A study in AVR power saving techniques

amtel_avr

[Scott] found the iCufflinks from Adafruit Industries pretty interesting, but he thought that the stated run time of 24 hours was a bit short. He figured he could improve the product’s power consumption at least a little bit, to improve the overall battery life.

From their schematics, he placed an order for parts and built two identical iCufflink mock-ups side by side – one running their code and one running his. He took baseline current draw measurements, then got busy slimming down the cufflinks’ software. It had been 20 years since he touched assembly, and he has never written it for an AVR, but judging by his work he’s not rusty in the least.

He slowed the ATtiny’s clock down and tweaked a few other settings for a savings of 53μA, but the real improvements came via a fairly simple fix. The original code called for the processor to institute a counting loop to sleep, which he found to be very wasteful. Instead, he chose to put the processor in an idle state, using the chip’s watchdog timer to wake it when it was time to pulse the LED. The power savings from this change alone was a whopping 261μA!

When he was said and done, the changes save about 315μA of current draw, and should allow the cufflinks to run for up to 38 hours without swapping batteries. In [Scott’s] opinion, a nearly 60% improvement in battery life is pretty good for a day’s work, and we’re inclined to agree.

Comments

  1. yetihehe says:

    “The power savings from this change alone was a whopping 261μA”. And diodes suck around 5-10mA…

  2. Daid says:

    @yetihehe: The whole circuit uses 1.923 mA max. So saving 0.3mA is significant.

  3. gdogg says:

    While that is awesome, it just really shows how sloppy and amateurish adafruit’s coding is.

  4. hpux735 says:

    @gdogg

    Agreed! A counting loop, how lame.

  5. ScottInNH says:

    @gdogg – That’s probably not a necessary or relevant criticism.

    While adafruit DOES sell products, it is pretty clear their real mission is hacking, discovery, prototyping… and encouraging the same in others. And they are making those ideals just a little more accessible to the hobbyist.

    “Amateur” is also a relative term. A true professional is not afraid of releasing their code as open source. I imagine the same sorts of errors are rife in closed source “professional” manufacturing.

  6. ScottInNH says:

    I have to say this is one of my favorite articles linked off of HAD.

    I love these methodical dissections of some utility/widget/application. and the quick explanations how to improve them.

  7. anonymous says:

    WTH? Why the constant hate against Arduino/Adafruit/Make/etc? Are you sure that it’s not so much her sloppy coding as the fact that you can actually _look_ at her code? She released everything open source: the code, the hardware schematics, everything. The fact that this guy could even have a hope of catching a sub optimal piece of code, let alone of fixing it, is because she open sourced everything about the project. How many projects that you know of come close to this level of openness?

    Seriously, it seems like it’s just a constant pissing fest on what (seems to me) are quite good (if not perfect) products.

    • Soo making a project open source, in your opinion, means the original dev doesn’t suck at coding?

      Seriously, I’ve never harked on adafruit for anything before — but a wait loop on a device that has a sleep mode is a bit faceplam worthy.

  8. cmholm says:

    Next on HAD comments: “Man irked that Penicillin doesn’t cure Cancer.”

  9. Gonzalo says:

    What about removing the LED resistor and making smaller pulses?

    Shouldn’t that improve the general efficiency of the circuit?

  10. yetihehe says:

    @Daid – Thanks, I didn’t know they use so weak current. Are they undervoltaging diodes, or do they just have low current ones? Typical white diode uses over 20mA, so looking at a graph of their “breathing” pattern I thought it uses just a little less.

  11. dext3r says:

    i hate to say it but a counting loop to “sleep” sounds amazingly n00b…

  12. pt says:

    @gdogg – i work with limor and co-designed this project (i also founded hack-a-day) while we could always optimize code even more, we chose to release products in a timely way, all our products we make are open source hardware products at a good price that work great. as others said, we want people to inspect our code and improve it.

    the people who buy our product like to hack, mod and improve them – they want source code, schematics and CAD files and we’re thrilled to share them.

    part of the fun about the way we do things is our community of customers and hackers that help improve our products. i hope we’re never “done” with any product and can continue to release updates from us as well as the community.

    as other pointed out your comment isn’t necessary or relevant criticism.

    so here is my challenge to you: how about you share something you’ve worked on, that was “perfect” that was open source and that no one saw anything they could do to improve it?

    i know you won’t, trolls and haters never do – but at least think about what you choose to “make” in this world – crappy comments on hack-a-day instead of being part of a pretty cool community of people who love to make stuff and share.

