Controllino Mini: a short review

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Arduino used in home automation projects? It seems that the only limit is imagination. But actually there’s some limiting introduced by the Arduino hardware itself; original Arduino boards were designed as a lab tool rather than a module to be embedded in home automation controllers. Even so, many makers use Arduino boards in such projects, sometimes creating nice and safe projects, and many other times creating totally unsafe and dangerous projects. But does it has to be that way? I don’t think so…

Some clever manufactures have caught the idea of making ruggedized versions of the original Arduino, focused towards small scale automation projects.

On of those manufacturers is Controllino, based in Innsbruck, Austria. In their offer we have three Arduino compatible, DIN-rail mountable controllers. These small controllers have from 8 up to 21 inputs, 6 to 16 outputs and a range of peripherals from RTC to SPI, I2C, RS-485 and Ethernet.

Today I have on my workbench one Controllino Mini, the smallest in the Controllino range, which I plan to use as a smart controller for a water pump. But before that, let’s take a look at what the Controllino Mini can do…

In the box we will find only the Controllino. Datasheet, pinouts and Arduino plugin installer have to be downloaded from the http://controllino.biz/downloads/ website (note: the initial controllino.cc domain is not working anymore, it returns an 403 error message).

Right out of the box you can feel the Controllino Mini is not a toy. It has a sturdy look, a nice finishing, well marked connectors.

On the top of the Controllino Mini we find a set of 20 LEDs, the reset button, USB connector used for programming, a button that enables or disables the RTC and a 26-pin connector that can be used to directly interface to microcontroller pins. All signal pins on this connector are protected with serial resistance. Pins that provide 5V and 3.3V are also present, with a total current limit of 200mA (150mA for the 3.3V pin). .

As inputs we find a number of six analog/digital input connectors plus two digital connectors which can be configured as external interrupt sources. The datasheet says all those pins have an automatic divider, with the division ratio of 3.06 for 12V supply and 6.14 for 24V supply.

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9 Comments

  1. How did you get this device?

    I prepurchased three of the maxi devices via KickStarter two years ago and the developer stole my money along with all the other people that funded this product.

    • I ordered it from controllino.cc (this was before they become controllino.biz). I had to wait for about one month for it.
      I’m sorry to hear about your experience. After purchasing the controllino I found about another manufacturer of Arduino-like industrial products named http://www.industrialshields.com/en/. I haven’t ordered anything from them yet, but their product range looks very nice.

  2. Hi Guys

    I only have myself to blame. I saw this flashy website, with promises of a great product. And when I received the product it did not work. I ordered a mini. When I mailed the manufacturers. I got a hideously insidious response.

    I should have done a bit of background checking. Had I spent even 5 minutes on the subject I would have noticed that there are MANY unhappy people out there.

    Well…there goes 150 euros down the toilet.

    Shame on me for being so bloody naive!

    I am now the unhappy owner of a crappy piece of plastic rubbish!

    • Mine still works 🙂 It’s either because I ordered it long time ago (from controllino.cc) and it was one of the first ever made, or maybe I’m just lucky.
      You made me curious, why is yours not working? Did it work and stopped, or it was dead from the start?

      • Hi Teodor,

        When i un-boxed it, I uploaded the blink program to it. It wouldn’t do the necessary. The LED kind flickered on and off intermittently. As I lifted the item up, it seemed to turn on and off and reset itself.

        I also noticed that any form of bump or movement made the thing reset.

        I sent an email to Controllino and got THE most insiduous response of something like, “our items are never broken and you can send it back at your own cost and if we find anything wrong with it we will charge you and you can see it as a service to the item.”

        Surely the EU must have some sort of consumer protection regarding this kind of transaction? I dont want to send it back, only to be charged for servicing of and item that is barely ten minutes old.

        I dont want it at all. Its a piece of crap and I wanted my money back! The email said that under no circumstances would they refund me. Go figure!

        As an aside, I truly blame myself for this. If I as much as did a search for this company I would have unearth a plethora of miscreant behaviour.

        • To me it looks like a poor soldering job (or damage during transport). If you paid for it with PayPal you can escalate the case to PayPal. I managed to get my money refunded from PayPal in some similar situations.

  3. Stéphane Clinckart on

    I have 3 Controllino Mega. (2+1 for free… pledged during the kickstarter campaign.

    I had to wait too long… but finally got them.

    Working well till now (few weeks only).

    Trying now RTOS projects on it…

    Despite the long wait and the very bad communication skills, the product works very well.

  4. Anybody know if the digital inputs work? I can get analogue input to work but not simple high low digital inputs. I need to use a dht temp humidity sensor eventually..

    • Hi Cory,

      The digital inputs work with a locical level depending on the power supply (12v or 24v).

      To connect a DHT sensor I suggest to use the connector on top, which is using 5V logic.

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