Monday, January 7, 2008

Parts Sourcing



Got all the parts I ordered over the Christmas break. I got a lantronix co-box module from mouser.com, 3 xbee modules from digikey, and a bunch of components (resistors, diodes, caps etc) from jameco.com, and xbee breakout boards, a second arduino and bluesmirf from sparkfun.com.

I was very happy with the quick shipping from all the vendors. One thing I realized with jameco.com is that if you make an order pay attention to the shipped from multiple warehouse locations. That was my mistake before. They will charge shipping from each location which can make the total pretty high.

Digikey.com turned out to be the quickest shipper with my order showing up in 3 days with a $4.95 shipping charge, I thought that was great.

I also got a webpage hosting to do those parts of the book. I was planning on doing this anyway.

I was really wanting to try the gps project. I had a couple old gps units that I had bought at tag sales. One is a Rand McNally Streetfinder for a Palm III, and the other a "Copilot". Turned out they had the same GPS board, different rev though. I had to desolder the gps board in the Streetfinder, but with the help of some online articles and the second gps for reference was able to fairly easily wire it to use with a rs232 9 pin serial port connector. It works with the processing program "GPS Parser" and with a program from sparkfun.com called "Mini GPS Software"

Though they are old and slow, it would be nice if I can use them for some dedicated project, where a new, expensive module would be wasted.

The one thing I plan on doing is figuring out if I can get TTL serial out of them on the board. I am going to try to use a RS232 to TTL converter to see if it will work also. Another order for some MAX3232 ICs is in the works.

Sparkfun.com also has a bunch of nice tutorials beginning embedded electronics and has a lecture on UART and serial communicatons.

The circuits are generally meant to connect TTL to a RS232 to connect to a computer. I want to connect the TTL to RS232 GPS. I think it will work.

I hope to have some time to get into some of the projects again this week.

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