Wednesday, April 16, 2014

53: I Try the "Prototyping Pi" Shield

As I grew tired of breadboard clutter and pulled out wires, I fell for Adafruit's $16 shield. Here's a pic of my still-messy setup:
The good bit: those screwed-down wires are going to stay put! The adjacent sockets are nice and tight, too.

Small complaints: it would be convenient to have extra screw (or insertion) connectors for GND, 3.3v and 5v. Also, When I screwed patch wires into the out-facing connectors the Pi footprint gets big.

Bigger complaint: Note the drawn-on red arrow and dotted line in the photo: That's the Pi camera ribbon cable. The dotted line indicates the approximate location of the camera socket beneath the shield. Before I added the shield the camera worked. But not after. As you can see, the camera is offset from the motherboard plug. Pushing the shield down twisted the ribbon and scratched off a few ribbon wires. Luckily, I have a spare cable but I'm not risking it with the Prototyping Pi. It's back to ye olde breadboard for me.

Two other thoughts:
1. Before I ever ordered the Pi camera I suspected that that cable was going to be trouble.

2. I take no pleasure in soldering. I would like a better breadboard where adding a new wire doesn't cause two previous wires to be loosened or pulled out. Any of you familiar with ZIF connectors?
ZIF standing for "zero insertion force." PCs used to come with these things so the enterprising could trade up chips when they inevitably got faster, denser or cheaper. ZIFs have fallen out of favor now that manufacturers have realized that upgrading chips diminished computer sales. But I digress.

What I'd like is a ZIF-like breadboard. The little lever above is in the open position. Once the chip was plugged in you you merely push the lever down and, voila, you have a reliable, semi-permanent circuit. Now, my perfected breadboard couldn't be just one big ZIF. Here's an off-the-cuff example:
What do you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment