Weekly Roundup #26 - New Maker Products // News

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This week there’s a few odd SBCs, some blasts from the past and a swag of Pi stuff.

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Crowd Funding


First up on Kickstarter we have …

The Nixie Clock VI

… the Nixie Clock Mark 6 is, well, a Nixie clock for all you steam-punk people out there. The creator has launched a dozen other Kickstarters, so seems to be successful.

HubPi Cam

Another small project is the HubPi Cam, which contains a USB hub, camera and case for your Raspberry Pi Zero W.


And yet another small one, the RasPIO is a bunch of boards in different styles containing the new APA102 type RGB LEDs, which use an SPI bus rather than a really hard to time quasi-serial bus like the WS2812s. They also have a controller hat for the Pi Zero.


Might as well continue the PI theme going on here with the RaspUnderControl, which is a simple board that provides a power button for your Pi.


MonsterBorg is, well, a robot, but this one doesn’t want to assimilate anything, at least for now. It aims at the STEM market with a 5A motor controller board called the ThunderBorg, and the four wheeled thingy called the MonsterBorg. They claim up to 3 hours runtime running from 37mm Zhengke motors. All you need is a Pi, a camera and 10 AA batteries.


The M5Stack is another one of those stackable module STEM products. The core module contains an ESP8266, STM32, 2" LCD and SX1278 LoRa in a 5cm square aluminum container. There’s a bunch of add-ons that make this a really appealing Kickstarter; like 8 channel logic analyzer, true power measurement, GPS, relays, battery, motor drivers and power socket. They’re all stackable so pick and choose what you want.


PETS has nothing to do with animals, thank goodness, but is another STEM product aiming at teaching kids how to program. It’s very similar to others around, but have come up with a number curriculum to aide the STEM teacher. Also comes with a guide on how to make your own.

LittleArm Big

The LittleArm Big is essentially the same as the LittleArm, but it’s, er, big. It has all the same specs as it’s little brother, but can now lift up your Maccas quarter pounder for you. Do we have quarter pounders anymore? I have no idea.


Yet another 3D printer, but unlike 90% of them on crowd funding sites looks like it does the job. It’s expensive, but the word “industrial” gives it this price ticket. It’s a two head printer, capable of printing 175mm by 315mm by 525mm at 150mm/second down to 6 microns and can accept almost any known filament you can throw at it. Did I say it has a kW power supply? It is after all industrial.


The FetchitGO is a simple concept, but pretty cool. It’s a small whiteboard with a bunch of buttons that can talk to IFTTT, Nest, Hue and a bunch of other services. You program the buttons using an app on your smartphone. Not sure what’s inside, but more than likely an ESP8266 or ESP32.


IndieGoGo is out of the picture again this week,

Crowd Supply

ANAVI Infrared pHAT

but CrowdSupply has a simple campaign that provides infrared for your Pi and also connectors for sensors. So, it’s aimed at people wanting to control their house heating and cooling.

Honorable mentions


A while ago Atmel launched the SAMA5 series SoCs, which contain a Cortex-A5 designed for ultra low power applications. MyIRTech have now released a development board with all the good stuff you expect from an embedded board. It runs the SAMA5D2 SoC on a SODIMM with 256MB flash, 256MB DDR3, 64KB EEPROM and 100MbE. Like all manufacturer dev boards it’s a little expensive, but boards with the SAMA5 are rare.


Whilst over at Element14, there’s an SBC based on the Sitara AM335 SoC, which is a dual-core Cortex-A8 running at 1GHz and all the usual embedded options that you’d expect with one notable difference of an FPGA expansion interface.

NanoPi M1 Plus

Then our FriendlyARM friends have come out with the NanoPi M1 Plus which adds in WiFi, Bluetooth and 1GbE, but with the loss of one of the USB ports. These days WiFi and Bluetooth are essential for any SBC so this is a good step for FriendlyARM.

Maker Shops


There’s at least one unusual thing on Tindie this week,

MENSCH breakout

the MENSCH CPU is based on the 6502 series and has a static core, which means you can fully stop the clock and draw only 1uA in this state. It has 64 GPIOs, 4 UARTs, 8k ROM, 576 bytes RAM, but with a 16MB address space and can handle binary or decimal maths. A pretty unusual chip and good to see a breakout for it.


There’s also the LearnCbot which aims at STEM education in robotics. It allows you to program up your robot without having it running away from you causing carnage, by providing buttons and switches. Once you’re comfortable that you code won’t become sentient and take over the world you can solder everything up.

AdaFruit, Seeed, SparkFun, DFRobot, DigiKey

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 Lite

Over at AdaFruit they have the Pi CM3 Lite in, which is the same as the CM3 minus the 4G eMMC, and WiFi and Bluetooth module.

Raspberry Pi Zero W

Of course they also have the Pi Zero W that’s out of stock, out of stock, out of stock… Wonder why that is?

MAX32630 Rapid Development Platform

Over at DigiKey, there’s a MAX32630 development board, which contains a Cortex-M4F, but with only 24 of the 66 GPIOs broken out. It also has on-board Bluetooth, SD, 6DOF IMU and a PMIC providing battery management. This is based off AdaFruit’s FeatherWings.

AK9750 Human Detection IR Sensor Module

The AK9750 is a sensor capable of detecting a human body regardless of whether it’s moving or not using quantum IR sensors. It’s a promising chip, but unfortunately no breakout board exists for it yet.

The Cheap Side

X6000-7.1CH Audio Expansion Board for Raspberry Pi

For those people wanting to make a media center using a Raspberry Pi, then this 7.1 surround sound module is probably what you want. The desire to be surrounded by sound comes at a price, but it does contain some pretty decent audio chips with lot’s of important acronyms.

X6000K-7.1CH Expansion Board + Case + Adapter Kit for Raspberry Pi

Or if you want to have it all in a nice case, then you can get the whole thing as a kit.


The ESP8285 is a module similar to the ESP8266, but this one contains GPRS as well. Of course it’s useless in countries not supporting 2G anymore.


Interesting breakout. The CH376S is USB storage device chip for SD, TF, hard disk and MMC. Access is by SPI at 2Mbps, parallel at 2Mbps or UART at 3Mbps. Supports USB host and device modes, but supports bulk-only transfer mode.

LCD Backlight Screen 128x64 50x33mm

Over at ICstation there’s a cheap 128x64 back-lit LCD screen accessible via I2C. Not sure what chipset they’re running on it though.

RPI-1031 Angle Sensor 4DOF Attitude HM Module

and if you’re in need of some simple orientation then the RPI-1031 will detect which way is up for you using 2 GPIO pins.

89C52 breakout

Whoa. This is a blast from the past. You can pick up an 89C52 breakout which is based off the ineffable 8051 CPU from the 80s.


Or a slightly more modern board but based off the same architecture, but with some fancy features like power failure detection and integrated MAX810 reset circuitry.

D25mm 1.7MHz Ultrasonic Mist Maker

Or a mist maker? Mist Maker? OK. This one looked interesting and seems to be using a small Piezo, but I’m stumped on where it’d be used. Anyone have any ideas? I certainly don’t.


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