Author Topic: Live on CrowdSupply! muArt - A UART converter finally done right  (Read 14936 times)

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Offline Kean

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Re: myuArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #50 on: May 19, 2018, 01:39:54 am »
Sounds to me like they are looking at Aluminium or soft tooling.  Soft tooling seems quite likely if they have a high end 3D printer, as they can easily 3D print masters to make the soft tooling which can only be used for a limited number of "shots".

A bit of info here:
https://www.stratasysdirect.com/technologies/urethane-casting/soft-tooling-vs-hard-tooling
 

Offline pylo

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Re: myuArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #51 on: May 19, 2018, 07:35:58 am »
One thing I need for my project is a special connector (with ten contacts and a small screw thread) to be integrated into the case. Through your dealings with them, do you think this is something they might be able to accommodate?

Do you mean something like with OBD-II adapters, where the case is part of the connector? I see no reason why they couldn't, if you look at their homepage, they've done some interesting things in the past (hearing aid, video glasses etc.). Talk to them, that is the sure way.

What did you tell them that your minimum order count was going to be? I'm guessing a few hundred pieces, which means a high 3-digit sum for them overall as worst case?

I told them that my goal is to get 250 pre-orders. Also that, if it is a bit less (say 200), I will still go into manufacturing, but if a lot less, say, 150, I'll be ready to scratch the idea of a custom case (and well, maybe even the whole campaign, otherwise I'd need to adjust the prices, but that'd be problematic for all those who already placed an order).

And of course, you'll have my support once you launch your kickstarter  ;)

Thanks  :-+  I'm targeting Crowd Supply, mainly because I like how they give a little bit of mentoring, which is ideal for someone like me who has never done this before. And of course, the muArt also aligns well with their theme and target audience. I've already contacted them a couple of weeks ago, unfortunately they are really busy and their review queue seems to be long, so I need to be patient. I hope they'll get to me soon now.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2018, 07:37:39 am by pylo »
 

Offline SL4P

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Re: myuArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #52 on: May 19, 2018, 09:18:10 pm »
I realise this is a bit pedantic, and I quite like the idea of your project... but you do realise it has nothing to do with a UART ?

In 95% of modern circuits, and 100% of traditional circuits - the UART functionality is within the controller or a dedicated peripheral chip.

One possible name could be... myUSBIO
As its functionality lies between the USB interface, and the serial i/o side of the UART/serial interface.
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Offline Cerebus

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Re: myuArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #53 on: May 19, 2018, 11:45:17 pm »
I realise this is a bit pedantic, and I quite like the idea of your project... but you do realise it has nothing to do with a UART ?

In 95% of modern circuits, and 100% of traditional circuits - the UART functionality is within the controller or a dedicated peripheral chip.

One possible name could be... myUSBIO
As its functionality lies between the USB interface, and the serial i/o side of the UART/serial interface.

You do know what UART stands for, right? I think a Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter is a perfectly reasonable description for this project. It is universal, it is not dedicated to one task, and it does indeed receive and transmit asynchronous serial signals.
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Offline SL4P

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Re: myuArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #54 on: May 20, 2018, 03:10:40 am »
hehe, I did say ‘pedantic’...   ;)

Have you ever designed a UART into a project  ?
A significant part of a UART is the ‘shift registers’ to serialise and de-serialise the data either side of the ‘serial link’.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_asynchronous_receiver-transmitter

Nowadays. this hardware is ‘hidden’ within a microcontroller (it’s still there), but a long time ago, the functionality was more obvious as an external peripheral chip.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/16550_UART
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Offline pylo

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Re: myuArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #55 on: May 20, 2018, 07:34:23 am »
I realise this is a bit pedantic, and I quite like the idea of your project... but you do realise it has nothing to do with a UART ?

In 95% of modern circuits, and 100% of traditional circuits - the UART functionality is within the controller or a dedicated peripheral chip.

One possible name could be... myUSBIO
As its functionality lies between the USB interface, and the serial i/o side of the UART/serial interface.

Haha, challenge accepted ;D

Short answer: While "UART" ist originally a hardware peripheral, today it is used equally often to refer to the protocol (or, well, to UART-like protocolS). Since the muArt converts to/from a UART protocol, and obviously also has a UART peripheral inside (in the bridge IC), you should at least agree it does have a lot to do with UART, even if you dispute if itself is a UART or not. If you look at it this way, having "UART" in the name is not such a far fetch. And of course, what Cerebus said also holds.  But...

