Back from vacation and this Week’s Roundup is chock full of stuff! Lot’s of SBCs, plus #LibreComputer #SandmanDoppler #Parral #BuzzBox #tinyLiDAR #NanoPi @h3droid #tinyFPGA.
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On Kickstarter there is …
…, of course, the usual bucket load of spinners…
But, this next one will interest one of my subs. It’s a board that controls a 6DOF Stewart motion platform. Has all the IMU and motor controllers on-board so all you need is a Stewart platform
… Which is actually the expensive bit. It’s a fairly complete campaign that seems to have been around for at least a year now with this being the updated revision.
Back in Weekly Roundup #31
I found the micro Duino, which was a tiny ATmega32U4 measuring 12mm squared.
Here’s another one on Kickstarter called the Arduino PICO, which comes in at a whopping 15mm squared.
If you’re in need of a bucket load of GPIOs the EIE-IO campaign is for a board that pushes out 261 GPIOs off an ATmega32U4 and two GPIO expanders. However, it’s only in prototype stage.
This next campaign gives you 16 relayed controlled, 12v outputs all controlled from your Pi. Has a standard ATX style connector providing the 12v input and also providing 5v power to the Pi.
Sometimes ideas are so obvious that people ignore them. The Amazing Shortcut Keypad is one of those ideas. It’s a small keypad with each key being programmatically controlled to perform a certain function. For example open your favourite application, move the mouse to a certain position and click. It comes in kit form, but the creator has gone to great lengths to make it pretty easy to get started and looks to be one of the better thought out campaigns. There’s a great video from David Watts
Here’s another breadboard add-on but this one contains a P8X32A chip
and a 3.3 or 5v mini power supply. This chip comes from Parallax Inc
and is a 32bit MCU with some fancy stuff on it like video interfaces, sensor integration, signal processing and funky thinks like Enhanced Assembly Language that give you conditional execution for individual instructions allowing jitter-free signal generation.
The BuzzBox is a behive sensor that contains what looks like an ESP and a bunch of sensors. It claims to be able to detect and track bee states such as; empty/collapsed, active/normal, pre-swarm, swarm and missing Queen. Hats off to any subs who know what I just said then. If you do, you’re a keeper.
LoRaCatKitty is another ESP8266 board that also contains a LoRa module and three Grove ports. Of course comes with OTA programming and they have made an Android app that you can use to create mobile apps. Compatible with a bunch of LoRa networks.
And we have another SBC on Kickstarter! Most of the SBC manufacturers have now admitted defeat and are using the Raspberry Pi as a standard. So here we have the Libre Computer Board in a very familiar format, but running the Amlogic S905X SoC. Everything is identical to the Pi, except for 2G of RAM, and an optional 64G eMMC and active cooling. It claims to be twice as fast as the Pi3, but once I get my hands on it, I’ll see how it actually performs.
In the late 80s I made a talking alarm clock that I’ve wanted to bring into this millenia. My Patrons
voted this as being this months project which is nice, but good timing as this next campaign is exactly what I had in mind. It’s an Alexa enabled alarm clock that you can tell it to wake you up at a specific time in the morning, play music, inadvertently order something expensive on Amazon
and a whole lot of other cool things.
Over at IndieGoGo there’s a few fidget spinners.tinyLiDAR
but more interestingly there’s the tinyLiDAR is a small board based off the VL53LOX
ranging sensor and an ATmega CPU providing all the grunt work, so all you have to do is speak a couple of I2C commands and you’re up and running. Has on-board logic level converters and can drop down to a 10uA quiescent current when idle. Can sample at 60Hz at up to 2m using a low end MCU like the Arduino Uno.
CrowdSupply has a few interesting things in pre-launch.
The HeartyPatch is a health monitor aimed at the sports industry. Contains an ESP32, MAX30003 ECG
chip, temperature sensor, 3DOF IMU and LiPo charging. You can also check the project page out on HackADay
This next one is a vision processing board based on an FPGA allowing you to process a 1080p, 60Hz video stream. They have released it all as open source hardware so will be interesting to see how this one goes.
Back in Weekly Roundup #31
we saw the Crazy Circuits Kickstarter
. Well, now it’s on CrowdSupply in pre-launch status.
Back in Weekly Roundup #33
the Husarion Core2 was in pre-launch. Well now it’s launched. Designed specifically for DIY robots and has on-board ESP32, STM32, 4 DC motor Hbridges with quad encoding, 7 servo drivers and a bunch of GPIOs.
HackADay has …
You guessed it! A few fidget spinners. What is it with fidget spinners?
The ConnectCore Pro from Digi is a fairly pricey SBC at almost $200 US, but runs the MX6 UltraLite
SoC with 256M DDR3 RAM, 256M NAND flash, optional 4G eMMC, SD slot and 100MbE, dual band WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth, a PCIe key for other wireless devices and bucket loads of GPIO options. Runs off a 5v, 300mA DC supply.
