December was a busy month for Rocket Scream Electronics as we have been working on couple of upcoming products and hopefully we would be able to make them available in January 2011. We can basically categorized our focus to be on 2 main categories. The 1st category, would be products that are Arduino compatible and these are basically shields and other supporting tools. The 2nd category would be development platform (PIC, ARM Cortex, XBee S2B) other than the Arduino platform.
We have just shipped out our very own version of Arduino compatible prototyping shield. They are smaller in size to avoid shorting with the existing USB and DC jack header on the Arduino boards. This mini prototyping shield also allows the placement of a mini breadboard (170points) and with the power rails (5V & GND) still accessible for use. We also believe that if you have reach this stage of prototyping with the Arduino platform, you are probably pretty comfortable adding components of any kind on your own to the prototyping shield. Therefore, we didn’t include any push buttons or LED but this leaves more space for prototyping! Rest assure that we are trying to get the 6 & 8 pin female header too.
Our next product we are working on would be a Arduino compatible shield for controlling a reflow oven. We are SMD/SMT components freak and we love working with them instead of the bulky through hole components. Soldering SMD/SMT components is not that hard and all it needs is some practicing, a good soldering iron (a Hakko 936 imitation is good enough), and a decent pair of eyes. But when it comes to soldering for a batch of 20 or 30 boards, it is just not practical to do. So, we think an Arduino based reflow oven would be cool. The shield will come in a kit format but with all the SMD components soldered. This one is still in the beta stage and testing. But, here’s a snapshot of how the reflow controller shield will look like.
The next product is somehow a series boards that can be used together. We have been using the legendary FTDI FT232 chip for quite sometime. You probably have seen it everywhere (on Arduino boards, serial to USB cables, breakout boards for devices). We felt that there’s too many of these FT232 chip on various development tools. Why don’t we have only one and reuse them for any devices that requires a serial to USB conversion? We add the flexibility to interface with 5 V, 3.3 V, 2.8 V, and 1.8 V devices with a selection jumper. The transmit and receive LED on the FT232 chip can also be turned off and be used as generic IO instead. We have couple of the “shields” for the FT232 chip which can be stacked on top of the main FT232 board. These shields includes an XBee shield, an Arduino 6-pin header shield, and a GPS shields. We believe there are more devices out there that can used together with this FT232 chip without using another piece of the chip. Recycling is the way to go. We are in the midst of the components purchasing for this FT232 stacker series and hopefully everything will go as plan. More stacker shields are in the pipeline.
There you go. We hope 2011 will bring more products from us and better service for everyone! Happy tinkering!