First, I am happy to announce that the One Square Inch of Goodness and the FTDI Adapter are in the stock now and available for purchase!

In the video above, I show how I programmed the assembled kits as well as the raw TQFP IC’s without soldering anything to them. It’s a pretty simple setup, but solved the problem I was facing as well as made things a lot faster. As I mentioned in the video, pogo pins are found here, USBtinyISP here, and breadboard switch here (from Adafruit).

A note on using ICSP: – The Square Inch is designed to accept an FTDI connection for programming. Because of this, a .1µF capacitor is between the reset line of the ATmega328P and the pin labeled DTR. This is so when you load new sketches on the Square Inch, it will reset automatically via the DTR line on the FTDI adapter. When you use ICSP, you need to bypass this capacitor! Otherwise it will not work. The programming board I used in the video had the capacitor bypassed with solder (pictured below). There is also a via to the right of the capacitor that leads to the reset line. This can be shorted to the DTR pin to accomplish the same task, as I did to program the assembled boards.  Continue reading Programming the Square Inch – TQFP Jig

Date posted: August 17, 2012 | Author: | 3 Comments »

Categories: Arduino Cool Stuff Open Source Hardware PCB SMD Tools / Equipment

Hi peeps, I have been wanting to make a small GPS device (GPS receiver and some sort of screen) that I could carry around for a while now, but I didn’t want it to be too big, so I made this. Mission accomplished.

This unit is explained in the video above, but is basically a GPS receiver, 1 CR1220 battery for the RTC on the GPS breakout, one of my Square Inch of Goodness boards, one 128×32 OLED display, three 6mm buttons, and a 400mAh Li-Po Battery (from Sparkfun). It even has FTDI headers on it so I can update the firmware with ease (with my own FTDI adapter!). The awesome part is that all of those things fit in an Altoids Smalls tin, measuring 2.15″ (W), 1.35″ (L), and .56″ (H), or 55mm (W), 34mm (L), and 14mm (H).

The GPS breakout board is from Adafruit and uses the MTK3339 GPS module, and man does it work well. I have had other GPS modules that worked, but it was a fight. If you’re thinking about putting GPS in a project, use this. They also have a great library for it. They even have the raw MTK3339 GPS module if you want to use your board. Read the Adafruit product page for all the features, there are many.

The 128×32 OLED display is also from Adafruit, it works well and has the typical OLED crispiness. Very easy to read, even in sunlight, for the size and you can even multiply the text size if you want to.

So I’m going up to NY in a few days, and I wanted a new and exciting way to talk with the TSA folks, so I figured this would work. (kidding) If only Hollywood had not trained everyone to think a gadget with a few wires and a flashing red LED, that they didn’t understand, was a bomb.. ugh. (not kidding)

*UPDATE – there is a set on Flickr for this with teardown pictures.

*UPDATE #2 – Oops, I forgot to put the link to the code on Github. 0_0

Date posted: July 15, 2012 | Author: | 26 Comments »

Categories: Arduino Cool Stuff LED Open Source Hardware PCB SMD Tools / Equipment

I have been working more with 3.3 volt projects lately and wanted to make programming them with an FTDI adapter as easy as possible. Sure you can switch most FTDI adapters from 3.3 to 5 volts (the FT232RL chip has a built in 3.3 output as well as logic level selection), but it involves scratching a jumper wire and soldering pads. This isn’t bad to do once, but to go back and forth is time consuming and rough on the boards.

So, I made my own FTDI adapter with an easily changed jumper for voltage selection. I also added a power LED to let me know that it’s plugged in and ready to go, threw in some RX and TX indicator LED’s and all required caps (read the data sheet), and mini SB jack. I ordered the boards from, and as always, they were great.

*UPDATE* Now available in the store!

Eagle files are on my Github page, or you can grab just the schematic in PDF format here.

Adafruit has an FTDI Friend and Sparkfun has an FTDI Basic if your not up to soldering 28 Pin SSOP packages, or just want one. 🙂

Date posted: July 13, 2012 | Author: | 1 Comment »

Categories: Arduino Cool Stuff LED Open Source Hardware PCB SMD Tools / Equipment

I was inspired by a video by Jeri Ellsworth that showed her using homemade flux remover. This is super simple a combo of alcohol and acetone. In this video, I use a 50/50 combo of the two. So that’s 32 oz. of flux remover for $3. I Googled flux remover and it ranges from $10 to $25 for 12 oz. So that a savings of at least about $70. I have been using this on about every board I can find and it has worked great on all of them. I heart saving money. 🙂

Date posted: July 9, 2012 | Author: | 6 Comments »

Categories: Cool Stuff PCB SMD Tools / Equipment