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Thread: Teensy Backpacks

  1. #1
    Senior Member brtaylor's Avatar
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    Teensy Backpacks

    Hi all,

    I'm excited to announce that my startup is launching a new product line, Teensy Backpacks! Arduino has shields, Feather has wings, Raspberry Pi has hats, BeagleBone Black has capes, and now Teensy has backpacks! I love the Teensy and use it extensively at Bolder Flight Systems, the University of Minnesota, and for my own hobby projects. My goal was to create a line of stackable add-on boards, while carefully designing them to integrate well with each other so the boards could be mixed and matched to meet your project requirements. We're initially using the Teensy 3.2 footprint and launching the line with 10 different boards that are perfect for robotics and drones. A detailed spec list for each board is below. Boards are open for pre-sale now and we're offering a 15% discount through the end of September with the first board deliveries expected in mid-November.

    You can view our Teensy Backpacks Pinout Page to see how the backpacks stack together. We're planning on adding wifi, BTLE, 900 MHz and 433 MHz radio, and lipo charging backpacks after this initial launch. Please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions on either these backpacks or future backpacks that you would like to see. Also, I'm looking for a few people that would be interested in testing prototypes and providing feedback on our Teensy Backpacks, PM me if you're interested and have the time.

    Thanks!
    Brian

    Backpack Frame
    Available in Solo and Double variants, the Teensy Backpack Frame allows you to easily mount your teensy and provide external power. Both variants have four 2-56 mounting holes and a screw terminal for accepting 16-28 AWG wire. The Double variant stacks two teensy footprints side-by-side, enabling you to use more backpacks with a lower stack height. Both frames have the option of adding power regulation, enabling you to use +6.5V to +36V input; perfect for powering your project directly from a 2S to 6S lipo battery.

    Motion Backpack
    Integrating an MPU-9250 inertial measurement unit and a BME-280 environmental sensor, this backpack enables you to easily measure your project's motion and altitude. You'll get 3 axis accelerometer, 3 axis gyro, and 3 axis magnetometer data along with pressure, temperature and humidity. Both sensors communicate over I2C, have integrated pullups, and you can select the I2C address for each sensor.

    GNSS Backpack
    Adds the uBlox SAM-M8Q multi-constellation GNSS receiver to your Teensy! The GNSS receiver features serial and I2C communication, a pulse-per-second (PPS) signal and LED, a CR1216 battery holder for extremely fast cold-starts, and can be mounted directly to the Teensy or detached to remotely mount the antenna with four 2-56 mounting holes.

    ADC Backpack
    Integrates two ADS1115 analog to digital converters for 8 channels of 16 bit analog input. Analog inputs are pinned at a 0.1Ē (2.54 mm) spacing along with power and ground for easy potentiometer integration.

    PWM Backpack
    Actuate your project with up to 8 PWM signals from Teensy with the PWM backpack! All channels are pinned for standard servo connectors. Power and ground are bused so you can use an ESC or BEC on one of the channels to provide servo voltage. Optionally, one of the signals can be used for SBUS input to receive input from any SBUS capable receiver.

    SBUS Backpack
    Same as the PWM backpack, but with 8 SBUS outputs with the option of using one of the output channels for SBUS input to receive input from any SBUS capable receiver.

    CAN Backpack
    Add CAN communication to your project with the CAN backpack! This backpack integrates the MCP2562 CAN transceiver with six 0.1Ē (2.54 mm) connectors including +5V power, signal, and GND.

    RS-485 Backpack
    Add RS-485 communication to your project with the RS-485 backpack! This backpack integrates the MAX485 RS-485 transceiver with six 0.1Ē (2.54 mm) connectors including +5V power, signal, and GND.

    Flash Backpack
    Add 128 MBytes of flash storage with the Flash backpack! This backpack integrates two Cypress S25FL512S flash memory ICís. Perfect for high speed data logging and works with the Teensy SerialFlash library.

    SD Backpack
    Add a micro SD card with the SD backpack! This backpack integrates a micro SD card, power regulation, and level shifters to meet all your data logging needs.

  2. #2
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    Hi Brian
    Nice job on the backpacks. A couple of questions if I may. would the backpacks be compatible with the 3.5 and t3.6? also, for the 900mhz radio would that be equivalent to a 3dr radio clone. I use those all the time and real simple to work with.

    Mike

  3. #3
    Senior Member brtaylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjs513 View Post
    Hi Brian
    Nice job on the backpacks. A couple of questions if I may. would the backpacks be compatible with the 3.5 and t3.6? also, for the 900mhz radio would that be equivalent to a 3dr radio clone. I use those all the time and real simple to work with.