Long answer:

Seeing your proposal for another name is myUSBIO, I think I see the real problem. I think you misinterpreted the name as "my-UART", but that's not how I imagined it. The name is artistic and playful, and was never meant to imply that the product itself is a UART peripheral in its original sense as you described. It is only mean to signal that it has something to do with UART. Very importantly, the project's name is written correctly as in this post's attachment. I originally used this spelling in the OP too, but the forum software couldn't display the Greek "mu" correctly and it replaced it everywhere with a question mark (which is also why I had to attach it as a picture here instead of spelling it out). This of course made it unreadable, so I then corrected the contents of the OP to spell "muArt", and used that ever since, but only here in the forum. How should you read it? Definitely not "my-UART". It might also be tempting to pronounce it as "microART", but I'm planning to use that for other projects in the future (and so btw dibs on that :) ) . Since the Greek "mu" is often substituted by "u" in simple text processing, and since that makes it read like "uart", and since the product is actually a UART converter, you can read it as either "mu-Art" or "myu"-Art, playfully combining the Greek "mu" with the "yu" of UART. (And obviously it is a work of Art ;D) Well, the process of naming was kind of the other way around, but that doesn't matter, the logic behind it is still the same. Now, by mistake I wasn't consistent and used the "myu"-form in the OP title (which I now corrected), giving opportunities to misinterpretation.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2018, 07:39:32 am by pylo »
 

Offline SL4P

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Re: muArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #56 on: May 20, 2018, 07:44:27 am »
Yep, I was wrong to cast ‘my’ into the alternate name...
Perhaps mUART... or mUSBIO?

Is there a processor within the device as you suggest? , or simply level converters & isolation?

Sorry, I realise this is all a distraction, but I hate seeing well intended discussion teaching newbies the wrong terminology because ‘it’s convenient or sounds good’.

No disrespect intended, as I said, myself and others think it’s a cool product idea.
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Offline pylo

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Re: muArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #57 on: May 20, 2018, 07:58:25 am »
Is there a processor within the device as you suggest? , or simply level converters & isolation?

The bridging between USB and UART is done by a Silicon Labs CP2102N. This almost certainly has a microprocessor inside, but it is not user-programmable (though there are some parameters you can program). Another IC, a MAX14932 takes care of both the level conversion and the isolation in one step.
 

Offline pylo

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Re: muArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #58 on: May 28, 2018, 04:01:24 pm »
Hi everybody, I’ve got some updates to report from last week :)

First, CrowdSupply came back to me, they apologized that they have been so busy, and we’ve been in touch ever since. Communication has been really smooth, we’ve already executed a contract (they call it the “Statement of Work”), and both parties are now hard at work to bring you the muArt. So I just wanted to say, the campaign will definitely happen.

I’ve also received the first prototypes for the case, and I’ve got to say, I’m thoroughly impressed. Pictures are attached at the end of this post (note that the material used for the prototypes is some kind of epoxy, and it is not what the final cases will be made of – the final ones will be plastic, generally translucent, clear transparent in areas around labels, and will not have any of this yellow-ish color; see the rendering in the OP to get an idea).

The two parts of the case snap together perfectly without seams and hold together securely, yet can still be separated afterwards despite how brittle this epoxy is. The quality of the print is very high, you can see this by the absence of staircasing along the slopes of the case in the picture where I show the USB from the side – the case has not had any kind of post-processing except the removal of supporting material, yet despite this it still hasn’t got any jagged edges. This high quality printing is important and greatly reduces risks. It means that the final cases from the mold tool will likely be alright too. The stripes on the top cover are an artifact of the 3D print and will not be there in the production cases. However even in the prototypes, they are present only optically, for the fingers the top feels perfectly smooth.

I am also happy about the ergonomics. Having those snap points for the fingers works great, and you can easily and securely grab the case by those despite how compact and small it is.

This doesn’t mean though the design of the case is final. If nothing else, the labels of the LEDs need to be made larger. Even though they are readable (just barely), they are simply too tiny. Also, I’ve yet to receive the electronic prototypes, so there is still a chance that the fit of the board isn’t perfect. But this is a great and very promising start. Please cheer for the boards to also turn out great.
 
