What is the difference between NodeUSB and other dev kits?
It is good for both experiment and make cool things for daily use. It comes with enclosure, after coding, debugging, testing, you can put the same board in a case, plug into USB charging port, and use it every day.
The No.1 thing bothers me over the years of playing hardware is:
How can I make something, at least can be used by myself everyday? Because you know the product you create is good if you are happy to use it yourself everyday.
In software, they call it 'Eat your own dog food.'
The dev kits in market today are only good for experiment, to learn hardware.
Here comes NodeUSB. The goal is a platform to develop WiFi enable nodes as quickly as possible, and the prototype is very close to end product. It's also modular. NodeUSB Can Be as Flexible as You Need It to Be.
Make Useful things
NodeUSB is different, is a WiFi enabled quick development kit to make cool things able to use by yourself and your friends everyday!
- WiFi included, ESP8266 SoC based, 32-bit RISC MCU at 80MHz on a USB dev board about the size of USB drive.
- Thanks for USB standard, parts are cheap, and widely available. You can use standard USB power adapters, or batteries, solar panels with USB charging port.
- Very easy to use existing Arduino modules/TinkerKits, with Universal expansion PCB.
- Low cost ($9 with enclosure), both the core and nodes, the amazing things you make will be cheaper than off-the-shelf mass market products! So you can put them all over your house.
- Comes with enclosure! Most modules/nodes also use similar size enclosures. 3 different enclosures for nodes.
- Expandable, plug-and-play, add modules is as simple as plug in USB socket, and upload or write a few lines of code.
- Low power consumption, support deep sleep mode (10-30 uA ), battery powered sensors can last for months, or forever with a small solar panel.
- Thanks for open sourced NodeMCU, NodeUSB can run Lua 5.1.4, testing codes on the fly without flashing, see the results right the way!
- GCC based tool-chain if you want to modify firmware or add new native C modules.
- Arduino IDE compatible
- Browser based IDE, can free UART or 2 more GPIO ports if needed. Free Java based IDE is also available.
- USB Flasher/debugger separate from board, to free 2 more GPIOs, or UART in production, more choice for USB-UART adapters.
- Super easy to add support for new modules, 15+ modules(we call them Nodes) already working! Will support more within next few months.
- Nodes chain, connect several sensor nodes together with NodeUSB core. (I2C)
- Android, iOS WiFi setup Apps
- We will provide examples and source code on how to host your data for free on Google Drive, and talk to IFTTT.
NodeUSB with OLED display:
PCB version 0.1
NodeUSB prototype v0.1 with enclosure:
Sensor testing pack:
Let's take a look at how easy to use NodeUSB to make WiFi weather station in less than an hour.
- Connect Si7021 ( temperature and humidity ) module to USB-To-DIP adapter.
- Plug into NodeUSB, then plug NodeUSB into USB wall adapter
- Go to: http://i.nodeusb.com to upload the SI7021 Lua code to NodeUSB.
- Ta-da! You are ready to go!
Touch Node Video:
By using USB connector, it is so easy to use mass produced products for your projects. Need battery, just use a external battery for iPhone. Want to use Solar ? Easy, there are more than 10 different Solar battery pack has USB output. There are also 90 degree USB adapters. The options are endless.
Video of using NodeUSB with BMP180 sensor
How to make a WiFi to 433mHz gateway in one hour!
Our firmware has 433mHz remote control code built-in, all you need to do, connect the 433mHz module to NodeUSB, run Lua code: rc.send(4,267715,24,185,1,10) (4 is GPIO pin, 267715 is the unique code, 24 is the bit-len, 185 is pulse len, 1 is protocol, 10 is repeat)
Video using NodeUSB+433mHz node to control 433mHz Wireless Remote Control Outlet Light Switch.
NodeUSB with PIR sensor
How about a smart night light use a LED and NodeUSB!
You can also add BlueTooth LE 4.0, BLE Smart to your project. Thanks for browser based IDE, you can use the UART to connect to TI CC2540/CC2541 modules, or other BlueTooth-to-UART modules.
