Engineers Log: 03-03/06/2018

A project log for NOAHCube

The NOAHCube is the next chapter in my Network of Automated Hardware for home automation. A new centralized and portable automation hub

dewetDewet 06/03/2018 at 19:420 Comments

 *Quick disclaimer, I am not an EE and this is my first ever backplane design so bear with me on this.

The Backplane

As mentioned in the first log the backplane will be the most important part of this design. It forms the base onto which the other add-on cards will plug into as well as define the future upgrades on the platform.

One mistake here and I will have to work around it for the rest of the projects lifetime. After some late nights, lots of caffeine and a final design sprint, I finally have a design I think will work well. The beauty of the REV: A design is that it is "Arduino compatible", this means you can program it with the Arduino IDE (though you will need to have another Arduino acting as an ISP programmer) or directly with AVR Studio in C/C++. Designing it like this will allow access to the hardware for a larger subset of people that might be interested in building the NOAHCube.

Due to the way I wanted the NOAHCube to operate/be upgraded I designed the backplane to be an active component in the system. I will eventually have an CPU card that will do the heavy lifting but until then the backplane will run the other add-on cards. Speaking of add-on cards, I have the following 4 cards in mind that will eventually plug into the backplane:

1. POWERCard

2. IOCard

3. RFCard

4. CPUCard

* And no I have not given any thought to the naming convention for the cards OK. This will come in time when I have everything up and running and can spare a few brain cycles to think up something creative.

Moving on...

Off course I had to design the POWERCard in conjunction with the backplane as I would need it to power everything up during the initial testing. So currently I have the REV: A hardware for both the backplane and the POWERCard and will add some pictures below. The REV: A hardware has been powered up and initial testing for power and communication on I2C have been completed. I needed to confirm this was working so I could begin with the IOCard next and get this puppy to start controlling some real world stuff. Once the IOCard is done and tested the CPUCard is up next, but I fully expect that to be at least a couple of months off. So in the meantime I get to control a couple of relays.

Excuse all the LED’s and extra pin’s on these boards. They are for testing purposes and will be removed in the final design: