ANAVI Info uHAT – an open hardware Raspberry Pi add-on board with a mini OLED display, buttons, and slots for sensors

Together with Crowd Supply we recently launched a new crowd funding campaign for ANAVI Info uHAT – an open hardware Raspberry Pi add-on board with a mini OLED display, buttons, and slots for sensors.

Thanks to early backers ANAVI Info uHAT was successfully funded and hit its first stretch goal in a just a couple of days. So we’ll be adding some awesome KiCad and ANAVI Technology stickers. KiCad is the free and open source software we used to design this and other Anavi printed circuit boards.

As a small open source project, ANAVI Info uHAT relies on the community of passionate open source makers. We are near our second stretch goal of $1,000. If we hit it, we will make more video tutorials for all supported sensors.

There is still more than a month until the end of the crowdfunding campaign and we hope more people will jump in and order ANAVI Info uHAT!

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VisualStudio Keymap for ANAVI Macro Pad 8

Many thanks to Efthimios Iosfidis, an open source engineer, maker and developer from Greece. Efthimis added a QMK keymap with VisualStudio shortcuts for ANAVI Macro Pad 8.

ANAVI Macro Pad 8
ANAVI Macro Pad 8

Furthermore Efthimis modifed the hardware a little bit and raised the keypad 15 degrees from the back side with metal stand-offs. As you can see on the photos the result is pretty cool!

ANAVI Macro Pad 8 with modified enclosure

More details about the new keymap and the modification of the enclosure are available as a Crowd Supply field report submitted by Efthimios Iosfidis.

Efthimis, well done and thank you again!

By the way, “field report” is a program by Crowd Supply to highlight talented creators by publishing their projects, spreading the word among the community and also giving a $25 Crowd Supply credit. So if you are using any of our open source hardware products available at Crowd Supply don’t think twice and submit a Crowd Supply Field Report now 🙂

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Building an Air Quality Monitor with ANAVI Infrared pHAT and MH-Z19

Takuya Matsuyama, a developer from Japan making a Markdown note-taking app called Inkdrop, published a wonderful tutorial how to build an air quality monitor using Raspberry Pi Zero W, ANAVI Infrared pHAT and MH-Z19B NDIR infrared gas module.

How to build an air quality monitor using Raspberry Pi Zero W + ANAVI Infrared pHAT

MH-Z19B is an intelligent infrared CO2 module which interacts with the Raspberry Pi using UART (universal asynchronous receiver-transmitter). Takuya uses the UART port on ANAVI Infrared pHAT to attach MH-Z19B. The rest of the sensor modules for his setup are included in ANAVI Infrared pHAT Advanced kit: HTU21D for temperature and humidity, BMP180 for barometric pressure and BH1750 for light.

By the way, initially we had published open source examples for using HTU21D, BMP180 and BH1750 in the C programming languages using the library wiringpi. Takuya also based his setup on wiringpi. However, wiringpi is now deprecated therefore we have replaced it with another library called libi2c-dev. Furthermore we added examples written in Python 3.

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ANAVI Gardening uHAT: Safety First

Earlier in January all ANAVI Gardening uHAT kits were delivered to the Crowd Supply warehouse and soon after that Crowd Supply team sent them to their final destination: our valuable and trusting crowdfunding backers! Thank you again for the support.

ANAVI Gardening uHAT Developer Kit
ANAVI Gardening uHAT Developer Kit

ANAVI Gardening uHAT is a versatile development board, so please follow the instructions below for safe use:

  • ANAVI Gardening uHAT should only be connected to a compatible Raspberry Pi with 40-pin header.
  • Do not expose it to water or moisture, and do not place it on a conductive surface whilst in operation.
  • Do not expose it to heat from any source; it is designed for reliable operation at normal room temperatures.
  • Take care while handling the board to avoid mechanical or electrical damage to the printed circuit board and connectors.
  • Avoid handling ANAVI Gardening uHAT while it is powered on. Only handle by the edges to minimize the risk of electrostatic discharge damage.

In the meantime, there is a work in progress going on the user’s manual which is available at GitHub. We will soon update it. As usual, GitHub pull requests with improvements and fixes to the documentation or the source code examples are always welcome.

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ANAVI Gardening uHAT: Shipping Soon

At the beginning of January all ANAVI Gardening uHAT kits were shipped to the Crowd Supply warehouse. We are happy we managed to do it ahead of schedule. Even Tux, the mascot of the Linux kernel, helped out with the transportation.

In the coming weeks, the crowdfundng orders will be prepared for shipment to backers. A tracking number when the order ships.

ANAVI Gardening uHAT
ANAVI Gardening uHAT

Thanks for your patience and support for this open source hardware project! We hope you will enjoy and have a lot of fun with ANAVI Gardening uHAT!

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MicroPython on Raspberry Pi Pico with Thonny IDE

Raspberry Pi Pico is a tiny and fast development board by the Raspberry Pi Foundation built using the brand new RP2040 32-bit dual ARM Cortex-M0+ microcontroller. The major advantage of Raspberry Pi Pico is the affordable price as it is available for about $4 (without taxes and shipping).

In this video tutorial you will learn how to get started with MicroPython using the open source Thonny IDE on Raspberry Pi Pico. Thonny runs on Mac, Windows and Linux distributions, in the video it is used on Ubuntu. The video includes Pico unboxing, MicroPython installation guide, blinking LED example, MicroPython REPL demo and conclusions.

Useful links:

The video tutorial was sponsored by PCBway which provide high-quality prototyping services. On the photo you can see prototypes of green printed circuit boards with white silkscreen following Raspberry Pi specifications for micro Hardware Attached on Top (uHAT).

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ANAVI Gardening uHAT is now OSHWA certified

A few days ago we received an official confirmation that ANAVI Gardening uHAT has been certified as open source hardware by the Open Source Hardware Association with UID BG000079.

The Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) is a non-profit organization that supports the open source movement and maintains an open source hardware certification registry. OSHWA Certification provides an easy and straight-forward way to quickly check if a product complies with a uniform and well-defined standard for open source hardware.

Open source hardware certification guarantees the sharing of knowledge and keeps prices fairly based on the bill of materials of the hardware’s components. ANAVI Gardening uHAT hardware design files are available under CC BY-SA 4.0, which allows you to remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.

In a nutshell, OSHWA certifies a project as open source based on public access to four elements:

  • Hardware – functional elements of the product
  • Software – code, firmware, or other software involved in the product’s functionality
  • Documentation – including design files, schematics, and instructions
  • Branding – brand names, product names, logos, and product design

The exact certified version of each product receives a unique UID, for example, ANAVI Gardening uHAT is with UID BG000079. The prefix is the country code. We make our open source hardware in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, so the country code is BG. The suffix is a sequential ID number. At the moment, there are 79 certified open source hardware products from Bulgaria. For a comparison, the United States is leading with the amazing 2052 certified products, followed by Germany with 116. Bulgaria comes in at the third place, primarily thanks to our awesome open source neighbors from Olimex.

As a very small company we are all proud to have contributed to the Bulgarian success in this field. Hopefully, the popularity of the open source hardware movement will continue to increase worldwide.

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ANAVI Macro Pad 2 Developer Kit Assembly Guide

ANAVI Macro Pad is an open source, programmable two-key mechanical keyboard with backlighting. It was funded through a crowdfunding campaign at Crowd Supply.

ANAVI Macro Pad 2 Developer Kit does not require soldering. The assembly is easy, please take a look at the assembly video above for details. Although you can complete assembly with your bare hands, you might find a screwdriver and tweezers helpful.

ANAVI Macro Pad 2 Developer Kit includes a fully-soldered gold-plated green printed circuit board with two Gateron red mechanical switches, red 3 mm LEDs, an acrylic enclosure in two parts, two translucent keycaps, M2.5 screws, washers, and nuts, and awesome stickers!

