|Surveyor Robotics Journal|
Tue, 07 Mar 2006
dongle version of SRV-1 base station radio
Well ... we got our fancy SMD rework station for attaching the Silicon Labs CP2102 USB to UART bridge chip on the SRV-1 base station radio board, and it really didn't work all that well, so we tried another method shown on the Spark Fun Electronics website. Hard to believe, but this worked really well. These guys are actually surface-mounting the same Silicon Labs chip in this tutorial. In case you're wondering, here's their version of a production solder reflow station -
I didn't take photos of our skillet, but it's nicer, as it doesn't have any sides that reach up and cause burns, though it didn't cost any more than their version. Here's the SRV-1 radio board with the CP2102 attached.
We're still testing this new design - we've already found one change to the circuit board, so initial robot shipments will go with the original radio shown with the other SRV-1 photos until this design is solid.
By the way, I should mention that there are 2 versions of these Zigbee radio modules - the one we're using has maximum RF power output of approximately 70 milliwatts, and pretty good range. The other version only outputs 1 milliwatt, so the range is maybe 70% less, but the cost drops by about 40%. We will eventually add an option for the lower cost version of the radio for users who don't need such a wide range and want to save some money.