Weekly Roundup #15 - New Maker Products // News

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This week’s Weekly Roundup we’re seeing noise makers, more LEDs, no robots, the fastest RISC based Arduino compatible board and a new SBC that’ll raise the bar even further.

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Crowd Funding


Kickstarter is a bit slow this week. Must be some holiday period coming up.

Caddy Board

The Caddy Board is a simple enough idea. It’s a caddy to house a small breadboard, but it also supplies a 5V rail.

1Bitsy & Black Magic Probe

The 1Bitsy is a small ARM Cortex-M4F board that contains the STM32F415. It’s a fairly plain board that contains an STM32 along with a USB DFU bootloader. The Kickstarter also has an optional JTAG or SWD module called the Black Magic Probe.

Of course it all relies on Open Source software and the creator has included some tutorials and project ideas like; small game console, large LED display control, audio effects and UAV autopilot.

Firefly RK3399

Haven’t seen an SBC on Kickstarter for a while.

The Firefly Team are back with a new board that is setting the SBC bar even further both on price point and features. The only disappointing thing about it is that it won’t be ready to after Christmas.

The Firefly RK3399 is a bit of a beast and contains two Cortex-A72 and four Cortex-A53 64bit cores clocked at up to 2GHz and the Mali-T860 MP4. Nice!

For only $139 US you also get:

  • 2G RAM and 16G eMMC.
  • Dual PCIe 2.1, (using M.2).
  • Dual USB3.0.
  • Dual MIPI-CSI & ISP.
  • HDMI2.0.
  • DisplayPort 1.2.
  • 42 GPIO header.
  • Android or Ubuntu.

The Yowler

If you’re in to making a bit of noise then this guy is creating a synth with features added based on funding goals reached.

Interesting twist.

Like choosing between making it open source or a case. He’s had a number of prototypes already so looks promising.


While IndieGoGo has some good stuff.

The NaviPack is a small LIDAR navigation module for drones. It has an onboard SLAM chip capable of sensing anything up to 15 metres away at 4000 points per second. That means full 360 degree real time sensing capabilities.

Comes with an SDK for either Windows, Linux or Android which gives you some fairly enhanced features.

Yet another 3D printer. This one is based on the Delta design. There’s not a heck of a lot of information on the specs, so Caveat Emptor.

The Tiny-TS

Another noise maker. This is a tiny keyboard synth the size of a credit card that contains an ATmega328 providing some basic synth effects. Comes in a DIY kit. Note this is just in the concept stage, so unlikely to be available before Christmas.

Crowd Supply

Crowd Supply is unusually active.


The AAduino is an interesting concept. It’s an ATmega328p board with RF and temperature sensor designed to fit into a standard double A battery holder alongside two other double AA batteries.


If you’re into ECG monitoring then this pre-launch module providing a nice set of features like low noise, low offset and low power.


Remember the OpenV? It’s a RISC SoC designed from the ground up to be Open Source and Open Hardware. Contains 16 GPIOs, SD and JTAG support running at up to 160MHz.

Not many people would be interested in funding this, but…


…you might be interested in this one.

The HiFive1 is a welcome relief to an otherwise ho-hum market. It is an Arduino compatible board containing the FE310 SoC, which is an Open Hardware, Open Source RISC MCU running at up to 320MHz. Not only the fastest kid on the block, but free to run them!

Runs off either USB, or 12 volt DC jack whilst accepting 3.3 or 5 volt logic levels. Has 19 GPIOs, SPI, PWM, USB and a nice feature of 128Mbit of off-chip flash storage.

Honorable mentions

AWS Greengrass

Amazon are now enhancing AWS IoT with offline processing for Linux based devices. This means that your Raspberry Pi AWS device will still work when not connected to any Internet service. It does this by using Amazon’s Lambda based “AWS Greengrass” software.

Maker Shops


Tindie has a couple of things.

868Mhz 915Mhz SX1276 Lora Module with ATmega328P

This is a small module that contains an ATmega329p, onboard USB and LiPo charger, but it also has an SX1276 LoRa module, which is capable of 300kbps.