To assemble ANAVI Macro Pad 2 follow these steps as shown in the video:

  • Peel off the protective films from both sides of the acrylic enclosure parts.
  • Assemble the top acrylic enclosure using two longer screws. It is not symmetric, so please pay attention to the position of capacitor C1.
  • Assemble the bottom acrylic enclosure using six nuts, three washers, and the shorter screw which is for the mounting hole between the two mechanical switches.
  • Stick the eight silicon protective pads onto the bottom: add two of them on top of each other to all four corners of the bottom acrylic plate.
  • Optionally, add stickers to the translucent keycaps.
  • Press the translucent keycaps onto the mechanical switches.

Finally, gently plug in a USB to microUSB cable and connect the ANAVI Macro Pad 2 to a personal computer. Please be careful with the microUSB connector, because harsh bending of the USB cable may damage it.

More details are available in chapter 2 of the user’s manual. As an open source project, we always welcome contributions and, if you like, you can help up improve the documentation by submitting a GitHub pull request or providing us with feedback over email. Thanks again for supporting this entirely open source project!

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Getting Started with QMK Firmware

Out of the box, all kits of ANAVI Macro Pad 8 are powered by the popular open source QMK firmware.

ANAVI Macro Pad 8
ANAVI Macro Pad 8

QMK stands for Quantum Mechanical Keyboard and it is an open source community centered around developing various computer input devices. The project is hosted in GitHub. More than 1700 developers contributed to this open source firmware over the years. QMK supports more than 2000 keyboards and keypads brands.

Although QMK is very powerful and flexible, it might be a challenge to get used to it if you haven’t used it before. Over the next weeks and months, as part of efforts for increasing the documentation related to ANAVI Macro Pad 8, we will be rolling out updates related to QMK.

QMK Configurator loaded in a web browser with the default keymap for ANAVI Macro Pad 8

QMK offers several options to select, customize and flash a keymap for your keyboard:

  • Command-line interface – advanced but not very user friendly
  • QMK Toolbox – application for MacOS and Windows users
  • QMK Configurator – an online tool used for easily creating firmware files for keyboards supported by QMK.

You can use QMK on MS Windows, MacOS and GNU/Linux distributions. To get started with the QMK firmware please explore this tutorial from the official documentation and install all required software suitable for the operating system on your PC.

Keymaps for ANAVI Macro Pad 8

The QMK source code for ANAVI Macro Pad 8 is available as part of the main repository in GitHub. So far there are 5 keymaps available:

  • Default – with 2 layers for demo purposes
  • KiCad – free software suite for electronic design automation which as used to design ANAVI Macro Pad 8,
  • Kodi – for the free and open source media player application,
  • OBS – for the popular open source video recording and live streaming software,
  • Zoom – for the popular video communication software.

Over the time we plan to extend the list with keymaps for other popular software applications. Please feel free to submit your favorite keymaps for ANAVI Macro Pad 8 to the QMK repository in GitHub!

Compile QMK for ANAVI Macro Pad 8

After installing QMK software on your computer, from the command line you can compile QMK firmware with the default keymap for ANAVI Macro Pad 8 using the following command:

qmk compile -kb anavi/macropad8 -km default

Flash QMK on ANAVI Macro Pad 8

Follow the steps below to flash the compiled QMK firmware to ANAVI Macro Pad 8:

  • Connect ANAVI Macro Pad 8 to your personal computer with USB to micro USB cable
  • Execute the following command in a terminal to flash the default keymap:
qmk flash -kb anavi/macropad8 -km default
  • Press the RESET button on ANAVI Macro Pad 8 when asked:
Detecting USB port, reset your controller now.....
  • Wait until the firmware flashes successfully:
avrdude done.  Thank you.

The heart of ANAVI Macro Pad 8 is Microchip ATmega32U4. It is an 8-bit microcontroller part of the AVR family. QMK relies on avrdude as the utility to download, upload and manipulate the firmware of these microcontroller.

