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Everything Else » Can you swap chips?

February 11, 2012
by Steeldeal
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Have you guys seen the JeeNodes? They seem really interesting to me. I've wanted to start dabbling in some wireless stuff and XBee is just so expensive.

The JeeNodes run about $20-$25 and they are a small board with ATMega328p Chip and a RF transceiver all in one package. The only problem I see is that the chips are pre programmed with Arduino bootloaders. Not a problem if you already know Arduino but I don't. I don't really want to learn Arduino, I like the way NerdKits work and like having the control and supporting what they are doing here.

My Question is, do you think these JeeNodes can have the Arduino swapped out for a Nerdkit chip pretty easily? Or are there other things to worry about? I'm just a newb.

I was thinking if I swapped them out obviously that raises the price but I just want to use it to see how useful it might be. I know that you can buy the RF chips pretty easily on their own which means I could build my own boards if it does end up being useable, once I've done some testing and playing with it and had other projects I might use. The also even sell the PCB for around $7 so if their design works with a few changes (such as a NerdKit chip) then I was thinking I could even utilize those potentially.

Any thoughts or helpful suggestion would be much appreciated. If it helps at all I'm planning on dabbling in a couple little home automation type projects for fun.

JeeNode: link

RFM12B Radio: link

SparkFun (only the 434Mhz not the 915Mhz) also sells the radio and has a breakout board but the breakout board costs over 3 times what the radio costs.

February 11, 2012
by Rick_S
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The microcontroller is the same. So you can program it the same way as the nerdkit mcu you would just need a different usb to serial adapter to program it. (One of the ftdi adapters) the only thing you need to do is change the programmer type in the makefile from avr109 to arduino. I think you have to change the baud to 57600. Otherwise, you can program is C as before.

Rick

February 13, 2012
by Ralphxyz
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Of course the library is written for Arduino code would it be usable in straight C?

All of the arduino code would have to converted to C but I wonder about the libraries I think some of them are done in C++.

Ralph

February 13, 2012
by treymd
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I'm taking a guess but I would think the gcc C compiler might pitch a fit if you attempt to access C++ classes in C code. Therefore, usage of C++ based arduino libraries would need to be compiled with a C++ compiler. Again just a guess.

February 13, 2012
by Rick_S
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Arduino uses the avr-gcc tool chain just like the Nerdkits. While I will admit I haven't tried to compile arduino code from outside the arduino gui, the libraries are C++ and should compile with the tools used with the nerdkit.

From the FAQ on the AVR-LibC pages LINK

"

Can I use C++ on the AVR?

Basically yes, C++ is supported (assuming your compiler has been configured and compiled to support it, of course). Source files ending in .cc, .cpp or .C will automatically cause the compiler frontend to invoke the C++ compiler. Alternatively, the C++ compiler could be explicitly called by the name avr-c++.

"

However, for ease of use, it'd be easier just to use the arduino gui if you wanted to use thier code.

Or, if you want to do what I interpreted you wanted to... Write your own program in C and send it to their micro-controller, then you would do what I stated above.

Rick

February 13, 2012
by Steeldeal
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Hmm all this talk seems a little confusing about C and C++. I'm a pretty big newb maybe I should stick to making LED's blink.

Yea, I made it blink, Yea, haha. For my encore I'll make it blink twice a second, oooh aaaaah.

It sounds like there might not be too much trouble if I start from scratch with code which is fine really I figured that part. I also thought there were other differences with Arduino like the crystal which changed the timing and such. I don't know it's all pretty confusing to me.

Maybe instead of buying the JeeNode I should just buy the RF chip and the breakout board and try to get it working on my NerdKit breadboard and go from that angle instead. Let me ask this question of the Pro's instead:

If you were going to get your NerdKit talking wirelessly (with another Nerdkit), just basic stuff to dabble in the technology. Take it back to the point where you were a newb. What would you wish someone would point you towards? I know XBee is supposed to be really easy but when it seems like buying the modules will cost more than the rest of the electronics you might be using for something simple like a remote temp module it just doesn't seem worthwhile to really mess with. Would you use this particular RF module? Another RF module? Start dabbling in Arduino because the libraries are already made for it? As a pro talking to a newb how would you suggest I make the jump into this area to learn?

February 14, 2012
by Ralphxyz
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Steeldeal, there are lots of other threads her of other people using their Nerdkit with RF modules.

Just search the forum for RF for starters. You can just post a question to a old thread if it is relavent most likely someone will answer

or of course start a new thread!

Ralph

February 14, 2012
by Steeldeal
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Alright I'll keep looking, or probably just skip the whole RF thing, there isn't much information out there that isn't just all over the place. There are 100's of options, I guess the only way to figure it out is to some day get to the point where I can try them all out.

Thanks

February 14, 2012
by Ralphxyz
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Well, I hope you get a simple, clean solution that you post here as I would really like to have a workable Nerdkit/RF project.

I purchased zigbee modules and even a Atmel zigbee mcu/zigbee processor but never got them to work so I would really loveto see a RF module posible one from SparkFun running with the Nerdkit MCU.

This would make a great Nerkit Library project!

Ralph

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