So I decided I wanted to play with wireless sensors. A while back I made a remote control and receiver using these NRF24L01 sensors and I had a great time, but since I don't really care about RC things I kind of didn't do anything with it. Now that I'm moving into a new house I started thinking that having some wireless sensors around might be kind of cool. As I wait to close on the house I've been working on some prototype sensors that I will hopefully have in operation by spring time / early summer.
I started the project with lots of breadboarding experience, and absolutely no soldering experience. My first task was to design the things and go shopping. Since I don't think about posting my projects until after I'm well into them I neglected to store the original designs and parts list. However, I do have a github repo with everything for this project here. Maybe one day I will write out all of the parts that I used here.
This was my first breadboard controller. I wanted a basic setup that had the controller, and the wireless NRF module.
The NRF controller is dangling off to the left, but trust me.. its there. The main controller is the AtMEGA 328P-PU; the same that comes on the Arduino UNO. In the picture you'll see some voltage regulators so I could take the 9V power supply and get some nice 5V and 3.3V power for the controller and module and the other necessary components to get the 328P operational. Once I had two of these working and sending the classic "Hello World" message wirelessly I decided it was time to solder.
This is the first board that I created and was happy with. Its not that great. For instance, if you plug in the programmer (I use the FT232) and the 9V power at the same time you're going to have some problems. I intend to just not do that, but in later variants I hope to have the ambition to make that a safe thing to do. This board doesn't have any sensors on it at the moment as I am currently developing the data specification and don't have a clue as to what sensors I want to use. In this build I just decided to break out all of the 328P pins and offer up some power pins (by the leds - 9V, 5V, 3V) for testing the sensor boards I am currently planning.
I figured I would show just to show how horrible my solder job was so I can see how good I get as this project rolls on. This is the hot mess that is the underside of that beautiful board.
In reality this board probably won't be in the final system, but it was a great way to learn how to solder and will definitely be handy while I develop systems that will make the final cut.
Here is a still of the board doing its first blink (just before adding the wireless module)