We are making the 32 I/O (Input or Output) SolderBridge available to you via this Kickstarter. Stacking this on top of the SplashBase massively increases the number of general purpose I/O available. You can use all of these I/O when creating simple logic conditions from your PC, iOS and Android devices. The inputs are 5V tolerant and you can stack up to 4 of these SolderBridges on top of a SplashBase, giving you a total of 128 I/O.
So to get one just pledge at the "SplashBase + Relay add on board" level. At the end we will contact you to find out which SolderBridge you would like.
For enthusiasts, diy-ers, makers, people who want to use it as it is :
You get a very easy to use, logical development board where you can set up conditions for actions to occur or just turn devices on and off around your home using the Relay Add-On board. Setup is as easy as plugging it in to your network. The applications supplied will find it on your home network and let you give it a name. So you don't need to worry about IP addresses or configuring the network settings if you don't want to.
The SplashBase comes with an Ethernet boot loader allowing code updates over a network by holding the boot button down while applying power. Letting you experiment with new firmware from us or the community.
For advanced users and engineers
The SplashBase has 2 Uarts, SPI, I2C, PWM, ADCs and more. It can also act as a Serial to TCP server for extending control of legacy devices over a network. To develop your own code you can use Code Composer Studio, an IDE provided by Texas Instruments that can be downloaded from their website. Combined with the TI Stellarisware library it makes it a very easy platform to pick up and get going with.
Using an XDS100 based jtag with the SplashBase code composer is free and has no code size limit. For this reason we created our own version of the XDS called SplashTag. Another free IDE/Toolchain alternative to Code Composer is the excellent CooCox, which supports the XDS100 and many other Jtag types.
Utilising the stacking header capability of the SplashBase, the first of our Add-on's, called the SolderBridges, contains 4 relays and simply stacks on top of the SplashBase:
The SplashBase software allows the naming of each relay and on/off control via your iOS, Android, PC or web browser.
The first PCB revision works perfectly and we have a quantity of blank PCBs waiting. We decided to use through hole components so that we have the option in the future of supplying it in a kit form for people who want to build it themselves.
If 'Condition' Then 'Action'
Not everyone wants to learn a programming language, but most people understand simple logical choices. So we have made it easy to give the SplashBase a set of instructions about what actions to take and when.
Using this very simple system you can build a customised controller for your application without touching a line of code. The SplashBase can hold many of these conditions and will remember them if rebooted.
Network attached RGB LED controller
Control strips of RGB LEDs over a network, like the IKEA Dioder shown in our early video of the first prototype.
Remote Relay Controller
Turn devices on and off via your iOS, Android or PC. Basically it's a 4 way remote switch. This could be your TV, stereo, bedside lamp, or any other device you can think of.
Network Controlled Thermostat
Utilising the on board air temperature sensor and Relay SolderBridge you could create a home heating control system that is controllable from your phone.
Alternatively create your own software using our open protocol.
Powered by a Texas Instruments ARM Cortex M3 processor - LM3S6x
12V DC power input
Two 24 Way expansion headers
I2C Bus - A 2 wire communication link
SPI Bus - A 3 wire communication link
A USB CDC (Serial) port that can power the baseboard (with out the relay add on)
Connector for 3 channels of PWM - used primarily for RGB light control
30 General purpose IO, each configurable as an Input or Output
5 PWM channels
3 ADC input channels
Ethernet and Serial bootloader for code updates with-out a JTAG
External EEPROM - containing a unique Ethernet MAC address.
Relay Add-On board uses 3A maximum relays.
Do you want to go beyond the firmware provided and start writing your own code? Maybe you already have a processor you would like to program or debug. Then SplashTag is for you. Allowing bare metal control over a huge range of ARM based micro controllers and TI DSPs.
Each SplashTag has a standard 20 way ARM connector and a TTL level UART. We also provide a 20 way ARM to 10 way ARM converter which will be needed to connect to the SplashBase Board.
SplashBase hardware is designed, built and in use. Our first prototype had on board relays and worked with minimal modification. We decided we wanted a product that was more flexible and could be used in many ways, not just the one or two we had thought of. So we removed the relays and created SplashBase. Using two 24 way expansion connectors it allows easy connection to many general purpose IO lines and communication buses from the processor.
Our 3rd generation SplashBase PCB is now in production and should be with us any day now. This fixes all of the issues identified with the 2nd prototype. If this board is fault free it will be the version we intend to provide to our Kickstarter backers.
We have a few 2nd generation SplashTag PCBs built and being put through their paces now. It's ready for production volumes.
Software wise, the embedded, PC and mobile software is at stage where it controls RGB lighting and the relay add-on board. We have had prototypes on for months controlling lights around our homes.