Microchip ATmega32u4
Microchip ATmega32u4 on ANAVI Macro Pad 8

ANAVI Macro Pad 8 is available at our distributors Crowd Supply and Mouser. Please contact us if you are interested in wholesale orders or if you prefer shipping directly from the EU.

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ANAVI Macro Pad 8 Developer Kit Assembly Guide

Please have a look at the video and follow the steps below to assemble ANAVI Macro Pad 8 Developer kit. Although you can do it with your bare hands, simple tools like a screwdriver, tweezers and a keycap puller might be useful.

ANAVI Macro Pad 8 developer kit comes with 8 Gateron mechanical switches and red leds. If you prefer another type of switches or color of the LEDs, please have a look at the Maker kit which requires soldering but allows to use different Cherry MX compatible switches or even make a hot-swap upgrade.

Step 1: Stickers

The first step optional. Each kit includes a set stickers. Feel free to add them to the translucent keycaps included in ANAVI Macro Pad 8 developer kit. You can do it with your bare hand or eventually with the help of tweezers.

You can place a sticker on the top or on the side of the keycap. If you like retro electronics you may find some similarities in this approach to the famous keyboard of the best selling personal computer of the 20th century Commodore 64.

ANAVI Macro Pad 8 is powered by the popular open source firmware QMK which allows you to create various layouts. You can make a keymap with 2 or more layouts. A sticker on the side of the keycap might be useful as a visual aid to indicate the additional function of the key.

Step 2: Keycaps

Place all keycaps on 8 mechanical switches of ANAVI Macro Pad 8. You can easily do this with your bare hands. It takes just a few seconds.

As you can see in the video a keycap puller might be useful if you make a mistake and want to pull off a keycap and place it on another location.

Step 3: Peel Off Protective Films from the Acrylic Enclosure

Peel off the protective films from both sides of the two laser cut transparent acrylic parts. The removal of the protective films is quite annoying but once you get rid of them, the acrylic enclosure will be crystal clear and fully transparent.

Step 4: Assemble the Acrylic Enclosure

Assemble the acrylic enclosures. In the cardboard box you also will find M3 black plastic screws, nuts and standoffs. Although you can assemble them with your bare hands a screw driver might be handy.

First place 4 of stand-offs with screws to the bottom acrylic part. After that place ANAVI Macro Pad 8 on top of them. The printed circuit board has 4 mounting holes for this purpose.

Add the rest of stand-offs on top of ANAVI Macro Pad 8 to secure the printed circuit board to the bottom part as shown in the video. Place the top acrylic part and fasten it with the 4 M3 nuts. Finally add the silicon protective pads on the screws on the bottom.

Step 5: Mini OLED Display

Step number 5 is optional. The default open source QMK firmware for ANAVI Macro Pad 8 support mini OLED display connected over the communication bus I2C.

By default mini display in yellow-blue 0.96″ I2C OLED. It comes with 4 jumper wires which might be useful for debugging purposes or if you plan to make a custom 3D printed case. However for the default acrylic enclosure the wires are not needed.

Peel off the protected film and place the mini OLED display as shown in the video to ANAVI Macro Pad 8. Pay attention to the labels that indicated the pin connectors of the display. They must match the labels on the keyboard.

Step 6: Turn On ANAVI Macro Pad 8

Gently plug a USB to microUSB cable to connect ANAVI Macro Pad 8 to a personal computer. Please be careful with the microUSB connector because a harsh bending of the USB cable may damage the microUSB connector.

Thanks to the QMK firmware ANAVI Macro Pad 8 will be detected as human interface device and should work out of the box. Furthermore with QMK you have the freedom to fully customize each key.

ANAVI Macro Pad 8
ANAVI Macro Pad 8

Please note that a USB to microUSB cable is not included in any of the kits. Reuse a cable from an old electronic device or purchase a cable according to your taste. Make sure that the cable supports both power and data transfer over USB.

Thank you for supporting and using our open source kits. Stay tuned for more updates, including details for soldering ANAVI Macro Pad 8 Maker kit.

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