Iota Evaluation Board

Overview

The Iota Evaluation Board allows you to evaluate RealTime.io Cloud Services and either the Iota Ethernet or Iota Wi-Fi modules. The evaluation board exposes the serial UART as a USB connection, so you can easily send and receive serial messages to and from a web service using a terminal application. Each pin on the Iota Ethernet or Iota Wi-Fi module are broken out for easy access to standard female strip terminals on the evaluation board. Common configuration pins are tied to a DIP switch and jumpers to get started quickly. The status indicators of the Iota Ethernet or Iota Wi-Fi are wired to LEDs to visualize network and cloud state of the Iota.

This guide will help you set up the Iota Evaluation Board and create a demo cloud application using the RealTime.io application builder.  Section 1 will guide you through the hardware setup.  Section 2 guide you through the process of registering a device, creating a demo application.  Finally, section 3 is an overview of the demo application and how it works.

What you need to get started

  • Iota Evaluation Board
  • Ethernet network cable
  • Active network connection
  • USB cable
  • 5v power adapter
  • Web browser with internet access

Section 1 – Hardware Setup

This section will guide you through on the setup of the Iota Evaluation Board to demonstrate a RealTime.io cloud application.

Note: Although all of the Iota functionality is exposed through the various headers and terminals of the evaluation board, only those relevant to the demo application is this guide will be mentioned.

Important sections of the Iota Evaluation Board

  1. Device Serial Number - uniquely identifies the Iota module
  2. Factory Reset Jumper - used to reset the Iota to factory defaults
  3. DIP Switches - used to access common configuration pins on the Iota
  4. Mini-USB COM port - used to send serial messages from a host computer
  5. Power - center positive connector for +5VDC regulated power adapter
  6. Indicator LEDs - indicate device, network, and cloud status
  7. Ethernet jack on Iota Ethernet Module - used to connect to local network

Iota Eval Board Labeled

Schematic

The Iota Evaluation Board schematic is as follows:

Iota Eval Board

DIP Switch Configuration

Set the Evaluation Board DIP Switches to the following configuration:

Iota Eval DIP Switches

This will set the board to use 9600 baud and the USB port.

Factory Reset Jumper Setting

Set the Factory Reset Jumper so that the normal side is selected.

Power Connection

Connect the Iota Evaluation Board to a +5VDC regulated power supply (center-positive). The ENABLED (red) indicator LED will illuminate.

Network Connection

Plug an Ethernet cable between the Iota Evaluation Board and an open network port on your router or switch. Within a few seconds, the ENABLED (red), NETWORK (amber), and CLOUD (green) indicators should illuminate. Check the troubleshooting section if all 3 lights don’t come on.

Computer Connection

This guide will make use of the USB connection to send and receive serial messages to and from the Iota Evaluation Board. The Iota Evaluation Board uses the FTDI serial-to-USB chip and will set a virtual COM port on your computer. Most computers systems have the FTDI drivers available. If you need to install drivers for Windows, Mac, or Linux, visit the FTDI Drivers website. Once you have the driver installed, connect the Iota Evaluation Board to a computer using a mini-USB cord.

Terminal Software Setup

In order to send and receive serial data to and from the Iota Evaluation Board, you need to use a Serial Terminal Application. You can use the built-in terminals such as Hyper Terminal on Windows or any terminal program that gives you access to the COM ports on your computer. If you don’t already have terminal software installed, many are available for free. Termite is free terminal software for Windows and has been tested to work with the Iota Evaluation Board. In all cases, use the terminal software to connect to the Iota Eval Board with the settings 9600-8-N-1 on the COM port created by the FTDI driver. If you are using Termite, open the application and open the FTDI COM port using a baud rate of 9600, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, no parity, no flow control, and append nothing.

Termite Serial Settings for Iota Demo

Section 2 – Cloud Setup

Now that you have the Iota Evaluation Board powered up and connected, we need to create a RealTime.io application that will be able to send and receive data.

Create a RealTime.io User Account

If you have never used ioBridge.com or RealTime.io in the past, you will need to set up a user account. Visit www.realtime.io/admin and click Sign Up. If you have an account, go ahead and Sign In.

Register a Device

In order to get started, you need to register a device. This process will authenticate you as the owner of an Iota-device or client, and will give you the ability to create API Keys to access the device.

