DingBot goes public with new protocol

I’ve replaced the network protocol on the DingBot with SprinkleNet, a much more robust packet-based approach that has improved reliability tremendously. And, there are now four completed DingBots in the world.

The new firmware was actually complete at the beginning of December, but I didn’t write about it because one pair of DingBots was intended as a Christmas present.

The final DingBot design still uses the XBee/XBee Pro from MaxStream. The new firmware uses the XBee’s packet API rather than the modem-style “AT command” API, and either this change itself or the exercise of rewriting the code seems to have solved the problems I was having with messages getting dropped before.

I’ve also added positive feedback to the DingBot design, so that you only get the confirmation sound if another DingBot acknowledges receiving your message. In conjunction with up to 5 retries at one-second intervals, with audible indication of retries and failure, it’s now much clearer when radio reception is not working, or when the remote unit is off.

So it’s now quite solid. And ready for public consumption - I gave a pair of units to my parents for Christmas, and they worked well, and seemed to be enjoyed by all.

DingBot is now officially finished. Feel free to contact me if you’re interested in documentation, plans, source code, kits, or finished units.