We were all enthusiasts about this project. Lots of promises, innovative stuff…
My flotilla box is almost new, it uses space and I’m not in the mood to put it in my garage or waste.
Has anybody recycled the modules, sensors and other stuff to another project? How is it possible to reuse it?
With such a failure, I haven’t considered buying some of the new stuff by Pimoroni.
The lack of communication is frustrating. Errors, failures, change of objectives and lack of interest happen. This is life, but please COMMUNICATE. DO SOMETHING.
You can simply plug the flotilla dock into a PC and write some python programs to get at the ascii values returned in plain-text.
Have a read of Phil’s book here:
I’ve managed to re-use most of the flotilla modules by using a simple, cheap USB breakouts.
No advertising, something like this:
If you solder on some header pins you can use the 5-pin breakout garden adapters to plug in a blue flotilla cable and attach a module. Ignore the ID pin you only need power (5v), gnd, d- (SDA) and d+ (SCL).
Make sure you get the usb breakout the right way round. Look for the ground pin. There is no clever reverse-power protection as on the pimoroni breakouts.
All the flotilla modules are driven by i2c. But here is where it gets tricky. You have to work out which kind of driver you need for each module and which registers do what.
I did work all of this out a long time ago, and I will first have to find all my notes and scattered code again!
Sadly although flotilla was very innovative at the time, it quickly became redundant when all the qwiic, stemma and the pimoroni breakouts themselves came along.
As you wrote it is just such a waste to throw this stuff away and not re-use it somehow.
I think the problem is Kickstarter projects.
Pimoroni is not alone with these very large projects which die too early. It all takes far too long, things move on during the extended development and they have to keep up with the main job - developing new kit. (Think Pi Pico launch as an example during their last Kickstarter effort - 32blit.)
I’ve been disappointed 4 times with these large projects, often waiting years for the promised hardware. Once the basic hardware has been produced and shipped the producer’s interest falls away and the expected guides, help, documentation, support and essential updates do not arrive or are well below the hyped-up expectations.
The hardware is only the first half of many of these large projects.
No more Kickstarters for me.
A bit off-topic but some of these things work, some not.
I suspect Flotilla died simply because Pimoroni wanted it to be the best thing ever and literally loved it to death. As you said everyone quickly got bored of the whimsy and esoteric software and went after arduinos and raspberries with hats, bonnets, capes, shields, gardens, wings and all those other juicy add-ons!
I totally agree with your experience and I suggest that ‘Hypestarter’ projects should be avoided at all costs. (Currently avoiding Spintronics and I successfully avoided Turing Tumble - both from the same person - I can agree with the concepts but, OMG the prices!)
The 32blit vs picosystem saga is just a little bit strange. How to easily kill off your own somewhat niche and relatively expensive kickstarter product with a (if you’re not a total arcade hardware snob) much cheaper and viable alternative!
Having said that sometimes Kickstarter failures somehow have a successful life. I have a ton of M5Stack stuff (which is somewhat similar to Flotilla et al with the sensor modules concept). Apparently it was a ‘total’ failure on Kickstarter, but it’s still going strong today with oodles of esp32-based controllers, modules, units, cameras, etc. Not an advert, I have similar, very good stuff from Pimoroni, Adafruit, Waveshare and so on.
I shall avoid bringing up the never-ending ‘my python is much better than your python’ debate. Flotilla managed to stay out of that mess, it was proper python on a big raspberry pi. Which is why you can still use it with the dock on anything that will communicate over USB.
Maybe the community should try to give Flotilla another life, instead of it all just landing in the bin.
I feel your pain, I’ve been burned by two different kickstarter projects in the past year. I love Pimoroni and they did a great job with the PiCade kickstarter (and it’s subsequent updates!) but it sounds like they just left flotilla to languish.
I too have decided to stay away from Kickstarter, the rewards are rarely worth fronting the money.
I have to agree with Kickstarter or alike. Upon the 6 or 7 I’ve backed, one delivered but far beyond expectations (unusable), 3 delivered but I finally don’t use them, flotilla delivered but not usable anymore and I use another one every week (1 on 6!).
Lack of time, other personal goals and priorities.
Back to Flotilla, I’ve tried the windows software but the http server does not find the hardware.
Thanks @veryalien for the tips. I won’t be able to find time unfortunately. My goal was to initiate my kids with scratch/python with something simple and fun. Fun and simple are not anymore applicable.
If anyone’s interested, my flotilla would be happy to find a new home.
Sorry for the delayed reply - the Pico W launch has been… all-consuming 😬
When I last used Flotilla (admittedly back in 2019 when I was working in support) the way I got around that ‘could not find dock’ business was by using the
flotilla-offline repo, installable with:
git clone https://github.com/pimoroni/flotilla-offline
If you get an error about OS version when you try and install it, you might need to edit the install script (
sudo nano install) and add your Pi OS version number to the
I’d definitely suggest using an older flavour of Pi OS (like the Buster/Legacy version) if you decide to give it a go - I’d be surprised if it worked with Bullseye.