We at Totem wanted to help out with a unit that made things better. We also wanted to show how our mechanical construction system could be used to make electronics tidier, more user friendly and convenient. And evidently this was possible.
Whats are the things you normally want to have on your desk when working with the Arduino and electronics ?
• An Arduino
• Power Supplies
• Patch Cables
• Also, nice to have an oscilloscope
• And of course, the components for your specific project
We wanted to get all of the above into one small unit, except for the oscilloscope. An oscilloscope demands quite much more space and cost.
We came up with the Totem Mini Lab. It is aimed at anyone that works or are training with electronics and coding.
The Arduino is very well known, and are likely used by millions of people. We have made our own version of the Arduino in the Totem Mini Lab. It is compatible with the Arduino Uno, except we have added features to it. We call out version of the Arduino the TotemDuino.
We added a stronger power supply to the TotemDuino, we can pull out at least 1amp from the 5v output on the board, and the power supply you use, can have anything from 9 to 30 volts.
And importantly, we added protection to every pin to the AtMega processor. It is very easy to smoke a pin of the AtMega, when patching on a breadboard.
Our TotemDuino has a flat cable connector with all the Arduino signals (I/O pins, or GPIO) available, which then connects to the Lab Board.
The all-in-one Totem Mini Lab
Now to the Lab Boards, the heart of the Totem Mini Lab. The first thing to improve when breadboarding: Easy, short access to all the Arduino I/O pins.
We then made all signals available in a single row just above the breadboards, clearly marked, and conveniently placed. Since the Totem Mini Lab slants at 45 degrees, it’s also easier to see the I/O names, and prevent missing by connecting the neighbor instead.
Analog Measurements and Outputs
The Lab Board has its own STM32 micro-controller to perform measurement tasks in the Totem Mini Lab, so here’s what the Lab Board can do:
We have 3 channels of voltage measurements, we have made also the ranges different for each of them: +/-0.5v , +/-5v and +/-50v. The leftmost display is for these measurement channels.
There are 3 analogue DAC outputs. These are handy if you want to inject a specific voltage to your circuit. They are 12 bit DACs with a 0-2.5v range. The middle display is used to set these voltages.
We have made available some useful power outputs for your circuits:
• -5v : 500mA
• 3.3v : 250mA
• 5v : 1A
• Vreg : You can set it from 3v to Vinput-3v
• Vinput (from the power supply)
These power supply outputs give enough for most designs. They are easily available in the row of header connectors above the breadboards.
Digital Inputs and Frequency Measurement
We added 2 digital inputs, the 2 diodes on the left follows the high/low on the DIG1 and DIG 2 inputs. The DIG1 can also be used for frequency measurement up to approx 2 MHz.
Save on Instruments
If you have a classroom situation, with lots of students or makers, the Mini Lab saves you many measurement instruments and power supplies. So, for education, the Lab Board will make the classroom much tidier, and use desktop place more efficiently.
When taking a break with the Lab Board, it’s simple to just put into the shelf, without any wires losing connection or mishaps.