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Versalino Uno Quickstart

About the Versalino Uno

Versalino Uno Fully Loaded

Get your Versalino Uno today

This is where it all began, the Versalino Uno is our premiere Prototype to Production platform, but what does that really mean?

What that means is the Versalino is a system that has been developed to not only make it easy to learn and experiment with electronics & microcontroller drivers, but to also be used for the development of cost effective end user devices.

The Versalino Uno, just like the Arduino Uno is based on the Atmel Atmega328P-PU, and is fully compatible with the Arduino IDE (integrated development environment) and just about any code that works on the Arduino Uno. However what the Versalino Uno does differently is it takes a minimalistic and configurable approach to design. It’s pinout, and design  reduce costs and size even though they are made in the USA.

 

This is a top view of the Versalino Uno PCB design.

This is a top view of the Versalino Uno PCB design.

Versalino Uno Pinout

Have you ever had to re-solder pins on an Arduino Shield just so that you could get it working with another shield? Have you ever had an Arduino Shield that didn’t bother to let you stack another shield on-top of it? Well with the Versalino Uno those are problems of the past.

This pinout should help you better understand how the Versalino Uno relates back to the Arduino Uno.

Listed above are the Arduino equivalent pins to each of the Buses in case you wanted to forego the use of the Versalino library.

The Versalino Uno is not just another Arduino clone. The Versalino Uno was completely re-engineered from the ground up to address real design problems that folks face every day on other systems. The key advantage of the Versalino line over other Arduino and Arduino compatible clones is that we developed a standardized BUS system that makes it possible to design a load board to take less than half of the available pins without sacrificing the ability to do tons of stuff with it.

The Versalino BUS structure also allows the shape and size of your Versalino board to change without losing the compatibility with your loadboards. That is why every board that has been designed for the Versalino Uno is 100% compatible with the Versalino Nano (even though the Versalino Nano is half it’s size).

Finally the COM port on the Versalino is designed to provide you with plug and play Bluetooth compatibility with the Virtuabotix BT2S Slave and Virtuabotix BT2S Master, this is an extremely useful, and cost effective way to convert your project from a wired to a wireless solution. This additional port structure allows for the design of many serial communication devices that can be added to your system without interfering with other boards.

 

Guides & Documentation
Compatible Devices
Libraries & Software
Versalino Videos
Get the Datasheet for the Versalino Uno
Visit the Versalino Uno Product Page
Learn more about the Versalino Uno
Run a Versalino loadboard with a regular Arduino
Program the Versalino with a regular Arduino Uno
Versalino Wiki
Versalino Section of the Virtuabotix.com Q&A
All Arduino Compatible Sensors
Versalino FTDI
Virtuabotix BT2S Slave
Virtuabotix BT2S Master
Versalino MotorMaster
Versalino Solderful Breadboard
Versalino Sense & Move
Versalino Rove
Versalino Inventors Kit
Many many other electronics devices
Arduino IDE
Versalino Library
MotorMaster Library
Virtuabotix DHT11 Library
Virtuabotix DHT22 Library
Virtuabotix Accelerometer Library
Virtuabotix Ultrasonic Library

 Getting started guide:

You will need the following things to follow this guide all the way through:

A computer with a USB port, the Versalino Uno, the Versalino FTDI, and an LED.

Install Arduino IDE Install FTDI Drivers Install Library(s)  

What is an IDE?

If you are new to programming you may be wondering what an IDE is. An IDE is an Integrated Development Environment, which aside from being a mouthful, is an extremely useful tool that is used to allow an individual to use high level code like C++ to develop programs more quickly.

In the case of the Arduino IDE you are provided with a simplified C++ based approach to developing code that can be quickly developed, and uploaded to your Versalino projects. As you learn how to use this system you can even go as far as writing your own libraries, and taking advantage of direct machine coding techniques, and native C++ structures and classes.

Install the Arduino IDE on your computer

The first step before you can do anything with the Versalino, or any other Arduino compatible system is to install the Arduino IDE.