    Mike
    Hi Mike, thanks! The 3.5 and 3.6 will still work. Attached are a few photos of the SBUS backpack with a Teensy 3.2 and 3.6 with a servo connected. There's still enough clearance for everything.

    I was considering the RFM69HCW for the 900 MHz / 433 MHz radios, I think the 3DR radios use the Si1000; I haven't done enough digging yet around these modules, which is why they aren't slated for the initial release set of backpacks.

    Brian

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    Hi Brian
    Just took a look at the RFM69HCW. Both Adafruit and Sparkfun have a tutorial on using the module. Looks interesting. And I believe you are right the 3dr's use the SiL chip.

    Mike

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    Nice! I'll looking forward to those backpacks.

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    Senior Member+ Frank B's Avatar
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    SD Backpack: Why Levelshifters?

  7. #7
    Senior Member brtaylor's Avatar
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    These are now available for purchase! Except for the SD Backpack, which I expect to be available in a couple weeks. I'm in the process of getting updated images and creating example projects, but we do have stock ready to ship and our store has been updated to enable ordering. I'll post more as we develop fun projects.

    A few changes:
    1. All backpacks that use 3.3V power now include their own LDO regulators. This decision was made to enable the use of as many backpacks as desired without worrying about the current capacity of the Teensy built in regulator.
    2. The Solo and Double Backpack Frames now include 5V regulation standard (previously it was an option) with a 8 - 28V input range and 1 Amp of current capacity. Optionally, an extended input voltage range can be selected enabling 6.5 - 32V input.
    3. We switched to the LTC485 transceiver for the RS-485 backpack.
    4. The SD Backpack will not have level shifters

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    Hi Brian
    Was just browsing your Backpack store. Can't wait to see better pictures. I do have a couple of questions though:

    1. What happened to the RFM69HCW radio it looked interesting?
    2. Does the GNSS module have a U.FL connector on the card so I can use an external antenna?
    3. Have you considered an adapter for a T3.5?
    4. Now you realize your CAN transceiver (MCP2562) is capable of supporting CAN-FD. So is that the correct transceiver chip for the backpack? just checking.

    Thanks
    Mike

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    Hi Brian

    Think I should clarify what I mean with the CAN transceiver. There are 2 versions of the MCP2562 for CAN 2.0 and the other for CAN-FD. The datasheet you have linked in the store for the CAN backpack refers to the FD version. Think you may be referring to this datasheet: http://ww1.microchip.com/downloads/e.../20005167C.pdf

    Mike

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    Senior Member brtaylor's Avatar
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    Hi Mike,
    A 900 MHz / 433 MHz Backpack is definitely still in the works. Along with wifi / BTLE, lipo charger, and other Backpacks. It takes a lot to go from design to prototype to a product that can be sold at a competitive price. My goal was to get this initial set out and now Iíll be rolling out new Backpacks as theyíre ready.

    The uBlox SAM M8Q does not have an external antenna capability; however, Iíve designed the backpack so the receiver can be remote mounted. Hereís a photo of the: Double Frame, a Motion Backpack at the top of the image and a GNSS Backpack at the bottom. Add a SBUS or PWM backpack and youíve got a drone
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    The stackable part of the GNSS Backpack just brings the UART, I2C, and PPS connections to the Teensy pins; all of the components needed by uBlox are on the receiver. The receiver can be unplugged and remote mounted. It includes UART, I2C, and PPS I/O as well as an LDO regulator, coin battery, and an LED that flashes with PPS. Itís a 0.1Ē spaced connector, so it should be easy to build a cable, and the GNSS receiver has four 2-56 sized holes for mounting.
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    The CAN transceiver is the MCP2562FD. It is capable of CAN FD, but can do slower speeds as well. I have a setup on my desk at 115200 sending data between a couple of Teensy 3.2ís with the CAN Backpack. Itís also the same CAN transceiver that was on the Raven Node that I sent you.

    The Teensy 3.5 and 3.6 will fit on top of these boards, see below. If you have ideas for an adapter to integrate them more seamlessly, please let me know!
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    Brian

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    Hi Brian

    Thanks for the added pictures on the backpacks. Just wanted to double check that you still was going to create a 900 MHz / 433 MHz Backpack. Things change.

    As for the MCP2562FD just wanted to check that was chip you are using. I did get CAN-FD to work with Teensy 3.x using SKPrangs code but it uses SPI to transfer data to the converter .

