Author Topic: Please Welcome the Nano Biscotte v4  (Read 47376 times)

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Offline erv

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Please Welcome the Nano Biscotte v4
« on: May 03, 2017, 09:51:18 PM »
Please Welcome the NANO BISCOTTE v4

and May the 4th be with you ! The board should be in stock at TCSS later today. As for the EU production, that will have to wait around late may as I got busy with all this and haven't got the time to produce them, but the PCBs are on my way and all the parts are in stock !

The manual is in good shape too but not fully finished, it should be there by the end of the week.

- [NEW] Up to 3 fonts - Long press on the activation switch when blade is off make the saber switch to the other font. Comes with Lightmeat, Greymeat and Darkmeat
- [NEW] Configurable reboot delay
- [NEW] Adjustable beep volume (not really any innovation there lol)
- [NEW] Up to 16 swing and 16 clash sounds
- [NEW] Reverse polarity & over voltage protection
- [NEW] Dual Digital Sensor motion detection. Identical to CF MotionFusion™, very high swing sensitivity and vibration & battery ripple immune
- [NEW] Single switch Mute-on-the-go™ (MOTG) with configurable delay
- [NEW] Mute during power off. Optional silenced power-off sound when MOTG is engaged
- [NEW] 3 channel color "mixing" - 4A per channel
- [NEW] FoC Mixing Techniques allowins mixed color FoC as well as traditional and popular "On-top" type Flash on Clash
- [NEW] Pulse Fx :-)
- [NEW] 2 on-board LED driver (backward compatible with NB3) + 1 remote PEx for a 3rd channel
- [NEW] RGB Neopixel / WS2812 (and alike) support with power saving and adjustable timings
- [NEW] Ledstrip power saving StripOff™
- [NEW] Omnisabers™ support / Omnisabers™ Ready
- [NEW] Override master file + individual configuration files for font specific settings

[Legacy features, copy / paste from older releases]

- Improved file fetching, up to 16 GB µSD card
- Board is freakin' small : 28.5x18.5 mm
- Header friendly
- same 2W amp as my other boards
- Designed for single li-ion cell
- 10 bit audio
- clash and swing motion flow limiters
- momentary switch only
- off delay APOP
- progressive ignition / retraction (of course)
- quick on / quick off
- flicker / shimmer
- NO Aux switch
- NO R.I.C.E.
- adjustable drive to remove the resistor in some (rare) cases
- enhanced deep sleep with 0.1 mA consumption (12 months of shelf time with a 14500, 36 months with a 18650), no kill key really needed.
- changeable sound fonts, drop in support of CF/PC fonts, extra sound files are ignored.

The board wires the LED like a PEx, positive of the battery (eventually after the recharge port, if any) goes to the + of the board AND to the + of the luxeon via a power resistor
neg of the pack to the neg of the board.
L1- and L2- to the luxeon neg
L3 pad to a 3rd channel PEx or to Neopixel Strip
2 wires to the switch (switch negative share with board negative)
2 wires to the speaker

[Reboot & Mute-on-the-go™]
As the board use only a single switch to operate, we've included 2 configurable delay to separate the Mute-on-the-go™ and the Reboot/font switching features.
The Mute-on-the-go™ has obviously to be < than the reboot delay. Once reaching the mute delay a small beep (adjustable volume) will indicate the board is ready to power the blade on in mute mode.
Release of the switch at that moment will power the blade on.
Leaving the switch pressed after that first beep and passing the reboot delay will make the board reboot and move to the next font.
As usual, the MOTG delay can be set to zero to disable the MOTG feature and leave only the reboot feature .
The new Mute during power off features has been a recurrent request from people with bad WAF, especially when playing at night with their saber and after being threaten of divorce several times.
I think Saber League teachers were in the same boat too. I personally think it's sometimes important to hear the power off sound to be SURE the saber is still "ok" when leaving the MOTG mode but it's
also cool to allow the saber to be silent on demand.

[3 channels / color mixing]
There was loads of pros & cons regarding adding the 3 channel PEx. Room on the board is "ok" however not on the side. We decided for this release to not include it first because the board remains a great entry range board for *beginners* and it's also acclaimed for it's super small size and we wanted to keep it header friendly as it makes its install on a chassis super simple.
While I'm sure you'll all love the possibility to do color mixing and RGB sabers, there are a lot of customers using those for character sabers and first sabers with XX-W tri-crees (color + white FoC) and it's super easy to wire it this way. Still, with a 3rd channel available, you easily upgrade your saber with RGB, with just the use of a PEx.
Finally, having a bare pad also makes wiring easier for the led strips support as the strip data line is exported on channel 3.

