xB-Buddy is the compact, cable-less version of FTDI cable, combined with XBee breakout board. Just plug the unit directly to USB Port on the PC, laptop.
xB-Buddy is not only useful for programming Arduino clone, but also a great device to communicate with any TTL serial device, such as a microcontroller to computer, GPS data, etc.
xB-Buddy also provided the sockets compatible with XBee modules, Standard or Pro Series (1 and 2.5), the same socket that is also compatible with RN-XV WiFly Module (WI-FI module with 802.15.4 architecture)
That's an Idea!
I got the idea from my hack, Convert FTDI Cable to "FTDI Dongle" for XBee Adapter. It shows how to modify the FTDI cable to use with XBee Adapter. But I went a little further, by placed the FTDI FT232RL usb/serial chip onto the board instead of using the third party breakout board as shown in the instructable.
xB-Buddy kit consists of a PCB, one and only SMD components(FT232RL usb/serial chip). All others components are through hole type components.
In my vision, xB-Buddy is intended to be an unassembled kit. It would be suitable for whoever want to gain the first experience with the SMD soldering, since there is only one SMD component included in the kit.
This might not be a good idea! Otherwise, it could be pre-soldered with pick-and-place machine from the PCB manufacturer.
Step 1: Design
First, I used EagleCAD software to create the schematic and board. I want to make the board as small as possible, so it would be light enough not to create too much load for the USB connector when inserted. And ended up with the size of 1.92 x 1.06 inches (48.768 x 26.924 mm) which is not included the extended USB header. The height of the module should be approx. 0.4 inch (10 mm).
I also send the Gerber files to BatchPCB.com to check if my design would passed, and it did. I also added the Eagle Files, and zipped Gerber files below.
Then, I read about the sponsor of the instructables' Kits Design Challenge, UpVerter's schematics design application on the web.
I was able to finish the xB-Buddy schematic within , using the printed reference from Eagle files, as the first time user. It is a really neat app. The app also provides the Bill of Materials in the csv format.
Here is the link to the dashboard to view the xB-Buddy schematic. http://upverter.com/sath/155d4df4a872df29/xB-Buddy/
NOTE: Eagles Files are provided "AS IS" under CC attrib/sharealike licensed. The files are still the work in progress. I shall not be liable for any risk or damages that result from the use of, or the inability to use, the files.