The "if condition" programming mode functionality is new and the first set of conditions/actions have been implemented on the SplashBase and the PC application.
The mobile applications can locate, directly control the relays and operate the RGB output.
Over the next few months we will implement more conditions and actions to choose from and start implementing the programming of this to the mobile devices.
We have parts to build 30 SplashBase boards, Relay SolderBridge & SplashTag right now, people pledging to the limited early bird tier will be among the very first to receive a SplashBase development kit.
The others will follow over the next 1-2 months, everyone should have them by February 2013.
If we get a high volume of orders we will be able to approach an external assembly company to take the strain off us. We know of many that will help us.
Our Story - Who is SolderSplash Labs?
We work for an electronic product design company by day designing PCBs and writing software for other companies. When starting a project we usually look for a development kit that has the capabilities we need to get us running quickly. With experience of many development kits we wanted to create our own!
We have always wanted to run our own business so we are putting our skills to use for ourselves to create SolderSplash Labs Ltd.
Fortunately we have an understanding boss who is helping us out. So this is a rare opportunity for us and we want to kick it off (pun intended) with a batch to produce rather than making a few at a time.
Carl : I have been writing embedded software for the last 12-13 years professionally, before that, I could be found writing basic programs for my family's Amstrad CPC464 and Spectrum Sinclair as a child. I love technology!
Rob : I have been playing with electronics all in all for about 15 years. I started as a hobbyist, teaching myself, learning how to lay out PCB's, write a bit of code and so on. You'll always find me with some kind of project on the go. I have been working as a design engineer in the electronics industry for the past 8 years. I enjoy keeping up to date with the latest technologies and designing fun and exciting products.
Investment So Far
To enable speedy PCB assembly we have also purchased a large reflow oven. this lets us produce our own professional looking PCBs instead of hand soldering. It enables faster production of small prototype runs, saving us expense and time.
We wanted a simple CAD package to create PCBs. So we have invested in a professional EagleCad License, allowing us to sell our designs commercially.
Finally, lots and lots of evenings and weekends!
We aim to produce more SolderBridge add-on boards and enable others to as well. A small sample of our current list includes :
6 Channel 0-10v Ouput - control your external dimmers
433Mhz ISM Radio - Automate your home with wireless communication
IR Blaster - Multichannel Infra Red control of your AV equipment
RS485 - for multidrop, robust communication
NFC/RFID - Near field communication to your Android device or SmartTags.
Servo - Multichannel servo control, build a robot!
IO Expansion - Add even more General purpose IO
ADC - Multi channel analogue input, high bit rate and more of them.
Storage & Time - SD card and Battery backed real time clock
Many, Many more.....
Once you add a network connected SplashBase the amount of possible applications is endless!
The SplashBase footprint is designed to allow the use of Stripboard/veroboard for quick prototyping. We will also provide an eagle template to get you started on your own SolderBridge designs.
Ultimately our dream is to take this in to schools and enable the teaching of fundamental electronics by providing a simple and exciting platform. This is the first step toward that dream.
Extras you will need
12V DC 0.5A power supply - Required when using the Relay SolderBridge
Optional - Mini B USB Lead
Notes / Disclaimer
This is a development board and as such is not in a case/enclosure, it can be damaged by misuse/mishandling. Care should be taken when rewiring your devices to allow them to be controlled. Please get a competent person to do it and always stay safe! As it's a development board and not a final commercial product it doesn't have a CE certificate or EMC testing that a product would require. But this is the case for 99% of the development boards out there.
All boards will be RoHS compliant (Lead Free)
Thanks for reading! Check out our website here for more info.
Risks and challenges
We have a working iOS application, I have yet to experience Apple's application approval procedures so this may delay the application launch on to the Apple app store.
The embedded software will evolve over time, It will ship with the basic functionality described above and work with the iOS 5 and Android 2.3. Future releases will expand it's capability.
If we get a tsunami of orders - Some people might be overwhelmed, but with our industry contacts we can organise mass production very easily. It's what we have been doing for many years!
We do have future plans to create a WIFI base board. That will probably be after supplying people with the current baseboard at the end of this kickstarter. In the mean time at home I have been using a very cheap wifi to ethernet bridge, a TP LInk TL-WR702N. It has WIFI client mode and creates a WIFI to ethernet bridge. Enabling me to place boards in places I don't want to cable.
The primary purpose of the USB socket on the SplashBase is for PC control. It enumerates as a USB CDC (Serial port) allowing direct PC control or logging output while debugging your own code. Some people have managed to get CDC devices working with rooted android but this is not supported by us. Control via iOS/Android is achieved by using your home network.