  13. tim says:

    if one is REALLY interseted in micropower, he should have a look at TI MSP430. Just reading the datasheets and appnotes will teach you much more.

  14. resistor says:

    I really love this hack, just with a little coding adding 14 hours of more running time. Nice work!

  15. Josh says:

    I agree with tim on the app notes from TI. I’m just getting started with the MSP and their notes are both abundant and well written. They include references for both electrical and software design. Sure, some of them are probably considered “you should know that” material by some on this blog, but for someone getting back into mcu programming after 12 years, they’re VERY appreciated.

    Also, even if the MSP430 isn’t your cup of tea, a lot of their notes translate to other mcus as well. Highly recommended. They don’t have a pretty URL I can paste here, but they’re easy to find if you’re looking.

  16. nes says:

    Nice work. Not wishing to stir up a hornets’ nest here, but the watchdog timer on AVRs is not particularly low power, even compared to modern PICs. (ISTR over 1uA just for its built in oscillator/prescaler.) I had the same dilemma with a project a few months ago and found the lowest power solution was to sacrifice a spare I/O pin for an RC network and use the wake on edge interrupt feature instead.

    Obviously you have to have a spare pin and space for two extra components available so it probably isn’t applicable in this case.

  17. ScottInNH says:

    @pt – well said Phillip.

    I have to say that your writings – and those of Limor, Ben Heck, Riad Wahby (before he stopped blogging), Jean-Claude Wippler (of JeeLabs)… your patient tutorials and gifts to the community are why I am able to pursue learning electronics.

    As for @gdogg and his kind, perhaps it’s time for HAD to support accounts (even if just using open account logins from OpenID, Facebook, and Google). I’m not against anonymity, but if people are going to throw eggs at others, they’ll never learn unless they are caught.

  18. ScottInNH says:

    Other processors are always interesting. If someone has the time and energy to convert this to another processor and then optimize it, I would enjoy reading about the process.

  19. Mike Nathan says:

    PT hit the nail on the head. The point of this post was not insinuate that the code they produced was bad, but to show off the power of open source.

    They released the iCufflinks’ source so that people like Scott could do exactly what he did. I’m sure they are thrilled at the chance of rolling Scott’s changes back into their product, since it gives users an even better experience.

    The whole point of releasing an open source project is to get people rework and improve it as they see fit – sharing the fruits of everyone’s labor with the community.

    Calling the initial product an amateurish production is like saying Debian is crap because Crunchbang Linux is faster and slimmed down. It just doesn’t make much sense.

  20. gdogg says:

    Don’t be sore, guys.

    “optimize more”? That code wasn’t optimized at all. While I applaud anyone who releases their code publicly, I stand by my comment that this code is amateurish. I’ve open sourced code before, and I would personally be embarrassed to release something that I had just got to work and never improved.

  21. dext3r says:

    @ScottInNH: so because he has a criticism, he should be forced to broadcast his full name or something, maybe a geolocation too? its not like gdogg was trolling hard like, “Damn this shit sucks ass, you all are retarded half-lings.” He just said his opinion of the code.

    If you want to be OPEN then be OPEN to all and don’t get all pissed off and defensive if someone criticizes your code.

    Once again the internet takes a non-issue and turns it into a flamewar. So one guy thinks the code is sloppy/amateur. Whatever. Who cares?

  22. Mike says:

    I don’t see why HaD comments should be linked to annoying logging accounts, I just read a few articles and comments every day and I might have missed some bad comments but to my view HaD comments are most of the time very constructive and clever. I sometimes just read the title of an article and go to read the comments because I like to know people’s opinion, advice, web links or just technical jokes about the subject.

    Anyway pt might be offended because someone critisized his work but releasing a source code for a battery operated product and not taking into account the power consumption at all, well should I need to say more?
    There is nothing new in using PWM, watchdog or sleep modes to save power but Scott did write a very good dissection and anybody eager to improve its coding should like this kind of articles.

