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Hands-on with the TinyDuino and TinyLily Systems from TinyCircuits

By: Charles Gantt | Editorials in Maker & DIY | Posted: Feb 12, 2014 8:33 am

TinyShield: Accelerometer




In many projects, it is beneficial to be able to sense things such as tilt, motion, shock, and vibration; this is where the TinyShield Accelerometer comes into play. This module is based on the high performance and low power Bosch BMA250 3-axis accelerometer, which is capable of sensing the parameters listed above in the X, Y, and Z axes. The TinyShield Accelerometer utilizes the I2C bus, and features built-in logic level shifters to ensure compatibility with the TinyDuino's 5V system. TinyCircuits has broken out the modules I/O in the form of 0.1-inch holes for use with header pins, or wire in case the user would like to utilize the module in another system.


TinyShield: microSD




With all of the data generated from the Wi-Fi, GPS, and Accelerometer modules, you will of course need somewhere to store all of the data, and TinyCircuits has you covered with the TinyShield microSD module. While no limit is listed, the TinyShield microSD module is at minimum, compatible with microSD cards up to 16GB in size, and maybe more. Interfacing the microSD shield is easy, as Arduino features built-in libraries in its IDE to aid in this task. As with other TinyShields that utilize low-level logic, the TinyShield microSD features logic-level converters to ensure compatibility with the TinyDuino system.


TinyShield: Motor x4




As with the TinyLily Motor module, TinyCircuits recognized the importance of including a motor controller in its TinyDuino system. The TinyShield Motor x4 features the ability to control up to four DC motors at 11v, with up to 1.8 amps per channel thanks to the use of four of the super-small DRV8837 H-Bridge Motor Driver chips from Texas Instruments. Like the TinyLily Motor module, no additional cooling is needed (if run at 5V per channel) thanks to a robust ground plane on the bottom of the shield. The TinyShield Motor x4 features six user-soldered right angle header pins to ensure proper current flow to the motors.


The TI DRV8837 has one H-bridge driver consisting of N-channel power MOSFETs to drive a DC motor, or one winding of a stepper motor, or other devices like solenoids. An internal charge pump generates needed gate-drive voltages. There are internal shutdown functions for over-current protection, short-circuit protection, under-voltage lockout, and over temperature. The DRV8837 can supply up to 1.8 A of output current. It operates on a motor power-supply voltage from 1.8 V to 11 V, and a device power-supply voltage of 1.8 V to 7 V. There is also a extremely low power sleep mode with 120nA sleep current per channel.


TinyShield: Proto Boards 1, 2 and 3




Finally, we have some Prototyping boards designed to allow users to solder on custom components, or break out the full range of I/O lines the TinyDuino has to offer. The TinyShield Proto Board 1 features the I/O lines broken out to a standard 2mm spacing grid that allows for standard 2mm header pins to be used. The TinyShield Proto Board 2 and 3 feature 0.1-inch spacing for use with the 0.1mm standard header pin that some people prefer over 2mm spacing. Each of these two boards feature different I/O lines broken out, so pay attention to what you need when ordering, or with them being so cheap, just order a few of each to keep on hand!

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