Discussion of Mark's firmware

Forum for announcements and discussion of beta firmware.
Paul.Allen
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Re: Discussion of Mark's firmware

Postby Paul.Allen » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:04 am

Mark wrote:I wonder what others think about this?


Apparently not much! : )

My wife saw the new white charger during charging and she was like "what is up with the blue flashing?" she thinks the blue/red flashing is too much. Again, I think you should go back to just flashing Red. I like that the red is a shorter pulse (am I right?). Everything else seems to be working really well. I left one charger on for days doing the light show, just for fun.

Next week I am taking the whole week off from work to spend almost everyday working on the charger so at least I will not be so quiet around here. Also I am still trying to decide about the Microcontroller. Either way though I think I am pretty set on abandoning the original idea of two micros and instead just having one with more memory. If anything that way the LCD is not just a passive display unit, but an integral part of the charger.

Paul.Allen
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Re: Discussion of Mark's firmware

Postby Paul.Allen » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:13 am

I had a thought, for those that just want to upgrade the firmware, I wonder if we could have a folder they download that contains AVRDude, a hex of the latest firmware and a modified script like the one you gave me, that promts for the "COM" port to use and then flashes the charger. I also wonder if there is anyone else out there willing to do this so Mark is not having to do it all?

Mark
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Re: Discussion of Mark's firmware

Postby Mark » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:25 am

Paul.Allen wrote:My wife saw the new white charger during charging and she was like "what is up with the blue flashing?" she thinks the blue/red flashing is too much. Again, I think you should go back to just flashing Red.


With the latest version of the code, I've modified it so that the blue is on for a lot longer - so it's mostly blue with brief flashes of red. I'll send you a copy of it to try. If it still doesn't pass the wife test, I'll change it back to just flashing red briefly.

Next week I am taking the whole week off from work to spend almost everyday working on the charger so at least I will not be so quiet around here. Also I am still trying to decide about the Microcontroller. Either way though I think I am pretty set on abandoning the original idea of two micros and instead just having one with more memory. If anything that way the LCD is not just a passive display unit, but an integral part of the charger.


Sounds good to me!

I had a thought, for those that just want to upgrade the firmware, I wonder if we could have a folder they download that contains AVRDude, a hex of the latest firmware and a modified script like the one you gave me, that promts for the "COM" port to use and then flashes the charger. I also wonder if there is anyone else out there willing to do this so Mark is not having to do it all?


That's pretty much what I was planning to do - it won't take me long to do, so I'm more than happy to do it!

Mark
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Re: Discussion of Mark's firmware

Postby Mark » Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:40 pm

Paul: Did you get any of the emails that I've sent through to you recently? I'm assuming that you're just busy with work, but it's best to check that my emails aren't getting lost somewhere!

Paul.Allen
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Re: Discussion of Mark's firmware

Postby Paul.Allen » Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:33 am

Yes! Sorry, how rude of me not to respond. I appreciated all that you said and am taking it in to consideration as I have been think about the new design. Tomorrow I would like to start laying out the new board so I have to decide soon. As far as the lights, I still say drop the blue. I feel bad. I think if it was just me I wouldn't mind (even like it) but I think it causes confusion. One of my really good friends tried out one of my very first versions (which had several LEDs and in different places, all over), I loved it and it all made perfect sense to me. He thought it was a bit of a colorful mess. : )

Mark
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Re: Discussion of Mark's firmware

Postby Mark » Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:05 pm

No worries. It's really easy to make the change from blue/red to black/red, so I'll do it for the next version.

I'm happy to work with whichever controller you end up choosing for the LCD version!

If you're wanting the LCD to be used interactively, I think you'll need to drop the mode and current switches and instead have 3 (or even better 4 if you can stretch the budget that far!) push buttons along the bottom - I'd prefer ones that you push down instead of push in from the side like on the current version. I just can't see how it could work nicely with the current switches and a single push button.