Download and Install the Arduino IDE with the link below

Thle Arduino IDE can be found for Windows, Mac OS or Linux at the following link -->Click to go to download page http://arduino.cc/en/main/software <--.

Follow the instructions for your specific operating system as provided by Arduino in the link above.

Note: Though there is a windows installer available now, most windows users have reported that they had a better experience downloading and extracting the zip archive version. This is as of version 1.0.5 and the windows installer may become more stable over time.

What is an FTDI?

FTDI itself is actually stands for Future Technology Devices International, a company whose initials (FTDI) have become synonomous with USB to Serial converters. The Versalino FTDI is named so because of the fact that it uses an FTDI chip as it's main processor.

The reason you need a USB to Serial converter (like the Versalino FTDI) is to load programs onto, and communicate with your Versalino, and other Serial UART enabled devices. The key advantages of the Versalino FTDI over alternative versions is the fact that it has a built in Virtuabotix BT2S Com port for instant Bluetooth to Bluetooth connectivity between your Versalino and PC, and the fact that it has easily selectable voltage levels.

Install the FTDI (USB to Serial) Drivers on your PC

Though we recommend and assume you are using the Versalino FTDI, the following devices can also be used to program the Versalino:
The Arduino USB Serial Light
Sparkfun or Adafruit versions of the FTDI programmer
And for the adventurous the Atmel AVRISP programmer

Note: The Arduino USB Serial Light uses different drivers than those we will be discussing in this section, those drivers can be found in the driver folder of the Arduino IDE directory that you installed in the last step.

Installing FTDI drivers on Windows 7 or later

If you are using Windows 7 or later, chances are that all you have to do is plug in the Versalino FTDI and your system will identify and install the drivers for you automatically, but if you are on Windows XP or earlier, or your system did not auto-detect the device drivers then you will want to install the drivers manually below.

Installing FTDI drivers on older systems, and Mac OS/Linux

The FTDI Drivers can be found and installed from the following location -->Click to go to download page http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm and select drivers from the appropriate operating system to install <--.

Check if your drivers installed properly

Now that you have installed your drivers you can plug the Versalino FTDI into the computer using the USB Mini B cable (make sure you have the 5V setting selected with the switch on the back).

If everything is installed correctly you should now have a new COM port available on your computer.

What is a Library?

A library (in the Arduino IDE) is a specially structured piece of code that is intended to add or improve the existing functionality of your C++ environment. The libraries often handle complex problems, and device communication so that you do not have to handle low level, complex, or repetitive tasks directly in your code.

Libraries can do anything that you can do in your sketches, or in C++ in general (as long as there is room on your device), but are generally used to store classes and functions to be used in your projects.

Why should I install the Versalino library?

First of all, you do not have to install the Versalino library for you to be able to use the Versalino. For all intents and purposes you can program the Versalino as if it were an Arduino Uno, but you would lose the ease of use of the pin-out, and may have to dedicate more time to selecting pin numbers, especially if you would like to take advantage of the Versalino's unique bus structure. Because of this we think it is much easier to use the Versalino library to take advantage of the simplified bus structure, and the direct use of standard Versalino pin names in your code.

Download and extract the library

-->Click to go to the Versalino product page and download the latest Versalino library https://www.virtuabotix.com/productpage/0609224531828/ <--.

Extract the zip folders contents and makes sure that you have just the library name as your folder. In example if your extracted contents folder was named VersalinoV1S2B then you will want to remove the V1S2B from the folder name, and then check inside that folder. If that folder contained a folder named versalino then you would use the subfolder as your library folder.

If you don't use the folder that actually contains the .h and .cpp files, or you use a folder that is not named exactly the same as the main .h/.cpp file in that directory then the library will not work after it has been installed (because the IDE will not be able to find the appropriate files for installation.