    Adafruit are working hard to bring out new ideas or promote someone else’s product like the microtouch and they do a great job at popularizing electronics to beginners with the Arduinos, their kits and their build instructions but for the non-beginner their products are quite useless, a professional doesn’t need Adafruit to make an usb charger like the mintyboost or blink an LED like the iCufflinks cos’ that’s just what it is really! and one can make it far cheaper (and without stupid non-standard spacing ;-)) but one might not have the idea of it and like it or not making your cuff-link blink is a new idea and the Arduinos made the microcontrollers and, the AVR in particular, popular!

    I think Adafruit writes very simple and not optimized programs because they don’t want to spend too much time or they aren’t software guys or at least as much as they are hardware ones, but in the end those programs are intended for noobs to start with and if they are complicated… Adafruit relies ont the community to improve it and the noob might understand the improvements and get less noob, just remember when you started electronics did you understand what a common emitter was for! do you now?
    Adafruits is doing a good kob at promoting the maker scene and the iCufflinks are one of those geeky useless things but hey! it’s fun :D

  23. pt says:

    @gdogg – great, you’re up for the challenge? where is your work that you’ve released so we can inspect it. i know you will not post links or email me directly, but i’ll ask again :) as you can see here the commenters are getting tired of comments like yours, but it’s easy to fix – just be kind to each other and set a better tone here.

    @Mike Nathan – thank you, you’ve described what we do perfectly.

    @dext3r – people are getting more upset here because it’s a problem.

    i’m not sure hack-a-day needs real name / facebook / google+ style comments, but i do think the mods and authors can help set a more positive tone here. if i were running the site i would likely ban some commenters for awhile and work with them directly to help them be more inclusive here.

    for years i’ve heard from many great makers, hackers and project creators that they hate when their work is featured on hack-a-day because of the comments. i think that’s a shame, it’s not why i made this site.

    so @gdogg and others while you think you’re being clever or just anon-snarky, you really do hurt the electronics sharing community, stop it.

    there are plenty of ways to say “it could be improved” and then actually do it or share some tips. or if you can’t resist being a jerk, go hang out on another site where people aren’t sharing their creative works, political sites are great if you enjoy being an angry commenter.

    limor is considered one of the best engineers out there making diy kits, she’s won awards for work and she’s been featured on the cover of WIRED to interviews with every EE publication out there.

    tweaking code like this wasn’t required to release our product, we wanted a day or so of battery life and while we could have waited to really really optimize our customers love to hack and mod and tinker. some people think the increase doesn’t even matter for the time spent tweaking, but i think scott did a great job!

    we release open source hardware so others can look at and inspect, her libraries and code are used in thousands of projects so while it might not be up to your standards we do not know of since you won’t share what -you- do, i think it’s pretty good and will always get better.

    look, i know a lot of the comes from jealousy, you’d like to be featured here, people talking about your work and looking at your code and doing things with your ideas, but they’re not – we’re talking about your crappy comments. that’s what some people “make”. until they’re discouraged it will continue.

    c’mon dude, join in and do something cool with us instead. you can email me your projects you’ve posted and shared directly, pt@makezine.com – i’ll be waiting :)

  24. George says:

    So, I’m confused.

    Is AdaFruit so awesome they’re off-limits for criticism? (Entirely within the realms of possibility, really.)

    Or is all criticism now off-limits unless your include a hyperlink to an earlier, better, peer-reviewed, completely open-sourced, non-Arduino-containing (haters gonna hate…) project?

    Because it seems to me that if the original project had been posted by some random/anonymous Instructables user, people would be all too happy to tear apart “sloppy code” and “amateur coding” if they’d made, really, zero effort towards power-efficiency in something battery-powered… and nobody would be too ridiculously butthurt about it.

