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The world's first JavaScript microcontroller. Develop intelligent devices quickly and easily.
The world's first JavaScript microcontroller. Develop intelligent devices quickly and easily.
1,692 backers pledged £100,710 to help bring this project to life.

We've been busy...

Posted by Gordon Williams (Creator)

I'm afraid we've been a bit busy to post much in the last few days:

We've been working hard on the Espruino source code - lowering power consumption,  but also improving the graphics library. Espruino has a built in graphics library that does lots of great stuff out of the box - including Vector Fonts. It's now available regardless of whether you have a supported LCD display, so you'll be able to render graphics into memory or even write your own LCD driver in JavaScript!

We've also been testing our latest prototype. After changing one small part of the board it works perfectly. It's still using more power than we'd like though, so we'll be doing one more revision - and we've taken the opportunity to make a few more improvements based on your feedback.

For instance a few of you posted up to mention the use of Mini USB, and that you wanted Micro USB instead. We've also added a self-resetting fuse, so you'll be able to power your projects directly from your computer or USB power supply without worrying what happens if you wire them up wrong!

And finally...

Stretch Goal!

We're now over 150% funded which is amazing! However the more we get, the more we'll be able to do, so our next goal is:

£50000 - Wireless networking with CC3000 WiFi

We won't be producing a WiFi shield (we've got to focus on Espruino itself) but we will be adding support for the CC3000 into the Espruino board's software before it's shipped out to you. This means you'll be able to buy a pre-made module (from AdaFruit for example), plug it in, and have instant internet access.

The Espruino software already implements an HTTP client and server on the Raspberry Pi, and when we're finished you'll be able to use just the same code on the Espruino Board!

Comments

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    1. Louis Rawlins on

      Yay! Great progress. Keep on building! :D

    2. Keith Rome on

      Hopefully those vias make the difference. I'm pretty sure that Justin was just using the vendor-recommended pad dimensions - I think it was just the standard part from Sparkfun's Eagle library. You are correct, it only had two relatively small ground pads (well, they look huge in the designer), with only a thin trace connecting them under the connector shroud itself, and no vias. The breakages weren't due to abuse by the way - in my case I already knew about the gingerness of the connector and was extremely careful with it and still broke it. There is just a huge amount of leverage involved when inserting a cable like that.

      It also doesn't help that Micro-USB male connectors have two small tabs that "snap" into place when you plug them in. On many cables these tend to be slightly oversized, making it much more difficult to insert into female sockets. Over time those tabs wear down slightly, but new cables are much more likely to cause a problem (I'm now in the habit of filing down those tabs on any new cables I get).

      Too bad it's not possible to have WiFi built-in to the boards that supports over-the-air programming. Because then we wouldn't even need those USB ports.

    3. Gordon Williams 3-time creator on

      Hi Keith, yes - we're trying to reduce the amount of manual processing steps, but we also can't do it because the battery connector is on the other side of the board. The existing board uses a surface mount mini-usb connector too, and I haven't noticed even the slightest problem over the time I have been testing. Looking at those failed boards, the connector was on two very small pads. Here it'll be attached in 4 places to a large area of copper (the copper fill for ground isn't shown in the PCB layout above) with vias between it and the layer below.

      Just to be clear though: if your board breaks because it's faulty we'll replace it. It isn't designed to put up with being thrown on the floor, jumped on, driven over, exploded or submerged in acid - so if for some reason you do any of those things and the connector breaks off then I'm afraid we won't be replacing it.

    4. Keith Rome on

      Gordon - it isn't about making me happy. I don't care if it is SMD-only, as long as you are willing to replace my board if the connector breaks off. This is about reducing your own costs in replacement/repairs. If you are willing to put grounding vias right there, then I don't understand why you wouldn't just use the better connector with the support tabs? It uses the same amount of board space and costs almost the same. The signal/vcc pins are still smd - only the grounded support tabs are tht. Is it because you are trying to 100% eliminate any manual assembly steps to minimize costs?

      I have seen this happen on several similar products. For example, the Mojo FPGA board that was a success here on Kickstarter (and a fantastic product). Justin ended up having to repair/replace a number of boards because of this problem, and eventually had to design a new board revision that uses through-hole support tabs (and selling off the older boards at a steep discount):
      http://embeddedmicro.com/forum/viewtopic.php…
      http://embeddedmicro.com/forum/viewtopic.php…
      http://embeddedmicro.com/forum/viewtopic.php…

      Those all-smd micro-usb connectors are total crap and shouldn't be used unless you have no other choice. Certainly not for any application where you expect a reasonable amount of connect/disconnect traffic.

      I really hope you reconsider your position on it.

    5. Gordon Williams 3-time creator on

      Helder: While I believe Xbee will be easy to use from JavaScript, the CC3000 looks like it's the most capable, cheap and popular WiFi module by far - and it'll really benefit from software support in the interpreter, so that's what we're going to focus on.

      Chris: Generally kinks were introduced to avoid mounting holes for components, and then sometimes those components have changed. Ideally I'd have re-routed it completely but it took about a week last time and I can't fit it in if I want to get everything out to backers on time.

      It is just me pulling 14 hour days doing board layout, software, documentation, marketing, videos and answering every e-mail and KickStarter question (Marianne has a 'real' job). If the board goes out on time, everything works perfectly, and the only complaint people make is that if you take a magnifying glass to it the traces have 90 degree corners, I'll be very happy.

    6. Missing avatar

      helder on

      Hi Gordon can i suggest at least instead of focusing in one component wifi or brand you could bring support on a Xbee format/shield, as there are some great devices already based on that format and some of those include the wifi, bluetooth, rf and so on... at least you would keep much more people happy with the possibility of everyone can use what they have and the flexibility of wireless protocol option
      cheers
      helder

    7. Chris Holden on

      Nice work. But that PCB layout made me shudder! Any reason why there's a mix of sharp right angle bends and nice 45 degree corners? On the right-hand side of the smaller chip, the traces have an unnecessary wobble in them - could the vertical traces (between the right-angled bends, ouch) not just be extended a bit, to take out the kinks in the traces, going to the IC?
      There's some great work going on here - a professional-looking board would be the cherry on the top of the cake ;-)

    8. Gordon Williams 3-time creator on

      The ENC28J60 from Microchip would be a great fit, but personally I won't have time to add support. Hopefully when the source is released at the end of the KickStarter someone will have a go at adding it in though.

    9. Collaborator on

      Could you on same time support an Ethernet chip?

    10. Gordon Williams 3-time creator on

      Hi Keith - I'm afraid I can't keep everyone happy, and the part I'm using is surface mount. I have never had a micro-usb fail (despite the look of them, they're supposed to be less likely to fail than the mini USB). I'll see if I can put some vias in around that area though.

    11. Keith Rome on

      If you put a micro USB connector on it, then PLEASE use one with through-hole strain relief tabs!! Don't use one of the all-SMD connector footprints... those will lift the pads right off the board with no effort at all, resulting in angry customers and expensive replacements!

    12. David Lane on

      Love the stretch goal! Keep up the great work.

    13. Gordon Williams 3-time creator on

      I'll be putting something up on the main KickStarter page soon. It's just the one £50k one for the moment, but we'll try and come up with some more later on.

      We were going to add the new low-power board as a goal, but I'd rather not even pretend I'm going to ship out something that falls short like that. It's the difference between lasting 200 hours on a battery and 200 days :)

    14. Missing avatar

      James Puddicombe on

      Amazing work Gordon!

    15. Sebastien Plante on

      Very nice! :D

      Where are those stretch goal ? Is there a list?