Installing libraries on Windows

If you are using the Arduino IDE on windows you simply need to navigate to the folder where the Arduino.exe is and drop the Versalino libraries folder into the "Libraries" folder. So drop the library folder into the following directory on windows: arduino-1.x.x-windows (where the .x.x is the IDE version you installed) -> arduino-1.x.x -> libraries

Installing libraries on Mac OS/Linux

Installing a library in Mac OS or Linux can be a little more tricky, especially if this is the first time you are using the Arduino IDE. Unlike on Windows, your IDE does not have an accessible folder structure, so you will have to run the IDE before you can proceed.

Once you have opened the Arduino IDE it will create a Sketchbook folder on your profile, you can easily find the location of this folder by using the top menu File -> Preferences and looking at the address in the sketchbook location at the top of the Preferences window.

Once you have navigated to your Sketchbook directory you will have to create a subdirectory named "libraries" if one hasn't already been created for you. Now you can simply drop the Versalino (or other) library folder into that directory.

Check if your library is installed properly

Regardless of the operating system you used once the library folder has been placed in the "libraries" directory you will have to ensure that the Arduino IDE has been closed, and then re-open it before the library can be used.

If you have installed the library properly you should now see a Versalino subsection in the File -> Examples submenu. If your install did not work, then you likely need to check the folder name, and make sure that you did not copy extra extracted folders into the libraries directory. Adjust and retry until you see the Versalino subcategory on the Examples menu.

Congratulations!

With all the boring stuff out of the way, it is finally time to get things rolling. Keep following the steps below to start doing something with your Versalino.

Thanks again for choosing the Versalino, and best of luck with your nerdly adventures!

Now for your very first Versalino project!

Make sure you have your Versalino Uno, Versalino FTDI, and an LED before proceeding.

Connect FTDI Upload Sketch Connect LED & Test

Connect the Versalino FTDI

This is a picture of the Versalino FTDI connected correctly to the Versalino Uno.

This is a picture of the Versalino FTDI connected correctly to the Versalino Uno.

Now that you have installed the Arduino IDE and Versalino FTDI drivers you are finally ready to connect it all together and get started with your first project

First connnect the Versalino FTDI to your computer with your USB Mini B cable and make sure that a new COM port is available on your computer like you did in earlier setup steps.

Once you are satisfied with the setup you can plug it into the Versalino Uno/Versalino Nano. Make sure that the pins of the Versalino FTDI match up with the pins on the Versalino Uno/Nano PGM port (I.E. match G pin to G pin, V pin to V pin and so forth). If you have it lined up correctly the voltage selector will be facing toward the outside of the Versalino board.

WARNING: DO NOT CONNECT THE VERSALINO FTDI TO THE VERSALINO BACKWARDS, OR SADNESS AND MAGIC BLUE SMOKE MAY RESULT. IF YOU CONNECTED IT THE WRONG WAY QUICKLY DISCONNECT THE USB AND TRY AGAIN THE CORRECT WAY.

Open the Arduino IDE

When you open the Arduino IDE it should conveniently create an empty sketch for you. A sketch is just the name Arduino gave to their .ino files which are the files you save your simplified C++ code for the Arduino and Versalino platforms with.
This is what the Versalino Blink sketch looks like in the Arduino IDE once you have it copied over.

Your code should look something like this once you have it copied properly into the Arduino IDE. Also note the menu at the top of the window which you will be using to configure and upload in the next part of this step.



Copy the following lines of code into the empty sketch:

#include <Versalino.h> //this loads the Versalino library

// we will be connecting the LED to BUSA pin D1
// so we declare it as a variable to use later
// just in case we decide to change the pin or BUS
int led = BUSA.D1;


// the setup routine runs once when you press reset:
void setup() {
// initialize the digital pin as an output.
pinMode(led, OUTPUT);
}

// the loop routine runs over and over again forever:
void loop() {
digitalWrite(led, HIGH); // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)
delay(1000); // wait for a second
digitalWrite(led, LOW); // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW
delay(1000); // wait for a second
}



Check compiler settings

If you are programming the Versalino Uno ensure that
"Arduino Uno" is selected from the "Tools -> Boards" menu.

