New design of phi-panel

After getting feedback from arduino forum, I decided to add a new design to my existing phi-panel, a compact panel with a 16X2 display. Here’s a couple of concept pictures:

The compact version will be offered soon. I just sent out the PCB order. This version complements the full version, which is the following:

The compact panel will have to lose some features but I made an effort to keep all essential functions, minus the following:

1) Optional EEPROM. Since the display is small, I don’t expect anyone to read long articles on them so storing long messages on board the panel seems non-essential.

2) Optional 5V voltage regulator. To keep it compact, I dropped the voltage regulator, power barrel, decoupling capacitors, and power switch. This will make the panel compact enough.

3) Pin out for the additional 4 digital output from the second shift register, pin out for SPI bus and I2C bus are also not available, which I don’t think diminish any of its value.


I wish to find a smaller 20X4 displays since 16X2 is a bit small to fully appreciate the phi_prompt functions. On the bright side, it is really compact and still has all essential functions and fits everywhere a regular display fits so more project can incorporate this panel without having to redesign the project box. Also, the cost of the smaller display is also less so I will be offering this panel kit at $29.95. Only a few bucks more than the sparkfun serial LCD. They don’t have keypad, buzzer, LEDs. More importantly they don’t have anything firmware-wise to compare to my panel. If you keep Serial.print() stuff away, the sparkfun serial LCD will not display any info correctly past the first 16 characters. If you do that on my panel, you get auto line wrap, scroll etc. Plus all the interactive features.





Rugged Circuits will carry Phi-2 shields and Phi-connect

Starting in a week or so, Rugged Circuits will be carrying Phi-2 shields and Phi-connect in their stores. This gives you more options of what to buy besides the phi shields. They carry a limited selection of components but also they have their own products so you can do your one-stop shop like at Circuits sells high-durability version of arduino, electronic music-related boards, and more!

Arduino forum on mobile devices pros and cons

I have been using mobile devices to view arduino forum lately and found the following things I’d like to share. Please add more if you have any:

1) ipad: views the forum fine. You can scroll code inserts with two fingers nicely. Just typing is difficult since it has not rumble function to feedback. Switching between windows on safari (default browser) will likely result in refresh and loss of your unfinished post. Spell check is less bearable than others but you can turn it off.

2) android phone: depending on the browser. I never used the included broswer (HTC inspire) and went straight for skyfire. On skyfire, you can’t scroll the code inserts at all. Switching between windows didn’t seem to refresh as often as ipad but who knows. Rumble feedback is nice and spell check is bearable but you can’t turn it off so good luck typing codes. You can handpick the first letter to kind of stop the spell check for the word though. If you use firefox, you can easily scroll the code inserts and the browser has been working fine since a few days ago when I downloaded it. I’ll be using it more often than skyfire.

3) blackberry: occasionally I had to use it (blackberry torch) to browse the forum. It is quite crude but useable. Actually the on screen mouse cursor is quite neat and helps a lot on picking tiny links on a smaller screen. Scroll is not smooth. You can scroll code inserts but it is testing your patience. The lack of screen response is complemented by the mouse cursor. I wish an android phone has one of those cause touching sometimes is just not accurate with fingers.

What do think? Too much time spent on forum?  😀