Prototype Boards

I’ve discovered that Tamiya’s “Universal Plate” works great as a prototype board for .NET Gadgeteer projects. I’ve done a blog post about it:

Hope other people find this useful too.


Welcome to the forum!

That is a good find. And it is also available on Amazon

Nice price!

@ The Orm,

Great timing! I’ve got one of the boards Pete made, but I’ve been looking for another board for my Hydra. This looks like a good candidate.

Thanks for sharing!

Turns out the Amazon link is for a smaller version of the plate. The larger plate can be has for $11US, which is still very reasonable:

Great find, great price also.

Maybe a newbie question, but what do you use to attach the modules to the plate? The normal screws that are in the package, or some kind of spacers?

@ Mischa

In the case of the board that Pete Brown made for me, I’m using a combination of 4-40 bolts (various lengths) and nuts, some aluminum stand-offs (hex-style, male on one end and female on the other, also 4-40), and plastic through-threaded standoffs. Most of the parts I got either at Sparkfun, or at my local home improvement store (unfortunately, only one of the local places carries bolts as small as 4-40).

I’m sure you could easily use the hardware that comes with these mounting plates, though with only 18 nuts and bolts, you’d probably need more to mount all your modules, and since many of the modules do need some kind of stand-off, you’d probably need some longer nuts & bolts in addition to what comes with the universal plate.

Still, it looks like a very promising solution for mounting Gadgeteer gear. And the fact that you can get them in different sizes, and combine them in interesting ways is also very useful. Will be ordering some of these soon.

@ Mischa

I did the same as @ devhammer - 4-40 bolts and spacers. The board does come with bolts and nuts, but they’re very short and don’t work for attaching the modules. The 4-40 bolts and spacers are very easy to get hold of. If you’re in the UK then you can get the board and the bolts from Proto-PIC (which is where I got all mine from).

Oooh… I like the one you borrowed from MSR. The little tiny G’s are a nice touch!

Orm, here was my solution.

OK, that ended up being a bit more expensive than expected, thanks to Pololu having several neat things on sale. ???

Here’s what I ended up with:
[ulist]Tamiya 70172 Universal Plate L (210x160mm) - x 2
Tamiya 70157 Universal Plate Set (2pcs.)
3mm Hexagonal Shaft Adapter for LEGO Wheels (Pair) - x 2
Tamiya 70190 Mini Motor Multi-Ratio Gearbox (12-Speed) Kit
Tamiya 70168 Double Gearbox Kit
Tamiya 70144 Ball Caster Kit (2 casters)[/ulist]

The other neat thing is that Polulu will include a free copy of Elektor (which one you get depends on which coupon code you use) with each order.

Sounds like someone’s building a robot :wink: Can’t wait to see it!

@ The Orm

In the photo with the prototype board you borrowed from the Gadgeteer team, I see some snap-in nylon stand-offs…do you have a source for ordering those? They look REALLY useful for prototyping, especially compared to nuts/bolts.

@ Ian,

I don’t have a solid plan yet, but yes, I want to build a robot. Right now, I’m just starting to fill in some of the holes in my parts supply, so I’ll have plenty of what I need on hand.

In addition to the parts in the list above, I have a LEGO Mindstorms kit that I am going to look into integrating. If I can use those motors and parts, it’ll lend a ton of flexibility in terms of adding arms, grabbers, etc.

I remember there being a wiki post on controlling Mindstorms with FEZ :slight_smile:

@ Ian

I looked in both the Wiki and the Code site, and couldn’t find it. If you can find a link, let me know.

To be clear, I’m not looking to use the NXT control module, just the motors, and possibly some of the parts for building actuators, etc.

This is what I was thinking of but it doesn’t sound like it’ll help you.

Controlling the motors shouldn’t be hard. I suspect they are just regular servos and DC motors. Unfortunately, I don’t have a Mindstorms kit :frowning:

@ Ian

No, I don’t think it’ll be hard at all. Just a matter of figuring out which wires do what, and though I haven’t searched yet, I’m betting that info is available somewhere online. If not, I can always test my way to finding it. Sometimes, discovery is half the fun. :slight_smile:

Does Mindstorms using a proprietary socket? There might be an opportunity here for some new modules :slight_smile:

@ Ian

Yes, it uses something similar to a phone jack, though it’s not (AFAICT) an RJ-11 or RJ-45.

That’s actually a really great idea for a module…combine a motor controller with a port for the LEGO motor cable, and you wouldn’t need to hack the cable up to connect it. Nice! :slight_smile:

@ Ian

This site looks to have lots of good info on the NXT motors:

There may be enough info in the schematics here to figure out how to wire things up: