1.5 - Exploring the Builder Base

Overview

Today we’ll explore the Quantum Builder Base and its many features.

Before you start, make sure that your Q-server is setup. If you haven’t done that, checkout our Q-Server setup tutorial.


The Terminals

Looking at the physical Builder Base, there are multiple terminals you can use for various things such as:

  • 7x GPIO terminals that you can use to connect generic electronic components to the Builder Base and communicate with them

  • SDA and SCL terminals that you can use to connect I2C devices to your Builder Base

  • 3x GND terminals for your circuits

  • 5v terminal to power your circuits

  • 3.3v terminal to power your circuits


Powering Your Builder Base

There are quite a few ways to power your Builder Base as follows:

  1. USB cable included with your Builder Base

  2. CR2032 coin cell battery which you can insert into the coin slot of the Builder Base for low voltage applications

  3. The Quantum 5v Power Supply DIY Kit that lets you power your Builder Base with a 9v battery and makes it portable

  4. AA battery packs with a micro USB male connector

You can also check out our tutorial video on how to power your Builder Base here

Once the Builder Base is powered, you will see its status LED start blinking


How It Works

The Builder Base serves as a middle man that relays communication between the Q-Server and the attached components on the Builder Base. It will communicate with its paired server via bluetooth in order to upload firmware and give commands to the attached components.


How to pair the Builder Base

First connect to your Q-Server. On the left side of the Home Page you will see the Clients icon on the toolbar. Click the icon and it will take you to the Clients page.

Next, click the “Unpaired” tab on the page and you should see a device appear named something similar to “Q #12345”.

Once you see that device appear, click the 3 dots icon under the “Actions” column for that device and select “Pair”.

When the pairing process is done, a pop up will appear saying the pairing was successful, or not, and give you the option to continue the “Setup” or “Close” out of the window. I will close out of the window so we can go over its actions in order.

Now, make sure you are on the “Paired” tab on the Clients page and see that device with the same name.


Actions on the Builder Base

Now that your Builder Base is paired to your Q-Server, let’s go over the different actions you can perform on the Builder Base.

First, click the ‘Actions’ dropdown (3 dots icon) for that Builder Base and we will go over each option from top to bottom.


1. Identify

The ‘Identify’ action is a pretty straight forward action that allows you to identify the physical Builder Base. This is especially useful when you have multiple Builder Bases paired to your system and need help finding the correct one.

When you click the “Identify” action you will see the status LED start blinking red and green for a few seconds and that’s how you can tell which Builder Base is which.


2. Edit

The “Edit” action lets you edit the name and location of the Builder Base as well as view the Client ID, the name of the firmware file uploaded to it, and the firmware generator version.

The location feature comes with 3 default room options, but you can add custom rooms to the list as well.

To do this:

  1. Click the ‘Settings’ icon at the top right of the screen

  2. Select ‘Location Settings'

  3. Type in the name of the room you want to make on the right and then click “Add”. Now it should be a part of the location list.


3. Upload

The “Upload” action let's you upload firmware files to the selected Builder Base from the list of files that you have in your Firmware Builder. The drop down will give you a list of the firmware files names. Select the one you want and then click ‘Upload’.


4. Make Demo App

The ‘Make Demo App’ action is a neat feature that automatically generates an application for you to use based on the firmware file that you uploaded to the Builder Base. This is especially useful if you want a quick application to debug or test your firmware and connected hardware components.

To generate the demo app, click ‘Make Demo App’ and it will generate the app.

Next, go to the ‘Apps’ page and you should see the demo app in the list. It will say “Control: “ and the name of the Builder Base.


5. Unpair

When you click the 'Unpair' action it will unpair that Builder Base from your Q-Server. If you wish to re-pair the Builder Base, go back to the 'Unpaired' tab and pair it from there.


6. Debug

Lastly, when you select the ‘Debug’ option you will be directed to the inspection page of the Builder Base. From here you can view numerous information about the client, such as Name, Location, Mac Address and much more.

You’ll notice a button to perform an I2C scan. This is where you will go to collect the I2C address of an I2C device that’s connected to your Builder Base for when you build your firmware file.

When you click the “Scan” button a banner will appear with the address.

Below that frame is the list of hardware devices you added to the uploaded firmware file.

You can select each device and view more information about the device as well as perform a couple actions.

The ‘Read’ button will read the current status of the selected hardware

The ‘Notify for 10 seconds’ button will give you readings of the selected hardware device for the next 10 seconds


Now that you have a better understanding of the Q-Client Builder Base, it’s time for you to build something.

Happy Making!