New & Reviewed

Coming Soon: Inventa Maker Plate 12-Button Controller

DIYODE Magazine

Issue 8, February 2018

As part of Altronics’ continued commitment to developing new maker products, they’ve come up with a great range of Maker Plates. These are really useful gadgets built into an Australian Standard wall plate. We got our hands on a soon-to-be-released 12-button shield, and we’re thoroughly impressed.

While on the surface, you’ll find a flush-mounted membrane keypad, effectively what’s inside is an ATmega328p in a DIP package, mounted to a breakout board. The PCB itself takes the shape of a shield/UNO-style board. This provides you with fantastic functionality. Let’s look at what’s included:

  • ATmega328p DIP with pre-loaded Arduino bootloader
  • Screw terminal power application for robust power connection
  • 2 x 5V/1A SPDT relay outputs with screw terminals
  • Six-pin FTDI breakout for programming (BYO USB to serial)
  • Red and green high brightness LEDs which shine through the front-panel for feedback
  • Onboard Piezo buzzer
  • An standard red LED on rear side so you can run Blink (we’re joking, but it’s useful for debugging)
  • A full stack of headers for custom expansion with WiFi, a screen, more relays, or whatever you like
  • ICSP header
  • Membrane keypad with pre-wired / custom-wired jumper configuration to board, for flexibility

Let’s face it, that’s a lot of power, and with a huge amount of expandability. You can easily put this to use as a controller for access control using a door strike or electric gate.

But let’s be real, this is only the beginning of the story. What about adding a WiFi shield? With the right code, you’ll have an IoT access panel with local manual control. Or perhaps it’s data-logging access control to the cloud. Or maybe you just want to lock up your hand tools to stop others taking them without permission; now there’s an idea! Because it uses the familiar Arduino environment, it really does give you a highly flexible and configurable base for all sorts of projects.

It starts with the Inventa Maker Plate, but it only ends with your imagination.

Inventa Maker Plate is available soon at Altronics: