Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wireless Arduino programming/serial link

My initial plan is to install my Arduino board, motor and sensors in a closed container. However, being contained like that will make programming and debug difficult, that is, removing the device and attaching it to a USB cable to re-program it, and then re-installing it would not likely be much fun.

The best solution is for me to do wireless programming. Normally the Arduino board is loaded with the new sketch and then the USB cable "sends" a board reset (this is all done through an FTDI chip). This in turn gets the new sketch started. Doing this remotely is a bit more difficult because a wireless connection must send a reset, and the receiver must in turn set the reset pin low momentarily to get the sketch started. Fortunately my question on an Arduino forum pointed me to a possible solution. Well I should say at this point, the only solution I've found so far.

On LadyAda's website she has a project description for creating a wireless programming/serial link. All of the components will cost about $90, so it's not a cheap solution, and I'm not sure it will work on my Seeeduino because I don't know if the bootloader complies with the requirements (even though I lucked out and it is a Duemilanove compliant board). I also posted a question on SeeedStudio's forum asking if their UartSBee board could do something similar. So far there has been no replies but in a private email exchange with them they said they said it could be done but were looking into the exact procedure.

So now I've begun to look into XBee communications. Wow, so much to learn.

If I can get this all working correctly, I could have my toy rolling around in the living room and re-program it while I'm in my studio. Way cool.

After development and debug are complete, I would remove the RF component.

UPDATED 12.24.12 -----------------------------------------

A posting from SeeedStudio this morning indicates I could use SeeedStudio's UartSBee V4 component to replace the FTDI cable and AdaFruit XBee Adapter kit. This would save me about $10 from the AdaFruit solution that would cost $90.

The hardware path would be:

PC -> USB Cable -> UartSBee V4 -> XBee S1 RF -> transmit
receive -> XBee S1 RF -> XBee Adapter kit -> Arduino (Duemilanove)

with reset hardware patch.

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