here are some news for you – fresh and hot!
Acrylic enclosures for the miniEngines
The first news is that Sascha Henke worked hard the last months to be able to provide nice looking enclosures for the miniEngines. The material will be acrylic glass – more precisely Lexan for easy customizations (e.h. drilling extra holes) if needed. His shop is online now and you can order them here: http://shop.epsh.de
I helped a little bit with the development and am also selling these enclosures for the miniEngine v1: shop.airiclenz.com
The ones for v2 will probably follow later.
3D Joystick maybe?
I also started working on some other possible features for the v3. The final product is still far away but I thought you might be interested in some of the development steps.
I bought a Nintendo Wii Nunchuck and will start experimenting with it as a possible 3D joystick. These things are dirt cheap (around 10€ on eBay) and thus a good and simple solution if they turn out to be usable. As this controller has a proprietary connector I thought I can simply use the PCB itself as socket. The test PCBs for verifying this arrived today so that I can start prototyping.
You’ll hear about the test result and other updates in later posts.
this a the first update in a long time. For those of you wondering why – I needed a little distance from the software development to gather new energy (this does not mean that nothing happened but see for yourself…)! It’s as simple as that. What matters most is that I am currently working on the next release and also have some other great news so let’s get to it!
White screen issue
The white screen issue was solved – finally. As it turns out, there was an update on the hardware of display which is used for the miniEngine version 2. This update was done without any recognizable information to the public (thanks for that ITEAD!). This basically meant that they updated the hardware of the display without updating the documentation. The new display uses a new driver chip and this is was what causes the white screens. I guess ITEAD produces the displays with the driver chip that is available very moment without worrying about their customers… Here is the result.
Anyways, here is how you fix the white screen issue – Open your miniEngine v2 code and change the lines 319 and following in the file miniEngine2.ino
UTFT tft(ITDB24E_16, PIN_TFT_RS,
to this one:
UTFT tft(TFT01_24_16, PIN_TFT_RS,
Upload the new software and you should have a working miniEngine!
Next software release
The next release is in the works and will be published within the next 30 something days. This release will bring the following two major updates:
- Bouncing functionality that will repeat a shot in reverse direction until one presses the START / STOP button to abort it.
- Daisy chaining – You will be able to connect multiple miniEngine v2. One will be the master and control the connected clients. This will allow you to add more axes to your move or shoot simultaneously from different angles with 2 or more cameras.
some time ago I started working on the next version. That included gathering ideas and requirements for a “next level” miniEngine and sorting all of that. I started developing the hardware and so some fist hardware prototypes are being tested by me to make sure that the final miniEngine works as flawlessly as possible. Here is a photo of a little 4-layer test PCB that was tested recently.
This next version version will be entirely surface-mount-technology (SMT / SMD) and readily assembled so that there is no (or almost no) need to solder. It will support 3 instead of 2 motors and most likely have another display than the current version 2 (for obvious reasons 😉 ).