    But that’s just me, and I just built a mostly-working analog clock using two, yes two, 16-bit MCUs, OMGWTFBBQeleveneleven, so, clearly, I have no right to even read HaD, let alone comment here. :)

  25. pt says:

    @george – if you read the comments on hack-a-day obviously no one is off-limits or too awesome for criticism.

    scott decided he could optimize our code, we wanted to make sure it lasted a day for our launch / beta, he really tweaked it. this is because we do open source hardware, share our codes, source, CAD and schematics. if someone read the comments here from the jerks, i doubt they’d ever want to share their projects.

    if you read my comments here i’m trying to suggest that the snarky trolly folks consider setting a more positive tone here for everyone. i realize a lot of this come from being jealous or angry because they aren’t part of this community, but they can easily join in and provide value.

    as far as criticism goes – i can take it, and so can adafruit and so can MAKE, but many people tell me specifically they hate when their projects end up here specifically because of the hack-a-day commenters. i started this site so i’m very interested in helping to fix this or at least discourage the commenters from doing this.

    i’ll be doing this my whole life so the random anonymous person who never has anything to give but snarks doesn’t bother me, but it bothers a lot of people.

    hating and trolling on arduino projects is getting pretty old, it’s obvious to any reasonable person that the open source hardware project arduino has done more for electronics than any other “platform” recently. more people are making stuff, if you hate arduino – make something better and share it.

    on instructables they have full time community managers with tools to help make it a more inclusive site. many of the comments on hack-a-day wouldn’t make it and many of the commenters would either shape up or not be able to use the site, it’s one of the reasons instructables is so great, has more how-tos from people and has massive traffic. it’s a safe place to share your projects. wouldn’t it be great if people wanted to publish their how-tos here?

    this is a cool site, with great authors, with great projects but the comments are a huge problem. it’s very fixable, but it’s up to all of us to encourage good constructive comments and discourage snarky ones.

  26. Spork says:

    @George I made a board to flash an LED twice with a 32bit MCU. My code is sloppy and I use a counting loop.

    Guess what? It still does what I want.

    My point? Scott did a great job improving an already good project. I don’t see the need to criticize anyone. Yes, the code had portions that could use optimization. No, that does not make it sloppy/amateurish get over your egotistical view of MCU programming.

  27. Steve-O-Rama says:

    Can’t we all jus’ get along?!? :)

  28. mattster says:

    It has electrolytes but does it have a 6502? Noooooooooooo

  29. mattster says:

    I don’t know Phil or Limor but I’ve followed them and many others like Ben Heck, Jeri Ellsworth and others. I love open source and the fact there are always people who like to tweak code for clock cycles , like John Carmack, shows that code can always be optimized and tweaked for a particular purpose no matter how efficient it is.
    Let’s get our thinking touks out and get to making some jobs like Phil and Limor do and get this economy rollin.

  30. Mental2k says:

    The comments would have been justified if the article had said Adafruit were touting the cufflinks as the optimum power consumption and someone ripped it apart. As it stands it’s a bit like someone posting an article on how they tuned a car using only stock parts, then everyone bitching about how crap the manufacturer is.

    Personally I’m glad it was coded the way it was. I’m just getting into MCUs and I’m just picking stuff up as I go along, now I know something I didn’t. Success!

  31. error404 says:

    NB: The pronoun ‘you’ in this post is not really referring to anyone in particular, but I suppose the closest match would be the Adafruit organization.

    You’re selling a product, and are representatives of the ‘elite’ of the hacking/making crowd. Don’t you think releasing a product that doesn’t even follow the most basic best practices, if nothing else, a little embarrassing?

    I think part of the problem here is that this is not just a project on I’bles by some random noob. It’s a product that you sell, and that funds your operation and presumably puts food on your table. You’re professionals and work with this stuff every day, and should know the ins and outs of it. So presumably (or hopefully, at least) you know better. Yes, what you guys do is great for the community and in the past years has really helped to get people interested in this stuff, and provided plenty of resources, information and service. But you’re also the poster children, and should, I think, expect to be held to a higher standard. What you write is read by many, and your code examined and possibly even exemplified by many. You should set a good example.

    That doesn’t mean everything you do needs to be perfect, but I do think using busy waits in a project powered by tiny coin cells is a little too amateur for your station in this community. Missing minutiae like enabling the pullups to save a couple uA is forgivable, but busy waits are not.

