Friday, July 5, 2013

Unboxing SmartMaker's Tinkerer and Starter Kits

I just received a package from SmartMaker today.

That took some time and unfortunate strong arming that this post will not focus on. I am not associated with smARtDUINO in any way. In fact I may be on their bad side for a while but enough of that. Instead I'll show that the modules work and what was in the package using some high-res pictures. I had been excited about a small open modular Arduino-type system for a long time but had given up, yet here it was on my door step.


The package contained one Starter Kit, one Tinkerer Kit, and a few more Breakout Boards and SmartPower units. It also had a yellow T-shirt and some stickers (thank you).


Hello LED

I quickly wanted to see if the modules actually worked.  The movie below shows the Arduino version of "hello, world" i.e. the Blink sketch modified to use LED#3 and not #13.  The setup is powered over USB and as programmed using the normal Arduino 1.5.2 IDE over a COM port.

High-Res Pictures of Modules

I was curious about the quality of the soldering since the pitch of the Hirose connector is quite small.  I was also wondering about the placement of the connectors for a long time so I thought I'd make it easier for anybody else wondering about female/male connectors and if they even included them on the backside of some modules.

The pictures below try to focus on the joints using a Sony NEX-5N and a 10x macro adapter to get even closer to the board.  One picture says more than a thousand words to here they are:


This module showed up as a normal Arduino Uno on a COM port after plugging it in.  I think it had a morse code message starting with the number '3' pre-programmed to blink LED13  but I could be wrong.


This is an Arduino Leonardo module.  I had to manually install drivers for it from the Arduino folders but thankfully it reported in with a proper name in the device manager.  It's curious that this CORE is only available as part of the StarterKit and not as a standalone module.  It may just be a glitch on the website.

SmartHOST Breakout

I ordered quite a few of these since they will connect to actual sensors and actuators in my projects.  Plus I can use them in pinch with the ARM Cortex-M3 CoAction Hero board that uses the same physical Hirose connector but unfortunately not the same signals.

SmartHOST for Arduino

Much like a normal Arduino board with power but allows you to swap out any SmartCORE as its brain.

SmartHOST Breadboard

Much like the SmartHOST fror Arduino but without the power connector so cheaper.

SmartBUS AB Riser

Simple spacer passing through all signals.

SmartBUS Basic Double

For building wider objects instead of stacking tall.  This one keeps the two AB connector pairs aligned while the SmartBUS Mirror rotates the connectors.  Basic meaning only AB and not AB+CD.

SmartBUS Basic Mirror

Much like SmartBUS basic Double but with the second AB pair rotated.

Final Words

Pretty excited about everything working and with some good looking manufacturing.  I'll definitely order some more modules when things cool down.  Until then I'll still head over to the project's KickStarter comment section, open a bag of popcorn, and keep reading the posts...  Although the official forum might be a better source of info, just not as entertaining.