Unofficial Particle "Shields" Survey - Responses Needed

Hi everyone,

I am interested in gathering some information from the Particle community (read: you!) regarding add-on modules (aka “Shields”) for the Particle platform. This is an unofficial survey for the community by a community member (me!). I plan to keep the survey open for a couple of weeks and then publish the results, minus anything personally identifiable, to the community for everyone to do what they want with it. My hopes is that this will let those interested in using shields for their projects and products voice their opinions and give those interested in building their own shields some free, highly targeted, market research.

The survey can be found here and takes a minute or two to complete.

Thanks everyone! As always, comments welcome.

Harrison Jones

[Edit, since the forum doesn’t bump when someone likes I would love if people would post that they have fill out the survey when they did so we can auto-bump this post up. When it falls off I’ll know it’s time to release the data!]

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(This is actually from 2 days ago, I just forgot to post it.)

Done! I’ll also post my survey comment here as well:

+1000000 for getting this rolling in the community. I just submitted my first PCB to fab for a proto shield last week, and have been looking at all sorts of PCB ideas and options. If this first shield works out well, I will likely list it on Tindie. I’m also hoping it’s inspiration for helping move this whole community shield idea along.

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Thanks @wgbartley! The responses so far have been good. I’m looking forward to release the data.

[Edit: we had people call out a need for a “Proto board”. I’d love to hear people’s opinion on what the board would look like]

This is my interpretation! I haven’t received my first batch, so I don’t know if it works yet. Planning on putting a barrel connector under a Photon is a tight fit, but I think it should work. I’m considering another version with a screw terminal for power instead of barrel connector. I have another design with the I2C pins broken out into rows for connecting a bunch of sensors. This is my first run ever at a real, fabbed PCB, so go easy on me! :wink:

Update: I just confirmed that a screw terminal fits nicely under a Photon with headers on a breadboard. :smile:

Maybe @peekay123 can weigh in his experience with the RGBPongClock shield? I’ve never known him to shy away from sharing his opinion. :wink:

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@wgbartley, that’s a very tiny proto area! Are you assuming a 5v supply on you barrel connector? Am I correct in assuming you have a polarized cap and a decoupling cap as well? If you put a screw terminal, you should put a reverse voltage protection diode (schottky). Otherwise, looks fine.

Looks good so far. I’d really like to adopt 1 (or 2) “Shield” specs. I haven’t seen any issues with SparkFun’s Photon shields. I’d really like to adopt this spec (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13626) for “small” shields and this spec (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13628) for larger shields. I’d also love to work with the community to hone the spec into something most everybody is happy with.

Here’s my “tentative spec” for Photon Shields:

  • Must follow the stackable format (shown above)
  • May deviate from the above format but the 4 holes and double stack-able headers are a requirement.
  • Must have a web link to the product page on the board
  • Must have a REV number (revision number)
  • Must have a (unique?) name on the board
  • Must have all pins labeled if there is space
  • Must have a ported library (if applicable)

What do y’all think?

I’d be happy to strip down the SparkFun board layout for use by the rest of the community.

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must have a schematic and data sheet

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Schematic is definitly a “want” though I’m not sure if we want to require users to be OSHW.

What would you like to see in a datasheet? We could nail that down now

That’s intentional. I wanted something tiny. NeoPixels only require 1 pin (for example)!

Nope!

Yup!

Good call! I should probably do that to the little protoboard I soldered up last night since I used a screw terminal. Protect myself from myself!

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Yes if someone wanted to make something non open source then they don’t need a full schematic but they would still require an interface schematic showing all inputs and outputs.

As for data sheets we need to know what the device does, how it operates, Max & min input voltages, operating and standby current output voltages, currents etc. For simple shields with just one or 2 components it’s easy enough to work out from the individual data sheets but for some things like power supplies there may be components selected that change the characteristics slightly. Knowing communication protocols is a must too and any api required to interface.

I really like where you are going with this!

I would also love to see something in a similar form factor that supports a P0/P1, a little space left open for user defined custom bits (sensors etc) and then the proto area. If something like that existed that I could purchase access to the design files to add a few bits…I would be a buyer. This PO/P1 custom starter concept would have all of the buttons, leds, voltage regs, whatever to meet the requirements outlined in Create a Product to meet FCC modular certification. It would include the baseline bom so the custom pieces could be fit on the baseboard, traces extended to proper pins and the user specific bits added to the bom. The whole idea is get all of the pre-req standard stuff out of the way, leave room for some user extras and position them as close to being able to order a custom PCB as possible. My selfish wish…

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I’ve had a protoboard for Core/Photon on the market for ages but as it’s only promoted on the forums and it’s not in the “shop” its existence often vanishes in the noise.

You can get it here. https://www.tindie.com/stores/justinm/

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It would be nice to see third party shields in the particle shop along with the ones from Sparkfun and Adafruit. Otherwise making people aware existence and availability of them becomes hard to promote and grow.

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We’ve been batting the idea about offline, and I think this thread is the first step in that direction.

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PM2.5 & PM10 particulate matter sensors would be nice. The cheap dust sensors that detect all particulate matter don’t carry as much legal meaning as PM2.5 and PM10 values which can be compared to levels that are officially declared as unsafe or healthy.

Do you have a good source for these? I’d love to look into them

I’ve only seen 2 or 3 commercial products (expensive) and a DIY instructable where I think somebody hooked up a motor, fan, and filters and another DIY where I think they ripped the device out of a commercial product. It would be really nice to have something accurate and ready-to-go that interfaces with a microcontroller.

Here is one I have found, but not tried myself :

http://www.dfrobot.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=48&product_id=1272&sort=p.date_added&order=DESC#.Vhc-anV3n0p

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Thank you! That really helps.