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Feature Suggestion: External status/control interface


wolrah
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I submitted this as a suggestion through the ticket system and Brandon responded suggesting I post it in the forum as well:

A feature I think would be nice to have on a future model would be some sort of interface (maybe i2c or spi?) through which one could attach a microcontroller and have it be able to read status data and write setting changes.

My purpose for this would be to be able to create a custom user interface with a different display (specifically in my case I want to build one in to a Gameboy chassis and have it use the Gameboy's display), but depending on what sort of features you might be able to expose it could also enable interested parties to experiment with different power curves, or use your controllers in a scientific setting where a computer could automatically adjust different things for test runs.

It might even be possible to add this to existing models as an option in a firmware update by repurposing the display connection, since presumably the display is using a common serial interface.



I'm curious what ideas others might have for things you could do with the ability to control or pull data from the power controller.  Bluetooth/WiFi data logging for example?
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I have thought about this a bit as well, but my reluctance has been that this is still an evolving (no pun intended) technology.  Have we hit the platform that will be around long enough to design to and develop for?  Perhaps, but perhaps not.  To me the 200 is second generation TC, i.e. it takes the ground breaking offerings from the 40 and enhances/extends them significantly.  How far along the innovation J curve are we?  Is the 200 still at the lower end prior to rapid development phase of vaping engineering or is it in the middle or top end?  My opinion is that the industry as a whole is in a period of rapid development and we are going to see significant technology brought to the table in the next few years.  I would think that the concept of a "developer's port" is ripe for the DNAXXX that would represent 3rd gen TC.

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Hi Wolrah, I think you can already do exactly what you're talking about using the existing USB HID on the DNA 200. Numerous PIC chips have USB on chip and it would seem (?) easy enough to use a PIC as a virtually universal interface translator for whatever you have in mind. With the existing serial commands disclosed so far, the user interface save the fire button (and up/down buttons as discussed below) is available for full customization without needing the stock screen or button hardware. The only things missing (that I've found so far) are the button press commands. We need a way to tell it "up" or "down" without actually pressing a button. I've asked if there is some way to do that over in the software forum but no replies yet. My hope is it's something easy enough to implement that we get it as a feature in the serial command set in the near future. It could be done with a couple of the open collector outputs on a PIC to the switch pads on the board, but that's sort of a wasteful hardware solution to what appears to be a simple command interface capability better done in software. I'd be interested to hear of any progress you make. My project focus right now is on a relatively large set of isolated very low thermal mass thermocouples for a set of experiments I dreamed up years ago but now with more modern vaping hardware readily available can finally implement. I'm also futzing around with a buttonless mod idea. The next project after that will be going wireless with the DNA 200 to PC (and hopefully by the time I get to it, Evolv will have already come out with their Bluetooth version of the board and escribe app for tablets lol).

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