About this project
SODAQ brings you colder beer... Here's a little fridge/freezer stick-on we made with the SODAQ. You can get it too - we'll even put it together and pre-programme it if you don't want the fun of doing it yourself. There's a new reward where we do the work for you.
And we're doing the same with the weather station SODAQ that's monitoring weather for whale sharks in the Indian Ocean. We've added a reward to put that all together for you, including everything you need, all the programming, ready to upload live to an FTP server of your choice, or to SMS you.
Prototyping should be rapid. Putting projects together should be as easy as clicking together lego-like building blocks. SODAQ makes it so.
SODAQ is a multi-feature microprocessor board that lets you connect sensors and devices to the internet, quickly and with no fuss. It's designed for connecting things efficiently, running off-grid with built-in, ready-to-go solar power:
SOlar Data AcQuisition
Getting data off a device is only half the story - it needs to go somewhere. We designed the SODAQ system to be able to communicate from anywhere, with a GPRS module and all the control code for it included from the start.
It takes the Arduino prototyping concept, makes it simpler, and extends it. No breadboarding or soldering required, but with plenty of memory, sockets, solar panel and battery control, and extra features, all on one board.
The board has built in sockets for Grove modules; a realtime clock; extended flash memory; USB on-board; and the Bee socket can take any WiFi/RF/XBee or other compatible plugin for communications instead of our GPRS module.
The board is Raspberry Pi-sized - we made it so it will fit into the neat Pi cases out there - so you can use it in Pi-like projects, but it draws about 100 times less power than a Pi to connect your things.
There's already a well-developed, robust system, comms, code and battery management core, and sets of tried-n-tested libraries for dozens of sensors and devices. Programming is easy via USB (no separate programmer cables needed): it's fully Arduino compatible - and for when you need to go pro, we're also working on a proper Eclipse IDE for it.
Here's an example of how to use SODAQ for real-world applications:
Putting Arduino-based kit together means fiddling, wires, soldering, simple coding and fun. But when you want to go beyond that, and the application becomes more interesting than the fiddle itself, when your kit needs to work reliably enough to leave unattended in remote places, fun starts turn into frustration...
There's a big gap between the idea of just buying an Arduino kit and breadboarding together solar, battery, and some sensors, and the reality of making your project work reliably, unattended, remotely.
Imagine: You're on a tropical island (or in your horse's stable down the lane). There's no electric socket and no WiFi signal. But you need to check the local conditions, or if the correct horse staple battery thing is working to open the door... Just use your SODAQ Moja, baby.
(* Yes, SODAQ works with satellite modems too, currently we're testing it with Rock7's Iridium satellite-based RockBlock)
We've met people all over the world who've been inspired by the idea of connecting up sensors and devices simply, cheaply, for fun and more important projects too, to help them make things work better. And they inspired us! We decided to evolve our ready-to-go, solar powered data acquisition board into an open source project.
So Ollie & Gregory have been working on the SODAQ open source hardware for months now, going through iterations, improving and testing. Kees has joined in to lend his 30+ years of embedded systems engineering. We have a small team going at it full time, and taking the boards out to places like Peru and Tanzania, where they're helping link little weather stations, big commercial irrigation, and school projects to SODAQ boards and the Internet.
All our hardware designs and software libraries will be made available in our GitHub: SODAQ Moja repository.
Our favourite project so far: using our first generation boards, we connected up research-grade sensors for an environmental monitoring system, tracking ecological factors for a WWF whale shark research project in the Indian Ocean. The GPRS part lets us transmit the data back in realtime, with utter reliability.
The scientists now get detailed environmental data, sent every hour from remote locations on little islands off the East African coast. They haven't missed a single data record since installation in October 2012.
"Thank you ... it is a beautiful, complete dataset - unusual for us, we are normally used to dealing with more gaps than observations!" - from the lead investigator.
The (early version) SODAQ board with its built-in ability to handle all the power/solar and GPRS communications, and easy plug in sockets for sensors, made this project really simple, and saved thousands of dollars compared to commercial data loggers / large solar panels / industrial modem set-ups. The results seem to be better too!
We've also already used it as the core to connect up weather, soil, and river monitoring for small subsistence farmers in cooperatives in East Africa, for big irrigation management on large commercial farms, and for a bunch of projects in the UK and Holland.
Development and Evolution
Our first versions were developed by taking cues from industrial data acquisition systems, and as such we put all kinds of connectors, comms, powerful processors all onto the same board. This one, below, was doing some of that weather monitoring, with sensors plugged in to RJ11 sockets, Grove sockets, and doing a lot of aggregation and calculation on an XMEGA processor:
But to go open source and make the most flexible board we could for everyone's prototyping needs we decided to go for the 328P processor, to mount a bee socket, to move the GPRS module and SIM holder onto a removable bee board, and made a number of other changes to improve power management etc.
Another iteration of the open source version SODAQ board, below, with the bee socket on, sockets, plenty of header pins, and even a switch! This one taught us quite a bit more about always-on and always-off sets of sockets, form factors to fit neatly in readily available enclosures, and manufacturing with new suppliers that can produce at scale.
And more iterations, up to the SODAQ V2, almost production ready in CAD software here, almost the SODAQ Moja:
And finally, we're ready-to-go with the SODAQ Moja ("Moja" = "one" in Swahili)...
