W8TEE JackAL Board at FDIM

Jack W8TEE provides a bit more insight into the JackAL board that uses the Teensy 3.6 to give lots of processing grunt.

Jack suggests that he and Al were going to put an SWR meter on the JackAl board, but have backed away from it for this iteration. The main reason was because of the board size. The nano-acres it would take on the board would raise the PCB cost above the 100x100mm size to do it right for the possible power levels that might be involved. That doesn’t mean you can’t add one…

The good news: Right now, there are about a dozen “empty” pins available on the board for experimenting.  They are currently using less that 15% of the 1MB of flash memory and less than 10% of the 256K of SRAM.   That includes code space for some features that we’ve coded for (e.g., a RTC) but have not implemented yet (e.g, adding a button battery to power the Teeny’s RTC in sleep mode).

The Teensy is a 3.3V device, so we have an onboard regulators for 5V and 3.3V. Al and Jack think this will up the “fun level” for hackers considerably…at least that’s our intention.

The bad news: They got caught in some kind of Chinese holiday and other “delays” to get the PCB. Al ordered the board since he did all the work on the EE design. It seems our Beta PCB order got pushed to the back of the line.

When Jack wrote to them and pointed out that he was disappointed with their service, especially after ordering more than 1000 boards from them last year, the order suddenly went from “In line” to “shipped” in under 24 hours. They received the board this week and discovered errors on the board (2 from the design team, 1 from the manufacturer of the board).  The Beta board will have some “hairs” on it.

Jack and Al will be demoing JackAl at FDIM, but not all of the features will be implemented. The order for the new board will be sent this week.  We’ll immediately send it to our Beta testers and then make it available via an announcement on the BITX20 list.

Al and Jack look forward to seeing uBITx constructors at FDIM!

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Jack W8TEE has let the cat out of the bag

In an earlier news item on ubitx.net, we speculated about projects under development by various teams.   We speculated that Jack W8TEE was up to something that involved a touch screen display and a processor upgrade.  Well the cat is now out of the bag.  The photo below was post by Jack on the BITX20 list.  This is the display panel of the JackAl board that the team will release shortly.

Al (AC8GY) and Jack picked the Teensy 3.6 because of its horsepower, good FFT library, and audio processing board. Al’s doing an info piece on JackAl which should answer most questions about it in an effort not to chew up the BITX20 group’s bandwidth.

There was no “target date” originally for announcement of the project. However, when Jack was asked to speak at FDIM, the project team thought it would be “kinda cool to show it off” at the Homebrew Show-and-tell on Friday night (8-10PM), so the target became real.

Al and Jack are starting to look like slugs who haven’t seen daylight in about six months.  JackAl should be a fun board for a lot of people because its heart is the Teensy 3.6 which has lots of resources associated with it. Currently, we are using less than 10% of both flash and SRAM.

Jack says, “I hope to see a bunch of you at FDIM …”

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Guide to Arduino Coding

The best book around for learning how to program your Raduino was written by one of the BITX20 regular contributors Jack Purdum W8TEE.   It is entitled “Beginning C for Arduino”  and can be found on Amazon.

Jack says, “Make sure you get the 2nd edition…it’s a better book and has a chapter on C++ so you can “understand” most library code.”

Arduino IDE Naming Issue Fix

Yvon NU6I  says: “What bugs me with the Arduino is the lack of proper naming convention. Whatever software I download from the web or github, once it is loaded in the IDE, be it Arduino or UCIDE it always shows as uBitx_20. Looking in the output window doesn’t show the project/file path. Easy to be confused.”

Ron Pfeiffer W2CTX replied with the solution: “In the Arduino IDE, just select  Sketch –> Show Sketch Folder“.  This assumes you gave the folder a sensible name …

Jack, W8TEE says “You can also set the default using File –> Preferences from the menu bar. I usually just create a directory for each project, placed in an appropriate subdirectory.”

One more annoyance solved!

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