[4 AMPs / channel HUMF FAP OMFG yumnomnomnom what an upgrade !!!!]
Well not really. Over the past years I've been fighting some lack of common sense with direct driven LEDs, in particular the fact most people don't measure their LED and don't calculate
resistors and just expect it to work. Based on this, I tried to keep LED driving "reasonable" for beginners and rated the NB (and PRIZM) output up to 2A.
First of all, as a precision, the NB doesn't "output" 2A, just like with Watt ratings of speakers, a lot of people think that it's forced out while it's "requested" by the load.
Second, the driver part has its maximum current rating at 6.5A and it's safe to use it 4A.
Overall, if someone wanted to use a BBB tri-cree on a NBv4, I would however suggest to maybe split the load between a BB pair and the last B die but it should be fine to handle all 3 on a single channel.

[New motion sensor]
It's been a while since I wanted to harmonize the boards all together and it's been mentioned during the release of CF7. The real difficulty was finding a proper time slot to accommodate the board production (EU / USA), distribution (EU / USA) and overall growing demand (worldwide). While it's a cool update which brings the former super accurate motion detection brought to you via CF7 2 years and a half ago, I don't call it an innovation per say, and I'm happy to provide it to the whole range of board (planned for Pico Crumble too).
It also brings a very good immunity to power supply noise and infamous errant swings, but this shouldn't be an excuse for not measuring your leds nor verifying what your battery drain is (and not just from the "datasheet").
The motion detection uses the simplified parameters from CF, a motion "gate" that we usually set between 50 and 70 (not critical), no more general sensitivity to mess up with, and a swing threshold separated from the clash threshold.

[Omnisabers ?]

I've been using our former multi-saber wireless stage performance system for some year with Saberproject and during the period they designed their own wireless transmitter, I worked with them
to enhanced the possibilities of wireless live performance with lightsabers. This has been achieved in the Crystal Focus firmware and is now progressively ported to other boards.
There's both a known demand for this for quite a while (saber leagues, saber groups, stage demo, booth demo, conventions, artistic fencing) and personal interest to pursue that work, I just couldn't address that so far but be sure I haven't ignored it :-)
How does it work ? Basically, as I consider trying to stream the sensor or the digital audio from the saber is a bad idea (mainly for latency issues but not only), I rather chose (in 2006) to send saber actions to the computer to control a polyphonic sampler.
I'm currently working on my new omnisaber "dongle" to revive both hardware and software initially designed 10 years ago but in the meanwhile, I'm ensuring the new gen of boards can be "omnisabers-ready". The saber actions are exported on the board serial port / RICE port, just like any of the diagnostic information and remote configuration.
BUT WAIT... serial port ??? NB doesn't have RICE ???? True, but for a long time it has had an enabled serial port output on one pad. Diag / debug info can be obtained there and sent wired or wireless to a remote system.

[Neopixel (and alike) support]

The NB allows to drive a WS2812 (and compatible) blade up to 150 pixels. The strip data line is handled by the pad L3 when the board is configured for using a ledstrip. We spend quite some time to
build a neopixel driver that uses zero CPU along with an abstraction layer in the firmware so that the blade output / update is not different between high-power LEDs and a strip.
That means the strip gets the same exact refresh rate, flicker look & feel.
The driver has also adjustable timings, as some compatible pixels use a different chip (APA106, SK6812) have different timings, we therefore provide adjustable params in the override.txt fileto define the strip protocol timing with a resolution of 25.2 nanosecond.

Added for more explanation of blade total pixel number vs pixel addressing.
Quote from: erv
The board *addresses* 150 pixels max. With 2 strips you could have 300 leds.
So yes you can wire 3 strips NP. The current is crazy and there's more shadowing than expected but it's been tested by Alex Gordon.
I think you all got the point, I tried to separate the question of the addressed pixels vs the total number of pixels in the blade, which are 2 different things.

* To be noted that one significant difference between high-power LEDs and a LED strip when using the FlexiBlend™ engine is that the latter has a 10 bit resolution (0-1023) to define color with a significantly high resolution (billions of colors). The strip uses only 8 bits to define color, therefore there's a much more noticeable quantification (ie "step") effect on smooth effects
like pulse. Conversely, subtle effects like shy flicker become less visible or "obvious" due to the lower resolution of the strip. As a result, certain effects will need to be exagerated when using a ledstrip. Color remains defined on 10 bit just like our other direct drive boards however expect no visible color change by tuning channels with only 1 or 2 steps. The strip resolution being 4 times lower, steps of 4 are required to obtain a color change on the strip. For Pulse Fx (now on NB too) afficionados, the low brightness side of the ledstrip is also 4 times less smoother,hence digging too hard with the flicker depth will produce some stepped flicker. A depth of about 60-70% remains ok to the look (basically avoid the lower quarter).