SODAQ Moja Tech Specs
- Atmega 328P Microcontroller running at 3.3V and 8MHz
- Power Supply by LiPo Battery (3.7V) (supplied LiPo: 1,000mAh) or USB Cable
- Programming by USB cable (and ICSP header also included)
- Solar Charge controller & JST connector for solar panel up to 2.5W (supplied panel: 0.5W)
- Battery Monitor
- DS3231 Real time clock and temperature sensor
- 16 MBit data flash module (AT45DB)
- Micro USB connector
- 12 Grove connectors connecting Digital, Analog and I2C pins
- On/Off switch. When the switch is in off position solar charge circuit is still active and the RTC clock is still powered
Code, libraries, examples and all the CAD files will be on GitHub as soon as we launch (in fact some files are already available on www.sodaq.net ).
SODAQ versus similar boards
The SODAQ board with its GPRS module are ready to go as open source hardware, and much of the core code and libraries are done too.
We've been working hard with our existing PCB manufacturers in Europe and component suppliers/assemblies in China to get down to the best price we can while retaining high quality. In order to make the board not just open source, but as widely affordable as possible, we need to step up to a sensible volume of production, and iron out any scaled-up production issues that might appear.
So, Kickstarter, this is where you come in! We've set our goal at a level that will let us get boards out to you at the best possible price. Let's reach that goal!
Stay tuned with your Moja, baby...
You can keep track of SODAQ Moja's progress here on Kicktraq.
All in GB £, with € and US $ equivalents listed.
£5 / €6 / $8 - Top up our Power!
Top up our power! SODAQ is solar, we aren't... yet! £5 can power us up for a week, and earn our eternal thanks (and we might just do one of the oldest Internet-to-thing linkups and put the office coffee machine online).
£15 / €18 / $24 - IoT-Shirt
Designer T's that wrap you and support us.
£24 / €29 / $38 - Early Birds SODAQ Moja barebones board
Early Birds get the barebones board before everyone else, at cost price! It comes without its battery and panel - start developing, connecting things and testing on your desk.
Limited number will be available at Early Birds price, later on many more at £35 / €42 / US$56.
Shipping is included - but if you're outside the USA, UK, or the Netherlands, please consider adding a fair amount (we suggest £9 / €10 / US$15 ) for postage, especially if you want it recorded delivery!
£37 / €44 / $59 - Early Birds SODAQ Moja ready-to-go
The ready-to-go board for early birds - start taking your own internet of things beyond your power socket (includes solar power), with or without previous coding and development experience.
Limited number will be available at Early Birds price, later on many more at £45 / €54 / US$72.
Again, if you're supporting us from outside UK/NL/USA, please consider adding something for postage (we suggest £9 / €10 / US$15 )
£80 / €96 / $128 - SODAQ Moja complete
Exactly what we wanted when we first imagined open sourcing a solar, remote, independent and incredibly low-power-usage data acquisition board! Take your projects completely off-grid - the SODAQ Moja complete is all you need in a single unit (apart from a SIM card for your mobile network):
As above, if you're outside UK/USA/NL, please consider adding a bit to your pledge for postage - every little helps us (we suggest £9 / €10 / US$15 )
£95 / € 114 / US$ 152
The fridge/freezer stick-on monitor, just like in the video: complete SODAQ and GPRS, and all, as above, pre-programmed with all the code and your number to SMS you, mounted in a nice laser cut acrylic casing, with the temperature sensor on a long thin cable, ready to snake into your freezer.
£400 / € 480 / US$ 640
SODAQ's complete weather unit - we'll pre-programme your SODAQ and GPRS, so the whole solar-powered, locate anywhere weather station is ready to go, uploading directly to FTP server of your choice, or sending you SMS alerts.
Check this page for more details.
Production and delivery plans:
- SODAQ Kickstarter Launch: 14th October 2013
- Kickstarter Finishes: 28th November 2013
- (Production arrangements already agreed) Order numbers and confirmation second week December 2013
- Manufacturing test batches & QC: 15th-24th December 2013
- First week Jan 2014 testing results incorporated, production commences
- Early-bird delivery: end of Jan 2014
- Standard delivery: later in Feb 2014
- Packaging in standard protective enclosures (already tested)
- Delivery in batches via local postal/couriers in the UK, the Netherlands, and USA, by international postage to other international backers
Risks and challenges
We have existing production and delivery agreements in place with our selected component suppliers, and manufacturers. From small numbers to larger volumes, our historical relationship with these same suppliers has given us confidence in their ability to deliver what we have needed in the past. The prototypes of the board have been produce on time and at high quality.
However, past performance is not always a template for the future, and in the overall scheme of things SODAQ will probably remain a small production item for these suppliers. We shall of course use our relationship with them to keep work on SODAQ board production on time and on quality as far as possible. If on the other hand we are unexpectedly successful and have a much larger number of rewards to fulfil, we will be challenging ourselves on supply and kit packaging. We don't want to slip on the timeline, so if it looks like numbers might grow sufficiently during the campaign, we'll be putting in place contingency arrangements with our primary PCB, assembly and packaging providers
A challenge we may face is that of location, as we are based in the UK and in the Netherlands, with constant travelling between the USA, South America, Africa and China. This may slow down troubleshooting and problem solving - fortunately, we have already got over the stage of working through the design, prototypes and several iterations. Conversely, it does allow us to monitor delivery times and postal services in several countries.
Handling communication with you - wonderful backers - might prove another challenge while we're all busy producing, packing, sending, sorting. But we have some experience on the team of resourcing big communications and addressing every personal need where possible. The whole team, especially Kees and Gregory, with Ollie, will be on hand on the Kickstarter Q&A forum, and by email, to address any requests for information, or limitations you see when using the board and kits.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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