Gadgeteer Hardware Standard First Impression

I just got my shiny new Hydra which is my first experience with Gadgeteer. I thought I’d share my first thoughts about the hardware standard and see what others think.

0.) Great Idea

1.) Form factor

Gadgeteer should be a shield, not a main board. I personally like the Panda II concept as a main board format. I can use shields and it has the extra connector at the bottom. The FEZDuino form factor!

A gadgeteer shield would have the standard connectors AND header breakouts for use without gadgeteer if you want. (Cap off a gadeteer socket and use its pins)

The connectors should not be spread around the board perimeter. They should be at an end all in the same orientation to allow cables to lay in the same direction so as to route reasonably when you deploy. Cables every which way makes for messy layout… (its cute though)

2.) Connectors

Way too small pitched. I can see why you wouldn’t want .1 inch headers (module safety) but these are too fine. Ideal would be a .1 inch pitch through hole standard though…

3.) X and Y

3 and 7 io lines??? - should be 4 and 8. Add two more pins to the standard connector and duplicate a ground pin - maybe even another couple of ground pins. X and Y should also be equipped with IC2 safe logic level converters.

4.) Power

Main boards should always have a 5V regulated power in option.

5.) Daisylink

The best part…

I think everyone has these same complaints when they first jump to Gadgeteer. They quickly dissolve after using it a bit. You may also want to check out the Cerbuino Bee.

  1. thanks

  2. Do you have the extender board? This is the most module used, very useful. Shields are limited and have many problems, plug 2 and you have problems, try 3 and it becomes impossible. Gadgeteer is about flexibility.

  3. small is beautiful :slight_smile: but they are too small if you are trying to connect things and this is why there is the extender module. There is over 10 on a board so change those with large ones and the mainboard becomes huge!

  4. There were months of thought behind this option. It was not random trust me.

  5. cerbuino does! So do you suggest 0.5A, 1A, 2A or even more? See where the problem is? Since gadgeteer is about flexibility, having regulator is a bad idea. An external regulator is good because you can select the power module that fits you r needs, even rechargeable battery module.

  6. Yeah, hope you have seen “open daisy link” wiki page.

Thanks for the post!

(and my comments were not complaints but suggestions and observations - Gadgeteer is quite nice)

In re: extension module - I see lots of those in my future! How about a Y extender with an I2C safe logic level converter on it?

In re: X and Y , I would be interested in the history… its an odd choice (literally) :wink: and only one ground wire seems a little light, especially if you are planning a daisylink…

I like the Cerbrino form factor - I like panda II better. A panda II with a gadgeteer shield - you can have it either way! (AND put the hydra MPU on it) Call it FEZateer

5V 2 amp fused. In my case I am integrating with other (5V) boards and want to power them all on the same rail (I bet this is a common scenario)

I’ll chime in here and say that power is indeed a hard one to deal with. See also the current difficulties with the GPS and Relay modules. It’s impossible to know how much power a module needs (from the mainboard perspective) and it’s impossible to know how much a power module + mainboard supply (from the module perspective). There’s no easy way for a gadgeteer user to know whether a module will overload a system or not.

In the end, I can imagine a high-power system with extra power cables and extender modules scattered throughout.

Agree and this is why we just listed power consumption on every single module and we are looking to seeing this right into the gadgeteer designer. So once you add modules in designer, you will automatically know how much current your setup will need.

Speaking of extender module Breaking out of bondage – Tiny gadgets

you mean expansion module … LOL you know that’s Sytech Expansion module…

Same thing, it is actually our module or at least our idea.

those little header are nice to have for sure…