    I will give some thought to the 3.5/3.6 setup with the backpacks. Just seems like there is a better way to make use of the addition pins.

    Mike

  12. #12
    Senior Member brtaylor's Avatar
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    Finally had some good light and time to setup the camera and tripod. Images are up!
    http://bolderflight.com/products/teensy/

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    Senior Member brtaylor's Avatar
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    I created a series of 5 tutorials using the PWM Backpack and SBUS Backpack with the Teensy 3.2.
    1. PWM Introduction: Learn about the de facto standard for controlling servos, PWM!
    2. Reading PWM: Gain experience measuring pulse widths!
    3. SBUS Introduction: Learn about one of the newest, coolest methods of commanding servos, SBUS!
    4. Reading SBUS: Gain experience reading SBUS packets!
    5. SBUS to PWM Converter: Use your knowledge of PWM and SBUS to create your own SBUS to PWM converter!

    These tutorials present a deep dive into writing and reading PWM and SBUS interspersed with lots of hands on examples. This culminates in creating a pretty sophisticated SBUS to PWM converter. While any converter will allow you to use a standard servo with an SBUS receiver and transmitter, this converter goes many steps beyond that by:
    1. Enabling advanced mixing between SBUS and PWM channels
    2. Setting failsafe positions
    3. Setting end points
    4. Creating a throttle safety switch

    These are the first handful of tutorials in demonstrating the capability that Teensy Backpacks adds to the Teensy 3.2 platform. This first series of backpacks is focused on robotics and drones - and we'll build up the tutorials to creating a drone autopilot using Teensy 3.2 and this initial series of Teensy Backpacks.

    Please let me know if there are any specific tutorials or backpacks that you would like to see!

    Brian

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    Senior Member brtaylor's Avatar
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    Just a quick update - we've added the SD Backpack to our Teensy Backpacks!

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    OK....my *first* reaction was that the op was a bit 'spammy', but I went and looked anyway.

    What can I say? I ordered the GPS backpack, because that's what I ordered a couple Teensy3.2s to work with for a vehicle project. I am eyeballing the Flash Backpack, now, with the thought of a possible blackbox implementation to add onto my vehicle project.

    Thanks. This turned out to be a helpful posting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brtaylor View Post
    The uBlox SAM M8Q does not have an external antenna capability; however, I’ve designed the backpack so the receiver can be remote mounted.
    OKAY, however, it should be no problem to substitute the uBlox Neo M8N-0-01 equipped breakout that I have (attached image), and use the external active antenna connector to take advantage of the vehicle roof-mounted GPS antenna that I have on my vehicle currently?

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    Senior Member brtaylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllanGH View Post
    OKAY, however, it should be no problem to substitute the uBlox Neo M8N-0-01 equipped breakout that I have (attached image), and use the external active antenna connector to take advantage of the vehicle roof-mounted GPS antenna that I have on my vehicle currently?

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    Shouldn't be a problem; if you connect via the stackable headers, you would want to connect GND to Teensy Ground, RX and TX to Serial3, and PPS to pin 14 (https://bolderflight.com/products/teensy/pinout/). Do you have a link to the breakout or a spec sheet? My biggest question would be whether to connect VCC to VIN or to 3.3V. If the breakout works with 5V, you could also connect to the GNSS receiver connector on the GNSS Backpack - all of the pins have labels and you would just match up the labels.

    Please let me know if you would like a refund for the GNSS Backpack.

    Thanks!
    Brian

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    in stack order:

    Naw...no refund on the backpack. Send that sucker. I'll use the M8Q in something around here.

    It *was* my hope to just use this BOB in place of the SAM M8Q and match pinouts across the gap to the GNSS backpack.

    In the lower right of the photo, you can see a V-Reg, but not the marking (which happens to be 'DE=A1D'), but it is a 3.3V output LDO with the input pins routed to the 'VCC' input pin, so it's fine as far as VCC goes.

    So, it is my assumption that, given the PPS, RXD, TXD, GND, and VCC pins on my BOB, I can then wire those as appropriate to the GNSS backpack, and go on my merry way.

    Should I assume that your uBlox library will accommodate the M8N without a lot of hair-pulling, or should I start pulling my hair out now?

  19. #19
    Senior Member brtaylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllanGH View Post
    in stack order:

    Naw...no refund on the backpack. Send that sucker. I'll use the M8Q in something around here.

