Suggestions and Ideas for custom Omega2 Docks



  • Hey :)

    Im currently planning to do some custom docks for the Omega 2

    (Probably some kind of mini dock with a few more things, a full-fledged board with on-board "expansions", a breadboard version with more than the original and a prototype one with on-board usb-serial and usb host)

    So it would be great if you could create an issue over at my github repo with your suggestions :) (making it more of a community thing)

    Things i have on my to-do list:

    Mini Dock

    • USB Host
    • USB to Serial
    • PWR switch and RST Button
    • either a LiPo charger OR some pins prototyping (with I2C connection)

    Full Dock

    • USB Host
    • USB to Serial
    • LiPo Charger
    • VIN Barrel Jack
    • Ethernet
    • PWM Outputs
    • Maybe Bluetooth through the second Serial Port
    • Maybe am OLED Screen
    • Maybe Relays (though they are a thing i think are "dangerous")
    • Power Switch and Reset Button
    • General Pinout of the Omega 2 Pins

    Breadboard Dock

    • USB to Serial
    • USB Host (maybe as an micro USB Port)
    • Power Switch and Reset Button
    • Maybe LiPo Charger (if there is space left)
    • And (obviously) Breadboard Pinout (as thin as possible to not occupy half of the pins)

    Protodock

    • 2.54mm Pin Pitch prototyping space
    • USB To Serial
    • Power Switch and Reset Button
    • Maybe USB Host
    • VIN Barrel Jack

    If you want to discuss some of these ideas or want to bring in your own ideas (please do it!) comment here or post them on github :)

    Have a nice Day

    Matthias Nowak



  • Personally, I don't see the need to replicate all Onion's docks with just a few added features. It seems a waste of energy, and there will always be something missing. I think that a single dock that includes everything would be more useful. Here's my suggestion:

    THE FULL OMEGA2 DOCK

    1. 32-pin standard dual-in-line connector that exposes ALL the OMEGA2 pins. The first pins must be pin compatible with the Expansion Dock 30-pin connector, so the remaining pins (more than 2 if need be) of the connector could be of a different color, blue for example.
    2. 1-foot flat cable and connectors that can connect THE FULL OMEGA2 DOCK to a breadboard.
    3. Standard connectors or buttons, and their relevant circuits of all Omega2 hardware features (Ethernet, USB, I2C, I2S, SPI and Reset). For Serial(s), I would use a selectable RS-232 / USB-to-serial switch, plus both connectors on this dock, and for each ports as well.
    4. Jumpers to disable on-board hardware if they can interfere with the pins use from ITEM 1 if we choose so.
    5. The battery charger too.
    6. The On/Off switch of course.

    If you need it, it's already there to use! Very simple for us. Ok! Maybe adding optional touch-screen and bluetooth features to this FULL OMEGA2 DOCK would be very useful. They could be compatible with the other docks too, so not a waste of resources...

    P.S.: I would pay more than $15 for that. :wink:

    That's it! My perfect ideal FULL OMEGA2 DOCK!!! :fireworks: :fireworks: :fireworks:



  • @Matthias-Nowak
    Or a special purpose dock. E.g.:

    • a battery backed RAM dock would be cool
    • uSD card dock
    • oscilloscope dock
    • HW random generator dock (can be made by amplifying noice)

    Or what about creating an expansion board which is connected to the onion through I2C or USB which could have its own GPIO controller, level converters, etc?
    If this was connected via UART instead, it could even be made wireless by using serial over bluetooth.
    This again could have expansions such as IR transmitter, so we can switch on TV, etc throw our onion.

    There are plenty of possibilities.
    If I were you, I would try to create something unique.

    By the way: If you thing relays are scary, consider solid state relays.



