Hexabitz, Amazing New Way to Build Prototype

Last week I as surfing HackAday.io and I found this project “Hexabitz”, it looked so promising the project’s slogan was: “Hardware prototyping doesn’t have to be so hard”. Basically the project consists of modules which has a Hexagon or Pentagon shapes, almost every module has a Cortex-M0 MCU and a unique firmware. I counted around 40 Modules, however only 21 is available at the shop, I guess this is because the project is quite new. Each module can be attach to other modules and work together.

You can find all kind of modules from the simple one such as Logo and 50mil-Grid Surface-mount Proto Board to more complicated such as RGB to very complicated such as USB-B-to-UART Converter and Bluetooth modules. I really liked this project so I ordered the “Hexabitz Intro Kit”, Wired Kelvin Clamp, USB-UART Prototype Cable and a T-shirt (Because why not :P). In this instruction I am going to talk about how to do “The blinking LED” using RGB LED and a CLI and then I used Processing IDE (which is a great open source IDE) to make a simple project using the Hexabitz.

Supplies:

Step 1: What Will You Need:

What will you need:

Hardware:

One RGB LED (H01R00) : you can find it here

Two Wired Kelvin Clamp: from here:

USB-UART Prototype Cable from here

Software:

Any CLI would work I choose Realterm download it from here

Processing IDE

Step 2: Wiring

First of all, notice the H01R00 has two sides: the one with the
RGB LED (the web site calls it TOP) and the one with the MCU (Again the web site calls it bottom) using Kelvin Clamp Connect the USB-UART cable to any of the module array ports (i.e. communication ports P1 to P6). The top pad is MCU TXD and the bottom one is MCU RXD. Thus, you should connect the top pad to the cable RXD (yellow in the FTDI cable) and the bottom pad to cable TXD (orange).

Second, you need to supply power to the module using another Kelvin Clamp connect the red wire in the USB-UART cable to the 3.3V and the black wire to GND.

Step 3: Connect the FTDI to Your PC Using USB Port

If your PC doesn’t recognise the FTDI you need to install the driver, you can get it from here

After that a LED on the module would flash to indicate that the module is ready to work if it doesn’t flash then there is something wrong.

Step 4: Open Realterm

(or any other CLI) and make the following changes:

· In display tap: set the Display As to ANSI instead of ASCII.

· In Port tap: set Baud to 921600 and port to the FTDI port (You can know what port from the device manager or simply chose the one which has \VCP in its name)

Step 5: Hit Enter

You can either
press Enter or send \r using the send tap, you would get reply as shown in this figure:

Now you can start playing: type “color red 50” (without contentions).

Then type “color green 50”

Step 6:

After that we need to do another project

using Processing open the following file:

In the seventh line you can find a string called portName change its value to whatever port your PC has assigned to FTDI, Power on the module and then hit run.

The GUI explains itself I think ;)

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