After a couple of wet Sundays, the breadboard prototype has been turned into a PCB and ChickBot Pi lives!
It boasts all the same features as the Arduino board – so pushbutton, LED, analog input, drivers for both stepper motors or standard motors, piezo buzzer. However, the analog support doesn’t run to digital output.
Importantly, to help keep the production of activity packs simple, the terminal blocks are laid out exactly the same as the Arduino driver board. This will speed up the creation of worksheets as we will just have to concentrate on the two different code bases.
To support the Raspberry Pi, there is a voltage regulator so that the Pi can be powered by the board’s battery pack.
The picture shows a Pi Zero with a WiFi dongle plugged into it. This provides the rather fun facility that you can connect to the Pi to type commands directly into it – either at the command line or using VNC screen sharing software. At a later point we’ll conjure up a phone app to allow you to remotely control your ChickBot Pi.
We’ve used the original Pi connector 26 pin header for two reasons:
- We want to support all those original Pi’s
- Space – 40 pins would make the board rather wide.
As you can see, it’s simple enough to have the cable go from a 26 pin header to a 40 pin header. We’ll be providing both in the box to cover all options.
This picture is also a shining example of why you should not layout a PCB whilst under the influence of a heavy cold. Be assured the next revision will have the connector turned through 180º so the Pi doesn’t get covered by the cable.
For those wondering, the voltage regulator, which can get quite warm, is underneath, away from fingers small or large.