View Full Version : Amicus shields

- 13th May 2011, 14:14

Do you have a board layout pattern folks can use to create new shields for your Amicus board?

I plan on using DipTrace for the boards. The shield board will use RF Digital 2.4GhZ RF transceiver modules with built-in chip antenna. Could make for some very interesting projects.

RF Digital has agreed to supply a few parts & the boards I design, so these might be a fun set of boards for your contest.

- 14th May 2011, 13:22
Hi, we have nothing in diptrace format. On the amicus18 site the users have been making their own shields, and some have published the board laouts, here is one (http://www.myamicus.co.uk/entry.php?10-Improved-Real-Time-Clock-Shield-with-Free-Board-Layout-amp-Improved-Code) that relies on express pcb for the board production, so uses express pcb files.

Link to the board layout files (http://www.myamicus.co.uk/attachment.php?attachmentid=335&d=1281538821)

And more here in ISIS/Ares format (http://ohararp.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/AMI18_A-CADCAM.zip)

- 27th May 2011, 05:10
Surely someone at Crownhill has the dimensions - or maybe the PCB fairy did this...


- 27th May 2011, 05:39
Do you have a board layout pattern folks can use to create new shields for your Amicus board?Bruce,

This may or may not help. The Arduino Internet Shield page (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9026)at SparkFun has a reference design link (as well as numerous disparaging comments on that product). It has a layout with a .BRD file extension. I have no idea what CAD or PCB Layout program uses .BRD but if you can read it, you can get the dimensions you need.

If you can read it of find the necessary dimensions elsewhere, let me know - I'd like to do a shield layout for the Tibbo EM500 ethernet module.

- 27th May 2011, 05:49
After seeing the 1199.99 inc. VAT prices for bare shield boards on the Crownhill Amicus18 page (http://www.crownhill.co.uk/level3.php?cat=270&sec=1) I'm really certain that I want to design my own. :rolleyes:

That might explain why they don't want to give us the dimensions. :D

- 27th May 2011, 06:08
Do you have a board layout pattern folks can use to create new shields for your Amicus board?.

There's a .PDF (http://digital-diy.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=64&Itemid=67)with the dimensions needed on this (http://digital-diy.com/Amicus18-Beginner-Guides/introducing-the-amicus18.html)Amicus18 related page.

- 27th May 2011, 16:32
Thanks Dave,

I did finally manage to find a shield layout, and I think it's spot-on. I just kinda assumed, since the Arduino & Amicus boards were such an "open platform" that someone that already had shield board layouts would be a tad more "open" with the physical board layouts for shields..;o)

RF Digital has agreed to provide a couple PCBs, parts, and more, so I want to get a shield board ready soon, and was just looking to save a bit of time.

Microchip now offers a PIC32 board that's compatible with the Arduino compiler, shields, and more, so maybe I'll put together a few apps for this one, Arduino, and Amicus boards!

An Arduino compatible board, with a PIC32 processor, running at 80MHz, looks pretty darn enticing.

Check Microchips website for the details. I'm going to grab one and develop a few shields/code examples for them.

The only reason the Arduino is so popular, is because they don't say, buy our boards, buy our shields, or figure it out for yourself - so here's my contribution to the mix. Haven't had a board made yet, but dimensions match one from a link Lester provided. There's a .DXF and DipTrace board file for a blank shield.

Might save someone a few minutes not having to design the shield from scratch, and you can use the free version of DipTrace to make your own shields.

- 27th May 2011, 17:25
Hi Dave & Bruce,

I see that the shield dim PDF from me. Ik will take a look for a physical PCB layout.

I think, Microchip get never so much ground in the open source like the Arduino. The Arduino is world famous and very very popular by hobbist, education, profs etc.

But, it will be nice that some shields be compatible.

Good luck, Bruce with the RF shield.

/ Gevo

- 27th May 2011, 17:51
Here is my initial layout. It lacks connections and needs a few other tweaks. I'll wait until I receive the Xino Basic (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/XINO-Basic-PIC-PICAXE-Genie-Arduino-adapter-kit-/220778180006?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item336767ada6) board I ordered and until Tibbo releases the long-promised firmware for the EM500/GA1000 combo.

My health won't let me do much besides the prototype. If Bruce or Lester wants to offer it, the layout is my donation. Although, if Crownhill prices the bare shield at the 1199.99 inc. VAT price their web page has for the other bare shields, I'll want a cut should they ever sell one.:eek:

These are much larger than life-size. Maybe a moderator can reduce them a bit.

- 27th May 2011, 18:41
Nice work Dave,

A big shield for little hardware :-)

I work on a carrierboard with the Ami18 Stamp Module, maybe we have some place for the Tibbo module.

Best regards,
/ Gevo

Yes, the Crownhill shields a little expensive :-)

- 27th May 2011, 22:16
A bit of progress - I've identified the terminals along top & bottom of the board and have 3V3 and GND for the EM500 & GA1000. All that I need now are to decide on TX, RX, & RESET for the EM500 and the SPI connections between the EM500 & GA1000. Are there any suggestions for RX, TX & RESET? I don't want to create any conflicts.

The GA1000 page at Tibbo says...
The module utilizes SPI interace and only requires five I/O line to control. Flexible mapping allows your application to use any five available I/O pins. This applies to EM1000/EM1202/EM1206 but it's unknown whether it will apply to EM500 until Tibbo actually releases the long-promised firmware for the EM500/GA1000 combo.


- 27th May 2011, 23:56
.....Microchip now offers a PIC32 board that's compatible with the Arduino compiler, shields, and more, so maybe I'll focus on that rather than code or shields for an Amicus board.

An Arduino compatible board, with a PIC32 processor, running at 80MHz, looks pretty darn enticing.
Are you referring to this? http://www.digilentinc.com/Products/Detail.cfm?NavPath=2,892,893&Prod=CHIPKIT-UNO32


- 28th May 2011, 00:09
In the spirit of the Audino/Amicus/Xino/??? projects I want to make this as universal and flexible as possible.

Looking at the pictures (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/XINO-Basic-PIC-PICAXE-Genie-Arduino-adapter-kit-/220778180006?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item336767ada6) of the Xino Basic board I have on order, they do not have the 4-pin power connector in the upper left corner, so it looks like I need to use the 3V3 from the lower edge.

Also, I would like to use an SMT socket beneath the board for the GA1000 as it should simplify supporting the cantilevered board (e.g. with a stick-on dot) and keep the overall height to a minimum. How much vertical clearance is there on the bottom of the shield?

Eight of the EM500 pins are available as GPIO pins if the EM1000 is not used. I'll try to work out a through-hole pad pattern to allow LEDs or digital inputs. Does anybody make LEDs with internal resistors suitable for 3V3?

Any other thoughts and suggestions?

- 28th May 2011, 00:17
Are you referring to this? http://www.digilentinc.com/Products/Detail.cfm?NavPath=2,892,893&Prod=CHIPKIT-UNO32That's also missing the 4-pin power connector so it confirms the need for me to use the other power point.

@Any moderator: Why is the EDIT function for recent posts so random? Sometimes I see it but most of the time, no.

- 28th May 2011, 00:28
Theoretically, you should see an edit button for 60 minutes past your posting time.(Edit: used to be 60, but sounds like that's been changed to 20) Then it would dissapear. If it's not appearing directly after a post, let us know. We had an issue in the wiki area a while back ...

- 28th May 2011, 00:56
If it's not appearing directly after a post, let us know.I only see it about 1 time in 10.:(

- 28th May 2011, 10:58

Xino Basic board I have on order
Any reason you would prefer the Xino over an Amicus18 board? The Amicus18 is pretty nice, supports any compiler, and it's fast!


Are you referring to this? http://www.digilentinc.com/Products/...=CHIPKIT-UNO32 (http://www.digilentinc.com/Products/Detail.cfm?NavPath=2,892,893&Prod=CHIPKIT-UNO32)
That's it. Have you tried one yet?

- 28th May 2011, 11:40
Any reason you would prefer the Xino over an Amicus18 board?Bruce,

I really don't use PICs beyond the 8-pinners and and occasional 16F688 or 16F88. For bigger projects I use ZBasic (http://www.zbasic.net/), who have added a lot of low level features that I've requested. At my age (70), I haven't the time to learn (or debug) the low level techniques like you and Darrell plus I've always subscribed to the view behind the Basic dialects that there are far more experts in non-computer fields than there are computer experts who can write the code the former could use. PICAXE and Xino fit right into that. And, I'm a big fan of versatility (PIC, PICAXE, Genie E28 whatever that is). Finally, I'm just plain cheap.

This is from the web page (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/XINO-Basic-PIC-PICAXE-Genie-Arduino-adapter-kit-/220778180006?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item336767ada6) where I ordered the Xino...
Designed to be the most economic way possible of running a PIC or PICAXE/Genie with Arduino shaped plug and play shields.

The inspiration for this adapter board came from a number of educational users. They said they wanted a child friendly development board like the XINO Pro but at pocket money prices. We like a challenge, so the thoughts began.............

It had to be very low cost.
It had to support a wide range of microcontrollers, especially those that were already "in education", as well as "proper" compilers for bare PIC's.
It had to remain "Arduino" shaped.
It had to be robust enough for tiny hands.

The XINO Basic appears adequate to the limited testing of prototype Amicus18 shields I plan.

- 28th May 2011, 11:53
If the danged EDIT feature was working I'd have added...

It also seems like a good way for noobies, etc. to be able to do hands on testing of things like the EM500, GA1000, ConnectOne modules, etc. before committing to a dedicated PCB design. Thus, I plan shields that have sockets for such devices like the one in this thread.

And building it will kill some time while I continue to patiently await the long-promised firmware for the EM500/GA1000 combo. :D

- 28th May 2011, 13:30
Dave, It seems you have been waiting a while for the firmware? - LOL just poking fun.

This is GREAT stuff you are working on. :)

- 28th May 2011, 13:51
Dave, It seems you have been waiting a while for the firmware?Not according to Lester. :rolleyes: It's been more than a year.:(

Thanks for the kudos. I think the layout is more or less final. I want to see the XINO board before deciding on the TX, RX & RESET connections. And, the 8 unconnected pins on the EM500 form a GPIO port. Five of those pins (which five awaits the release the long-promised firmware) are used for an SPI link to the GA1000. I'll connect all eight to the GA1000 pads - that way users can just use a perf board with a male header to access the GPIO port when the GA1000 is not used. That keeps it simple and inexpensive.


- 28th May 2011, 17:15

That's it. Have you tried one yet?
I have not tried it as I no longer work with MCHP MCUs. I did take a look at this one as it uses an ST32 processor http://leaflabs.com/devices/maple/


- 28th May 2011, 21:18
Right now it looks like the ds30 bootloader will work with the 16F88 so I may end up with a nifty little, super economical development system for prototyping, testing PIC code and prototyping, testing shields. I'll be able to say a bit more once I get the XINO kit. There's a dearth of online documentation so all is possible until I get the hardware and documentation and reality sets in. :eek:

For working with the EM500/GA1000 (if the long-promised firmware is ever released) we only need a serial link and a reset line with very simple code since all the heavy lifting takes place in the EM500 (which requires coding in Tibbo's Basic dialect).

I think I can do a similar simple shield for the ConnectOne Socket LanReach and mini iWiFi modules (one only plugged in at a time).

Oh, one change to the layout. I've doubled the pads around the perimeter so a scope or logic probe can access pins which are not used on the shield but may be employed in the PIC program being developed for a more permanent design.

- 29th May 2011, 00:17
I did take a look at this one as it uses an ST32 processor
Impressive. I wonder how they handle USB on the PC end.

- 29th May 2011, 01:56
Impressive. I wonder how they handle USB on the PC end.

Not sure what you mean. PC side?

- 29th May 2011, 02:10
Not sure what you mean. PC side?Do they provide virtual serial port drivers for Windows, Linux, OSX or must users write their own routines to handle USB?

- 29th May 2011, 02:37
The STM32 includes a dedicated USB peripheral which can be configured to act as a generic USB slave device with transfer rates up to 12Mbps. It is configured for two uses: first, to receive sketch/program uploads from the IDE and secondly, to emulate a regular serial port for use as a terminal (text read/write). For more info, see http://leaflabs.com/docs/usb.html and http://leaflabs.com/docs/lang/api/serialusb.html#lang-serialusb

- 29th May 2011, 02:51
Good luck with that.

- 29th May 2011, 14:23
For my own use, in keeping with the philosophy of phrugality behind the XINO Basic board, I'd like to use a 16F88 with internal 8MHz OSC and with the two comparators used as inverters for the serial lines. There are, at least, three possible bootloaders - TinyPIC Bootloader, Spark Fun's BLoader & ds30. The latter is probably required for those using the bigger PIC but I think the others use less space on the 16F88.

However, I still need a power supply. So it might be better to use an external USB-Serial adapter which can also supply power (http://www.geeetech.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=19_39&products_id=123). This frees the comparators for other uses and saves the cost of an external power supply. An external 5V power supply actually costs less than the USB-Serial adapter but the adapter has the advantage that there are virtual serial port drivers for Windows, Linux & OSX. Plus, using the comparators requires revising the bootloader code which may be above my paygrade. I'll have to wait until I have the XINO kit and USB-Serial adapter in hand to see how best to interface them. While waiting for them (as well as the release of the long-promised Tibbo EM500/GA1000 firmware), I'll do a shield layout for ConnectOne ethernet modules.

The people who make the XINO also have a prototyping shield called ProtoX which you can see on this page (http://www.ciseco.co.uk/content/?page_id=1646) (scroll down). This should be compatible with Arduino and clones like Amicus18.

- 29th May 2011, 14:51
However, I still need a power supply. So it might be better to use an external USB-Serial adapter which can also supply power (http://www.geeetech.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=19_39&products_id=123).The people who make XINO are promising a plug-in USB-Serial adapter.
5 way serial header now brings out MCUPWR rail and RESET. This is for our forthcoming serial programmer which will program PICAXE, PIC, Atmel and XRF boards. You can use a generic FTDI board, max232 boards with plain old serial and even those bargain basement CA-42 phone cables which use the prolific chipset. For auto reset you need DTR or you can, like in the old design manually press reset to invoke the bootloader. (Not applicable for PICAXE/Genie as they use a different method, which is fully supported via the stereo jack).One can only hope that they are faster than Tibbo who still haven't released their long-promised Tibbo EM500/GA1000 firmware. :rolleyes:

@Moderators: Please fix the EDIT function.

- 29th May 2011, 14:58
@Moderators: Please fix the EDIT function.

I will write Lester an email, in case he hasn't seen the requests. I am sure he will get to it when he has time. Moderators don't have permissions to look at the settings for the forum, and much less change them. So it is left solely up to the administrator.

- 29th May 2011, 16:26
So it is left solely up to the administrator.OK, thanks anyway.

- 31st May 2011, 03:46
I see that the shield dim PDF from me.I captured it, redrew all the dimensions with a larger, darker font and created a new, more readable PDF.5592

- 30th July 2011, 22:06
Thank you for posting this...