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Experiments and boards

A Raspberry Pi  or Arduino is a perfect companion for experiments, but you need some hardware support during development and deployment.

Here I show you the breadboard development tools I have first, followed by deployment boards.

Breadboard experimenters boards

Traditional extenders into a breadboard. From Adafruit and China, 26 pin (yes, that old) and 40 pin with a flatcable to the Pi. I do not like these very much.

Rasp.io Breadboard Pi Bridge – Pi Ports to Breadboard in Numerical Order. Nice setup, can be used with a Pi B or a Pi Zero. Easy to locate the pins with the descriptions on the PCB.
No Dupont wires required (except for +5V). .Blocks the power rows alas.


RasPiO Pro Hat Protect/Position Raspberry Pi Ports. Ideal if you fear damaging your Pi, has current limiting resistors on the GPIO pins.
Disadvantages are that these resistors may interfere e.g. I2C or SPI and the very small breadboard. Seldom used.

A simple and cheap Chinese breadboard solution. Requires Dupont wires and a printed pin layout required. Works fine, affordable Prototype comes close to deployment layout. Recommended.

The Wombat, a great experimenters board. Much I/O on board (serial to USB, ADC MCP3008, 2 button,s 4 output LEDs, power regulator for +3.3V. All jumpered.Well documented single in line I/O connector.
Large breadboard! The best board in my collection! From Gooligum Australia.

Sunfounder China, experiments Raspberry Pi and Arduino Uno or Mega. Solid, large breadboard, recommended.

Arduino Uno experimenters boards, acryl, from China.

Deployment boards

These boards are where the permanent circuit will be soldered on. Essential are the GPIO connector and enough solder islands.


Richard Saville aka AverageMan made a great collection of boards, I have many in use.

A Chinese (40 pin) and Adafruits board (26 pin, yes that old). The Chinese ones are affordable and great for deployment. Recommended!

Mini Mega deployment board. From China.

Arduino on Raspberry

Install Arduino on Buster

  1. Arduino 1.8.12 (or higher) from arduino.cc – Software – Arduino ARM 32 bits
  2. Download to e.g. Downloads
  3. cd /Downloads
  4. tar -x -f arduino-1.8.5-linuxarm.tar.xz
  5. cd arduino-1.8.12
  6. sudo ./install.sh
  7. and Arduino appears in Home – Programming desktop
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VONETS VAP11G-300

The VAP11G-300 is a unique device with a fixed ethernet to wireless bridge that helps in situations where:

  • You want a fixed ethernet connection, but none is available at the location.
  • Wireless is available, but the device either has no wireless capabilities.
  • A wireless capability can be added but to configure it, a working network connection is required.
  • USB ports are scarse.
  • Wireless USB adapters are too powerhungry.
  • You want two wireless devices to communicate without a wireless router available.

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Pretzelboard aka NanoESP aka C-Control Duino


Combine an Arduino Nano with the ATMega 328, a ESP-01 ESP8266 on one board,, couple the two processors via a (software) serial connection, add a 3.3 V power regulator, make it breadboard friendly, write some tutorials aimed at starters, and you have an idea what the NanoESP is about.

Franzis Verlag and Fabian Kainka are the driving forces behind this nice little board. Sold by Conrad as C-Control IoT WIFI Board (ESP8266), Elektor and Reichelt in Germany for Euro 29,95 (as Pretzel board  – IOT WIFI Board). I got one for Euro 24,99 at the Dutch webshop of Conrad! (Easy to get outside Germany too, with (sparse) German documentation.

IMG_4667
IMG_4670
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Prolific PL2303HX driver misery

IMG_4662Like many I have imported from China, USB to Serial devices with IC’s made by Prolific. Mine are PL2303HX based. And they do not work anymore! Yellow mark in Device Manager, device cannot start. Reason: Prolific made an update to their Windows drivers to fight the fake IC’s coming form China, like FTDI did (see my FTDI unbricking article) and amde older devices unusable. Windows update, which is by default automatic getting the latets drivers, make it impossible to install older drivers, just gets overwritten very fast.
But you can battle this and get the Prolific driver working again. I did this for two PL2303HX based USB interfaces. Tested with my PL2303HX USb devices and PuTTY serial and a jumper connecting TX-TD to see typed characters coming back in.

Steps: Read More

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Arduino 1.6.x for Raspberry PI Jessie

ArduinoAPP-01

Edit May 17 2016: Official support now: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software , still marked experimental

Edit march 22 2016: Have a look at https://github.com/arduino/Arduino/pull/4517 There is official support coming for ARM!

Old text follows, not uptodate:

This is a current build of the latest IDE for ARM, runs on RPi2 and RPi3 as reported, http://downloads.arduino.cc/javaide/pul … arm.tar.xz

I found a recipe to install Arduino IDE 1.6.0 on the Pi. Still not the latest, but much newer than 1.0.5 you get from the repositories. This is a fast process!

And on the Raspberry Pi forums a recipe for 1.6.5. Much slower to install, but it brings IDE 1.6.5 (which I need for the ATTiny85 and Micro pro!

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USBASP update firmware

I got a very cheap USBASP programmer for AVR from ebay. Long cable with 10 pin connectors and an adapter from 10 to 6 pin.
To be used for programming an Arduino where the bootloader is not wanted at startup or when it takes too much space in the RAM.

s-l1600 (1) s-l1600 (2)

You can program a skecth into an Arduino when the USBASP is connected with the Menu option Sketch: Upload Using Programmer. This also removes the bootloader, making space.

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Revive a Freaduino MEGA 2650

IMG_4612The Freaduino MEGA 2650  looks a nice board at first view. It is advertised as Arduino MEGA 2650 compatible with many extras. Like a switch to run on 3.3V or 5V, which makes it easier to interface to 3.3V devices. And a more capable power circuit  when powered by a external powersupply: 800 mA 3.3V,5V 2A.

I have bought, a year ago, one of these boards: a 2012 version V1.4, date 22/10/2012. Looks well produced.

It has some deviations from the standard ATMEGA 2650 R3:

  1. The dimensions are not exactly identical to the Arduino MEGA2650, prototype boards do not fit. Pinout is identical though.
  2. It has a FTDI FT232L based serial interface instead of the ATmega16U2 IC.
  3. The FTDI FT232L on my board is a fake, so it becomes bricked when a current FTDI Windows driver detects this IC.

In 2014 I did not get it to work, due to the fake FT232L, and put it aside. But today I got it operational again! Alas still not operational on Windows, it works fine on a Linux system such as the Raspberry Pi.

Here are the steps!