Employee Spotlight: Jon Allured, Lead Developer

 

jon-allured_400x400Jon Allured has been with Grid Connect for a little over a year now as the lead developer. Jon spends most of his day pair programming with Erik as they work on the new ConnectSense app and other client projects. Jon says there are a lot of interesting problems to solve in their various projects.

Prior to working for Grid Connect, Jon worked at a company called Hashrocket where he helped build the ConnectSense Ruby on Rails app. Jon is also one of the organizers of a local OpenHack group which is where he met both Erik and Adam Justice.

Instead of hobbies, Jon is now the proud father of a four month-old son.

Bluetooth FAQ: Installing the BluePlug with Windows drivers and Discovering a Firefly, BluePort, or BluePort XP.

On a Windows computer, the BluePlug drivers should install automatically in most cases. If it does not, you can direct Windows to search for the drivers. If this also does not work, use the Toshiba software found on the included CD under\BU2073J\Toshiba XP,2K,ME,98SE V3.03.06\setup.exe and see the instructions below for installing with the Toshiba drivers.

After installing with Windows drivers, confirm that it has installed correctly by making sure the BluePlug is listed in device manager. It should be listed on the top of the installed devices list under the Bluetooth Radios. To discover a Firefly or BluePort XP with your BluePlug, go to start -> control panel -> network connections. Here you should see your “Bluetooth Network Connection”. Right click the icon and select “view Bluetooth Network Devices”. Click the add button. This will start the “Add Bluetooth Device Wizard”. Click “My device is set up and ready to be found”. Alternatively, your BluePlug could also appear in your system tray, as a Bluetooth icon. You can right click this icon, and then click “add a Bluetooth device”.

Set the switches on the outside of the Firefly or BluePort to match the settings below. Make sure the power is off while you do this, and that you turn the power back on after. Switches changed while the power is on will not take effect.The switches are usually labeled. If they are not, consult the manuals on the CD for diagrams.

Factory Defaults: OFF
Baud Rate: 9600
Auto Master: OFF
Auto Discover: ON

If you have a Bluetooth enabled phone with its Bluetooth capability turned on and in range, your phone and BluePlug should be discovered by each other as well.

Upon discovery of your BluePort or Firefly, there should be a window that tells you the BluePlug has found a device, listed in the form of “Firefly-xxxx”, or “BluePort-xxx” where xxxx can be any alphanumeric string. This is the name of the Firefly or BluePort.

If prompted at any time, enter the passkey 1234 to connect. Now the Firefly will be installed on two virtual Com ports on your machine. One will be labeled outgoing, and the other incoming. Connect to the outgoing. Use a terminal emulator, such as Hyperterminal, set to;9600,8,n,1, vt100 to connect to the Firefly or Blueport. You can also use the Teraterm Emulator supplied on the CD located under \Teraterm\setup.exe. When you type data in the terminal window, you should see the amber data light flash on the Firefly or BluePort. This will verify that it is correctly installed and communication to it is occurring.

Bluetooth FAQ: Bluetooth Product Comparison

Firefly
The Firefly is a Bluetooth class 1 Serial device with a db9 connector. It has 4 switches on the outside and 10 jumper pins on the inside for configuration. It can be connected to most serial devices and supports RX, TX, RTS, CTS, and GND. Power can come from the serial port, a standard wall adapter, or a usb port. It is available with a male or female DB9 connector.
BluePort XP
The BluePort XP is very much like the Firefly but it has a rechargeable battery. You can get 24 to 30 hours of continuous connection and transfer of data on a single charge. It supports the same serial signals and is configured mostly the same way as the Firefly. Power can come from the internal battery, a wall supply, or a usb port. It is available with a male DB9 connector.
BluePlug
The BluePlug is also a class 1 bluetooth device which attaches to a host computers’ USB port. It installs as a bluetooth device and usually installs automatically with Windows. There are drivers on the included CD that will install it as well. Since it needs drivers to run, it cannot be installed on devices that aren’t computers or that don’t have some means of installing software.
FirePlug
The FirePlug is like the BluePlug, however it installs as a serial port instead of a bluetooth device. It can also be set to pair with another bluetooth device, such as a Firefly or BluePort XP upon power up automatically. There are more features on the FirePlug product page.

New Product Alert: HF-A21 High Performance Embedded WiFi Module – 802.11 b/g/n

hf-a21-smt-int_a2_1500x1500Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 4.49.30 PM

The HF-A21 module is a compact high performance WiFi module providing 802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz WiFi networking for a printed circuit board device design. With a rich feature set and an industrial temperature range, this surface mount embedded module is well suited for many applications even in harsh environments. A small footprint makes the HF-A21 easy to use in handheld devices.

Available with 2 antenna options, the HF-A21 module provides design flexibility to meet specific application requirements or can be used in existing device designs.

The interface with the HF-A21 is via 10/100 Ethernet and high speed UART. Using either the user-friendly web page or an AT+ instruction set, this module is easy to configure. The HF-A21 can operate in Infrastructure Station (STA) mode, Soft Access Point (AP) mode or AP+STA mode. Support for Ethernet-to-WiFi Router/Bridge mode networking is also provided.

HF-A11 Ordering Summary:

Part # Antenna/Connector Type
GC-HF-A21-SMT-EXT U.FL/I-PEX Antenna Connector
GC-HF-A21-SMT-INT Internal PCB Antenna

Call for Volume Pricing.

Support:
The knowledgeable and experienced engineers at Grid Connect provide complete technical support for the HF-A11 and the High Flying line of embedded WiFi modules. We offer phone support and on-line chat support during regular business hours.

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 4.49.30 PM

Employee Spotlight: Mike Justice, Founder and President

Grid Connect-5028-3Mike Justice is the Founder and President of Grid Connect. Before the Grid Connect, Mike founded Synergetic Micro Systems, which was later acquired by Lantronix in 2001. After working on the Lantronix team for a couple of years, Mike decided it was time to form another company. Grid Connect was founded in 2003 and has been selling and creating great networking products and technologies since.

Other than Mike’s everyday duties to keep Grid Connect running smoothly, he spends a lot of time in different parts of the company helping to create a better and more efficient place to work. If Mike is not in his office, you can find him in an engineering meeting, helping make marketing decisions, or even vacuuming up the warehouse! Mike’s favorite part of Grid Connect is being able to watch his employees grow and have fun. “As a family business, it is important to have great people that treat Grid Connect like part of their family.”

Although you can find Mike dominating the ping-pong table almost daily at Grid Connect, one of his favorite hobbies outside of work is playing ping-pong too.