A Serial Release, So Far Just Firmware
If you find yourself working on old machines and peripherals or simply like cobbling together your own kit you often need to use connections which have always been, or slowly become, relatively scarce. Power supply is another issue when developing your own kit, as testing without clean power delivery is a great way to drive yourself around the bend. Hackaday linked to a project which will be of interest for anyone who has run into this and is questioning the amount of adapters they have to have readily on hand to be able to be productive, a isolated USB dongle which can address almost all of those challenges.
The Ollie is based on a previous build, the CANable project, and provides USB, CAN bus, a pair of UARTs, RS-232, and RS-485 signaling levels as well as an isolated power supply on a USB dongle described as roughly harmonica sized. Specifically, you will be able to send voltage selectable UART signals via a four-wire logic-level, the RS-232, RS-485, and CAN signals can be sent on an 8-pin pluggable screw terminal block, or you with a DB9 adapter. This should vastly reduce the amount of cruft on your desk while working on a large variety of projects.
Currently only the firmware for the device has been described and provided for use, and Hackaday is relatively confident the hardware and source code should be available soon. Keep your eyes open for updates if the Ollie might make your life a bit easier.
The central themes here are isolation and flexibility. We can’t find the isolation voltage in the project specifications, but the CANable project on which this adaptor is based provides 2.5 kV galvanic isolation. A single isolated USB interface is also provided over a standard Type A connector.