If you do decide to go down this road, you may as well just go for the ATSAM3X8EA-AU controller and we'll effectively end up with a (semi) naked 2 channel version of your planned 4 channel charger. (I know that we'll have other changes for the 4 cell version of course) I think it would be worthwhile then adding in a small EEPROM chip to store things like default charge rates, etc that could be set through the user interface.

The biggest problems that I can see is that it's going to be pushing the budget - we're well beyond what I think you were offering on Kick Starter. It's also going to take more work to get the interface done, so that's going to push time frames out even further for those waiting for the LCD version...

Just to throw an idea out there - perhaps offer those that don't want to wait for the upgraded 2 channel charger the option to downgrade to the non LCD version and get a refund on the difference (if that's possible?) Perhaps survey those that are willing to wait to see if they would be willing to chip in a bit extra in consideration of the upgraded capabilities so that you're not personally out of pocket... I'd expect some people would be unhappy about the prospect of paying more, but they could still downgrade to the non LCD version.

Tcepsa
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Re: Discussion of Mark's firmware

Postby Tcepsa » Fri Nov 15, 2013 6:00 pm

Sorry for the silence lately; I'm on vacation and don't really have good ways to get online. More specifically, I have a tablet, which is fine for browsing but leaves much to be desired for typing and I did not bring the charger (most of the gadgets we brought with us are lithium ion ;-) )

That having been said, I have tinkered with the latest a bit. I ran into some troubles with it terminating charge due to it reachi g the overcharge voltage threshold on the batteries that I have been using for testing. They did not previously have this problem, so I am wondering whether something changed in the new firmware that is now causing them to hit that threshold. I will try to send in the data files for a 'before' and 'after' run when I get home (Thursday or Friday next week).

I am also thinking about trying to write a little app that can create graphs of the data files or listen for incoming data from an ongoing charge and graph it on the fly, but I have not even started on that yet...

Paul.Allen
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Re: Discussion of Mark's firmware

Postby Paul.Allen » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:34 pm

Mark wrote:No worries. It's really easy to make the change from blue/red to black/red, so I'll do it for the next version.


I really wish others would comment on this. If it was just me I actually really like the 0519 version. I think it looks pretty sweet. Again, I am just worried about confusion and would like to see what others think.

Mark
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Re: Discussion of Mark's firmware

Postby Mark » Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:04 am

Tcepsa wrote:That having been said, I have tinkered with the latest a bit. I ran into some troubles with it terminating charge due to it reachi g the overcharge voltage threshold on the batteries that I have been using for testing. They did not previously have this problem, so I am wondering whether something changed in the new firmware that is now causing them to hit that threshold. I will try to send in the data files for a 'before' and 'after' run when I get home (Thursday or Friday next week).


I haven't changed anything recently that I would expect to cause that. If you can send through the data files as soon as you can, I'd definitely like to take a look at them!

I am also thinking about trying to write a little app that can create graphs of the data files or listen for incoming data from an ongoing charge and graph it on the fly, but I have not even started on that yet...


Sounds good to me. I've been thinking along similar lines but I just haven't had time to get onto it. At this stage, if no one else does it, I'll probably do it after the LCD version is finished (or mostly finished)

Mark
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Re: Discussion of Mark's firmware

Postby Mark » Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:07 am

Paul.Allen wrote:
Mark wrote:No worries. It's really easy to make the change from blue/red to black/red, so I'll do it for the next version.


I really wish others would comment on this. If it was just me I actually really like the 0519 version. I think it looks pretty sweet. Again, I am just worried about confusion and would like to see what others think.


Just a thought - maybe make a short video and post it on the blog and ask people to submit what they think the blue/red flashing means. I think that the target market for this device is mostly technical users, so I think that the majority would either be able to figure it out or would be happy to learn what it means.

It's easy enough to make the change to black/red and if there is a consensus to change it back, it's really not difficult to change it back again,


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