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B-Squares is a 3D modular electronics system with an emphasis on (but not limited to) solar power and expandable energy storage.
B-Squares is a 3D modular electronics system with an emphasis on (but not limited to) solar power and expandable energy storage.
1,110 backers pledged $145,034 to help bring this project to life.

B-Squares Getting Started Guide

Hello Backers and B-Squares Developers!

By now many of you have already received your B-Squares orders.  If you haven't, don't worry, it's on it's way!  All of the packages have been shipped but it may take more time to get to some destinations.  Below are a few comments/suggestions/explanations that will help you get the most out of your B-Squares units.  

Shipment Notifications:  If you you're a backer of the B-Squares Kickstarter project and you have yet to receive a shipment notification please check your SPAM filters!  There's already been a few cases where these notifications have gotten trapped in a SPAM filter or sent to the e-mail trash. 

B-Square Information Sheets:  We've received reports of a few instances where the information sheets included with each individual B-Square module have been mixed up or misprinted.  For everyone's reference, here is a digital version of the information included in all of the information sheet inserts.  

Getting Started with each of the Squares:

Battery-Square:

  • Before use, please remove the plastic protective wrapping on each of the AAA batteries included with the Battery-Square.
  • As with most electronic devices, the batteries included with the Battery-Square are not shipped fully charged.  For best performance we recommend that you fully charge the batteries before use.  For fast charging, you can use a standard NiMH battery charger to charge the AAA batteries separately and then reinstall into the Battery-Square.  
  • The Battery-Square has an On/Off switch on the side.  We recommend that when the Battery-Square is not in use that you turn it off to prevent the Square from discharging the batteries.  
  • When installing the three (3) AAA batteries into the Battery-Square, pay close attention to the polarity indicated on the PCB board by the "+" and "-" symbols.

LED-Square:

  • In one orientation the LED-Square will be activated with White LEDS. With a 90 degree rotation the LED-Square will be activated with the Red-Blue-Green (RGB) LEDs.  
  • To adjust the overall color of the RGB LEDs, remove the Top Cover as instructed below and adjust the three (3) potentiometers, labeled "Red", "Blue", "Green" to get the desired color.  

Arduino-Square:

  • The Software necessary to program the Arduino-Square can be found here.
  • Visit the Arduino website for easy tutorials on how to get started with the Arduino. 
  • You will also need a serial-to-USB connector to connect the Arduino-Square to a PC.  

Solar-Square:

  • Remove the protective plastic cover on top of the solar panel.
  • The set of "stickers" that come with the Solar-Square are the micro-Suction material. One side is adhesive and the other is the micro-suction material.  Stick the adhesive side to the frame of the Square and remove the plastic cover from the micro-suction side.   
  • For best performance use the Solar-Square outside in direct sunlight, or attached to a window with the included Micro-Suction material.  

Dock-Square: 

  • Please refer to Update#15 for special notes on the Dock-Square.

Troubleshooting and for the curious, "Open up that Square!"

We've tried to make the B-Squares system as "open" as possible.  This includes designing the plastic frame so that it's easy for a user to (if he/she so needs to) open the square with no, or a minimal number of, tools.  Before we get into how this is done, let's take a lay of the land.  In general, all of the B-Squares share five (5) common parts:

  • Plastic Frames.
  • Top/Bottom Covers.
  • Side Inserts. 
  • Magnetic Corner Contacts.  
  • Printed Circuit Board (PCB)

The Magnetic Corner Contacts are connected to the PCB by 4 small screws.  These are the only screws in the system.  The PCB and Side inserts are sandwiched between the two halves of the Plastic Frames.  What keeps everything assembled together are the eight (8) internal clips, 2 at each corner of the Plastic Frames.  Likewise, the Top/Bottom Covers snap into the Plastic Frames by eight (8) clips on the underside of the Covers.


Removing the Top/Bottom Covers:  At the corner where the B-Squares Logo is located on the Top/Bottom Cover there is a small slot.  To separate the Top/Bottom Cover from the Plastic Frame use your fingernail or the tip of a flat screwdriver to insert into this slot forcing the Top/Bottom Cover up and away from the frame.  Only a small amount of force should be required.  

Disassembly of the Frame:  This should NOT be necessary, but if you're the curious type, you're more than welcome to do so!  As described above, the frames are held together by eight (8) internal plastic clips, two (2) at each corner.  To separate the two Frame halves, use your hands or a small flat tip screwdriver at each of the corners to disengage the clips by separating the Plastic frame up and away from the Magnetic Corner Contacts.  NOTE:  The magnets can also be removed from the Magnetic Corner Contacts, so be careful that they don't fall out when opening the frame   If they do, it just means that they will have to be reinserted into the Magnetic Corner Contacts with the correct polarity facing outwards.  

Comments

    1. Creator megan on November 25, 2011

      Umm, never mind :-) Was finally able to peel the plastic off.

    2. Creator megan on November 25, 2011

      These are so COOL! Only one comment so far: the microsuction material doesn't really, you know, suck. :-) The square falls off the window. I've tried four different pieces.

    3. Creator Kai Nikulainen on November 6, 2011

      I didn't get any stickers with the solar square either. There was nothing but the square and the misprinted info sheet in the box...

    4. Creator Lance on November 4, 2011

      I got my squares but didn't get any stickers, how do I get those sent out? Lance (te1orch@yahoo.com)

    5. Creator shapr on November 3, 2011

      I would also like to purchase more of the suction cup material for use with my b-squares. This stuff is amazing!

    6. Creator Terry Cabeen on October 31, 2011

      So lazy. Just saw info[at]b-squares.com in the previous update. My apologies for the lazy question.

    7. Creator Terry Cabeen on October 31, 2011

      @John P Delaney: The internal contacts on both my battery squares (on either side of each battery) were loose. On one, it was so loose, that even the shrink-wrapped batteries fell out. I had to bend them back, but they're loosely holding the batteries in. If I jostle them at all, they're flaky.

      @Jordan, Where are we to send issues? Public comments seem catty, but I am definitely having some problems. One proto square is seriously dented, for instance, and I'd like a replacement frame.

    8. Creator Big John on October 31, 2011

      Can one buy more of the pre-cut micro-suction material - I would like the ability to stick any square any where without necessarily using the solar square for support. Any one else having problems with the battery squares (AFTER unwrapping plastic on each battery) - I seem to have gotten a bad batch.

    9. Creator Jordan McRae on October 31, 2011

      @Kai N. - Any shields that are compatible with the Arduino/Arduino-Pro are compatible with the Arduino-Square.
      @Joe C. - For some backers the micro-suction material already came attached to the Solar-Square. Confirm whether or not this is the case and contact info[at]b-squares.com
      @Tieg Z. - Yes the 2 black strips are the microsuction material.

    10. Creator zheyangchris on October 31, 2011

      Me too I didnt get the suction material!

    11. Creator Tieg Zaharia on October 29, 2011

      Got mine this weekend, really excited! Just to double check, are the 2 black strips that look like stickers the microsuction material?

    12. Creator Joe Coleman on October 29, 2011

      Where is the microsuction material? The solar square box included the square and the instruction sheet, but nothing else.

    13. Creator Igor Livant on October 28, 2011

      Got the package today! Thank you, guys. Will play with it during the w/e!

    14. Creator Kai Nikulainen on October 28, 2011

      Could you list other Arduino components which are compatible with the Arduino square? Or are they all compatible?