Author Topic: What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?  (Read 6104 times)

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Offline SylvestreTopic starter

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What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?
« on: October 09, 2011, 07:43:53 PM »
Hey guys,

What's the point of breakout boards (eg http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9418) if you already have a microcontroller such as the Axon II?

Offline Joker94

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Re: What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2011, 08:31:34 PM »
Such a breakout board is designed to make connection to a micro controller like the axon easier. all it does is 'breaks out' the pins that need to be connected to the MCU using header connections making integrating it into a project easier.

For the specific one you mentioned, if you were to use it without the break out board you would need to either make a custom PCB or use a SMD prototyping PCB. Either  way is pretty much the same as a break out board as you will use header connectors to conect it back to the axon.

So the short summery is that a break out board provides an easy means to integrate smaller and more specialized sensors and chips to your projects!

Hope this helps,

Joker94

Offline SylvestreTopic starter

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Re: What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2011, 09:14:45 PM »
So it gets rid of soldering basically.  Could I just solder wires with a female connector onto a sensor and then just connect it to the Axon II?

Offline Gertlex

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Re: What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2011, 09:52:54 PM »
So it gets rid of soldering basically.  Could I just solder wires with a female connector onto a sensor and then just connect it to the Axon II?

You can directly wire breakout boards to the Axon... (aka female connector wires plugged into Axon like you said)

Most "advanced" sensors have a bit of circuitry that needs to be added to them, so you wouldn't be able to connect the actual sensor chip to the Axon directly... and that's why breakout boards exist.
I

Offline Joker94

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Re: What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2011, 06:23:30 AM »
Quote
Most "advanced" sensors have a bit of circuitry that needs to be added to them, so you wouldn't be able to connect the actual sensor chip to the Axon directly... and that's why breakout boards exist.

a nice clean explanation lol.

It gives people the ability to experiment and eventually implement sensors otherwise not practical to use. Like Gertlex said, many of the sensors using a breakout board need additional circuitry. And most people don't have the equipment, time or ability to solder SMD components and circuitry.

Offline SylvestreTopic starter

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Re: What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2011, 03:35:11 PM »
Ok I get what you guys are saying, but how do you know whether you need a breakout board or not/ how do you know if it is a advanced sensor or not?  Would I need a breakout board for something like this? http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10167 OR would I be better off buying this? http://www.sparkfun.com/products/8257
« Last Edit: October 10, 2011, 03:43:27 PM by Sylvestre »

Offline Gertlex

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Re: What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2011, 04:30:55 PM »
Ok I get what you guys are saying, but how do you know whether you need a breakout board or not/ how do you know if it is a advanced sensor or not?

I've generally found that looking in the documentation for a sensor is the answer here.  For example, a plain Sharp IR sensor will have a circuit diagram of parts typically needed.  One can either wire up the components on perf board (or similar) (and components don't have to be SMD) themselves, or buy a breakout board.  Certainly, this can be a case of avoiding headaches in exchange for $$ :)

I didn't look too closely at the two products you linked, so I'm not sure why there's a huge price disparity there... Probably a features/sensor quality reason.  You will pay a bit of a premium (not $30...) for a nice compact/clean breakout board, from what I've seen.

I've not done much in the way of sensors.  I once bought a Sharp IR sensor by itself, and then realized I lacked the hardware to make the breakout-board equivalent needed.  (I've since bought a combo Sharp IR sensor + interface board... and done nothing with it)
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Offline joe61

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Re: What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2011, 05:50:37 PM »
I've found with Sparkfun that they can be overly pricey (in my opinion), and it's not unheard of for them to get it wrong on top of that. Before you buy something like this be sure to read the comments under the product description, and check around to see if you can get the same thing for less somewhere else.

The comments under the board you linked to, for example, bring up protocol incompatibilities, differences between the product and the posted schematic, and an alternative from Newark for about $32, with a more sensitive part.

Sparkfun has some good things, but you have to do your homework to find them.


Offline SylvestreTopic starter

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Re: What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2011, 07:44:07 PM »
Ok thank you guys for the information.  That really helped

Offline Joker94

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Re: What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2011, 01:34:42 AM »
Quote
Ok I get what you guys are saying, but how do you know whether you need a breakout board or not/ how do you know if it is a advanced sensor or not?

I have found with the sensors that I have used or needed to use, the reason they came with a break out board is they need the break out board. Sensors like lots of accelerometers, gyros, compass, gps units altimeters etc use main chips that have very fine pitch SMD components on the verge of a BGA type component. this makes them unpractical to use on their own unless you are designing custom circuitry.

Offline SylvestreTopic starter

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Re: What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2011, 05:53:16 PM »
What is the difference between an evaluation board and a breakout board?  I think I am going to buy this board http://tinyurl.com/3q3x3tn


Can I connect this directly to the Axon II?
« Last Edit: October 12, 2011, 06:32:47 PM by Sylvestre »

Offline Mastermime

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Re: What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2011, 03:02:04 PM »
What are some temperature sensors you guys have used that have worked well in the past for you?  I'm looking for one that I connect directly to the Axon II (breakout board).  I'm trying to keep it under $30

Offline waltr

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Re: What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2011, 05:23:53 PM »
What is the difference between an evaluation board and a breakout board?  I think I am going to buy this board http://tinyurl.com/3q3x3tn


Can I connect this directly to the Axon II?


No idea until I can look at the data sheet. Do you have a link?

About the only difference between an evaluation board and a breakout board is that an evaluation board is sold (or given away) by the manufacture of the IC for the purpose of engineering evaluation and sales of that IC whereas a breakout board is more of a hobbyist concept so that it is easy to wire to at home for experimenting.

Offline Mastermime

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Re: What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2011, 05:47:12 PM »
Quote
No idea until I can look at the data sheet. Do you have a link?
I don't think I am going to buy this one anyway.

Quote
bout the only difference between an evaluation board and a breakout board is that an evaluation board is sold (or given away) by the manufacture of the IC for the purpose of engineering evaluation and sales of that IC whereas a breakout board is more of a hobbyist concept so that it is easy to wire to at home for experimenting.
Thank you for the response.  That makes sense.

I'm not sure which temperature sensor I should buy though?  I keep seeing all of these sensors that meet my specifications (can connect directly to the Axon II, maximum temp of 60 or more degrees Celsius) for under 30 dollars.  I just dont know which I should buy.  That's why I am looking for some people who have had good experiences with a certain temperature sensor that they would like to recommend to me.

Offline waltr

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Re: What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2011, 07:30:41 PM »
How about one of the LM35 series.

Offline Mastermime

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Re: What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2011, 07:34:46 PM »
I could hook this directly up to the Analog to Digital pins on the Axon II, right?  Thank you for your help

Offline waltr

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Re: What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2011, 05:55:34 PM »
If the temperature doesn't go below 0 then yes, the LM35 output can go directly into an ADC port.

At 60C the LM35's output is 60 * 10mV = 0.6V, at 100C its output is 1.0V. So you could gain the output of the LM35 if you wish to use the full scale of the ADC or you could use a lower external ADC reference voltage if your processor supports this option.
Read the LM35 data sheet for details.

Offline SylvestreTopic starter

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Re: What's The Point Of Breakout Boards?
« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2011, 07:57:08 PM »
[Delete]
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 09:53:15 PM by Sylvestre »

 


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