The Blue Smoke Herder Shield - AKA the New Maslow Shield (TLE5206)


What the Heck is a Blue Smoke Herder? In a discussion with the first person to request a Shield form me. @Dru Mentioned letting the Blue Smoke out of his original Maslow Shield. For anyone unaware it’s a Maker term for the death of an electronic device.

Me and my friend Harry altered the design of the TLE5206 shield from @blurfl to include 12v power headers to run fans.

I have 5 boards from what I will call V1 that are ready to populate. I ordered 30 more of what I will call V2. These are paddling there way across and ocean by slow post. I suspect I still have a 2 week wait. I wanted to open up a discussion here to get a sense of what people want.

I’m considering a Kickstater to help offset the cost to build these. I also didn’t want to order a large number of boards without testing the design.

What is the TLE5206 ?

It is the Motor Control Chip on the new Maslow Shield, this one is more powerful then the original. I would say it’s an advancement in design.

I’m considering a few diffrent offerings:

Plan A) - A replacement shield for the Existing Maslow.

Plan B) - A Plug and Play version of the shield on an Arduino tested with pre loaded Firmware. Ready to use when it arrives without the need to figure out how to load the firmware. In a custom case with a fan that has mounting tabs for easy installation.

Maybe Plan C) - A full Plan B with an additional PC/Tablet preloaded with Ground Control so you can be up and running without the need for setting up firmware or Ground Control.

I’m opening up the discussion to get more input.

Thank you


Good to see some movement and hopefully soon more Maslows testing the shield.
Do you have a cost estimate including international shipping?
I’m in with 2 of Plan A and don’t forget or friend in Spain who is desperate to get his hands on one.

would be nice, but what will it cost, plus I don’t need more Megas in my shelf, so Plan B is not for me. Users that ordered the kit also already have a Mega. Would you consider offering the case separate?
I also have mixed feelings about

as we update the firmware every 2 weeks and for troubleshooting the programmers sometimes provide a patch version of the firmware to narrow things down. Knowing how to upload is an essential skill from my point of view at this time.



I have my beer goggles on right now, so I will respond after I’ve had some rest :slight_smile:

I appreciate your input.

Thank you

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Cheers Mate :beers: Enjoy the night!

I think A and B are good ideas. I’ll take a B when you do it :wink:

I think if you go for offering C, you should think about what level of support you will offer. Someone going with C may have limited experience with computers and therefore could need lots of hand holding. Since they bought the “PC” from you, they may be expecting you to solve their problems for them.

Just my thoughts.


Plan A for me,
just an upgrade to the original sheild as im now on my 3rd
Mostly my fault

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Also, you may want to consider including an option with a power supply that’s been tested with the board and can handle the load.


As I am still waiting for my kit to arrive (2-3 weeks, fingers crossed) I am starting to get concerned about the durability of the shield and what happens if it fails with Bar and Hannah no longer stocking replacements. Is heat the main killer? Would it be smart to include some sort of fan on my frame build (I have several old computers to salvage fans and power supplies from)? Or even a usb powered fan with a cheap wall wart?

I would love a Plan B½ (maybe it needs to be called something different) without the extra Mega. It’d be nice to have a nice case to go with my existing Mega.

I’ve not had any issue with my stock controller and have put it through its paces in some long running projects. I think failures are rarer than it may seem. I’m just looking for bigger and better is all.


plan A or B works for me.

genial Brandon, hace tiempo hablamos del tema, como dice my friend Gero, estoy deseando tener una placa TLE5206 para montar mi Maslow con ella desde el principio, ya tengo el paquete, ahora necesito tiempo para armarlo, me gustaría saber por cuanto dinero sale la placa, y si puedes enviarlo a España.

Gracias a Gero también por acordarse de mi, Thank you very much

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Just so you can gauge interest - I would also be in for option A or B minus the mega (as suggested by MartinJ).

I think for me just getting a way to power the fan I already have for it would be the way to go! Make that plug and play with either a suggested (like noctua) or maybe it ships with a fan if people have their own 3d printer etc.

I am in to “plug & play” so B for me. I have had no problems with my board, but it would serve as my “back-up” to your Blue Smoke Herder!

Thanks for your work on this!

I think A is the best solution in the mindset of “Maslow”.

B becomes tricky in case of updating as mentioned above. You need to provide a software tool to automatically update the software on the shield. Preferably, the updates are pushed automatically without going by the arduino software.

C is even trickier:

  1. I don’t know if there is market for this solution
  2. You need to think about a support model. People will indeed expect someone to solve their issues


I disagree here, 2 points -

A. I think people should learn this skill but it should not be a hurdle in getting set up. Also this way they have a backup / experimental Mega.

B. Some will set up their machine be able to so whatever they are attempting to achieve and never need to move past that build.

Just my 2 cents

Thank you

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I’m interested in A.

is this the through hole version with the extra beefy heatsinks, or the surface mount version?

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I am also interested in a plan A board. I’ve been watching the TLE5206 board develop (somewhat, I may have missed some of the more modern improvements) and have wanted to upgrade my machine with one. Would you be making the PCB’s and soldered all the components on, or would it be a kit with all the components but require the user to assemble the board? Personally, I’m fine with either.

Thanks for all the work you’ve put into this, Brandon!

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I would love to see a script or program that could automate most of the process of retrieving the latest firmware and GC, then uploading the firmware.