This week I have spent my spare time mostly fiddling with the Smartduino and.. Wondering what good "Views of Swindon" would look like.
I'll deal with them in separare blog posts as otherwise, well it would be quite a mess.
The Smartduino (or smARtDUINO as they like to write it.. see what they did there, with the caps reading Arduino? sneaky) is essentially Arduino electronics hardware, laid out on a board with some cleverly designed connectors. It came with several other boards adding functionality: Power, an RGB led, a Breakout board, an Arduino style shield base, another Breakout style board with IDE-cable style headers on it.. and.. a UDB Host/ADK board.
Anyway, I was going to waffle less on these posts.. Here's the website, see for yourself: http://www.smartmaker.com
To The Point
I'm sure there is one here somewhere.. Ah yes, the USB/ADK board. ADK (Android Development Kit) is a thing where an external piece of hardware (i.e. this board that I have) is a USB Host, and controls an attached Android thing as if it were a USB Device.
Why? You might ask? I'm not entirely sure, but the upshot of it is, that there exists a protocol with with Android and Arduino things can talk to each other. This is what I wanted to try out. I have been failing to make it work consistently.. all week.
First, the stack of hardware parts that I received, while entitled the "Smartduino Android Kit", included a basic power board that doesn't supply 3.3V, this is important as the USB/ADK board only runs on.. you guessed it, 3.3V. The USB board docs claim it converts 5V to 3.3V, but that only seems to work if you use it standalone so.. useless.
The Arduino Shield does supply 3.3V, so we end up with a working (powerwise) stack of: Arduino Shield, spacer (Riser), USB/ADK board, and the actual Arduino brains. Note that now there is no room to add any other Smartduino-style parts, top or bottom. (Tho it occurs to me I could add the RGB led via the breakout board and the arduino shield pins..)
The software I found for the chip on the board (MAX3421E) the USB Host Shield 2.0 finds it just fine, but when I want to have it talk to the Android app (ArduinoBlinkLED for example, a UI to turn the led on and off), it worked.. once, one glorious moment at the Swindon Hackspace.. and never since.
I thought the issue was getting the phone to realise its supposed to go into USB device mode, so I started trying other USB devices, eg a bluetooth dongle, and some basic code such as the USB_desc example, which is just supposed to tell you about the USB device you attached .. and that doesn't seem to work either.
So, that was a "fun" week..