Meshtastic

Autonomous device with Q10 keyboard and ILI9341

Greetings,
Just wanting to test the waters here - is there any appetite for meshtastic to support an attached 2.8in LCD in vertical mode with a blackberry Q10 keyboard attached, along with a joystick? Or does this become an excessively specialized implementation? While the power consumption may be a little higher, this would be an interesting fun device.

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I’d happily add support for such a device. Others can probably answer better on their level of interest.

I’m in the process of waiting for the keyboards and test PCBs to arrive, my intent was to actually help out. I wasn’t so much asking for someone else to write the code - more like « is this insane » coupled with « is someone already working on it » :slight_smile:

I’m not entirely clear on the target form factor. Since the idea would be open hardware, I figured I would end up creating a board with an ESP32, LORA radio, GPS, charge circuitry, 18650, q10 keyboard and associated circuitry. I would be basing this off ample prior work on the Q10 usage.

It’s a similar idea to the doomsday communicator project you can find on Hackaday - just with the more compact Q10 keyboard…

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Oh that sounds even better then ;-).

That sounds like an awesome fking board. Not just for projects like this but all of those “get game emulators running on ESP32s” etc

btw - for your radio - I just added support for the E22 module from ebyte. So that might make things easier (also the SX1262 chips are much better than the older SX1278 chips most boards use)

Ok, good to know! I am far from an advanced hw/sw developer - more of a Frankenstein approach: piecing together parts already made by others. I will test things out with the ttgo lora32 modules I already have once mail from China arrives… will keep you posted.

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I think this would be super useful, especially if one is off grid, to be independent of a mobile to type out a message!

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Or one of these! lora in a nokai 3310
http://www.mastrogippo.it/2018/07/1337-3310-wifi-hardware-design/

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Hah - a 3310 hack is spectacular :slight_smile:
Far above my skill level unfortunately.
Currently I am waiting for a bunch of components to arrive and will mock this up on breadboards afterwards and start testing. One of my test beds is actually as a low-tech neighborhood kids communicator. I was aiming for a blackberry 950 experience. It probably won’t be as concisely packaged…

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This project had a really cool open source mesh and hardware implementation with LoRa, screen, and BlackBerry keyboard. Unfortunately, their site (greycat.co) is offline, and I can’t even find any pics of the hardware. I emailed one of the devs to see if the files are still available. If I remember correctly, they were actually shipping boards before moving on to other things.

Edit: Forgot it was AtMega2560. No longer available, but here’s the tindie listing in case there’s inspiration to be found.

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Well, that’s precisely the type of device intended! It seems to rely on scavenged blackberry devices though…

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Looks like a 9900/9930 keyboard with trackpad. $4.50 OBO shipped on eBay

I had never heard of these Q10 keyboards, but they seem to still be in mass production and super cheap on ali-express. So yeah - if anyone is making a device with a keyboard I think that looks like a possibly great ‘component’ to use.

Yes, those are the ones. The hirose connector that they use requires rather high precision soldering. I have ordered components and boards from oshpark to replicate this particular setup: https://www.tindie.com/products/arturo182/bb-q10-keyboard-pmod/. The process might end up taking some time, since I am figuring this out on the go, to digikey’s pleasure. Yesterday, I found out I will need a j-link adapter to program the M0 chipset that arturo uses to reduce the pin count. Today, I figured out that said programmer has a 1.27mm pitch 2x5 connector - back to digikey… I have mild exposure to the arduino ecosystem and code and it appears I have now tackled a different ecosystem (ARM) for which there is a whole lot of implied knowledge and beginners have a cliff of a learning curve to demystify. I’ll get there :slight_smile:

btw - if it helps you only really need three pins (usualy) for that SWD ARM connector: SWDIO, SWCLK and ground. So even if the wrong connector is stuffed you can just jumper just those three pins.

I kinda like the trackpad and function buttons on the 9900 for UI. Are you planning on a touchscreen to navigate the interface? In my experience, touchscreens quickly become a problem in outdoor conditions the hiking and emergency use-cases would likely see.

On the greycat device they renamed the dotted Blackberry icon the “mesh” button, which I think is adorable.

Anyway, I’m just throwing out resrouces that might be of interest and/or speed folks up. To that end, I had overlooked that images, schematics, design files and various hardware info bits are still available this repo:

" What do you mean, ‘thats now how you prototype’ ? "
— me

I want to run away from touchscreens if I can :slight_smile:
I just started receiving parts as the picture attests, but I am still missing the Q10 adapter breadboards from oshpark. I thought I would have some sort of 2 axis rocker switch, similar to BBs between the screen and keyboard. So yes, basically a poor man’s blackberry, but fitted with the SX chips, GPS, field replaceable 18650. Since I have about 10% of an idea what I am doing, this creative/discovery process of mine isnt exactly capable of delivering on tight schedules, but hopefully I will figure things out…

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If we can standardize on some sort of I2C workflow for input devices, we could write code that would handle all the various input projects I’ve seen floating around :slight_smile:

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good point. Perhaps something you could consider related to your menu layer work?

Really we’ll want:

  • A basic notion of menus
  • An abstracted input navigation class (currently based on one button with various press patterns, but eventually an up/down/left/right/enter keypad)
  • An optional text input provider (could be A BLE keyboard or a locally attached keyboard)
  • A smarter notion of screens than the current dumb loop.
  • Some of those ‘screens’ would allow text input (for use in constructing the ‘send text’ screen

I think it’s worth having a set of ready-made phrases that you can change and customize using your phone and joystick to select and change from a stand-alone device. The keyboard is quite a lot of space and not very reliable. Although very cool.

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