and weightless) can leverage these four models.

See the full document - http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2603623

Posted by on in Uncategorized

Because we are selling many more radios these days our buying power is gradually going up so we get better discounts. The SRF stick is now below £20 including VAT.  http://shop.ciseco.co.uk/srf-stick-868-915-mhz-easy-to-use-usb-radio/

We recently created bulk pricing on the SRF's and are looking to do what we can across the range in future. The XRF family remains (I believe) the best value radios, and competes with Digi, LPRS and others who sell similarly featured devices at 2 to 3 times the price.

 

Miles

 


Everyday Practical Electronics

Issue : 131101

 

... designed to be highly accessible, enabling anyone with basic computing skills to build wireless Pi projects. See: http: / / shop. ciseco .co.uk / resellers RPi programming challenge IIhe PA Consulting Group is challenging teams from schools and universities to put their technology skills, ingenuity ...

 

John Alexander video-ed my presentation in which I introduce and demo the Wireless Inventors Kit for the Raspberry Pi at the Cambridge Raspberry Pi Jam, on Saturday 21 September 2013. 

He was kind enough to put it on YouTube so you can check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYVLEBLn9IA&feature=youtu.be

Thank you John!

 

 

 

 

 

 

ZSL who own Whipsnade and London zoo recently won a £1/2 millon grant for a camera system that utilises our radios. Here's a link to an article in PC pro about it.

Poachers caught red-handed by the Raspberry Pi (PC Pro article)

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/interviews/384106/poachers-caught-red-handed-by-the-raspberry-pi/2

The google global impact challenge site (original wildlife project)

https://globalimpactchallenge.withgoogle.com/uk2013#/zsl

 

Posted by on in Press

We spent a couple of days down at BBC headquarters (the fabled Television centre). We ran 3 different Internet of Things demos for Peter Day's show. Laura Grey the shows producer arranged everything.

 

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio/worldbiz/worldbiz_20130912-2100a.mp3

 

Not mentioned in the show but on who we depended was Xively for the Temperature example and Esendex for the SMS alerts from the sandwich trolley,

The part on Ciseco is between 6 mins 34 and 12 mins 39

 

 

Post has been moved to here

Posted by on in Hardware

The repeater I'm building simply listens to two different PANID's (a group of radios), anything broadcast on one network group is broadcast on the other. It's a great way to extend networks by creating a celluar type arrangement.

http://www.openmicros.org/index.php/articles/85-llap-lightweight-local-automation-protocol/311-using-an-arf-as-a-llap-repeater

Posted by on in Hardware

On Saturday I went to Cambridge with a box of recent goodies (Wireless Inventors Kit and the Pi LITE).

The Raspberry Pi Jam arranged by Michael Horne was a great day out (even the wife found it interesting). Lots of good questions were asked and hopefully good answers provided. If the overall response to the wireless kit turns into sales, then we have a little gem on our hands.

There were 6 presentations given on the day, half of them had our wireless devices in, as you can imagine I was delighted. Boris's intro into wireless was so much better than I could have done myself, if I had the money I'd offer him a job :). The Cambridge Consultants work for ZSL (which they got a £500,000 award for from Google) was great to see being powered by our radios. Gert's presentation on putting things into production was well recieved and a journey I know only too well. I overheard Ebden saying positive things about what we had taken but being knee deep in another conversation I missed the chance to say hello, maybe next time.

Next one is in September, I would recommend going to anyone into tinkering with electronics and code.

Posted by on in Hardware

Many of you will have heard of the game of life (wiki page 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway's_Game_of_Life)

 

Amy Mather has done something rather cool, she has the game of life running on one of our Pi LITE boards.

Posted by on in Uncategorized

We are investigating why the openmicros.org site is slower than normal. Sorry guys

Posted by on in Uncategorized

Tony Smith wrote a good review of the Pi-Lite for The Register:  http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/10/review_ciseco_pi_lite_for_raspberry_pi/

He suggested we make the user documentation a bit clearer, so we did. Take a look and tell us what you think.

Don't forget to check out the new Pi-Lite emulator. Not as good as the real thing, but it will give you a good idea of what you can do with the shipping firmware.

BTW, the Kickstarter project for a white Pi-Lite is coming to an end. It is hugely successful and well over target. With just just a few days left, there is not much time to secure your award.