Azure IoT DevKit – External Connectivity

Beyond the sensors built into the board the possibilities are endless when you consider attaching external devices. As I mentioned in my previous post, the DevKit has an edge connector with a number of input/output pins as well as power. You’ll need an “edge connector breakout” like this to make use of them.

I found this excellent post by Jeremy Lindsay which included a table of the pin numbers and how they map to Arduino pin names – you need this so that you can refer to a physical pin on the edge connector breakout to a pin in your Arduino sketch.

From this it’s possible to rig up an LED or similar on a breadboard and set it from code. One of the things I wanted to try out was using an ultra-sonic distance sensor and this is where I hit a snag. Unlike many Arduino boards there is no 5v output (even though it is driven from a USB 5v input) and the sensor I am using requires one. I’ve had to order a few more parts before I can make progress on this project. Essentially I’ll need a separate 5v supply to my breadboard and will have to convert the output from the sensor down to the 3.3v expected by the DevKit board.

First Steps with Azure IoT DevKit

The Azure IoT DevKit is an Arduino compatible board which is ready to use in conjunction with Azure IoT Hub to build an end-to-end IoT system. Code running on the board is native C and you deploy to the board using Visual Studio Code over the included USB cable. Then your device uses WiFi to establish a connection back to Azure where you can process data received from the device in a number of ways. Two-way messaging is supported so you can respond to the device and send commands to control it. Basically the possibilities are endless!

mxkit

The board itself has a number of sensors – temperature, pressure, humidity, movement and an RGB LED and a small (but very clear) display for output. Other inputs and outputs are possible by attaching to the edge connector which is the same as the microbit. The package consists of the board and USB cable in a neat little cardboard box.

Everything you need software-wise is explained on this GitHub site along with a number of sample apps. It’s even possible to deploy the required IoT Hub and services to your Azure account automatically.

There are three suppliers listed on the “Get a Kit” page and at the time of looking only Plugable had stock but don’t ship internationally. Luckily I was able to find Mouser who had stock and ship to the UK. It only took a couple of days to ship from the US.

I’ll revisit this when I look at setting up the software and provisioning a working program.

 

Self Installation of Hive

Installing the Hive hardware was straight-forward because my existing controller had a standard backplate and so I didn’t have to change any wiring. The trouble came when trying to setup an account because when you ring the number on the included voucher no-one seems to understand the process for self-installed units. After I eventually got it sorted I was told there is an alternative way which doesn’t involve going round in circles with various sales/tech support etc phone lines:-

When you order from Amazon there is a voucher code on the box. If then visit https://www.hivehome.com/shop/cart and enter the voucher code in. It will then allow you to create an online account.

This should have been included with the voucher code because it seems a much more straight-forward approach. Unfortunately before I could use this I was already setup but I’m pinning it here for reference.