This project's funding goal was not reached on June 1, 2014.
About this project
tiq - high-performance debugging without adjustments or range switching
tiq is designed to be the first tool you'll use when chasing issues in your electronic project, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, internet-of-things-thing or robot - automatically giving you fast, detailed information in an easy-to-connect handheld probe. No other tool has ever offered tiq's unique combination of powerful features - or its low price!
Here's a one minute video showing just tiq's key and unique features (if you don't have time for the 3 minute video above) :
Simply touch tiq to a circuit and it instantly displays repetitive pulse activity and timing or detailed logic level analysis with voltage measurements. Fully automatically, no settings or adjustments required! The information is on a crisp LCD screen close to the probe tip, augmented by LED colors and audible tones, so you don't have to look away at a screen, risking those dangerous probe slips!
tiq is a high-performance logic debug tool, plus a voltmeter that works from +28Vdc to -13Vdc, great for motors, servos, sensors and power supplies.Recognizing when problems arise they are often in challenging places, tiq even has a bright LED light to illuminate the problem area!
tiq is also ideal for schools, students, production lines and repair shops - giving immediate and accurate timing, level and voltage measurements with absolutely no training!
tiq is not only an analyzer, it provides a powerful, programmable digital pulse generator - so you can provide stimulus to circuits under test, or exercise a servo, motor or LED driver - without a separate, bulky, expensive pulse generator!
tiq Features Summary
- Perfect for microprocessor-based project test & debug
- For professionals, makers, hobbyists, students, enthusiasts
- Handheld, displays information close to the probe tip
- Logic level probe with LCD, LED and audible indicators (logic high (3.3V or 5V), low or float (illegal level))
- Logic pulse analyzer (frequency, pulse high & low time, duty cycle (frequency to 20MHz, repetitive pulse analysis to <100nS)
- Auto-ranging and auto-polarity voltmeter (+28Vdc to -13Vdc)
- Built-in logic pulse generator (<100nS to 999mS, 'n' pulse burst or continuous pulses, 3.3V or 5V logic level output)
- USB power connector - connect directly to your development PC, USB adapter or USB battery (for portable use)
tiq in the news!
Production version of tiq
The production version of tiq (Kickstarter rewards version) is being designed as this campaign progresses. Please see the "Updates" page for the latest news (link at top of this page).
Significant changes from the prototype version (shown elsewhere on this page) include:
- More ergonomic case - approximately the same volume
- Enhanced display
- Replaceable, sharper probe tip
- Ability to power tiq from 5V sources other than USB
The pictures below show some of the planned enhancements (note the display is a mock-up in these pictures - please see the project Updates for details of the display choice):
The story of tiq
There has always been a big gap in capabilities between the DMM and logic probe, and 'scopes and logic analyzers:
As an electronics hobbyist and professional, I dreamed for decades about a compact probe that could give me fast and detailed information about circuits I was working on, where I was working on them. My first- and most-used tool used to be a simple logic probe I built into a highlighter case 30 years ago! I wondered how I could make something that would fill the gap between DMM/probe and scope/analyzer, with good performance, low cost, and fit into a convenient portable probe.
There have been attempts to fill these gaps in capability, and some are amazing - like a slew of small, low cost digital 'scopes - even here on Kickstarter. As clever as these are, they are very limited in bandwidth, not fast enough for digital and microprocessor work, and even though they are small, they can't display close to the probe tip.
Since the whole point of embedded electronics is to be buried in something else, we usually have to debug or test circuits in places it's inconvenient or hard to get a 'scope to! Compact, easy to hook up tools really save a lot of time.
I realized I didn't want a small 'scope, I wanted a "logic probe on steroids - with some analog". And along came the Cypress pSoC 5LP. A single chip with CPU, memory, configurable digital hardware, AND CONFIGURABLE ANALOG HARDWARE! This - coupled with a reasonable (small) display, RGB LEDs - could surely provide the answer?