  • My favorite dock would be a Ethernet-minidock, to allow wired omega usage without the clumsyness and excess size of the normal dock plus ethernet expansion:

    • mini dock style
    • but with Ethernet Jack
    • PPoE (passive PoE, just using free wires 4/5 7/8 for power, with down-regulator from 5..24V -> 3.3)
    • maybe second Ethernet Jack (if Omega2 pinout will eventually allow that, see here)

    (also posted as issue at your github repo, as requested)



  • A board with RJ45 Jack should be standard for every beginner kit... to de-brick if something gets wrong.



  • I hope s RS485 dock provided since there are many sensors devices connected using RS485.



  • @fossette

    Personally, I don't see the need to replicate all Onion's docks with just a few added features. It seems a waste of energy, and there will always be something missing. I think that a single dock that includes everything would be more useful. Here's my suggestion:

    Yeah ok, rethought everything and making a bit better version of the docks really seems unnecessary. so i made it smaller in just two categorys:

    • Mini Dock (max. 5x5cm size)
    • Full Dock (max. 10x10cm size)
      Only because these are convenient sizes for PCBs from china, but still much more space for a bit of playroom for features.

    THE FULL OMEGA2 DOCK

    1. 32-pin standard dual-in-line connector that exposes ALL the OMEGA2 pins. The first pins must be pin compatible with the Expansion Dock 30-pin connector, so the remaining pins (more than 2 if need be) of the connector could be of a different color, blue for example.
    2. 1-foot flat cable and connectors that can connect THE FULL OMEGA2 DOCK to a breadboard.

    +1 for that idea. completely forgot about something like the raspberry pi t cobblers. But i dont feel really secure about the dock compatability. yeah sure its useful. but if the full dock already has 3 out of the 4 docks built in it, it will end up with people like trying to use the ethernet dock and wondering why it isnt working that they have 2 ethernet connections.

    1. Standard connectors or buttons, and their relevant circuits of all Omega2 hardware features (Ethernet, USB, I2C, I2S, SPI and Reset). For Serial(s), I would use a selectable RS-232 / USB-to-serial switch, plus both connectors on this dock, and for each ports as well.

    switchable Serial0 Ports is already on my watchlist (mainly because of using bluetooth too). Maybe adding 2 buttons and 2 leds (also switchable) seems neat. But i dont know what you mean with standard connectors. if all of omega's hardware interfaces are on the pinout, why bother having even more connectors with the same things on them? or why having ethernet as extra pins if its connected to the ethernet jack anyway?

    1. Jumpers to disable on-board hardware if they can interfere with the pins use from ITEM 1 if we choose so.

    dont know if that would be necessary for i2c stuff or the ethernet/usb pins if they already have a connector onboard, but yeah, definatly for leds, buttons, serial (and spi if its used)

    1. The battery charger too.
    2. The On/Off switch of course.

    both on the list :)

    If you need it, it's already there to use! Very simple for us. Ok! Maybe adding optional touch-screen and bluetooth features to this FULL OMEGA2 DOCK would be very useful. They could be compatible with the other docks too, so not a waste of resources...

    Not sure what you mean with touch-screen. are we talking about capacitive buttons like this one? because if you mean a touchscreen like in your smartphone: dont see much use for it without a screen.

    Bluetooth is also on the list ^^

    P.S.: I would pay more than $15 for that. :wink:

    That's it! My perfect ideal FULL OMEGA2 DOCK!!! :fireworks: :fireworks: :fireworks:

    @Flemming-Richter

    @Matthias-Nowak
    Or a special purpose dock. E.g.:

    • a battery backed RAM dock would be cool
    • uSD card dock

    not sure if a sd card dock is needed when the omega2plus has one built in.

    • oscilloscope dock
    • HW random generator dock (can be made by amplifying noice)

    they really seem to be too much special-purpose that they either cost much or that the onion isnt the right thing for it (like the oscilloscope.) or have a way too small market.

    Or what about creating an expansion board which is connected to the onion through I2C or USB which could have its own GPIO controller, level converters, etc?

    so something like the arduino dock?

    If this was connected via UART instead, it could even be made wireless by using serial over bluetooth.
    This again could have expansions such as IR transmitter, so we can switch on TV, etc throw our onion.

