Well, now that we've hit networking, we're officially hitting my obviously uncomfortable zone. Neil's page was a myriad of attractive yet complicated options so I opted for trying the simplest with the asynchronous rs-232.
My project this week was to get rid of the push buttons on my output board (taillight + turn signal for a bike) and replace them with a serial interface. This way, when I integrate it into my final project, I can have the main board just trigger this whenever it needs to.
I based both my node and bridge boards heavily off of Neil's, removing the status led and adding 4 bright white led's to the node board.
Routing this time was a piece of cake and I was suprised how small I was able to make the boards despite the spacing I used for the led's.
One trick that's been helpful for prepping these boards to be integrated with the plastic lens I'll be casting has been soldering the through-hole led's onto the opposite side of the board. This way, I have a whole clean side to work with yet I only have to mill just the top side with the holes.
I stuffed both boards with little issues or fanfare. I think I'm finally getting the hang of wetting the pads early, keeping my hands steady, and making great use of the tweezers.
With everything hooked up and ready to go, I began progamming each node.
By the end, I managed to get the node running with a sketch that listened for a single integer on the serial port and if it was "0", "1", or "2" it switched to different fading modes. Above is a video showing the final outcome.