The Orange Pi guys are back with another board. This time it’s a fully compliant 96board
style SBC. It’s very similar to the Orange Pi IoT, but minus the 2G module. Contains the RDA Micro 8810
Cortex A5, 256MB RAM, 512MB NAND flash, SD slot, WiFi, Bluetooth, USB and USB OTG. Interestingly, the Orange Pi store on AliExpress
has this board marked as “no longer available”, so that must be the shortest production ever, besides this
, or this
FriendlyElec have updated their NanoPi Neo Plus. Not only does the name have a 2 in it, but it has 1G RAM, 8G eMMC, WiFi, Bluetooth and an additional USB port. The wireless module used is the very common AP6212, so there won’t be any issues with drivers.
Another SBC based on the MX6 UltraLite
SoC. This one comes as a SoM with 512MB RAM and 2G eMMC and can be plugged into this board that provides 100MbE, SD slot, USB2.0 and 3x 40 pin headers for GPIOs.
Microsoft seems to be cool again and have released an internet based Pi 3 simulator that connects to the Azure IoT Hub. Nice. It’s only in preview status, but they’ve gone against their old mantra and actually released all the source code on GitHub
. Even better.
The BSD guys have been beavering away porting NetBSD do the Allwinner H3
SoC. This a really good move as we might see projects like FreeNAS
working on ARM based SoCs in future.
SapphireTech have an AMD based SBC selling for around $89 US. This is one beefy board as it contains the desktop LX210KL desktop CPU with two DDR3 SODIMM RAM slots, dual HDMI, mSATA, USB3.0 and USB2.0 ports, RTC and GbE. Runs off a 19v, 3.4A DC supply is a bit of a power hog.
There’s a bunch of boards available running the cheap Allwinner H3
SoC, but none of the manufacturers could get Android to really work on this SoC properly. A few developers got together and decided to change this. Their hard work is now called H3Droid
and it seems to run a whole lot better. I’ll be trying out H3Droid in future Review videos so stay tuned.
Unusually over at Tindie, there seems to be …
… even more spinners, but more interestingly, there’s …
a really tiny and cheap FPGA board. Nice if you want to get into FPGAs. There’s this one running the Lattice MachXO2-256
FPGA with 256 4-input lookups and pushes out 18 GPIOs with hardware based I2C and SPI. There’s also this one
, which has 1200 lookups and other features like PLL.
We saw the Hornbill back in Weekly Roundup #21
and has now left crowd funding sites and is on Tindie. It’s based on the ESP32 and has on-board temperature sensor and LiPo charger.
The Bluey is another nRF52832
based board that also provides an SD slot, temperature, light, and accelerometer sensors and a CP2104
USB chip. Runs off either USB or 6V battery. The good thing about this is that it’s released as fully open hardware.
And if you need to do some GDB based debugging on the nRF52, then you can use this cheap SWD board.
And if you’re in to 3D scanning, then this cheap board will use a Pi and a Pololu stepper driver to achieve that. No indication on scanning resolution, but a quick check on the website
shows that it supports up to almost 18 samples per degree.
The snapVCC was also in a previous Kickstarter, but is now on Tindie. It’s a very simple board that provides you with a regulated 3.3 or 5 volt output from a 9V battery.
And here’s a couple of boards from the one store owner. This one allowing you to power your Pi from a 2 to 16V supply, or this one giving you a battery pack add-on for an Arduino, which you can query the battery state from the ATmega.
This is a pretty decent LoRa hat for the Pi Zero running the Microchip RN2903
LoRa module, with a mini prototyping area and access to 8 GPIOs from the module.
series of MCUs is a step up from the current run of MCUs. They support features such as Xmega custom logic, which works in a similar way to an FPGA, hardware CRC, analog comparators, and power management. This board is a breakout for the ATXMega32E5
There’s also this salinity sensor, which is a custom job made out of a small MCU, temperature probe and electrodes calculating soil salinity for you.
Here’s another moisture sensor working off I2C. Runs off 3 or 5volts using 4.5mA while active. Now I just noticed this guy has been on Tindie since 2012 and fulfilled almost 2000 orders. Nice.
AdaFruit, Seeed, SparkFun, DFRobot, DigiKey
This is pretty cool. AdaFruit have a breakout for the AMG8833
IR thermal camera which gives you an 8 by 8 pixel resolution, 10Hz frame rate video. Runs off a 3 or 5 volt supply.
Over at SparkFun they have a blast from the past. This is really cool. It’s an electronics project kit that you can create 130 different projects with. Man I loved this when I got one of these for Christmas. Except this one has a quad NAND gate and dual op-amp ICs.
DFrobot have a cheap 315MHz RF receiver module. These are used in short range remote controls like garage door openers and RC toys. Runs off 3.3 or 5v.
They also have this Realtek RTL8195
module which contains a Cortex-M3, WiFi and integrated Ethernet and NFC. A nice module if you want to make a door lock.
Pololu have a stepper motor controller running the DRV8825
driver IC which can control one stepper motor from 8 to 45 v and sinking up to 2.5A. It’s accessible over I2C, UART and USB.
A few bits and pieces that I didn’t include in my video.