So after a significant number of responses to my proposed re-design of the Tilty Omni, I received a unanimous vote of approval. But there were a couple of people who were unclear on how exactly the new changes would affect things, so I hope to clear things up with this post.
To start, the reason for designing the Tilty Omni at all was to take advantage of some extra input and output capability on the bottom of the Teensy 3.0 microcontroller. Because even though the Teensy has 24 pins (with various abilities) available via standard headers along its sides, there are a number of additional I/O connections available on the underside of the board (hilighted below). The pins are easily connected with surface mount headers, but make the Teensy incompatible with breadboarding.
Though these extra pins don’t have the fancy capabilities of the pins along the edges, they can still prove useful. So in order to take advantage of them, I designed the Tilty Omni which would solder the Teensy directly to the circuit board. One of the original Omni prototypes is shown below, so you can see what I mean.
Where the Tilty Duo and Quad have a socket to plug in the Teensy, the Omni simply soldered the Teensy directly on to take advantage of the extra inputs and outputs. However, this design presented some drawbacks. Primarily, the sensors were limited to those on the Tilty Duo (just an IMU, no compass or altimeter) and the design was plagued with problems, and its pin connections and sensor readings differed from those of the Duo and Quad due to its different layout.
In order to meet (or at least come close to meeting) my Kickstarter deadlines, I started trying to think of alternate ways to take advantage of the Teensy’s extra I/O without directly soldering it to the circuit board. This led to the new Tilty Omni design idea…
Since the Tilty Duo and Quad already work just fine, and have all of the regular (easily accessible) Teensy pins broken out to their add-on headers, all I needed to do was make an add-on that connected to these headers, and connected the extra I/O to a separate set available for user use. And since it would be using the add-on headers to connect the Teensy to the main board (a Duo or Quad), it would maintain compatibility with all of the connections and sensor orientations of the default boards. So essentially the new design will be an add-on board (just like any of the add-ons I’ve designed thus far), which will replace the Teensy mounted directly on the Tilty Duo or Quad.
Here’s an outline of the pros and cons of the new design...
- Can work with Tilty Duo or Quad sensor suites, without the use of an add-on.
- Can be used to upgrade a Duo or Quad, instead of requiring an entirely separate (and expensive) control board.
- Allows the Teensy to be mounted on top of add-on boards instead of underneath.
- Actually adds a couple extra connections I couldn’t fit on the original Omni design.
- Significantly simpler design!
- Adds a small amount of weight (< 0.5 oz.)
- Adds a small amount of cost to production when compared to original design.