UniJoystiCle update #2

TL;DR

  • Station Mode (with or without WPS)
  • Inactivity timeout  & Joystick statistics
  • Auto-firmware upgrade
  • Better ways to power the WiFi device

Station mode and other features

One thing that bothered me was that I needed to switch WiFi networks every time that I wanted to use the UniJoystiCle. Not a major issue, but not ideal specially if you use your phone both for the UniJoystiCle and for “regular” stuff.

To solve that issue, I added WiFi Station mode support (Access Point mode is still supported). Basically the UniJoystiCle WiFi device, when in Station mode, can connect to any WiFi network. It also supports WPS (an auto-auth way to connect to a network). If Station mode fails, it will default to Access Point mode.

In order to switch to Station mode you have to:

  • Install firmware v0.4.3 (see below for more info)
  • Boot the UniJoystiCle WiFi device (it will boot in Access Point mode)
  • Connect to the unijoysticle-xxyyzz WiFi Network
  • Open the web page: http://unijoysticle.local
  • Select “Station” mode, put the credential (SSID and password) and reboot!

From http://unijoysticle.local you can also configure the “Inactivity timeout”: how many seconds without activity should elapse before all the joystick lines are set to Low (simulates no joystick movements).

I also added statistics: It tells you how many seconds you spent on the different joystick positions, and how many movements you did. Useful, right?🙂

Installing a new firmware

Another thing that needed to be improved was flashing a new firmware. Before v0.4.3, you had to do compile the firmware yourself, and upload it. Not ideal, specially if you are not a developer.

Since then, manually flashing the firmware was simplified a bit:

  1. Install the CP2104 USB-to-Serial drivers
  2. Download the latest firmware from here
  3. Install esptool & flash the new firmware:
$ pip install esptool

# Mac
$ esptool.py --port /dev/cu.SLAB_USBtoUART write_flash -fm dio -fs 32m 0x00000 /path/to/unijoysticle_firmware.bin

# Linux
$ esptool.py --port /dev/ttyUSB0 write_flash -fm dio -fs 32m 0x00000 /path/to/unijoysticle_firmware.bin

# Windows (I haven't tried it. I don't know what is the serial port there)

For Windows, esptool.py should work as well, but NodeMCU-Flasher seems easier to use.

And once you have v0.4.3 installed, you no longer need to manually flash new updates. Upgrades can be done from the WiFi device itself:

Powering the WiFi Device

Powering the device with a USB cable works. In fact, that is what I do with my devel WiFi board. But if you are not a developer powering the device from the Datasette port is a better alternative: self-powered, looks better.

An inexpensive (less than $3) DIY cable can be done with:

The benefits of this cable are:

  • Soldering is not required
  • It fits in the C128D

The drawback, is that it is not a pass-through cable: You cannot use the datasette while using this cable. But hey, it costs less than $3.

Another thing is that the WiFi device needs less current than initially thought:  320mA instead of 400mA (this is the max needed current).  In fact, on regular usage (no more than 5 High lines at the same time, and connected to a N WiFi network), it doesn’t need more than 150mA.

iOS & Android clients

I noticed some bugs with the UniJoystiCle mode (both on iOS and Android) and added support for multicast DNS on Android (already built-in on iOS). The WiFi device advertises itself as unijoysticle.local. That means that you can use “unijoysticle.local” as the WiFi device address, and this will work both on Station and Access Point modes.

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