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Setting Up the Freeduino USB Host Board

This is first stab at some documentation for the Freeduino USB Host Board.

Getting your FHB up and running with an Android phone

What you need

  • Android phone
  • Freeduino USB Host Board (FHB)
  • USB A to micro cable – the kind with which you charge your Android phone
  • USB A to mini cable – the kind you may use on your camera – although cameras all seem to use their own variants now
  • Google ADK for Android phones

Getting and installing the software

  • Download and install Arduino if you haven’t done this already
  • The lastest version of the library is hosted at Github
    Just click the “zip” icon for a zipped version of the library
  • Unzip the package. This will yield an Arduino library titled: Freeduino_USB_Host_Board
  • Just move the Freeduino_USB_Host_Board folder into the libraries folder, inside of the folder where your Arduino sketches are stored.
    • If you don’t know where your sketches are stored, check the Preferences page in the Arduino IDE
    • If the “libraries” folder doesn’t exist (it may not), just create it and put the Freeduino_USB_Host_Board inside it.
  • Choose the demo sketch from the menu Examples->Freeduino_USB_Host_Board->FreeduinoHostBoardDemo01
  • Hook up the USB cable to your computer and hook up the FHB
    • You should observe the RX & TX LEDs flash as the board performs “USB enumeration”
    • If you look in the Arduino IDE Tools->Serial Port menu, you should see a new entry that will appear / disappear as you plug / unplug the FHB. The particular name for the serial port will vary by platform (OS).
    • If you don’t see anything appearing in the Serial Port menu, you need to install the FTDI drivers that come in the Arduino package
    • See the Arduino site for how to do this, if it doesn’t happen automatically.

  • Choose Tools->Board->Arduino Uno in the Tools menu to set the proper board.

We might finally be ready to have some fun.

  • Click the Upload icon at the top of the IDE (Its a right arrow that’s second from the right.)
    • If all goes well the Arduino IDE will compile the sketch and upload it to the board
    • You should see the RX & TX LEDs on the board flashing during upload

On to the phone

  • Download and install the Google ADK DemoKit App for Google’s Demo board.
    • We will use the app just to demonstrate connecting with the phone. The whole app is not supported
    • due to the smaller chip (and fewer pins) that the FHB uses.
    • Do not install the Google AndroidAccessory library however. The Freeduino version is a modified copy.

  • Boot the phone and get to the “home” screen. Then plug the phone into the FHB.
  • If all goes well, this should start the DemoKit app
    • Try sliding one of the sliders for LED 1. If the sliders will move (you’ll see yellow underneath),
    • you are connected the FHB.

  • You may need to plug / unplug the phone cable once or twice to get this to work.
    • As an alternative you can try starting the DemoKit app manually. When the FHB connects and DemoKit is open,
    • you should see a new copy of the app slide in from the right side of the screen, then test the sliders
    • to see if they are live.
  • Open the Arduino Serial Monitor (the icon on the top right) and set the serial speed for 57600,
    • at the bottom of the serial monitor. You should be able to observe some serial feedback for debugging.
    • If you connect a 470 ohm resistor in series with an LED from pins 3, 5 or 6 to ground,
    • you should be able to observe the brightness of the LED change as you move the DemoKit LED1 sliders on the phone.
    • Grounding the A0, A1, or A2 pins on the FHB will turn on the button icons in the DemoKit program.

Happy Programming

  • Check back for more detailed docs and pics soon
  • Questions answered on the forum