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Offline NW27

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Re: muArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #59 on: May 28, 2018, 06:04:13 pm »
hehe, I did say ‘pedantic’...   ;)

Have you ever designed a UART into a project  ?
A significant part of a UART is the ‘shift registers’ to serialise and de-serialise the data either side of the ‘serial link’.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_asynchronous_receiver-transmitter

Nowadays. this hardware is ‘hidden’ within a microcontroller (it’s still there), but a long time ago, the functionality was more obvious as an external peripheral chip.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/16550_UART
Your showing your young age :)
It was the Z80 SIO followed closely by the INS8250 that popped into my mind, for stand-alone uarts.

Sent from my SM-N920I using Tapatalk

 

Offline ThaHandy

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Re: muArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #60 on: May 30, 2018, 06:22:40 am »
Aww. missed it again.
Was about to ask if if could be RS485 compatible
I really could use some cheap but reliable isolated RS485 interface  ::)
 

Offline pylo

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Re: muArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #61 on: May 30, 2018, 06:43:20 am »
Aww. missed it again.
Was about to ask if if could be RS485 compatible
I really could use some cheap but reliable isolated RS485 interface  ::)

Well you just need to ask ;) Coz' the thing is, you can use the muArt as such. The GPO pin can be repurposed to function as the DE pin to be used in RS485. This is one of the hidden design considerations that I am not actively marketing, but planning to make a post about during the campaign and mention in the datasheet too.
 

Online ogden

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Re: myuArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #62 on: June 02, 2018, 07:18:26 am »
And obviously it is a work of Art ;D

Self-proclaimed Artists shall be very careful sticking "art" labels before critics and/or buyers do ;)

I would suggest to reconsider naming & logo, stick with uUART.

[edit], yes, it kind of breaks "my UART" idea by meaning "micro UART", but definitely less confusing.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2018, 03:43:57 am by ogden »
 

Offline pylo

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Re: muArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #63 on: June 03, 2018, 10:14:32 pm »
I've got great news! The prototype boards / electronics have arrived, and they work perfectly. I've been testing various aspects most day yesterday, and it seems like these boards will also be the final design. Meaning this design would go 1:1 to volume production if the campaign over at CrowdSupply is successful. All features work as advertised, communication (of course), handshaking, speeds up to 3Mbaud, protection circuits, the whole voltage range, GPIO, LEDs, and whatever I left out too. USB was stable even at well over maximum allowed cable length (tested @ 6m), and my scope confirmed that signal transitions on the other side of the isolation are clean and well-defined. The USB receptacle mates solidly and holds my chosen cables (which btw will also be available in a pledge level) tightly, so no chance for loose connections there. The boards seem to fit well into the prototype cases too.

Beside Windows, I also tested on Linux, and the mainline drivers - which are available even in old kernels - are solid as expected. Here on Linux there are two small limitations though. One is that the driver "only" supports speeds up to 2Mbaud, which is TBH still about 20x more than the highest rates I've seen in commercial peer devices (115200), so this is more than OK. The other is that the GPIOs under Linux are only usable if you replace the mainline driver with the one from the SiLabs website - note this limitation only concerns the GPIO pins under Linux, not the UART communication which works out of the box. Also note that the GPIO input LED works out of the box irrespective of OS or drivers, because this doesn't depend on the USB stack at all.

Below is a picture of the board I took with my 10 year old camera (of which I hacked the firmware myself BTW). Due to the importance of this picture you can also find it in the OP.

The arrival of these boards is a really important milestone. The fact that they work as expected and as advertised is even greater (though these are simple boards compared to those I've been doing for work lately). As the next step, my #1 goal now is to get the campaign pre-launch page up and running. Interested people will be able to subscribe there to get notifications about the campaign, which will come once all preparations (creating images, text, video, marketing prearrangements etc.) are done.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2018, 11:06:10 pm by pylo »
 

Offline pylo

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Re: On CrowdSupply Now: muArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #64 on: June 10, 2018, 03:04:23 am »
Hello Everybody, the muArt is now in pre-launch! Visit CrowdSupply and subscribe to get project updates and important notifications about the campaign so that you won't miss it.

Link to muArt @ CrowdSupply
 
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Online NorthGuy

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Re: muArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #65 on: June 11, 2018, 01:14:11 am »
I’ve also received the first prototypes for the case, and I’ve got to say, I’m thoroughly impressed. Pictures are attached at the end of this post (note that the material used for the prototypes is some kind of epoxy, and it is not what the final cases will be made of – the final ones will be plastic, generally translucent, clear transparent in areas around labels, and will not have any of this yellow-ish color; see the rendering in the OP to get an idea).