    There are plenty of possibilities.
    If I were you, I would try to create something unique.

    By the way: If you thing relays are scary, consider solid state relays.

    maybe it was the wrong expression. generally im not scared of relays. but it seems that if you do one thing wrong in terms of schematic or board design that something is either going to blow up or to burn, and then guess whos fault it is.



  • @Lukas-Zeller

    My favorite dock would be a Ethernet-minidock, to allow wired omega usage without the clumsyness and excess size of the normal dock plus ethernet expansion:

    • mini dock style
    • but with Ethernet Jack
    • PPoE (passive PoE, just using free wires 4/5 7/8 for power, with down-regulator from 5..24V -> 3.3)
    • maybe second Ethernet Jack (if Omega2 pinout will eventually allow that, see here)

    (also posted as issue at your github repo, as requested)

    like that idea, but i had to read up about PoE first, dont have any knowledge in it and what its specs are (can you actually tranfer data and power through the same cable?) I thing that a second ethernet jack is a bit too big for the mini board, even one would be too big for the original mini dock because the ethernet jack is too thick and would 100% short something out on the omega if its directly under it.

    @s-j said

    I hope s RS485 dock provided since there are many sensors devices connected using RS485.

    Im not sure about RS485 Sensors (only know its used for vehicles and studio lighting). would be nice if you could give some examples of rs485 sensors, because out of my head i could only list maybe a few rs232 sensors. but generally it shouldnt be a big issue because rs232 to rs485 chips arent that expensive.



  • Another thought: for the full board im thinking about to have to option to have either the onboard oled (like the original expansion) or an onboard lcd screen. there are definatly python libs for it on raspberry pi, so i dont think porting it a problem.



  • @Matthias-Nowak said in Suggestions and Ideas for custom Omega2 Docks:

    But i dont know what you mean with standard connectors. if all of omega's hardware interfaces are on the pinout, why bother having even more connectors with the same things on them? or why having ethernet as extra pins if its connected to the ethernet jack anyway?

    I'm not a hardware guy. This is just a clarification of my thought to have everything available on board, no hassle. If you need it, use it, it't already there. More specifically with the Ethernet connector for example. If you need Ethernet, you could use the RJ45 connector as is (with proper jumpers). However, if you are designing a new project, and only need the Omega pins because the controller will be elsewhere, you can still use them (with proper jumpers). The standard connector for RS-232 could be an actual DB-9 connector. See? If it's there, it can be used if need be. Flexibility for any use.

    Not sure what you mean with touch-screen.

    No, not just the touch sensor, the whole thing, screen + touch sensor like what is used on phones and tablets. Perhaps too much competition because these guys are way ahead:
    https://community.onion.io/topic/1004/can-i-interface-touch-screen-with-omega2-processor/3



  • @fossette said in Suggestions and Ideas for custom Omega2 Docks:

    @Matthias-Nowak said in Suggestions and Ideas for custom Omega2 Docks:

    But i dont know what you mean with standard connectors. if all of omega's hardware interfaces are on the pinout, why bother having even more connectors with the same things on them? or why having ethernet as extra pins if its connected to the ethernet jack anyway?

    I'm not a hardware guy. This is just a clarification of my thought to have everything available on board, no hassle. If you need it, use it, it't already there. More specifically with the Ethernet connector for example. If you need Ethernet, you could use the RJ45 connector as is (with proper jumpers). However, if you are designing a new project, and only need the Omega pins because the controller will be elsewhere, you can still use them (with proper jumpers). The standard connector for RS-232 could be an actual DB-9 connector. See? If it's there, it can be used if need be. Flexibility for any use.

    why would you use jumpers for the ethernet jack if those pins are only for ethernet (they arent gpios)? their only purpose is to be connected to an rj45 jack.
    About the serial pins and the db-9 connector: atleast from the pinout on the KS Campaign it only has "UART" (TX and RX), but for a proper rs-232 connection (with an db-9 connector) you need USART (which has some more pins). Plus its just huuge. and i cant really call one thing out that uses rs 232 these days.
    and (atleast AFAIK) there arent any real I2C, SPI or I2S "Connectors" like the DB-9.

