|Product Performed to Expectations:||8|
|Specifications were sufficient to design with:||7|
|Demo Software was of good quality:||3|
|Product was easy to use:||10|
|Support materials were available:||6|
|The price to performance ratio was good:||8|
|TotalScore:||42 / 60|
I cannot remember what initial called my attention to this test. I have tested products for many companies in the past, but I usually focus on items further towards the end-user end of the spectrum. I had started this test process with a project in mind, but I quickly found that my plan was not suitable for these products. This all made this test a challenge for me personally and my experience with these boards reflects more on my skill set than on the products themselves. I was honored to be chosen as one of the RoadTest members for this product and apologize that my experience has not produced a lot of reportable results.
Products and Packaging
Unboxing each product was a good experience. Each board is clearly a very professional design, well labeled and very compact in size. The market is clear as these are packaged and designed around professional use instead of a flashy design to catch someones eye at a retail store. They are not just a brown box with a part number, which is a nice touch.
As I mentioned earlier, my project did not align with these boards well. Initially I was designing a display for an emergency service that would be triggered when a call came in. When I though of a "Smart Switch" I was thinking these would be more along the lines of Home Automation and could switch a 120V outlet/plug based on an input. Since these are low voltage boards, any implementation into my project design would be overly complex. For the purposes of this test I began working on some alternative notification systems utilizing ~12V LED lights. I was able to get the BTF3050TE functioning and controlling the LED lighting with ease (using the physical onboard controls).
The next piece of the project where I will be controlling my lights with the code is still underway, but the hardware has been easy to use and functions as designed. This is where the biggest challenges were faced for me as I was not familiar with DAVE and it became more apparent that this would be a requirement to fully test these products. I have used many products with Arduinos before, and it is usually a fairly simple task to get some demo sketches running, however as I navigated the documentation I found very little example information available. I was able get some interfacing with the Low-Side Switch Shield, but I am still struggling to find time to get much more going.
One issue I found, and this may just be due to my use cases and level of familiarity, is the design of the BTS50010-1TAD. When this shield is placed on the Arduino board there is little to no clearance between the VOUT/VBAT pads and the USB/Power connections on the Arduino board. If my project continued to the point of using the XMC1100, I may have been able to engineer around this issue. During prototyping with the Arduino, this lack of clearance was a serious issue that prevented proper power connections and in essence rendered that board useless for my case.
Aside from the clearance issue, skillset required and my project misalignment, the boards were very impressive to me. The compact size and interfacing with the Arduino platform make these boards great choices for early design and prototyping. I would certainly use these going forward, especially in automotive and other low voltage "Smart" designs, assuming I can get up to speed with the coding required. Thanks again to the RoadTest team at Element14 for including me in this RoadTest and for your understanding as I worked against the challenges during this test.