I originally tested the Gertboard using the C code. But then when it came to modifying it I am not very familiar with C. So I downloaded the Python code available here from raspi.tv and it worked great! I was able to modify it and made some of my own visualizations and rewrote some of the current ones for the fun of it. The first couple are pretty basic. The last one shown in this video (about 0:52 seconds ) randomly chooses one of the LEDs and then creates two different “lives” on either side of that LED. Each time through the loop each life can move up or down. So one can move up and the other move down, or they might both move in the same direction. This continues until one of them tries to move to LED 0 or 13 which doesn’t exist, and then they die. But the other one continues until it also tries to move to 0 or 13. On the screen it prints out how many times it moved. Best I have seen using the LEDs is over 200. But just running the code on the computer without the delay I have seen over 640 moves without dying.
Interesting and fun stuff!!
Finally edited the time lapse of building my Gertboard. It took about 4-5 hours from start to finish. I missed a small portion of soldering the header pins because the camera ran out of battery. The surface mount components were the hardest, but after that it was pretty straight forward and really fun! Here is the link to Vimeo and the Time Lapse (https://vimeo.com/56662328). After finishing the board I ran the test scripts that were written in C and it worked except for the motor controller. For some reason it would not turn the motor. Still working on figuring out what I am doing wrong there…
Finished shot of the Gertboard connected to the Raspberry Pi.
My gertboard arrived today! So I setup the soldering stuff and went to work on the practice board from Elenco that I bought from Amazon. And I found out real quick that the soldering iron that I have is not high enough quality. The tip did not get evenly hot which made it hard to solder. So I decided to buy a different soldering iron. I bought this one from Adafruit as they have Raspberry Pi and lots of other awesome electronics and DIY kits/parts. So I am assuming that since they say that this soldering iron is a good entry-level tool that it should be worth it. So now the only problem is waiting for that to ship…
I was looking up some instructional videos about the gertboard and came across these three from Element14.
Advice about assembly – Surface mount – Through hole
And as mentioned in this video at approximately 6:10 he says that there was only 10 jumper wires that came with the kit, and there are 12 LEDs. So there is not enough jumper cables to connect all 12 LEDs at the same time. So in addition to the soldering iron I bought a pack of these F/F jumper wires and also a pack of M/M jumper wires. This gives me the option of creating my own M/F jumper wires by combining one of each. And these come in packs of 40 so I should have plenty!
Adafruit is a really awesome website. And Sparkfun is really amazing too!
Here is a picture of what all arrived in the package from Newark. Gertboard on the left. Small components in bags in the center. And some of the bigger chips in anti-static bags on the right.
Next two images are of the GPIO cable coming out of the case that I posted about previously.
The next two images are of the bare Gertboard. First one is the top of the board, and the second is the bottom of the board.
I do not understand Newark… But this time I am not complaining! They shipped my Gertboard yesterday and it is on its way to me! I have decided that if I ever buy anything from Newark the best plan is to buy it, then forget about and do not check the ship date on their website. Just wait for an email with the confirmation or better yet wait till it shows up on my doorstep. My previous post here explains some of the problems I had when I originally submitted this order. In Newark’s defense I basically have only bought items that were in extremely high demand, but some customer contact would have been nice. Looking forward to that package arriving!
There is an awesome site here at Raspi.tv where there is lots of good information regarding raspberry pi information. The page here on that site shows how to control a fan and a light from a raspberry pi. This is a project I was wanting to work on after I got a gertboard and learned more about controlling things in the physical world. Also along those lines is how he is controlling a fan from the gertboard here.
As far as the gertboard I ordered… I finally contacted Newark because the ship date has changed about 5 times (sometimes farther away, and other times to a past date) and they said that they should ship in about 2 weeks. Maybe. However, on their site the ship date is now showing Feb 2013… The good news is that I am actually getting a un-built kit. Newark is no longer selling these, but may start to offer a pre-built gertboard. It looks like a site from the UK may still offer the un-built kit, but they don’t ship to the US.
I recently purchased a second Raspberry Pi to use while my original one is confined to a small box taking pictures. And while I was at it I purchased a Gertboard. This board allows for interacting with physical items such as motors, buttons, and lights. And by using this separate board it protects the Raspberry pi. It is possible to interface directly with the GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi, but if the wrong voltage is applied it is possible to fry the Pi. So the Gertboard offers a solution by protecting the Raspberry Pi.
While I was looking for the Gertboard and the Raspberry Pi I found a precision knife and some solder (the Gertboard comes as bare board and soldering is required to build the board) and these items were only a few dollars. So I added them onto the order. When I checked out it only showed me the Merchandise total (because the items were Back Ordered) so I clicked Submit. The next day I get charged over $10 for one of the $3 pieces and they had shipped it separately from the other pieces. And another item that i ordered was a Direct Ship from the UK meaning that it had a $20 shipping charge. I would think that their website would ask before charging over twice, or in the second case four times the amount for shipping as the original product. However this is not the case, and there are multiple bad reviews online saying the same thing. After getting the run around – I contacted chat, who told me to call, who told me to email – I finally got it straightened out and we got the problem resolved. Newark was nice enough to reverse the shipping charges on the small items, and the large items are still in Back Order status.
So this is a word of caution before purchasing from Newark/Element14. I am NOT saying to not order there, I am saying to be cautious about the shipping charges.
My Gertboard is not supposed to ship until October 17th. If anyone has one I would love to hear your thoughts on it!