Introducing Masterbrick

The Datacake Masterbrick is a low-code wireless hardware platform for the Internet of Things. It comes with sensors and interfaces for capturing or controlling circuits.

Simon Kemper
Jun 16, 2019 · 5 min read
The Masterbrick

At the beginning of the year I already reported about the Datacake Masterbrick. That time as an early prototype. Read here:

Now the time has come. The first Masterbricks produced in series are now available. Time to write about it again.

What is it?

With the Masterbrick platform, entire IoT projects can be implemented in just a few steps and completely without typical programming.

Particle.io E Series

Core of the Masterbrick is the Particle.io E Series module.

  • Powerful STM32F2 microcontroller
  • Embedded SIM card with international mobile phone tariff
  • 2G/3G or NB-IoT uBlox Mobile modem
  • Intelligent voltage transformer with charge regulator and fuel gauge for battery operation

Tinkerforge Bricklet System

The company Tinkerforge from Germany is manufacturer of a modular system for electronics. The core of its product portfolio is a modular system consisting of so-called brick and bricklets. The Masterbrick adapts this system and offers:

  • Connection of the Tinkerforge bricklets to the masterbrick via a simple cable interface using ready-made cables
  • Support for a wide range of different bricklets, including sensors such as CO2 or particulate matter, industrial interface inputs and outputs, etc.
  • Supply of the bricklets with operating voltage via voltage regulators of the E Series module

If you want to know more about Tinkerforge:

Multiple Power Supply Options

The Particle.io E Series module comes with intelligent power management. The Masterbrick takes advantage of this and offers the following features:

  • Optional operation via USB, +5VDC VIN or battery
  • charge controller and fuel gauge for lithium ion battery
  • Hot-swapping during operation

Solar

IoT also often requires that measured values be recorded at locations where there is no infrastructure for both electricity and the Internet.

  • In connection with solar cells, projects that are completely grid- and electricity-independent can be realized.
  • Charge controller of the Masterbrick charges lithium ion battery via the solar cell
  • Deep-sleep and standby options allow battery-powered long-term use

Extension Header

Unused interfaces or important elements are routed to the outside via an extension header on the master brick. The reason for this is the idea that for integration into a series product, the masterbrick must have a certain openness so that our customers can adapt the hardware to the place of use.

  • Execution of important interfaces via extension header
  • Extension with further Tinkerforge modules or other, external interfaces
  • Connection of the operating elements of the master brick to external push-buttons or operating elements
  • Supply of the operating voltage
  • Connection of further sensors via UART or SPI

No programming required

Neither programming nor IT skills are required for installing the Masterbrick. It is not necessary to write a special program or to connect the masterbrick to the computer in advance.

  • Independent connection to mobile network and cloud
  • Generic firmware detects connected modules and automatically transmits information to the cloud
  • Simple commissioning of the connected modules via web interface

Comes with Cloud Platform

The Masterbrick takes advantage of our Datacake low-code IoT cloud platform.

  • Create your own dashboards using a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG editor.
  • Simple rules according to the IFTTT principle for triggering actions, e.g. alerting via SMS, e-mail or push notification.
  • Invitation of persons by e-mail for cooperation

What you can do with it

Air quality monitoring

The Tinkerforge system provides sensor modules to monitor air quality, including:

  • Fine dust / Particulate Matter
  • CO2
  • VOCs
  • Temperature, humidity and air pressure
  • Sound Pressure Level
Particulate Matter and Air Quality (Bricklets)

Digitalisation of industrial things

Also included in the Tinkerforge Bricklet kit are a handful of modules specifically designed to capture and control industrial things, including:

  • Analogue 4 to 20mA or 0 to 10 Volt inputs and outputs
  • Digital inputs, outputs and frequency counters
  • PT100, PT1000 or thermocoupler Temperature converter
  • Relay for 24V or 230V
Industrial Bricklets

Real-time monitoring

  • Record the status of your machines or take measurements from the environment
  • Creation of own dashboards for visualization of measured values

Data logging

  • Storage of all measured values in a high-resolution time-series database
  • Real-time monitoring of data logging
  • Creation of own dashboards for data logging functions

M2M

  • Control of industrial machines, switches or other functions based on measured values of some sensors
  • Setting up automation rules for controlling modules, outputs or other functions across devices
  • Extended evaluation via use of automation logic

Availability.

The Masterbrick will be available in a few weeks and will cost about $150. The prices for the bricklets range from 15€ (for digital interfaces) to 90€ (for CO2).

If you compare this with a Raspberry Pi solution, then you have to calculate here:

  • Raspberry Pi — approx. 30€
  • UMTS-Stick — ca. 60€
  • SIM card — ca. 10€

Advantage over a Raspberry Pi or Arduino solution:

  • No programming required
  • Immediate use
  • Small form factor
  • Comes with Cloud and Dashboards

Datacake Learn

Guides and Tutorials for the Datacake Low-Code IoT Platform

Simon Kemper

Written by

CEO & Founder of Datacake | www.datacake.de

Datacake Learn

Guides and Tutorials for the Datacake Low-Code IoT Platform

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