Nightmare Nights (And other updates!)

Greetings everyone!

Sorry for the long delay in updates. I’ve been working a lot, fiddling with things a lot, and also prepping for Nightmare Nights.

I’m really excited to be there. It’s my first time venturing out for a convention, as luckily for me BronyCon is within easy distance. I’m not sure if I’ll regularly appear at distant conventions as travel prices aren’t cheap, and electronics have a pretty high overhead compared to more traditional sellers. That said, I do have some neat news!

First up: I’ve received a prototype V2/V3 case from Alabaster. He put up some pictures in his last post, but when I got it I grabbed an old V1 and its case to compare it to and took some pictures:

And then I thought the new one looked pretty small compared to the old one. And it is. To demonstrate:

Yep. That’s the V2 in the V2 case, fitting snugly inside the V1’s case. And that’s not even a hacker case!

Unfortunately, the V2 case isn’t finished yet, so while I’ll have that prototype with me at Nightmare Nights, I won’t have any available to sell. There’s still a few things that need to be fixed before production can begin, but we’re really close.

On the other hand, I WILL have the Pendants with me! These are  a lot more versatile than the DigiBadges, although they don’t have quite the same screen. They have an I2C powered 8×8 LED Matrix – Which, being I2C, allows every pin on the 328 to be broken out. The driver for the LED matrix also requires 5V, so the pendant, unlike the V2, has a boost voltage regulator. This does mean it eats a lot more power, but it’ll still last a significant amount of time. Basic calculations put it at something like 15-16 hours or so. The Pendants will be available for $10.

I took two demonstration videos of what the Pendant can do:

In addition to the pendant, there will also be the V2 DigiBadge available. There will also be an Art Card with art by Leekfish available for purchase as well. In addition to the standard compliment of V2s, there are also a few ‘Damaged’ DigiBadges that will be available. All of these suffered some sort of issue with the SD card reader, so while you can’t use an Art Card with them, the basic badge functions work just fine. The DigiBadge V2 will be $15, while the ‘Damaged’ ones will be $10. This will be the last remaining stock of the V2 badges – But don’t worry! This just means the V3 is on its way.

“Wait, V3 you said?”

Why, yes! A V3! After hearing some feedback about the V2 and looking into things, I poked around at a few things I could do with it. I was also not satisfied with the way the V2 worked with batteries. While it could function off of a pair of AAAs for a very long time, the screen became unusable far sooner than everything else stopped functioning. So I took a look at the Pendant and V1’s boost regulators, and decided to put a 3.3v regulator on the V3. This means that it only needs one AAA battery, reducing the weight and allowing for more components on the back of the board.

What other components am I putting on there? Well, aside from the voltage regulator, I’m trimming down the navigation switch’s interface to use a single analog input instead of five different inputs. Additionally, there’ll be an ISCP header included, and – This is my favorite bit – A 1M SPI Flash chip. This will be able to store filenames for numerous art card images, and it will also allow for persistence of settings. Turning the V2 off and back on means you have to fiddle with it to get it back to the badge you want, or the image you want. With the V3, it’ll turn on to whatever it was set on last (Unless the image can’t be found, of course).

And, good fans, that’s not all! While it won’t affect you at all, I’m happy to say that I’ve found a place to have the boards manufactured. I first came into contact with them during BronyCon – I remember replying to their e-mails on the light rail on the way to the convention – and I’ve been discussing possibilities and costs for board manufacturing. Their prices are great, and I’ll be using them for manufacturing the V3s and other future boards. While there are a small number of parts that they aren’t able to source and I’ll have to send them, for the most part I’ll just send them an order, and they’ll print the boards, do the assembly, and send them out to me. I’ll have a few steps to take care of – Mostly, making sure they’re programmed and double-checking that they work – but it’ll take quite a lot of the load off of me. While it does cost me a bit more to have them made, I had given myself a bit of extra room to work with in the price of the V2 badge. I had planned ahead for eventually doing something like this, so the price you pay won’t be changed.

I currently have no estimate for when the V3 will be available. Right now, I’m focused on Nightmare Nights. After NMN is over, I’ll be sifting through all the data and seeing what happens next.

And if you are going to Nightmare Nights, the Vendor Hall Map has been posted! I’ll be on the left-hand side against the wall. For a quick recap on prices:

  • V2 DigiBadge: $15
  • V2 “Damaged” DigiBadge (Nonfunctional SD card): $10
  • LED Pendant: $10
  • Art Card: $10

Prices do not include tax, of course.

See you at Nightmare Nights!

-Andon

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