  1. Sign In to RealTime.io
  2. Click Devices
  3. Select Register Device
  4. Enter the serial number of your Iota-enabled device and click Next
  5. If the authentication process succeeds, enter an easy to remember label for your device, and click Finish

The registration process automatically creates an API Key that you can use to access this device from the RealTime.io web service. The API Key is found under the API Keys tab.

Create an Application

Built into RealTime.io is an application builder and editor. This allows you to create applications directly on the RealTime.io servers and share them with users. We are going to use this to create a RealTime.io application from a template for the Iota Evaluation Board.

  1. Click on Apps, then Create App
  2. Choose Template App, then Iota Evaluation Demo
  3. A new page will now be displayed to manage your newly created application.
  4. Under Files, click Edit for the “index.html”
  5. In the source code that is displayed, replace SERIALNUMBER with the serial number of the Iota device and replace REALTIMEIOAPIKEY with an API Key
  6. Click Save and return to the application management page by clicking Manage

RealTime.io Application Manager

The RealTime.io App Manager allows you to create, develop, and share apps. If you want to run the app on your smart phone, scan the QRCode and it will open in your phone’s web browser. The default app templates are responsive for smaller screens.

RealTime.io Application Editor

The RealTime.io App Editor allows you to write and customize apps right in the browser. RealTime.io Apps are written in HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, so you don’t have to learn any proprietary programming languages. The editor features code coloring, line numbering, and save notifications.

RealTime.io App Editor

Section 3 – Using the Demo Application

In order to use the demo application that you created, you need to open it in a web browser of your choice or on a mobile phone. We provided a QRCode that you can scan to easily open this on a mobile device’s web browser. This demo application allows you to send and receive data from a web service. Messages entered into the text box of the application will get sent to the Iota which in turn will display it through the serial terminal. Likewise, data sent from the serial terminal will be displayed on the application. The location of the Iota and the app, can be anywhere in the world as long as both sides have an Internet connection.

  1. Open the RealTime.io Demo App
  2. Place the demo app and your serial terminal side-by-side, so you can see the messages being sent in real-time.
  3. Enter a message into the demo app, and click Send. As soon as click Send the message will be received by the serial terminal.
  4. Enter a message in the serial terminal application and click the send button. As soon as you send the message, it will be displayed on the application.

Iota Eval with App and Serial Terminal

Taking the Demo Further

At this point, we hope that you appreciate what is happening. You are entering serial messages from either side and they are appearing instantly on the other side. This is happening via the RealTime.io cloud service and the app that you created is using the RealTime.io API to send messages and process a real-time stream from devices. The serial messages can be anything you want including the protocol for your device or status messages from sensors. Everything is designed to be open-ended so you have complete control over what you can do with this technology. We recommend that you take this demo further by connecting a microcontroller to the Iota’s UART interface. From here all of the real-time web is available to you.

Demo Video

Troubleshooting

Network LED doesn’t light up

  • The Iota Ethernet module requires DHCP to acquire network information.  Make sure your network has DHCP enabled.
  • Check that the network cable used to connect the Iota is connected to an active network port.
  • Make sure to use a straight-thru Ethernet cable and not a crossover network cable.

Cloud LED doesn’t light up

  • Check that internet access is available on the network to which you are connected the Iota.
  • Be sure that the API_MODE_SEL DIP switch is in the OFF position.
  • The Iota Ethernet Module requires the ability to make outgoing UDP connections. Check to make sure that at least one of the following UDP ports is available for outbound traffic: 554, 5004, 10627,28028 or 33434.

Can’t register device

  • Make sure the Cloud LED is lit before trying device registration again.
  • In order to authenticate you as the owner of your Iota-enabled device, the RealTime.io cloud service compares the IP address of the Iota with the IP address of the web browser you are using.  If the IP addresses match, the registration is accepted.  Make sure your Iota and registration device are on the same network.
  • Double check the serial number. We use uppercase letters A-F and numbers 0-9.

Application doesn’t work

  • Be sure that you have edited the index.html with the correct API Key and Iota serial number.
  • The API Key and serial number are case-sensitive.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much power does the 3.3V regulator supply?

The Iota’s 3.3V regulator is capable of delivering 1A of current in total.  We recommend that you limit external circuits to sourcing up to 150mA.

Resources

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