Arduino Relay Shield for Home and Industrial Automation: The BMini

Arduino Relay Shield is an key element when you need to give actions to your projects. The BMini is the perfect match for that.

The BMini is an Arduino relay shield featured in the BieMme Store a couple of month ago. I think it is a great product and I’m very excited to tell you more about it.

Basically, it is a Relay Shield for Mini 05, Ethernet and UNO boards, specifically designed for home and industrial automation. You upload your sketch in the Arduino board, plug it in the BMini… that’s it!

Arduino Bmini shield pinout

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Performance tests in case of rs485 failure

In my home automation project with Arduino and Android I always paid special attention to communication failures. These might happens for many reasons and the system has to deal with them.

In particular, in the following video I was interested to show you some test I made in order to assess whether the information presented by the touchscreen panel will be displayed whenever available.

The red led indicates that the Arduino is processing a modbus request. As you can see, it stops blinking when the bus 485 is interrupted and immediately after the connection has been restored, it restart to work. Indeed, take look at the bulb icons in the monitor. When the bus is restored, the bulb status will be updated.

The description of the project and the source code are also available. Take a look!

As usual, comments are well appreciated! :)

Android Arduino Communication through Modbus and Rs485

In this post I’d like to describe you a project I’m working on that consists of connecting an Android multi touch panel to one (or more) Arduino slave(s) using modbus protocol and RS485.
Even though the idea of this project could be applied in many fields, I chose to contextualize it in a typical smart home context: a touch display that dims lights, shows temperatures and bulbs statuses.


The nice feature of the Android multi touch panel I used is that it has many interfaces such as Ethernet, RS485, RS32 and I²C as well.
I expressly selected RS485 because Arduino-based microcontrollers are not ready for Ethernet yet (even though some examples still exist but without great success). Indeed, RS485 is a well known standard that has been widely used in the indus­trial con­text and in building automa­tion appli­ca­tions. It is a half-duplex, 2-wires, low noise bus that allows high speeds and remote devices connection (up to 1200 meters).
Furthermore, modbus is a serial communication protocol, developed for industrial applications, open and easy to deploy and maintain. I used modbus RTU, but other variations of the protocol still exist though. Continue reading

Industrial Automation with Android: Acquisition of 6 PT100 Probes

The project I’m working on is about making an industrial automation system using an ARM Cortex A8 1Ghz Android-based touch HMI and a slave bm6PTI expansion module that communicates using RS485 and Modbus.

From the Android touch screen is possible to directly read 6 class B PT100 Temperature probes through an expansion module using RS485 and Modbus protocol at a speed of 19200 bps.

If required, it is possible to extend the project by adding other expansions modules up to a total of 63 bm6PTI therefore 378 temperature probes can be read.

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Industrial Automation and Future Trends

Industrial Automation remote I/O moduleThere is debate on the feasibility of employing Android on Industrial Automation applications.
Big companies contend the market share and most of the time constrains customers to use their proprietary software.

The world is changing and the Internet allows users to benefit from almost infinite availability of information, technical specifications and even to find people that freely share their knowledge and expertise.

Our vision is that in the close future, more industrial automation applications will benefit from the open community and they will lay the foundation to a new revival of this sector.

In this post, I want to show you how the integration of Android in industrial automation applications is possible. I also noted that is surprisingly straightforward.
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Biemme Store Opening

We are happy to announce that our new on line store is now open. The key product we want to present is our new development board. Take a look at it, we hope you will find useful for your needs.

To date, we were concentrated to provide the customers two development boards with capacitive touch screens that can be used in many contexts like industrial and home automation systems. The availability of many interfaces (like Ethernet, rs485 etc) and the possibility to install Android, Linux and WinCE 6.0, make the boards very flexible.

For professional users that would like to to integrate our board into their existing industrial instruments, we designed a free native Android library that supports the modbus RTU protocol through rs485. In this way, you only need to create an Android project, link the modbus library and call the methods provided.

Development board in stock:

The first board includes an aluminum frame 5mm thick and a rearward steel protection cover. The frontal frame has a button to power on/off the system and to set and wake up from standby. The frame could be white or black.

Ltouch with white frame development board
The second board does not include the frontal frame and rearward protection as the picture on the right shows, in order to allow the customer to place it inside an already existing structure.
The board works also with Arduino slaves, take a look at these nice demo video on youtube.

Ltouch without frame development board