Monday, 25 June 2018

Resurrecting the Tilda MKe - part 1

A long time back I bought ten surplus EMF camp badges as they were exactly what I wanted as a platform for a networked handheld gadget I could use in LARP.

Now I'm going through a bit of a phase we're I'm reviewing all the stuff I have accumulated and deciding whether to keep it or not for future projects.

Looking at them now they are still pretty much everything you need for making some kind of small device with a basic UI, except Wi-Fi as they used Ciseco data radios instead. However I've a pot full of ESP-01 modules and also a small stash of Ciseco kit despite them going out of business. Tacking an ESP-01 on to one of the serial ports will give it the best of both worlds.

Wi-Fi might be ubiquitous indoors but for networking low resource microcontroller based things in remote outdoor environments it's actually OTT and the range sucks. Things like the Ciseco radios, or nowadays one of the LORA standards make much more sense but being able to connect to Wi-Fi if available is handy.

Which makes them keepers.

So I've made an attempt to do something with one. This particular one I 'killed' by trying to upload a basic 'blink' sketch to it shortly after I bought them and the whole lot have stayed stashed in a box in my cellar since.

The development libraries released at the time are now all rather 'legacy' and tied into a complicated framework that uses FreeRTOS to deliver multi-tasking. So while the Tilda is in principle Arduino Due compatible this makes it more of a job than just adding some libraries and getting on with it.

There's an onboard jumper for wiping the flash and after I used this, uploading a simple sketch to it like it was an Arduino Due got it responsive again. I'm not quite sure how I 'killed' it originally as this wasn't at all obscure or hard.

Unable to import all the board information into modern versions of the Arduino IDE I've been fishing in the header files and managed to make all the buttons & LEDs work, plus the Ciseco radio.

Not much luck with the screen yet, apart from turning the backlight on, as despite wading through the docs I haven't been able to work out which pins the screen driver is connected to. Worst case I'll attempt to disentangle the legacy library and shoehorn it into a modern environment.

There's also an MPU-6050 gyro/accelerometer but I'm not desperately fussed about that working.

If I can make a simple example sketch that drives the screen and most of the stuff I'll post it up.

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