- WiFi-BlueTooth gateway
- WiFi Home Automation
- WiFi Home Security (433mHz, PIR Sensor)
- WiFi weather forecast station (BMP180 Air pressure sensor)
- WiFi thermostat (si7021, temperature and humidity )
- WiFi 433mHz gateway, control cheap 433mHz power outlets. (For the price of one WeMo, you can control 5 power outlets! )
- WiFi green bathroom fan (Use 12V USB power adapter and PC Pan. 90% less energy and quieter!) How about make it smarter using si7021 to monitor humidity!
- WiFi night light. (Use IFTTT to turn on/off LED light based on sunrise/sunset)
- WiFi Infrared remote control for TV
- WiFi Camera trigger
Browser based IDE
Mobile App for WiFi setup
What we have already done:
- Development of the browser based IDE (Alpha)
- Lua codes for different modules (bh1750, BMP018/BMP085, DHT11/DHT22, ds18b20, ds3231, hdc1000,i2c hd44780, mcp23008, PIR sensor, relay, SI7021, ws2812, 433mHz, ultrasound range finder)
- Several rounds of Prototypes
- Part selection for production
- Small batch production
- Testing of deep sleep mode in last 4 months.
What we are still working on
- Refine design, we want to see if we can add second USB female, so we can add 3 more GPIOs, also would like to add SPI if possible.
- Finalize parts selection (during this Kickstarter)
- Finalize production ready prototypes (during this Kickstarter)
- Improve browser based IDE
- Fixing bugs of Android and iOS Apps (set up WiFi )
- Production (shortly after this Kickstarter ends)
- Mobile Apps to read Sensors and control relays (during and after this Kickstarter)
- Rules engine based on Google App Scripts (after this Kickstarter)
- IFTTT integration
- There are a few amazing ESP8266 communities.
- NodeMCU project is very active: https://github.com/nodemcu/nodemcu-firmware
- ESP8266.com is also a great place to get help
- Open source Arduino IDE for ESP8266: https://github.com/esp8266/Arduino
- We will add examples constantly. We are using our product after all!
Rewards (Is in CAD! 20% cheaper.)
- Thank you! For reading that far!
- All pledges are in CAD, 20%-30% less than USD
- You can swap some sensor modules for others. For example, you can swap bmp018 for ds18b20, or dht11 for si7021. It works like credit, you can pick what you like.
- For orders from USA and Canada, we ship from USA/Canada
- Rest of world, we will ship from China
- Shipping method depends on the reward, small ones will be shipped by Airmail. Bigger rewards will be UPS/FedEx for USA, DHL for rest of the world.
- Reward #1 is for someone has experience and already own USB-to-UART adapter. (FT232R, CH340 or PL2303 )
- The extra rewards will go to adding new nodes(modules) and software
- As a backer, you will receive discount for new nodes in future.
PCB v0.3 design is here (ESP-12E module, Will be final version if pass testing):
Universal Expansion PCB to help you use other modules. (Arduino TinkerKits, etc )
PCB have 8 headers (4 pins, 2.54mm). (With 6 different combinations) So you connect different I2C modules (with different pin-outs) in just one Node.
For example, you can use it to add both si7021 and bmp180 in your project. Sounds cool?
Also USB male and female pass-through, you can create Nodes Chain with several nodes! This is free for every backer as a thank you gift !
New Touch Node (All backer can get it for discount, and backers pledged $48CAD~$38USD or more will get it for free.)
Risks and challenges
NodeUSB is about fast development, thus reduce the risk.
We are using NodeUSB everyday, and we did over 10 projects in less than a month!
However, there is always risk for any project, even we have good relationship in China, manufacturer can let us down sometimes. Wrong PCB, defective parts, etc. However, most of the parts are off the shelf and popular ones, so less chance things go wrong.
If problem happens, we may need to revised the hardware, it can cause 1-2 months delay. I see the worst case scenario is about 3 months.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)