Looking for ThingModule clarifications

(Chip) #1

I’m really excited to get my hands on one of the ThingModules to see what projects I can start cramming them into.  I was hoping someone on the ST team could answer some of my questions.

Firstly, does it have pins on the underside, or does it just have solder pads?  If it’s just pads, are there any plans to make a breakout board for it with .1" pin headers for breadboard use and easy inclusion in one-off projects?

Secondly, can you give us some more info about the GPIO pins?  Are these digital only, or are some/all capable of analog IO?  If they’re analog capable, what are the voltage ranges and current limits?  Is there any provision either in the module itself or in the ST software for conversion formulas (eg converting a thermistor’s resistance to a temperature)? Will any outputs be capable of PWM?

And lastly, is the $10 price quoted here  only for bulk manufacturer orders, or is that the end-user price as well?


Thanks for your help.

(Jeff Hagins) #2

Thanks for your questions. I’ll try to address them top to bottom along with some additional commentary at the end.
The module has “castellated pads” which are easy to solder.

We do plan to offer a breakout board to support breadboard prototyping, sometime in late Q1 2013.

The GPIO pins support both analog and digital. There are 6 GPIO pins that can be configured as analog inputs with an input voltage range of 0v-1.2V. The current draw is minimal – input impedance is typically 10 Megaohms when not sampling, 1 Megaohm when sampling at 1 MHz.

With regard to PWM, the module has 8 PWM output channels, with a variety of flexible pin assignments.
Our microcontroller does provide for offset and scaling, but conversion for non-linear functions such as thermistor voltage must be done in application software.

Which brings me to the discussion of firmware.

Enabling the GPIO pins and supporting the features described above will be done through configuration of our module and not through custom firmware.

While we will support custom firmware on the module our intent is to limit this to large scale manufacturing partners, and to enable the broader maker community through a meta-data driven configuration of the module.

The meta-configuration of the module driven by a cloud-based configuration that is sent down to the hub and then to the module itself is a feature we hope to have ready in Q1 of 2013.

Until then, we recommend that makers use the Arduino shield that also has the module. The first version of the Arduino shield supports a serial interface to the module that allows you to send and receive messages through the module to and from the hub and the SmartThings Cloud. Then you will write “Device Type Handlers” using our IDE to parse and format the messages and expose your unique device type to the SmartThings Cloud.

So plan to focus on Arduino-based prototyping until we get the meta-configuration and breadboards available, at which point you can start to work against the module directly.

Finally, the $10 price is for large bulk orders. We are working to finalize pricing on low quantity orders and we will keep you posted.

(Chip) #3

Thank you for your detailed answers.  This gives me a lot to think on while I wait.

(Jason M ) #4

Yes Thank you for the detailed information.  I am looking forward to working directly with the Thing Modules to integrate some ideas I have for SmartThings.  I can’t wait to get my hands on the ‘Chip Only’ Modules as I don’t do anything currently with Arduino. (maybe I should pick that up)

Anyway, can’t wait to get cracking!

Thank you again Jeff.

(Joris) #5

I think would be safe to assume that the arduino shield will work with any microcontroller that supports UART, as long as you wire it up correctly.

The meta configuration sounds good, but I think for a lot of applications it would be great if it supports UART/SPI/I2C

(Crash Test) #6

Does anyone know if the ThingsModules will have a unique identifier on the SmartThings network and will it have onboard non-volatile memory to store its settings in?

Just wondering if my device uses a ThingsModule and its not powered all the time, the next time it is powered up will it remember all of its settings? Will it be automatically recognised on the network?