    Not sure what you mean with touch-screen.

    No, not just the touch sensor, the whole thing, screen + touch sensor like what is used on phones and tablets. Perhaps too much competition because these guys are way ahead:
    https://community.onion.io/topic/1004/can-i-interface-touch-screen-with-omega2-processor/3

    So something like this? just connected to the omega2. but i doubt you will be able to run some desktop enviroment because of the low storage and speed of the omega2



  • @fossette said in Suggestions and Ideas for custom Omega2 Docks:

    I'm not a hardware guy.

    Just pitching ideas of features that I would use if I needed them.

    @Matthias-Nowak said in Suggestions and Ideas for custom Omega2 Docks:

    why would you use jumpers for the ethernet jack if those pins are only for ethernet (they arent gpios)? their only purpose is to be connected to an rj45 jack.

    Let suppose for a moment that a new project that I create on a breadboard uses the Omega2 Ethernet pins. Would the Ethernet controller on this hypothetical expansion dock interfere with the one on my breadboard? If so, an option to cut it off would be welcome, jumpers. And, I would still be able to use a console on this hypothetical expansion dock.

    there arent any real I2C, SPI or I2S "Connectors" like the DB-9.

    The arduino has dual-in-line pins to let a connector plug onto it. They are properly labeled on the PCB. If there is no standard, it's a good way to provide the feature.

    but i doubt you will be able to run some desktop enviroment because of the low storage and speed of the omega2

    Why not? Some phones and tablets use very slow CPUs. I think it's still possible. Xorg would be a huge challenge, though. However, we are not talking about HD. The display could very well represent the screen buffer that is pushed through HTTP.



  • @Matthias-Nowak said in Suggestions and Ideas for custom Omega2 Docks:

    (can you actually tranfer data and power through the same cable?)

    Yes. The ethernet data signal is AC, and decoupled by transformers from any DC voltage that might be on the lines. So even for 1000baseT (Gigabit Ethernet, all 8 wires used for data) PoE works.

    Note however the difference between PPoE and PoE. While PoE is the "real thing", it's quite complicated and expensive to implement.

    PPoE (Passive PoE) on the other hand is simply using the free wires available in 100baseT (pairs 4/5 and 7/8) for power.

    There are cheap "injectors" for that, for example this one. Usually, something like 12V or 15V is "injected", so a PPoE dock would need a decent down regulator to 3.3V.

    I thing that a second ethernet jack is a bit too big for the mini board, even one would be too big for the original mini dock because the ethernet jack is too thick and would 100% short something out on the omega if its directly under it.

    Sure :-) I wasn't expecting that a Ethernet dock would be exactly the size of the current mini dock, but the area of the Omega plus the area needed by the jacks, just side by side.



  • @fossette said in Suggestions and Ideas for custom Omega2 Docks:

    @fossette said in Suggestions and Ideas for custom Omega2 Docks:

    I'm not a hardware guy.

    Just pitching ideas of features that I would use if I needed them.

    @Matthias-Nowak said in Suggestions and Ideas for custom Omega2 Docks:

    why would you use jumpers for the ethernet jack if those pins are only for ethernet (they arent gpios)? their only purpose is to be connected to an rj45 jack.

    Let suppose for a moment that a new project that I create on a breadboard uses the Omega2 Ethernet pins. Would the Ethernet controller on this hypothetical expansion dock interfere with the one on my breadboard? If so, an option to cut it off would be welcome, jumpers. And, I would still be able to use a console on this hypothetical expansion dock.

    as long as you dont connect an ethernet cable to both jacks that shouldnt be a problem.
    The ethernet controller is on the omega2 itself. if you take a look at the official ethernet expansion you only see two parts: the jack itself and the magnet for ethernet. what comes out of the omega2 goes directly to the ethernet jack, no communication between the magnet and the omega2 itself. so as long as there isnt anything plugged in into the dock jack, there isnt any problem with wiring up your own port. if you do so, there might be some communication failures or simply: no internet connection at all.

    there arent any real I2C, SPI or I2S "Connectors" like the DB-9.