    It *was* my hope to just use this BOB in place of the SAM M8Q and match pinouts across the gap to the GNSS backpack.

    In the lower right of the photo, you can see a V-Reg, but not the marking (which happens to be 'DE=A1D'), but it is a 3.3V output LDO with the input pins routed to the 'VCC' input pin, so it's fine as far as VCC goes.

    So, it is my assumption that, given the PPS, RXD, TXD, GND, and VCC pins on my BOB, I can then wire those as appropriate to the GNSS backpack, and go on my merry way.

    Should I assume that your uBlox library will accommodate the M8N without a lot of hair-pulling, or should I start pulling my hair out now?
    Yes, that's a good assumption and how I would do that if I was in your situation. Should work great.

    I use an M8N as part of my flight systems (which have been around a lot longer than the Teensy Backpacks, so I didn't have a uBlox receiver designed at the time). The uBlox library will work well. It's setup to receive the UBX-NAV-PVT message from the uBlox receiver. You'll need to configure your receiver in the uBlox u-center software to send that packet. Attached is a simple piece of code that will make Teensy pass through data from USB to Serial 3, that way you can plug your uBlox receiver into Teensy, Teensy into your computer via USB and then setup the receiver via u-center.

    For configuring the receiver in u-center, I would follow these steps:
    1. You'll want to click "Receiver" and under "Connection" select the comm port Windows assigned to the Teensy. Set the "Baudrate" to 9600.
    2. Click "View" and then "Messages View". Find UBX-NAV-PVT, right click on it and select enable. Then click "Receiver", "Action" and "Save Config".
    3. Now my UBLOX library should work if you input Serial3 and a baud of 9600.

    Additionally, I also do the following optional configuration:
    4. Update the GNSS update rate from 1 Hz to 5 Hz
    5. Disable all other messages
    6. Update the settings so the receiver accepts only 3D fixes and expects an airborne 4G environment (you'll want slightly different settings for an automotive application)
    7. Update the baudrate to 921600 (this is a little tricky though - you have to change the baud rate in u-center, then reflash the Teensy with the new baud rate, then tell the receiver to save the config in u-center).

    Alternatively, if you just want to use the NMEA messages and don't need the higher update rates or velocity data, libraries like Tiny GPS work well and don't require any configuration. Also, Chris O. on the forum add some configuration messages that I haven't had a chance to fold into the UBLOX library yet. You can find some of his updates here:
    https://forum.pjrc.com/threads/36103...l=1#post172335

    And also in this thread:
    https://forum.pjrc.com/threads/46058...eginners/page5
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Many thanks for the information. It will definitely come in handy as I progress with this.

    ....and U-Center isn't available in a Linux package, binary, or source...so, I guess I'll have to get a copy of windows, and do a separate machine for that. Well, delays are patience builders, after all.

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    Senior Member brtaylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllanGH View Post
    Many thanks for the information. It will definitely come in handy as I progress with this.

    ....and U-Center isn't available in a Linux package, binary, or source...so, I guess I'll have to get a copy of windows, and do a separate machine for that. Well, delays are patience builders, after all.
    You're welcome! I've tried installing under wine in the past with no luck, but I didn't spend too much time on it and am not super familiar with using wine. I have used it under a virtual machine just fine. For Windows 10, you can download, install, and use without a license; although, you'll have a "Activate Windows" watermark in the corner of your display until you purchase one.

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    I’ve got a set of these backpacks, and am building a simple flight controller using the imu, pwm, and gps backpacks. If others are interested in following along, or helping, let me know. I already have the AHRS piece and am cleaning up IMU cal now, will be working on the pwm (controller comm, motor/esc control) next.

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    Senior Member brtaylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Kelly View Post
    I’ve got a set of these backpacks, and am building a simple flight controller using the imu, pwm, and gps backpacks. If others are interested in following along, or helping, let me know. I already have the AHRS piece and am cleaning up IMU cal now, will be working on the pwm (controller comm, motor/esc control) next.
    Hi Don, that's exciting! I'd love to follow along and help out.

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    Hi Brian. Finally had a chance to try out my IMU backpack with the double frame. As expected works out of the box. Just tried it with the advanced i2c example. Now will try one of the Kalman filters

    Would mind helping with flight controller if I get a chance

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    A while ago you asked me if had any ideas for mounting a t3.6 to the backpack. One possibility is just to lengthen the backpack to fit the T3.6 and extend the headers so that you can get access to the additional pins. It could also give you the ability to make additional backpacks using the other pins as well.

    Regards
    Mike

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