We have been dealing with antennas close to 10 years now (adjusting and modifying your terrestrial TV Yagi antenna 20 years ago doesn’t count!). Having access to wide range of antenna from factories in the far east allow us to choose suitable antenna for our project and product. But in order to get the antenna with the specifications that we really wanted, one has to go through many iterative selection process to reach that goal. Prior to the release of the Mini Ultra Pro, we have been engaged in a year long wireless sensor network project in Australia that runs in the 915 MHz ISM band. We thought having already tested variety of antenna at 915 MHz band, selecting antennas for other frequency would be as easy as specifying the requirements and specifications to our antenna supplier. Boy oh boy, we were so wrong…
We offer 2 types of low cost radio module option for our Mini Ultra Pro boards. We always think that it is important to choose a suitable radio module based on the application. One of the most important feature when choosing a radio module is the transmission range and transmission rate. While we have basically run many range test on the LoRa capable RFM95W radio module on the Mini Ultra Pro, we are really curious how different the FSK RFM69HCW radio module would perform in terms of range. It is obvious that the RFM69HCW is unable to achieve the few kilometer range provided by the LoRa technology but faster transmission rate and cost effectiveness of the FSK RFM69HCW radio module might be very compelling for certain applications. Read more
Over the years, we were fortunate enough to be involved in several wireless sensor network projects in real world applications. These boards were custom boards derived from our Mini Ultra 8 MHz, Mini Ultra 8 MHz Plus and also an unreleased Mega2560 variant. On top of that, different battery chemistry, secondary power source, and different radio technology were used. Based on these iterations, we refined our design and put them forward in a new board named Mini Ultra Pro. The Mini Ultra Pro is an Arduino Zero compatible board that is ultra low power targeted at wireless sensor network (ah come on, that IoT term bore us) applications. As much as we love our ATMega328P based design, we wanted something more powerful and more peripherals than that. Running out of program flash, RAM, serial port and other resources half way through our project development is not a pleasant experience especially when time is the biggest constraint. Read more
Before we started Rocket Scream a few years back, we were using Altium Designer for all our schematic and PCB works. When we left the corporate world to work on Rocket Scream as a full time gig, it was obvious that we weren’t able to fork out a chunk of money for a piece of software like Altium Designer. No doubt, they are one of the best PCB CAD software in the industries but they are not the cheapest around. Back then, the name Eagle always pop out when we came across any open source hardware projects. Open source companies like Arduino, Sparkfun, Adafruit and Dangerous Prototypes (just to mention a few) uses them and the chances that an open source hardware repository hosted on GitHub has Eagle CAD files on them is close to 100%! If you do a Google search on the term “Eagle”, the top search returns the Eagle CAD software instead of the bird (yes, they are that viral)! We looked further around and found several other candidates like Diptrace, gEDA PCB, KiCad, and Design Spark. Along with Eagle, we test drove all of them and revisited them over time to check on their progress. Our aim was a simple and easy to use PCB CAD with affordable price. Read more
We started Rocket Scream few years ago knowing that we would eventually need some automation in our manufacturing process to speed things up. Until now, we have been doing the ultra slow hand pick and placing components onto our boards before putting them into our hacked oven for the reflow process.Results are very good but it is a slow and painful process especially when we come to a point where we need to make few hundreds of the boards and each board has a component count that averages more than 30. When we saw the folks at Adafruit started getting serious into automated manufacturing by using the MDC 7722FV made by MDC Corp, we were so intrigued to get one until we saw the price tag. We figured we need to fork out a whopping USD30k for one! And that’s excluding the shipping cost!