    The arduino has dual-in-line pins to let a connector plug onto it. They are properly labeled on the PCB. If there is no standard, it's a good way to provide the feature.

    the official arduinos dont have any special conenctors except the normal 2.54mm jumper pins. are you maybe talking about something like the "seeedstudio groove" - connector?

    but i doubt you will be able to run some desktop enviroment because of the low storage and speed of the omega2

    Why not? Some phones and tablets use very slow CPUs. I think it's still possible. Xorg would be a huge challenge, though. However, we are not talking about HD. The display could very well represent the screen buffer that is pushed through HTTP.

    but cheapo phones dont use a 400mhz single core cpu ^^. running those lcds on a raspberry pi zero barely reaches 30fps. but dont want to restrict on something. they can still be used to display data directly.
    So yeah. colored lcds are added to the to-do list :)



  • @Lukas-Zeller said in Suggestions and Ideas for custom Omega2 Docks:

    @Matthias-Nowak said in Suggestions and Ideas for custom Omega2 Docks:

    (can you actually tranfer data and power through the same cable?)

    Yes. The ethernet data signal is AC, and decoupled by transformers from any DC voltage that might be on the lines. So even for 1000baseT (Gigabit Ethernet, all 8 wires used for data) PoE works.

    Note however the difference between PPoE and PoE. While PoE is the "real thing", it's quite complicated and expensive to implement.

    PPoE (Passive PoE) on the other hand is simply using the free wires available in 100baseT (pairs 4/5 and 7/8) for power.

    There are cheap "injectors" for that, for example this one. Usually, something like 12V or 15V is "injected", so a PPoE dock would need a decent down regulator to 3.3V.

    Ok that looks easy to implement and actually really convenient to use :D. But it seems like the voltages even go up to 48V. so either i've got to search a beefy voltage regulator (which will end up with much heat) or just write a limit onto the pcb for the poe limits.

    I thing that a second ethernet jack is a bit too big for the mini board, even one would be too big for the original mini dock because the ethernet jack is too thick and would 100% short something out on the omega if its directly under it.

    Sure :-) I wasn't expecting that a Ethernet dock would be exactly the size of the current mini dock, but the area of the Omega plus the area needed by the jacks, just side by side.



  • Thanks for the Ethernet clarification. See? Not a HW guy, but this is very interesting. Learning everyday!

    @Matthias-Nowak said in Suggestions and Ideas for custom Omega2 Docks:

    there arent any real I2C, SPI or I2S "Connectors" like the DB-9.

    The arduino has dual-in-line pins to let a connector plug onto it. They are properly labeled on the PCB. If there is no standard, it's a good way to provide the feature.

    the official arduinos dont have any special conenctors except the normal 2.54mm jumper pins. are you maybe talking about something like the "seeedstudio groove" - connector?

    Indeed, I meant those jumper pins. Didn't know how they were called... On my Arduino UNO, I see one labeled ICSP, and the other one is AREF, both for programming purposes. Perhaps not standard, but useful and usable with proper pinout description.



  • @fossette said in Suggestions and Ideas for custom Omega2 Docks:

    Thanks for the Ethernet clarification. See? Not a HW guy, but this is very interesting. Learning everyday!

    @Matthias-Nowak said in Suggestions and Ideas for custom Omega2 Docks:

    there arent any real I2C, SPI or I2S "Connectors" like the DB-9.

    The arduino has dual-in-line pins to let a connector plug onto it. They are properly labeled on the PCB. If there is no standard, it's a good way to provide the feature.

    the official arduinos dont have any special conenctors except the normal 2.54mm jumper pins. are you maybe talking about something like the "seeedstudio groove" - connector?