If you are programming the Versalino Nano ensure that
"Arduino Nano W/ ATmega328" is selected from the "Tools -> Boards" menu.

Also check to make sure that the COM port of your Versalino FTDI
is selected from the "Tools -> Serial Port" menu.

Upload the Arduino Sketch to your Versalino

Now you should be ready to program your Versalino with your newly created sketch.

Select "File -> Upload" and wait while your sketch is compiled, and uploaded to the Versalino. If you have set up everything correctly up to this point you should see a short series of blink red and green lights on the Versalino FTDI indicating that the program is being loading through the transmit and receive lines of the serial port.

Once you see "Successfully Uploaded" at the bottom of the screen you are good to move onto the next step.

Before we connect the LED to the Versalino

NOTE: First disconnect the USB from the Versalino FTDI before plugging anything into the Versalino BUS.

This is a picture of an LED from Virtuabotix.com to illustrate how to identify Ground and Vdd pins of an LED.

The illustration above shows how to identify which pin is ground and which goes to Vdd or IO pins.

If you are not familiar with the LED (Light Emitting Diode), then let me explain a little bit about it's operation and wiring. The first thing you should know is that the LED is in fact a Diode which means among other things that it only allows the flow of electrons in one direction. This means that to get the LED to light up we will have to plug it in with the correct polarity.

An easy way to determine which side of the LED is supposed to connect to Ground, and which is supposed to connect to Vdd or your IO pin you can actually look at the length of the LED leads (which means the pins that come off of the LED). The shorter of the two pins is always ground, and the longer goes to the IO pin or VDD.

If your leads have been clipped you may have to check with your manufacturer on what the notch indicator on the LED body means, some LEDs have reverse notch indicators, you shouldn't assume that your LED is the same as another. If you can see inside your LED however the larger of the two elements is always ground so you may be able to tell them apart that way. (Alternatively you can try connecting the LED in both directions and pick the one that works 😀 ).

Note: If you are using a high powered LED, or more than one LED you should put a resistor in series to prevent too much current from being drawn from your Versalino, but with a single LED that draws 20 mA or less you can safely connect it directly to your IO pin (IO pin means input output pin).

Connect the LED

This is how it should look once you have connected the LED to the Versalino Uno/Nano

This is the way your setup should look once you have everything connected correctly.

Now that you know which pin is Ground and which pin goes to the IO pin you should be able to plug the short lead into GND on BUSA and the long lead of the LED into D1 of BUSA on the Versalino.

Watch in awe as your first project comes to life

Now that everything is plugged in you can reconnect the USB cable, and watch as your LED begins to blink just as you told it to. Feel free to bask in the mysterious glow as long as you see fit, and congratulations on finishing your first project!

Congratulations, now you know how to load a sketch onto the Versalino Uno. You will be amazed by the world of devices and projects that you have just opened up. We can’t wait to see what you can achieve with the Versalino in your toolbox!

Below are just a few of the projects that other nerdly heroes like yourself have already done with the Versalino, be sure to share your projects with us if you want them added to the list.

More Awesome projects for the Versalino Uno
Writing a Bluetooth Packet based #Arduino sketch for the Versalino Control board
Updating the Versalino Rove Controller Sketch to accept 4 Byte VirtuabotixPackets Controlling the Virtuabotix Pan & Tilt with your Arduino or Versalino
How to translate Virtuabotix Accelerometer G Forces to Degrees on the Arduino or Versalino

1 response to Versalino Uno Quickstart

  1. Hello Adrian,This is my firs Arduino and I also want to make exactly the same thing as you did but i have stbemlud across a serios of problems because some of the code that I am using in my arduino is writen in romanian and I don’t know exactly what to change in my code.Could you please help me ? The thing is that my arduino has Temperature, Humidity, Pressure and light sensor and there is a lot of code I must go through.Kind Regards,Flaviu Vlaicu

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