    I don’t see why anyone else should have to prove they are better than you if they want to lodge criticism. Requesting that is as childish as trolling with unfounded or ridiculous claims; you’re basically asking for an opening to criticize the other’s own work. The proof is in the pudding, and the criticism in this case is fully warranted, there’s no reason for the complainant to prove anything beyond that. And it says something about the people releasing it, whether you want it to or not.

    Anyway, great analysis by Scott and a good rundown of a few good ways to reduce power consumption that can apply to most projects. Probably a decent ‘reference’ even on some ways to squeeze a few uA.

  32. pt says:

    @error404, you said “Anyway, great analysis by Scott and a good rundown of a few good ways to reduce power consumption that can apply to most projects. Probably a decent ‘reference’ even on some ways to squeeze a few uA.”

    exactly, my point since i started is this is – why do the comments need to end up being more about name calling and how arduino sucks for almost every post?

    keep in mind scott is someone who participates in our community, forums, online video chats and more – he’s not a random person. when we release products we are releasing them for folks like him. he’s not a stranger, we’ve chatted with him face to face (google+ hangout).

    i don’t think we’re “representatives of the ‘elite’ of the hacking/making crowd” – i do think we make decisions like releasing a product that does what we want, in this case, 24 hour hour batter life (actually 30 or so). that’s what we wanted on *launche* and we did it. releasing all the code and source for others to improve was part of our launch, it’s why “open source” *is* the product. some folks didn’t think 30 hours to 38 was a big deal or worth all of scott’s time, but we did – and we’re certain someone else will tweak it even more.

    i’ll be doing what i do for decades to come, so will limor – the snarky and trolly comments really don’t bother me, but if people are going to make them they’re going to also see me encouraging us to collectively do better.

    i just got off a hack-a-day google+ hangout, everyone was great. maybe that’s the future of commenting, no one would crap on each other so much if they had to actually talk to each other afterwards :)

  33. tantris says:

    “snarky trolly folks” ??

    really? look at this thread. someone said something (2 lines) against ladyada

    -one might agree/disagree with the way it was said or with the content, but it wasn’t very trollish.
    but now the response is a 10 page manifesto calling him names and shutting him up ?!

  34. Pup says:

    Wow. All I see here is troll feeding time.

  35. Paul says:

    @tantris i would consider a backhanded compliment trollish, they love insulting people.

  36. millsy says:

    I like this site, keep up the good work. Always fun to read about people bringing their expertise to other peoples projects.

  37. ScottInNh says:

    Just for the record:
    I never suggested real names as a requirement to post.

    Facebook or Google or OpenId could authenticate your semi-anonymous HAD profile. Only HAD admins would know who you are and the rest of folks here just see your HAD handle.

  38. Rob says:

    Ok folks. The dead horse, troll, ice monster from Hoth, etc… has been kicked sufficiently. We really should work on being nicer to each other. Sometimes it’s not what we say, but how we say it.

    But now it’s time to conserve a little O2 and go pick up our soldering irons or programming keyboards so we can make moar goodness!!1!

  39. gdogg says:

    I can’t believe I started all that!

  40. squidarthur says:

    no amount of penicillin can cure the cancer that is this comments thread.

  41. h3llphyre says:

    Let’s make this a bit more real. 99% of what is posted here is amateur level projects. All the products from Sparkfun, Adafruit, Dangerous Prototypes, Seeed Studio, etc, I consider amateur level products. It is what it is, the design files are made available, you’re always welcome to improve on them, which is what happened here.

    Having looked at a lot of the design files from the before stated companies, it is obvious that the level of documentation is amateur. I’ve been doing EE and Software designs professionally for over 15 years now, hence that perspective. It’s a tad annoying, mostly from a detail level, but it’s not the end of the world and you will never hear me publicly criticize specifically about it.

    In saying that, I still have a massive amount of respect for ALL of the before mentioned companies. Hell, I have respect for ANYONE who has a project posted here, or MAKE, or any of the other DIY blog spaces.