Zero Long

Or the Zero Long which is the same as this companies Ultra Zero board, but with a long OLED instead.

Flexible LED Array 32x32

You know it’s almost Christmas when a lot of LED displays hit the market. This is a fairly humongous display. If you want to drive 1024 LEDs on a flexible backing then get this, or there’s the non-flexible AdaFruit one coming up.


The WiThumb was recently successfully funded on Kickstarter and now it’s on Tindie! It is a USB device that provides an ESP8266, 6 DOF IMU and temperature sensor all in a small package.


Ever lost your UAV? This little device will simply emit a high pitched audio beep every 20 minutes to help you track down your lost UAV. It starts beeping when power is cut to the device.

OpenHome Security Gateway

The OpenHome Security Gateway is a board that provides a bunch of useful connectivity options such as ethernet, wired and wireless sensor access, RTC, relays, and AC monitoring. It’s a great little board if you want to build a reliable home automation device.

AdaFruit, Seeed, SparkFun, DFRobot, DigiKey

And a few more from the major online shops.

RF Explorer 3G+

Seeed have their RF Explorer 3G module on pre-order which contains an onboard spectrum analyzer. A cheap way to get your hands on some RF test kit.

VL6180X Breakout

AdaFruit have their VL6180 breakout board which is more advanced than than the VL53LOX capable of measuring between 5mm and 1.2m. Runs off 3 to 5 volts with onboard logic level converters.

Pi Powered Times Square Traveler Pack

Now this is pretty cool. Remember that previous 32x32 LED display? AdaFruit are bundling that as well as a Pi3, Matrix HAT, and DS1307 RTC for less than $90 US!

Note that this display isn’t flexible.

MAX30105 Breakout

SparkFun have the MAX30105 module, which you can use to measure distance, heart rate and particles floating in the air. It’s cheap because it uses three LEDs instead of laser. Accessible via I2C.

Flexible LED Array 16x16

If you’re hungry for displays, then DFRobot have a 16x16 flexible LED display…

Flexible LED Array 8x8

… or 8x8. Both using the common WS2812 drivers.

The Cheap Side

On the cheap side of town we have…

Maple Leaf clone

…a Maple Leaf clone from BangGood which contains an STM32 Cortex-M3 MCU. I purchased one of these through BangGood, so you’ll be seeing a review on it shortly.

RTL8710 WiFi Module

Then there’s a board that contains a Cortex-M3 and WiFi module. It’s essentially an ESP-12E and is pin for pin compatible with it, however this one runs the RTL8710 WiFi module.

Wemos D1 clone

This is a package that contains an ESP8266, and a bunch of addons like; Relays, LED, pressure sensor and SD storage.

ADS1015 12 bit ADC

Looking for a precision ADC? The ADS1015 breakout contains a 12bit ADC that can run at around 3000 samples per second over the I2C bus. Contains an internal oscillator to get accurate sampling.

DIY Smoke Detector

Someone lighting candles in the bedroom again? Get your kids to make one of these and teach them that where there’s smoke there’s usually fire.

AD8232 ECG

Or if your kids just aren’t listening to you, check your pulse with this cheap ECG kit.

1.44" TFT

BangGood also have a cheap 1.4" TFT display accessible via SPI, running the ST7735 chipset.

2.2" 320x240 TFT

Or if you need a slightly larger display, this 2.2" TFT display gives you a slightly higher 320x320 pixel display. Also has an IR sensor.

1.3" 128×64 OLED

Or AnalogLamb have a 128 by 64 pixel OLED display.


Of course there’s also the ESP32 module that are starting to flood the market. This one from BangGood…


…and this one from ShenZhen2U.

BME280 Atmospheric Sensor

Crowtail have a cheap BME280 sensor which gives you pressure humidity and temperature all in one package.

AK09911C Hall Sensor

Or ICstation have a cheap I2C based Hall Sensor module.

4-Port USB hub

and a neat 4 port hub, that looks like is also accessible via I2C. Hmmm interesting.


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