The enclosures of the front page of your campaign look even better. May I ask you who's making such nice custom enclosures for you?
 

Offline Cerebus

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Re: muArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #66 on: June 11, 2018, 02:22:11 am »
I’ve also received the first prototypes for the case, and I’ve got to say, I’m thoroughly impressed. Pictures are attached at the end of this post (note that the material used for the prototypes is some kind of epoxy, and it is not what the final cases will be made of – the final ones will be plastic, generally translucent, clear transparent in areas around labels, and will not have any of this yellow-ish color; see the rendering in the OP to get an idea).

The enclosures of the front page of your campaign look even better. May I ask you who's making such nice custom enclosures for you?

The details are all in this thread already.
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Offline pylo

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Re: muArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #67 on: June 11, 2018, 02:40:07 am »
The enclosures of the front page of your campaign look even better. May I ask you who's making such nice custom enclosures for you?

https://www.tec4data.com/
 

Online NorthGuy

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Re: muArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #68 on: June 11, 2018, 04:37:51 am »
The details are all in this thread already.

I'm sorry I missed it. I hardly managed to find it Today even after you said it was there. Difficult to sift through numerous linguistic discussions :)

https://www.tec4data.com/

Thank you. By the Web site, the company looks very expensive. Did they allow you to publish their final prices?

I designed an isolated USB<->UART converter once using PIC16F1454 and SiLab isolators. It could only do 2Mbaud, but it used HID, which limited the data rate, so the effective sustainable full-duplex rate was only about 60KBytes/sec.

Wish you good luck with your campaign!
 

Offline pylo

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Re: muArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #69 on: June 12, 2018, 06:45:38 am »
Thank you. By the Web site, the company looks very expensive. Did they allow you to publish their final prices?

There is still a small modification to the case coming, I don't have final prices yet. I'm simply sticking to their promised maximum price in my calculations.
 

Offline pylo

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Re: On CrowdSupply Now: muArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #70 on: June 20, 2018, 01:11:30 am »
Look what I've found over at MickMake about the muArt: "This is definitely one for your toolbox."  :)

Starts at 4m16s into the video.


 

Offline pylo

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Re: On CrowdSupply Now: muArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #71 on: July 23, 2018, 09:27:39 am »
Hello Everybody!
The campaign launch is nearing, but if you are subscribed already, you'll get notified anyway ;)

The real reason I am writing now, is because I am looking for reviewers in exchange for free muArts. This is the ideal way to get a muArt now without having to wait for months for the end of the campaign and batch manufacturing. And for "free". The rules are simple:
  • I send you a muArt before the campaign, and you write about it in your blog/vblog in English.
  • You are free to write what you want. I won't bind this offer to a positive review (but I'm free to not to backlink).
  • As a Thank You, you can keep your muArt, and you also get traffic from backlinking from the campaign page.
  • If you are interested, let me know in a PM. I'll need your (v)blog's address in advance, and obviously, later your name & postal address to be able to ship you a unit.
  • Samples are limited in quantity and were expensive to produce. I reserve the right to choose who gets one.
Injection molding will be only possible once the campaign succeeds. So while the electronics are final, please understand that the enclosures of review samples are different in material, texture and color to the final ones. Reviewers are entitled to also get a final case once the campaign succeeds should they request it.
 

Offline pylo

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Re: Live on CrowdSupply! muArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #72 on: August 08, 2018, 06:47:27 am »
Hello Everybody!

It's been a very busy few weeks (months?) for me with all the preparations, but I'm pleased to announce that the campaign has gone live and the muArt is now accepting pledges!

Special thanks to all the folks here on the EEVBlog board, as it was your wishes that resulted in the creation of the enclosure of the muArt, and the enclosure is now standard accessory for all backers.

Wish me luck ;)
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 06:57:37 am by pylo »
 
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Offline iainwhite

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Re: Live on CrowdSupply! muArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #73 on: August 09, 2018, 03:38:13 am »
Good luck!

I backed it.
 

Offline Jon.C

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Re: Live on CrowdSupply! muArt - A UART converter finally done right
« Reply #74 on: August 09, 2018, 05:30:59 am »
 


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