* Neopixels & Power saving

In the global effort to reduce the need of a kill-key (would it be during a convention or for some shelf time) we wanted to preserve our super efficient deep-sleep mode that uses only 0.1mA of current,
and which allow more than 1 year of shelf time (tested).
The pixel chips use some current even when off, about .9mA each. With a trimmed blade using for instance 2 strips of 140 pixels, we have a good 250mA of current draw when the blade is off, which we found ridiculous to not address for deep-sleep.
As a result, we provide a "remote power control" over the strip by hooking the strip(s) negative to the on-board LED drivers (aka on-board PEx). Both channel 1 and 2 are enabled at the same time to split the load of the strip when the blade is on. Once the blade goes off, channel 1 and 2 will keep providing the idle current to the blade until deep-sleep is reached, then the blade will be disconnected.
We call this feature StripOff™, a naming that has received quite a positive response, for some reason :-D

* Obviously, a more radical solution is always possible, by removing the blade from the emitter socket to prevent any current to be used, however it's great for component blade sabers to stay with their blade in and secured when used often, especially for dueling (the blade being heavier) and we think it's great to have such a saber always ready to strike without disassembling it just for the sake to save on run-time when there's a smarter way to do it.

* Neopixel Special Fx
Based on our former CF-LS design, we combine a spatial scrolling with the fade effect of the high-power LED for a more dramatic scrolling effect. Two parameters lsfadeon and lsfadeoff define
if you use the fade effect during ignition or retraction.
I've also added a parameter called lightstick that illuminates the blade all the pixels at once (no spatial scrolling) and which can be combined with the lsfadeon and lsfadeoff parameters.
That feature might sound a little "off" compared to the lightsaber but can be useful for some other pikes or staff, and I got a few requests in the past for my electronics to go in devil sticks for instance.
Finally, the spatial scrolling is quite different to the eye compared to the progressive fade in / out of a high-power LED. As a result the sample-accurate synchronization between the power on / off sounds and the extension / retraction scrolling speed is rarely required or looks too slow. Like on our previous boards, the power on / off timing can be adjusted to an eye-pleasing speed using the quick-on / quick-off parameters in the configuration file.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2017, 08:38:02 PM by erv »

Offline TrypWyr

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Re: Please Welcome the Nano Biscotte v4
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2017, 10:31:49 PM »
Brilliant work Erv! I can't wait to get a hold of one of these awesome Neopixel blades...

Offline jbkuma

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Re: Please Welcome the Nano Biscotte v4
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2017, 11:13:40 PM »
Nice work!!  I look forward to seeing what new ideas help the growing pixel blade niche!

Offline Meatsweats

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Re: Please Welcome the Nano Biscotte v4
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2017, 03:30:09 AM »
Awesome stuff, going to pick one up later today!

Offline Darth Chasm

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Re: Please Welcome the Nano Biscotte v4
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2017, 05:03:27 AM »
Exciting news. I may have to pick up one...or 10

Offline NanoRex

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Re: Please Welcome the Nano Biscotte v4
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2017, 05:32:03 AM »
Man, this is such a great upgrade. Can't wait to start building Plecter-powered sabers with WS2812 LED strips!

Offline Starwinder

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Re: Please Welcome the Nano Biscotte v4
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2017, 05:34:58 AM »
Fantastic update - thanks Erv!

Offline coldvizjerei

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Re: Please Welcome the Nano Biscotte v4
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2017, 05:55:54 AM »
THIS IS AMAZING!!! Can't wait to get my hands on one!

Offline Lord Zen

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Re: Please Welcome the Nano Biscotte v4
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2017, 07:39:12 AM »
Thanks Erv, this is excellent

Small form factor with Neopixel support!
Already ordered mine  :grin:

Offline Sandtracker

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Re: Please Welcome the Nano Biscotte v4
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2017, 07:42:36 AM »
« Last Edit: April 14, 2020, 09:03:34 PM by Sandtracker »

Offline TheSaberCore

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Re: Please Welcome the Nano Biscotte v4
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2017, 08:02:27 AM »
Aaagh, so many upgrades, may have to swap my nano V3 for this one!

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Offline jsummit

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Re: Please Welcome the Nano Biscotte v4
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2017, 08:43:39 AM »
Will this new blade just work with the Nb V4, or will it work with the current Prizm V4, PC, and CF cards as well? If not, will there be a patch to download for them? Don't know a lot about the finer parts of sound card tech! I currently have Prizm V4 cards in my sabers.

Offline oswaldkefo

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Re: Please Welcome the Nano Biscotte v4
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2017, 08:49:25 AM »
Wow, that's amazing. I am incredibly impressed and the speed and amount of upgrades. I can't wait to try out those neopixel blades!

I came here to conquer the galaxy and drink milk...and I've finished my milk.

Offline Mewgen

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Re: Please Welcome the Nano Biscotte v4
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2017, 09:39:21 AM »
Wow, that's really awesome Erv. I have a few questions that will probably be answered in your manual but I'm too impatient to wait.

Wiring a BBW will only require channel L1 (blue) and L2 (white foc)?

Can we mix L1 & L2 channels for mixing BBR? And not use L3?

What's the output in L3 without a PEX?

Offline erv

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Re: Please Welcome the Nano Biscotte v4
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2017, 09:42:01 AM »
Wiring a BBW will only require channel L1 (blue) and L2 (white foc)?
Can we mix L1 & L2 channels for mixing BBR? And not use L3?
yes absolutely

What's the output in L3 without a PEX?

a ledstrip output, along with L1 and L2  :angel: