Introducing the G-Imp Gadgeteer Electric Imp Interface Module

Some of you may have seen this in another thread (i couldn’t resist posting :))
Its a U socket module that allows you to add an imp board and communicate it via uart. In theory it will give you all the power of the imp cloud and gadgeteer.
I would appreciate any feedback and interest. I will hopefully have the boards off to be made soon. I will update this thread with prices and ordering info at a later date.

Cheers all HughB


Definite interest here. I have an Imp with the SparkFun shield, as they were out of the straight up breakout boards when I ordered. I’ve played with some basic hello world stuff on an Arduino and a Panda. Takes a bit to get used to feeding Squirrel some nuts, but so far, so fun.

One question - do the Imp folks have a proprietary ID chip you have to buy for these, or can you get them elsewhere and register with Imp? Wondering how they know you’re making boards with unique IDs, and if you need to register or license them somehow.

Rock on!

The ID chip seems to be easily available from mouser etc. I did wonder about this but being as the base board is open source I figured that it must be easy to get hold of or it would be a serious barrier for the imp. I’m going to look into the parts to make sure I can make this puppy. The chip is an Atmel ATSHA204 cryptauth

Read the comments on the Imp page at Sparkfun. I recall someone listing the part there. It is not proprietary. I think it’s a $.60 part made by another vendor and available through the usual suppliers.

Ok, before i send this off to get the boards made can anyone see a reason not to… :slight_smile:
Here are the schematics and board images

Search for Electric Imp. This module allows you to interface with Imp.

@ andre - good point. The module provides a serial interface to the electric imp. Http://
The imp provides an easy way to prototype a product using gadgeteer and also utilise the imp in the way it is designed for. As a cloud connected device.
Have a read through the imp website and let me know your thoughts. As I said in my initial post I’m looking for feedback on this module to make sure it’s useful.

in some respects yes but there is so much more scope than that.

A gadgeteer coprocessor

But that’s also the positive point (if you buy in fully to what they are trying to achieve). Their end goal is to have home appliances include an Imp port that will allow you to connect any appliance in your home to their service and then you can coordinate activities between those appliances easily using drag & drop programming. Want your coffee to start pouring automatically when you turn off your bathroom light at 7am? How about your car automatically start warming up 10 min after you pick up your coffee from the coffee maker? Even with Gadgeteer it would probably take you weeks and at least a couple hundred dollars to iron out the hacks necessary to make just these two activities work together. If it works as it should, with the Imp system you should be able to do this in an hour at a cost of $25/appliance (assuming your appliance didn’t have an Imp built-in).

I think it’s a system that has huge potential. However, I’m a bit hesitant to jump on just yet… What I want mostly, though, is a $25 WiFi module for Gadgeteer :frowning:

It uses WiFi, but it doesn’t, as far as I know, offer any general WiFi functionality. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

I can’t offer a $25 WiFi solution, but there is a $30 one that I am aware of (in ones, anyway). In 100s, you could probably squeak by under $25.

I assume you’re talking about the Wifly? I haven’t messed with it yet but if they can produce an Imp that has the Wifi chip(s) + an MCU and can pack all that into an SD package and sell it for $25 then I have to believe there is a way we can pack the same into a module or even better stick it on a Cerb40 for about the same price. It really doesn’t have to have a full networking stack. Something that can just send & receive HTTP/HTTPS would be perfect for connecting most projects to the internet. I’m mostly surprised that there isn’t a cheap one-chip solution for this in 2013.

Indeed I am NOT talking about the WiFly. What I’m talking about does have an integrated TCP/IP stack, as well (in hardware), which makes it somewhat less than optimal for high-powered ARM solutions, but quite ideal for low-powered PIC or AVR solutions.

Indeed if you’re using PIC specifically, there are even cheaper options!

Why? If I have a high powered project that does many thing but only needs to occasionally post some data to ThingSpeak or other service then why wouldn’t it be a good solution?

Tell me more! As cheap as PICs are, I’d be willing to tack one on if it would lower the total cost.

I’d be keen to buy one.

I have been tinkering with the sparkfun imp breakout on a solderless breadboard jumpered to an extension module on a U port, and this would provide a much tidier setup.

Looks like there will be a few takers so i will make up a few.
Here is the final layout. Ive broken out the un-used pins to a header on the side so that they can be used externally if needed.

For very simple projects it’s fine, but soon you run into the limitations that cripple the WizNet hardware; mainly, an extremely tight limit on the number of sockets available. On our MCUs, we have plenty of CPU and RAM to run a software TCP/IP stack without those limitations.

MRF24WB0MA/MB for the WiFi radio:

If you’re using a PIC MCU, then Microchip provides a software TCP/IP stack that you can use. If you’re not, you additionally need this:

MCW1001A which is essentially a PIC MCU that provides the TCP/IP stack:

And quite low-power as well. Good for battery operated systems.

@ godefroi - nice module but I still think there has to be a better solution. What if we could figure out how to turn this into a module?

We need something like this that already has huge volume that we can take advantage of.

So, the super-cheap (available even from the major name suppliers for <$5) USB WiFi dongles, what are the chances they could be made to work? There are drivers for Linux, so the interface must be understood, and we have USB available…