    Last piece… Let’s try to stop trolling and let’s have a bit thicker skin too. Meet somewhere in the middle maybe? haha

  42. pt says:

    @h3llphyre – you said “All the products from Sparkfun, Adafruit, Dangerous Prototypes, Seeed Studio, etc, I consider amateur level products”

    really? *all* ? that’s a pretty big statement.

    can you provide some examples of how specific product documentation can improved? saying you’ve been doing this for 15 years but not offering anything besides that isn’t that helpful.

    as far as “thicker skin” again, this is the problem – why can’t we strive to make this site a place where makers *want* to see their projects and not always read how “arduino sucks”, etc.

  43. charliex says:

    I’ve gottta be honest, i don’t get why people let the negative comments get to them so much, just ignore it and move on. Otherwise it just turns into a bitchfest about who can say what to whom and how.

    i do agree with the thicker skin, i see where PT is coming from the why can’t we all get along, but its just never gonna happen without heavy moderation, there are too many variation of people, its not just the web, its always been like this. I don’t like the idea of heavy moderation, since its a band aid , hidden solution. Sometimes the criticism is just haters, but it can also still be valid, data is useful. Even if its just figuring out who to ignore. but i want to choose.

    It’s a valuable skill to be able to extract useful data from the worst of hater/trolls, even if its minimal.

    This is how we end up with overbearing HOA’s and the like.

    You can’t control what people say, but you can control how you react too it..

    Anyway,

    I usually do a bunch of the code for our little products and i do not go that far in optimising them, for a couple of reasons,

    once its working i can spend time on other projects and we’re always short of time.

    some people really have a hard time grasping things like pwm and interrupts, its hard for people who get it, to understand that. sure they should learn, but sometimes people just build stuff to build it, as cooperative or satisfaction thing

    some people prefer to hack on code than hardware, and contribute something, so it leaves room for that.

    bad code always encourages someone else to say, i can do that better, sometimes they’ll step up, its rare but it happens.

  44. pt says:

    @charliex – you said “i do agree with the thicker skin, i see where PT is coming from the why can’t we all get along, but its just never gonna happen without heavy moderation, there are too many variation of people, its not just the web, its always been like this. I don’t like the idea of heavy moderation, since its a band aid , hidden solution”

    i don’t think that’s true, instructables, MAKE, adafruit and in person events like maker faire have inclusive and valuable communities that do not talk to each other like this. i started hack-a-day and while the site has really improved, the comments still need work. it’s 100% fixable.

    anil dash has an article that i think has some good points:

    http://dashes.com/anil/2011/07/if-your-websites-full-of-assholes-its-your-fault.html

    it’s not just a hack-a-day problem, AVR freaks is another one i’ve commented about as well. from the start that community decided they mostly hated arduinos and what happened? no one really uses the site to share their projects, they’ve gone elsewhere and people who are learning electronics don’t even know about that site now – that’s a shame their members have a lot of good information they could share with new folks.

    i don’t read all the comments on hack-a-day but when i do i will certainly encourage folks to provide value besides just saying something sucks.

    as far as this project goes, again our goal was 24 hours of battery life, we got about 30 and said let’s release this and see what folks do with it. within 3 weeks we now have updated code we’re using from a customer / community member and that’s rolled in to the product.

    that’s pretty cool and our goal was accomplished.

    to give you another example, when we did the kinect bounty we could have just released the drivers ourselves, but we decided to post a data dump and encourage the community to do things.

    look at how that flourished, were the drivers perfect? nope, but now there are real companies and real projects all evolved from the first OS drivers.

    no one here who says how something sucks or is amateur posts anything they do, they never risk anyone looking at what they do, i hope they realize that they’re not encouraging people to share their work.

  45. Olivier says:

    @gdogg : if you’re so good (it’s what you said…), what is the open source stuff you’ve released ? Probably nothing, you’re just bragging.

