If you too are struggling to get your head around the complexity of programming languages – or indeed if you want to introduce children to electrical engineering – then Red Pitaya’s Visual Programming is definitely the answer. Obviously children don’t just become architects straight away; they play with building blocks, they mess around and have fun. The same is true of engineering, and if you will, Red Pitaya’s Visual Programming is the programming equivalent of Lego. Each block performs a basic function, you insert the block in the right place on the screen and your project performs the selected function. Simple as that. Not only does Visual Programming provide a hugely simplified process, but it also acts as a code translator. So that once you have inserted your block, you are able to see how that function would appear in six different programming languages. This feature really goes a long way towards demystifying the complex world of code languages and will undoubtedly help you, or your child, become a competent engineer. Here is a simple example on how to make a Blinking LED on your Red Pitaya. As you can see the Visual code is built from a few basic blocks:
- Repeat block – Will cause continuous executions of everything which is inside the block, i.e. while loop.
- Inside the Repeat block we have put two Set Led blocks for switching ON and OFF the LED.
- Between the ON and OFF states we have added some time delay so we can follow LEDs blinking.
- Remote programming of Red Pitaya via an intuitive WEB-based interface using blocks or other programming language (Python, C/C++, Java Script...)
- Ability to create own dashboards with real time graphs, dials, meters, sliders, and buttons
- Ability to control the program flow from a PC, smartphone or tablet
- Ability to share measurements or send notifications to email or even social networks like Facebook and Twitter
- Measures temperature, moisture, alcohol, water level, vibrations, UV light, sound, pressure, air quality detect motion, and other
- Controls actuators and indicators like LEDs, displays, motors or relays in order to control high load devices*The last two features require the use of the Red Pitaya Sensor extension module & sensors
- Programming with blocks is a very fun experience, but is also highly instructive and encourages the user to begin thinking subconsciously like a real programmer. All of this is just the beginning of the learning process. This format also enables users to watch and learn what the real programming language code behind the graphical blocks looks like – and how to program using it.
Hardware – Extension module¶
Although the usage of the Visual Programming interface does not require any additional hardware except the STEMLab board, getting started with electronics is way more fun and interesting when you have loads of sensors that you can put to good use straight away. Whether you want to measure temperature, vibration, movement – or more – we have developed a new extension module compatible with Grove modules from Seeed®. The module facilitates a quick connection of different sensors and actuators to the Red Pitaya. All you need is to select the desired module, find the correct connector and get going with your project. The Extension module, together with the Grove modules, is compatible with the new Visual Programing Interface. Using the interface, all of the digital and analog data (values) from the Grove sensors are directly translated into measurements of temperature, humidity and so on. Also the pin markings on the Extension module are correlated with the pin naming in Visual Programing. We have also placed Arduino shields headers on the Extension module.
The headers enable you to directly connect a variety of different Arduino Uno shields. You can find a wide range of Arduino Uno shields for all sorts of projects, so just find your desired shield and plug it into the extension module. For this, unlike using Grove modules, you will need to read raw data from the analog or digital pins using the “Red Pitaya” section in the Visual Programing Interface. The Extension module can be powered from the external power supply via a micro USB connector. A set of nine JUMPERS is used for reconnecting certain extension module connectors to different E1 or E2 pins or changing power supply settings. For example: With J1 and J3 you can set the source of VCC- external or from Red Pitaya. A full schematic of the Extension module is available on our web page. Don’t forget to check our videos with examples.
The extension module can be purchased from Red Pitaya store.
The black connectors on the sides are compatible with Arduino, white connectors on the front provide analog inputs, and there are two rows of gray connectors at the center which provide digital I/O, UART, I2C or analog outputs. On the bottom there are connectors to the Red Pitaya board.
Grove module connectors¶
This are dedicated connectors compatible with Grove modules.
There are six connector types available:
- AI Analog input (0-3.3V)
- AO Analog output
- I2C (3.3V)
- UART (3.3V)
- DIO Digital input/output (3.3V, not 5V tolerant)
Arduino shield compatible connectors¶
This set of connectors is partially compatible with the Arduino shield connector.
|Air quality sensor||AI|
|7 segment display||Digital pins|
|LED bar||Digital pins|
|Groove LCD||Digital pins|