Quick Start Guide

Thank You, Dear Maker!

If you are reading this QUICK START GUIDE you have probably purchased our BigClown IoT Kit. If not, go shopping to do so :)

Once again THANK YOU for being our supporter, we really appreciate this.

BigClown is not just about the hardware but it comes with full documentation, tutorials, software tools and most importantly - it comes with the extensive technical support. So don't hesitate to use one of these channels In case you run in troubles or if anything is not clear to you:

Be Inspired

It's always hard to build something without an inspiration. We motivate our makers to share their work with others and you can get ideas for your projects by subscribing to our Clownsletter.

Get Ready

In our world it means to prepare a center of your IoT system - the Hub. In QUICK START GUIDE we will use your computer as a Hub. Just follow these steps:

1. Delivery

In delivered box or suitcase find a Radio Dongle and plug it to any USB port of your computer.

2. Download the latest Playground

Go to the BigClown Playground Download page.

3. Run the BigClown Playground

Go to the Device tab, choose the Radio Dongle serial port and click Connect

If you cannot see Radio Dongle in the devices, please see the Troubleshooting chapter.

Radio kits delivered together with your Radio Dongle are already programmed and paired, please check that out in the image below.

In the future we recommend to use as a Hub our ready-to-use BigClown Hub or just plug our Radio Dongle to Raspberry Pi or any server.

Build devices

By building devices we mean putting modules and enclosure together, optionally flashing a new firmware and pairing devices with a Radio Dongle.

Build delivered kits or build devices from modules (check the video guides how to do so). Do not put batteries to the battery modules yet and be careful how to connect Mini Battery Module from the right side.

Core Module's pin headers goes through Mini Battery Module's yellow PCB

As mentioned, delivered kits are already programmed with a right firmware. If you would like to change it to another firmware in the Core Module, please follow this firmware flash chapter.

1. Radio Pairing

As mentioned, kits delivered together with Radio Dongle are already paired and should be visible in Playground's Device tab. In case you need to pair new devices, please follow these radio pairing instructions.

2. Playground's Messages

Switch to Playground's Messages tab and put batteries to your kit, you should see incoming messages. Every kit sends different messages. Here the Button kit sends temperature, voltage, event-count (everytime you press the button) and other messages.

3. 3D-printed enclosure

Put modules to the 3D-printed enclosure and fix it with O-rings.

Add function

Now it's time to give your system a logic and connect it with desired platforms.

In QUICK START GUIDE we will create a simple dashboard with a temperature gauge. Again, just follow these steps:

1. Messages

Switch to the Messages, you should see incoming messages from the previous step. Copy the bold text (called topic) that ends with temperature to the clipboard. You can use the copy icon in each message. Make sure you copy just text and no space before or after the text. Your topic could be different based on your kit name. You can also copy any other topic that your module supports from the MQTT topics list.

2. Function

Switch to the Function tab and from the color blocks on the left side drag and drop mqtt input block and gauge block to the flow in the middle of the screen. The color blocks are called nodes. You can use the filter nodes text box to find the right block. Connect the two created nodes together.

Double click on the gauge node. Change Label, Units and Range to your needs. Then click Done. Double click on the mqtt node and paste the previously copied topic from the clipboard. Make sure there are not any spaces before and after the copied text. Then click Done and Deploy button. You have to click on the Deploy everytime you make changes in your flow.

3. Dashboard

Go to Playground's Dashboard tab and you should see a gauge with the temperature of the selected device. The temperature can take a while to appear. You can breathe on the module or reconnect batteries for immediate update.

Share

Don't be shy and share your projects with others. We will reward you by a 100 EUR discount coupon if your project will be displayed on our web.

Or just put the red nose on, make a selfie and share it on Facebook or Twitter with a hashtag #Clownfie and you will get a 10 EUR discount coupon.

Learn More

The goal of this QUICK START GUIDE is to show the basics in a few simple steps. Now you can learn more by browsing the documentation or by visiting the links below.

Troubleshooting

Cannot find the Radio Dongle or Core Module in the device list

  • On Windows 7 and macOS please install the FTDI VCP drivers

  • On Ubuntu you need to be in dialout user group. Please use command sudo usermod -a -G dialout $USER and restart computer

  • BigClown Playground cannot flash older Core Module Revision 1. Please use the bcftool. See version comparison