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New Product: BUB III

BUBIII

Future Technology Devices International makes many different TTL Serial to USB chips.
One model, the FT232R, is used in boards like the
The AdaFruit FTDI friend,
SparkFun FTDI Basic,
Modern Device BUB I and
Modern Device BUB II.
It’s not the cheapest, smallest, or most functional FTDI chip– just the most popular.

Presenting the BUB III, designed around the FT231X QFN-20, a 4x4x.075 (mm) chip.

You’ll notice it has a micro-USB jack, instead of a mini-USB one. Micro-USB jacks have a bad reputation for coming off boards, because they have less surface soldered on the board. We spent a fair amount of time finding a micro-USB jack with extra prongs and adding vias to reinforce the smd pads. Our destructive testing of a few of these boards shows that our efforts to toughen up the boards were successful. The jacks take quite a bit of muscle to break, and we think they will stand up to abuse as well as mini-USB jacks.

Moving the header to the bottom makes the board even smaller, and saves us time in production.
Both LEDs are reconfigurable (should you want to reconfigure them) with FTX-prog

It’s the BUB you love, smaller, slicker and reborn with an all-new brain.

Be one of the first 6 customers to use coupon code freebubiii and get a free BUB III with your order! (order total must be over $10)

Go check it out in the shop!

New Product: Rigid RGB LED Strips

rigid_rgbled_threeWe picked up these nice Rigid RGBLED Strips from one of our suppliers for a good price. They contain 30 5050 RGB LEDs which seem to be standard super-bright LEDs, they are 12mm wide and 500mm long with headers every 50mm where they can be cut and soldered. The have nice polarized connectors and six inches of cable on the ends which makes mating them in series simple and quick and easy. Priced low enough that you could afford to take off the LEDs and use them on other projects (.20 ea). The resistors are sized to lend nice balanced white light that is not too cold in color, when powered from 12 volts. The 12V trace which looks to be about 60mils wide is mirrored front and  back for extra current-carrying capability.

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RFM69 Radios

New Radios!

The RFM69CW radio module by HopeRF is a compact, powerful radio transceiver module for swapping data packets in the 868 MHz ISM band, using standard and enhanced FSK modulation. The radio is great for sub-compact designs; just 4mm of mounted height from using an SMD precision crystal.

Though consuming a similar level of power, the RFM69CW receiver section can decode fainter signals than the classic RFM12B, so it has better receive sensitivity. The transmitter section *maximum* output power is +13dBm, considerably higher than the +5dBm of the RFM12B. The current drain at these (adjustable) higher power settings is correspondingly higher though. With the better receiver sensitivity, many applications will not need to use the higher transmit power settings, potentially saving on battery life.

Compared with the RFM12B, pairs of RFM69 modules will generally have greater range and/or better penetration of walls/ceiling than when using pairs of the classic RFM12B.

The physical module is compatible with the PCB footprint on all current JeeNodes and JeeLinks. For details of the fast-evolving level of software support, see this Forum topic on the JeeLabs forum.

Control is via a fast SPI bus with reduced loading on the microcontroller, another nice advantage with the radio. The recommended power supply range of 1.8 < Vdd < 3.6 V can squeeze almost the last energy out of depleting batteries without needing a boost converter.

An antenna must be connected to RFM69 module – for 868 MHz, an 82-mm (quarter wavelength) wire can be used (not included). Operation without an antenna at the higher transmitter power levels risks permanent damage to the output stages.

Marking Convention: a yellow spot on the top of the transceiver chip indicates optimized for the 868 MHz ISM band. You can have confidence that you are building your project with a fully functional module!

Summary:

  • More transmit power than the RFM12B (but more current required).
  • Better sensitivity on receive.
  • An RF signal strength is available
  • Fits the current RF12B footprint
  • The JeeLabs driver fully supports the radio with only one definition change at the top of a sketch.
  • RFM69 and RFM12B radios may be mixed in a JeeNode network and talk to each other.

For detailed specifications, see HopeRF’s RFM69CW documentation.

The RFM Board provides convenient signal breakout with an option for connecting to 5V power systems.

Digital Smarties (The JeeLab Shop) stocks a 868 MHz version of these modules with EU prices. Both Modern Device and Digital Smarties (Jeelab Shop) have the 434 versions.

Right now we are selling these on RRM12B boards and JeeNode kits.