So, tiq was born. I have been using tiq prototypes for all my debug since 2013, adding and improving features as I used them. tiq has been through a couple of prototype stages, and now tiq is ready to launch(and start a line of tools specifically for modern embedded projects). tiq truly is a time saver, and so easy to use. tiq rev.1 was even used to debug itself (!), and to debug rev.2.
Apart from fast and automatic logic and voltage measurements, circuits often need simulated pulse trains for debugging projects with multiple modules, sensors and motors. Simple digital pulse generators cost several hundred dollars (at least!), and are far from hand-held. The power of the pSoC 5LP allows us to build in a fully programmable digital pulse generator, capable of generating pulse bursts (1-999 pulses, on a button push), or continuous streams of pulses, from nano-seconds to fractions of seconds in width.
tiq has performance matched to the needs of embedded microprocessor debug (like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, AVRs, PICs, ARMs etc.), and most of the time it'll save you having to pull out and hook up a 'scope.
tiq's default sound setting (which can be changed, and is permanently stored) is to make a short sound on any change in state - a "tick"!
It could also be short for test IQ ?
tiq Target Specification
tiq Production and Use of Funds
tiq is designed to be manufactured cost-effectively in the United States. We will be qualifying electronics assembly houses and injection molding tooling and production suppliers in the USA early in the process, and working with them to ensure the final parts are correctly designed for manufacturing (DFM).
The main use of campaign funds will be for enclosure design and plastic part tooling, parts sourcing and ramping-up electronics manufacturing.
We will continue a program of user testing (Beta) and factor lessons-learned from this period into the final product and software.
Risks and challenges
tiq is currently in it's pre-Beta prototype stage - several working prototypes, although not thoroughly validated in users' hands. 5 prototype units will be going to users early in May.
I have nearly 40 years of successful experience designing and bringing tech products to market - including all aspects of hardware development, software development, injection molded and other mechanical parts, and manufacturing, and I'm going to apply everything I know to bringing tiq to production.
The prototype PCB design is fully functional, with a small number of circuit improvements and mechanical tweaks identified - the biggest of which relate to making right-handed and left-handed versions of tiq.
The prototype 3D-printed case design is fully functional, and although the 3D model is designed for injection molding, there are several features to be added before tooling, including changes for right-handed and left-handed versions.
The current software is fully functional, allowing all the unit functions to be validated. There are some usability and other improvements planned, and expected to be improved based on Beta user inputs.
The key risks and challenges to completing tiq for backers (and other customers) are:
- Case: finalizing the enclosure design and then building injection molding tooling is the greatest risk in the project. Fortunately this is a well trodden path. Starting as early as possible on this is key.
- Production: tiq uses standard surface mount technology, so getting it manufactured should not be hard - however, depending on quantities, it may be challenging to ramp up quickly.
- Validation: we want tiq to be used by as many Beta testers as possible so we can validate all it's functions and wring out any bugs.
tiq will definitely evolve prior to production, with emphasis on improved ergonomics. The overall form-factor and volume will be similar to the prototypes. Please see the "Updates" page for details (link at top of this page).
Yes! For portable use, away from power sources, we routinely use very inexpensive USB battery packs (also called "boosters" and "backup batteries").
At this time tiq is not an open source project. We are looking at how to open-source (tiq is not based on open-source materials so can't be simply "grandfathered" into existing agreements), and possibly providing means for users to add/modify functionality.
The SuperProbe is an awesome DIY test probe (we know because we built one!). tiq differs in 3 key ways - 1) tiq measurement functions are implemented in hardware inside the pSoC 5LP – so it’s able to measure something like 20x faster signals, 2) tiq switches functions automatically based on what you measure, SuperProbe has a lot of functions, but you have to switch them manually and 3) tiq has a 32 character display, an RGB LED and an audio beeper – SuperProbe has a 4 digit 7 segment LED display.
- (35 days)