  46. George says:

    pt – I’m not h3llphyre, which I hope is obvious, but, if you aren’t just being dickish and actually *want* specific criticisms, let’s random pick the $80 AdaFruit MONOCHRON:

    1. Neither the ATMega nor RTC have decoupling capacitors; I don’t consider these “optional”, but apparently I’m just wrong;

    2a. The PSU could (easily) have incorporated a bridge rectifier, which would avoid all kinds of potential misery if some unfortunate soul attached an AC wallwart;

    2b. No effort was made to keep the power traces low-impedance;

    2c. One extra resistor would prevent possible problems if someone populates both IC2 positions;

    3. Acid traps. Oh, the acid traps…

    4. It’d have been really user-friendly to throw a spare TO92 voltage regulator on there somewhere for h4x0rz who might want an easy source of 3v3; obviously you can do this in the proto area, but, still…

    5. Speaking of that proto area… nothin’ but donuts… why? Rows of paired pads would be 100 times more user-friendly;

    6. On a related note, no extra 5v test points / solder pads? No ground test points / solder pads?

    7. “…stick some tinfoil in the batter holder…” Because a jumper pad took up too much real estate?

    8. On the subject of jumpers, there are two/three extra ATMega pins, one of which is an ADC-capable pin. A jumper and two resistors to provide an option to measure the RTC battery voltage with the ATMega would have been great;

    9, It’d take… three more parts? to allow the RTC’s square-wave output to drive an LED as a heartbeat/second indicator/low-RTC-battery (one can dream…) indicator. Would have been neat. Oh well.

    I could probably go on, but it’s not as if you/Limor/anyone else cares what I think, so, meh.

  47. gdogg says:

    @Olivier – I never said I was good (I am, though)

    I only use this pseudonym for commenting. You might have seen some of my projects before, but you’d never know it :) I’ll keep it that way.

  48. pt says:

    @george, search on this page for “h3llphyre” i was replying to his/her comment. not yours, unless you are posting as multiple people.

    anyway, we’ll take a look at this and see if there’s anything we can improve, many times decisions are made and without context it’s not really possible to know why an engineer may have chosen something. sometimes it’s about part availability and sometimes it’s so a beginner can actually solder a part (smt vs through-hole).

    you said “I could probably go on, but it’s not as if you/Limor/anyone else cares what I think, so, meh.”

    meh? if i/we didn’t care i wouldn’t have asked and wouldn’t have responded here.

    have you ever emailed us or posted about this on our site?

    the clock has so far had a couple revisions and i expect we’ll have more, that’s cool thing about OSHW and kits, the product can evolve and get better and more people can participate. thousands and thousands of people have made this clock, i don’t think we’ve had a single return, we’re really happy with it and look forward to releasing the next version soon.

    i do have a request, can you post this in our customer forums? that way we could have this where it belongs, but either way – we’re going to review this.

    @gdogg – thanks for proving everything i was saying :)

  49. ScottInNH says:

    @George –

    You seem to know what you are talking about, and have worked with a few of these kits. Why not do something similar to what Scott did? Modify the original, document your steps, and win some blog points in the process. Or just post a Review, and note what you would do differently if you had time. Everyone wins.

    @pt – Often people’s comments in forums get lost when it comes to product revisions. I’m speaking in general for any vendor, not about Adafruit specifically. So people can get conditioned into not making forum posts. Hopefully there is a bug tracker or spreadsheet that Adafruit copies feedback into.

  50. pt says:

    @ScottInNH – yah, ideally we could encourage even more folks to do what scott did, obviously we love feedback and hearing what people want in kits.

    scott was posting in the forums, did a google+ hangout with us and we’ve even sent him a special gift after he posted his code mods.

    comments in forums for us are managed pretty well, that said – if george was willing to post up in the forums we’d take a look at this and if there are things to improve/add we’d post them in a product notes section, or if he was going to do stuff with us we could do a fork on github and merge it later, we’ve done that before and it’s worked out great.

    i checked to see if george emailed us or bought this kit, he didn’t from us – but he could have got it from a reseller. if he’s only looking at the files we’ve posted that’s fine, but actually making a kit designed for beginners is different than just looking at our eagle files and schematics, some of the things he mentioned would be for advanced modders and hacker. that’s cool, but we also need to keep things straightforward for new folks. some of the biggest challenges with designing things is often what -not- to include.

    any way, i’m glad george posted despite his “meh” comment, i hope he considers participating in the forum or sending us an email too, who knows he could end up getting a completely new kit designed with him in mind :)

    i realize adafruit will get picked on more than others because we release a lot of open source hardware but that’s how it goes.

    what do you think george, are you up for stopping in our forums and chatting about this?

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