If you read some of the earlier posts on this blog you will quickly see that the times were much simpler four years ago when it comes to iGaging scales: there was only one kind and red wire was "Vcc", black wire was "Ground", and so on. Since then iGaging has gone through several revisions of the original DIgiMag scales and has introduced AbsoluteDRO and EZ View scales. My goal for this post is to explain what are the different iGaging (and generic scales made by Shahe) that TouchDRO supports and how to connect them to the BlueTooth DRO controller.
I started offering pre-made controllers/DIY kit earlier this year, and have received a number of emails asking to clarify which DRO controller to chose and why. At the time of this writing I offer three versions of the controller hardware: two as a pre-assembler board and one as a DIY kit. Each controller is designed to interface with specific set of scales and uses firmware that is specifically optimized for that particular hardware. The purpose of this post is to explain what each controller was designed for and what are the benefits/tradeoffs of using it as opposed to the other controllers.
I'm really excited to finally say that after many months of "Beta" testing, version 2.5 of TouchDRO has been released to "Production". Even though it didn't earn a full digit reales number of 3.0, this version encompasses a lot of major changes under the hood. Many of the changes were made in response to your feedback and requests, while others lay groundwork for future functionality, so let's take a look at the most noteworthy changes in the new version.
Last Monday I shipped the first batch of orders for the Mixed Scale DIY DRO Kit, so those of you that have placed an order have likely already received it. I know that many of the people who ordered the kits have electronics experience and won't need a step-by-step assembly instructions. With that said, I designed the kit to be very beginner-friendly, so in this post I will go over the assembly process in some detail, so someone with limited electronics experience should be able to follow it and end up with a working DRO controller.
Mixed Scale Controller DIY DRO Kit is designed to simplify the build process of the "Mixed Scale" DRO controller. As the name suggests, this version of the controller comes as a do-it-yourself kit that consists of a bare printed circuit board, MSP430 microcontroller pre-programmed with the "Mixed Scale" firmware, BlueTooth transceiver, and all of the necessary parts to build the voltage shifter circuit. The board is primarily designed to run the Mixed Scale firmware and interface with 1.5V and/or 3.3V scales and calipers, but can be easily tweaked to work with quadrature encoders instead.
TouchDRO Quadrature board is designed to interface standard quadrature scales to TouchDRO Android application. It supports up to four scale inputs, directional tachometer, and touch probe input. All inputs are buffered and 5V-tolerant. Scale inputs can be either single-ended, or differential (for better noise immunity).