    Indeed, I meant those jumper pins. Didn't know how they were called... On my Arduino UNO, I see one labeled ICSP, and the other one is AREF, both for programming purposes. Perhaps not standard, but useful and usable with proper pinout description.

    those jumper headers are what i mean with pinout :) so maybe if you want a bit more clarification on the arduino pins (yeah bit OT):
    The digital and analog pins are directly connected to the chip. the RST pin is also connected to it, but also to the reset button to reset it. VIN is an alternative pin to the dc barrel jack next to the usb port. AREF stands for analog reference. normally the analog pins translate voltages form 0-5V into numbers, but you can set your own maximum with this pin. f.ex. use 3.3V for AREF, so it translates voltages from 0-3.3V to 0-1023. The SCL and SDA pins are directly connected to the analog pin 5 and 4, because these pins are also used for i2c.
    The ICSP (short for: in-circuit serial programmer) is a special thing for AVR chips (the architecture the chip on the arduino is based on), so its not really a thing for ARM processors (like on the teensy or on the onion, or raspberry pi). its also directly connected to the arduino chip (i think also digital pin 13-10 and reset) and is used to either program it or for the spi interface (because the programming interface and spi interface are really similar, thus on the same pins). its main purpose for shields is just to be the port for spi, in case the pins d13-d11 arent spi



  • @Matthias-Nowak said in [Suggestions and Ideas for custom Omega2 Docks]> Ok that looks easy to implement and actually really convenient to use :D. But it seems like the voltages even go up to 48V. so either i've got to search a beefy voltage regulator (which will end up with much heat) or just write a limit onto the pcb for the poe limits.

    It's quite common for PPoE equipment to limit the voltage in the specs. PPoE is not really a standard, it's something some vendors just do. I've been using commercial outdoor WiFi gear with PPoE, which allows 24V max. It's not too difficult to protect against overvoltage damage by using some transzorb/multifuse circuit.

    A switching regulator should not produce more heat with higher voltages (only linear regulators would). I've been using this regulator which accepts 4.75V to 32V input voltage, and delivers max 500mA at the output (Omega alone needs ~200mA, so there's still a bit extra available for peripherals)



  • @Lukas-Zeller said in Suggestions and Ideas for custom Omega2 Docks:

    @Matthias-Nowak said in [Suggestions and Ideas for custom Omega2 Docks]> Ok that looks easy to implement and actually really convenient to use :D. But it seems like the voltages even go up to 48V. so either i've got to search a beefy voltage regulator (which will end up with much heat) or just write a limit onto the pcb for the poe limits.

    It's quite common for PPoE equipment to limit the voltage in the specs. PPoE is not really a standard, it's something some vendors just do. I've been using commercial outdoor WiFi gear with PPoE, which allows 24V max. It's not too difficult to protect against overvoltage damage by using some transzorb/multifuse circuit.

    guess a lil resettable fuse and a zener should do the job.

    A switching regulator should not produce more heat with higher voltages (only linear regulators would). I've been using this regulator which accepts 4.75V to 32V input voltage, and delivers max 500mA at the output (Omega alone needs ~200mA, so there's still a bit extra available for peripherals)

    hmm...it seems a lil bit big IMO. But i have some of these lying around. 28V max input, aroun 80% efficiency on 500mah load, 1.5A output. and then a 5V-3.3V LDO, should do the job.



  • Some more ideas (now somewhat of sensors):

    • Maybe a MCP3008 for analog inputs, or chips to add more PWM Pins or GPIO Pins.
    • An IR Receiver
    • Maybe instead of normal LEDs a Neopixel (WS2812)
    • Maybe a piezo

    With the ADC :

    • A Photocell
    • A temperature sensor

    These are just things i would consider are being used often.



  • @Matthias-Nowak I would support some form of analog input. Perhaps the way to go would be one of the many I2C A/D chips