Coming Soon - Through Hole Universal Model F and Beamspring Controller

kmnov2017

07 Feb 2020, 19:17

A few weeks ago I discussed this concept with user listofoptions and he is in the process of designing a through hole universal beamspring/model F controller.
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unknown.png (209.39 KiB) Viewed 775 times
Features:

1. Full compatibility with Beamspring Keyboards and Model F keyboards
2. Easy to hand solder components - all components require through hole soldering
3. Promicro as the "brain"
4. Fairly small form factor
5. Use of Xwhatsit software
6. Support for expansion header to wire up lock lights or solenoid
7. Optional plugboards for model F, Beamspring and Displaywriters (Purely optional, you can instead use jump cables to wire up the
controller


And the best of all, it will cost around 10 euros in components (including PCB and Promicro)

Current status

1. Schematics complete
2. Component identification completed
3. PCB design completed
4. Plugboard design Completed

Pending Activities
1. Physical hardware testing
2. Firmware - needs modification to run on promicro
3. Firmware testing

Watch this space for updates
Last edited by kmnov2017 on 16 Feb 2020, 12:18, edited 4 times in total.

listofoptions

07 Feb 2020, 19:21

contributions, and suggestions welcome! board is likely to go through *multiple* revisions, but thankfully its fairly modular. https://github.com/listofoptions/TH-XWhatsIt

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ZedTheMan

07 Feb 2020, 19:27

Ooh, this does look promising! Though admittedly CommonSense still has the advantage of off the shelf parts, even if it is a bit of a pain to configure.

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SneakyRobb
THINK

07 Feb 2020, 19:36

Wow this looks great!

I personally have always had a very hard time trying to solder together the xwhatsit by hand. I would have really appreciated a through hole hand soldering easy method. So I am happy to see that and look forward to building one!

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OldIsNew

07 Feb 2020, 20:13

I really like this idea. While commonsense is very cool, I have found it tricky to get rebuilt F&F boards working well with it. The xwhatsit has always worked smoothly for me and a through the hole version would be great!

listofoptions

07 Feb 2020, 20:35

ZedTheMan wrote:
07 Feb 2020, 19:27
Ooh, this does look promising! Though admittedly CommonSense still has the advantage of off the shelf parts, even if it is a bit of a pain to configure.
Id like to make the argument that the CommonSense controller does not use an "off the shelf" part. its a specific part that isnt made to by any other manufacturer, where as with the XWhatsIt design you can swap most of the parts around for other components, no particular reliance on a specific manufacturer with any of them! All the parts used, save the micro and the dac are industry standard (and the controller isn't because the only industrial standard controller is arm or 8051ish like parts; i simply didn't bother finding a more standardized dac), and not proprietary, or reliant on custom compilers with spotty-at-best support. I commend DMA on his work! id have given up a LONG time ago if i couldnt use GCC!

listofoptions

07 Feb 2020, 20:40

I will work on getting BOM CSV's spun up for digikey, mouser, arrow, and farnell later this week too

orihalcon

08 Feb 2020, 02:35

Very interesting indeed! How many rows and how many columns are supported? Would be pretty cool if you could go beyond the 24x4 and 16x8 of the existing beamsprings/model F's so they could be adapted to other custom projects potentially? Wondering if there could be optional components to install for expanded number of rows/columns so that not everyone needs to install if the project doesn't require expansion.

kmnov2017

08 Feb 2020, 10:26

There are 24 pins for columns and 8 sense positions for rows on the PCB. So it's truly universal for all Beamsprings and Model Fs out there. Support for additional rows/columns will need a change to the PCB, but can be done.

gravesdesk

09 Feb 2020, 21:37

Adding a solenoid driver (adjustable for different solenoid voltages and currents), not only an expansion header, would be extremely good.

kmnov2017

09 Feb 2020, 22:53

gravesdesk wrote:
09 Feb 2020, 21:37
Adding a solenoid driver (adjustable for different solenoid voltages and currents), not only an expansion header, would be extremely good.
A relay costs less than 1 eur and a DC DC Boost converter also costs about the same. So for just 2 euros in additional components you can drive a solenoid. If you buy a 5v solenoid, then you dont even need a boost converter - all you need is a 1 euro relay.

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OldIsNew

09 Feb 2020, 23:57

kmnov2017 wrote:
09 Feb 2020, 22:53
A relay costs less than 1 eur and a DC DC Boost converter also costs about the same. So for just 2 euros in additional components you can drive a solenoid. If you buy a 5v solenoid, then you dont even need a boost converter - all you need is a 1 euro relay.
Yes it's pretty straight forward with a 5v solenoid - it just takes a simple circuit with one transistor, a diode and a resistor. Here's a pic of quick and dirty one i used for my Fluke 1720A board:
solenoid.jpg
solenoid.jpg (172.54 KiB) Viewed 438 times

gravesdesk

10 Feb 2020, 13:58

Nice, would you provide a guide for building a solenoid driver and installing it to Model F XT, running by a pro micro soarer's converter and a New Model F77 (by Ellipse) running by an xwhatsit controller?

(I am not an electronics guru (a medical doctor actually) and I am having some help for soldering from the guys in medical device repair dept.)

Thanks.

zzxx53

12 Feb 2020, 00:25

gravesdesk wrote:
10 Feb 2020, 13:58
Nice, would you provide a guide for building a solenoid driver and installing it to Model F XT, running by a pro micro soarer's converter and a New Model F77 (by Ellipse) running by an xwhatsit controller?

(I am not an electronics guru (a medical doctor actually) and I am having some help for soldering from the guys in medical device repair dept.)

Thanks.
Check out viewtopic.php?p=455535#p455535

DMA

15 Feb 2020, 18:59

listofoptions wrote:
07 Feb 2020, 20:35
Id like to make the argument that the CommonSense controller does not use an "off the shelf" part. its a specific part that isnt made to by any other manufacturer, where as with the XWhatsIt design you can swap most of the parts around for other components, no particular reliance on a specific manufacturer with any of them!
You say that as if there is a wide choice of vendors for atmegas. Surprise - atmel is a single supplier. And it's bought by microchip, so that supply can dry up anytime.
listofoptions wrote:
07 Feb 2020, 20:35
id have given up a LONG time ago if i couldnt use GCC!
Are you kidding? The only ARM official toolchain is GCC.

listofoptions

Today, 21:04

DMA wrote:
15 Feb 2020, 18:59
listofoptions wrote:
07 Feb 2020, 20:35
Id like to make the argument that the CommonSense controller does not use an "off the shelf" part. its a specific part that isnt made to by any other manufacturer, where as with the XWhatsIt design you can swap most of the parts around for other components, no particular reliance on a specific manufacturer with any of them!
You say that as if there is a wide choice of vendors for atmegas. Surprise - atmel is a single supplier. And it's bought by microchip, so that supply can dry up anytime.
listofoptions wrote:
07 Feb 2020, 20:35
id have given up a LONG time ago if i couldnt use GCC!
Are you kidding? The only ARM official toolchain is GCC.
on the note of atmega being single sourced: duh, but my point was that its possible to swap out the microcontroller for another, only making some modifications to the firmware.
and on the note of ARM, I wouldnt mind using ARM devices either, granted the core in your design is ARM, but last i checked its not compilable on linux correct? and requires custom vendor specific libraries? im too much of a FOSS / OSH person to go that route!

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