Weekly Roundup #43 - New Maker Products // News

YouTube video: Weekly Roundup #43 - New Maker Products // News

This week’s Weekly Roundup we’re seeing gesture sensors, ESP32, SBCs, Vehicle OBD boards and buck converters.

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Crowd Funding


First up on Kickstarter there’s …

PLD/HL2 Panorama

a multi-protocol wireless box that can talk Sigfox, LoRaWAN and SCAP/LTP. It contains an ATmega328P, which is the ultra low power variant allowing it to drop down to 0.6uA in sleep or 5mA in idle. They have written an Arduino library called PLDuino, (Edit: yet to be released), that allows you to interface to I2C sensors and their SaaS platform.

Raspberry Pi Mega-IO Expansion Card

If you’re running out of GPIOs on your Pi, then this mega expansion hat has 8 10A, 240v relays, 8 channel, 12bit ADC as well as a 12bit DAC, 8 opto-isolated inputs, 4 open collector outputs rated to 16v and an additional 6 GPIOs. Even better, you can stack four of them onto a single Pi.

The Buildbotics Open-Source CNC Controller

If you’re in to CNC machines, then here’s another controller called the Buildbotics. It can control up to 4 steppers at up to 6A at 36v with 128 microsteps and has limit switches, PWM spindle control and z-axis probing. There’s all sorts of protection like over-voltage, over-current, short-circuit and reverse-voltage. It even has Ethernet and 4 USB ports which allow you to connect up game controllers and webcams.

Boxmaster - the manager for (mobile) musicboxes

Boxmaster is a fairly simple board that is designed to be used in a DIY audio amplifier. Contains a 2.4" LCD, stereo in & out and graphic equalizer running off a Rohm sound processor, (BD37543FS). All powered from a 9 to 60v DC input.


AutoPi is yet another OBD vehicle thingy, but this is one of the more mature ones. It’s a board that contains CAN bus transceivers, 3G/4G modem, GPS, accelerometer, and speaker. It can attach to any Pi, but they have an all-in-one case supporting the Pi Zero. It runs Raspbian with their AutoPi Core software installed on top, which will talk to their cloud platform allowing you to do some cool stuff.

The Stronghold

The Stronghold is a board giving you remote control of up to 5 47A DC outputs. It has an on-board ATmega2560, SIM5320 giving you 3G and GPS, temperature sensor and surge protected RS485. A nice little unit if you want 3G based remote control.


Cubroid is another STEM coding product. This one is Lego compatible and has the usual compliment of blocks such as DC motor driver, LEDs, sound and touch, light and proximity sensors. It can be programmed over Bluetooth using an iOS or Android app using Scratch.


Nothing on IndieGoGo again, …

Crowd Supply

… but on CrowdSupply, there’s …


… the Retro-uC, which is an Arduino compatible board that’s attempting to re-incarnate some old CPUs in an FPGA. They’re looking at providing CPUs such as the 6502, Z80 and 68K. They already have the FPGA source for the Z80 created for another board …


… that was on Kickstarter a couple of years ago, called the XLR8. This is an Arduino format board containing an Altera FPGA and the full compliment of Arduino GPIOs that are 5v tolerant.

Honorable mentions

Assistive Tech HackADay competition

The HackADay Assistive Technologies competition has finished and there were twenty winners announced, like hand tremor suppression, open source wheelchair and a device to avoid dehydration in the elderly. Great to see some really cool stuff being made.


Arrow currently have on back-order a SensiBLE module, which is a Bluetooth module and Cortex-M4 MCU, (STM32L476), combo with the usual sensors on-board such as 6DOF IMU, light and pressure sensors. The good thing about this one is that it’s the smallest I’ve seen so far, just barely bigger than a coin cell battery.

Inforce 6420

Inforce have a small SBC called the Inforce 6420. Based on the quad-core Snapdragon 600E it also has 2G DDR3 RAM, 4G eMMC, WiFi, Bluetooth, GbE, USB, 2 HDMI out and HDMI in running off a 5v, 4A DC power supply. Pretty decent board for the price.

Intrinsyc Open-Q 626 SoM

Intrinsyc have also released their Open-Q 626 System On Module. Measuring only 50 by 25mm it contains an octo-core Snapdragon 626, 2G DDR3 RAM, 16G eMMC, WiFi and GPS. It currently runs Android Lollipop and Linux is being worked on. It’ll set you back around US$140 for the module and US$600 for the development breakout board.


There’s a lot of ESP32 based boards hitting the market. Here’s another from a company called ThaiEasyElec. It’s in a very similar format to DFRobot’s FireBeetle or AdaFruit’s Feather.


The LoRaduino is a small board with an ATmega328P, SX1278 LoRa module, 16Mbit flash, MCP73831 battery management and AP2112 regulator and you get all that for only US$6! Nice.

ARM support in Linux kernel 4.13

Linux kernel 4.13 is out and there are a number of significant changes for Makers. It includes support for a lot of ARM SoCs, like the Allwinners, Rockchips and Mediateks. This means that we’ll be seeing more stable O/S images on a lot of those cheap SBCs.


Way back in Weekly Roundup #15 I mentioned the HiFive. Well now Michael Welling has created the LoFive, which contains the SiFive FE310 which is a 32bit RISC MCU clocked at 320MHz, 128Mbit flash and 3.3 and 1.8v regulators powered from 5v DC. All schematics and source are up there for everyone to see.

Maker Shops


There’s a bunch of good stuff up on Tindie at the moment.

Remotsy PCB Infrared Blaster

The Remotsy is a small PCB with an ESP8266 and IR transmitter and receiver. This is pretty useful if you want to automate all your old IR remotes. The default firmware connects to the Remotsy cloud servers where you can create controls, and connect it to Alexa. Nice.

ESP-WROOM32 FrogoPins DevBoard

In Weekly Roundup #41 I mentioned the ESP8266 FrogoPin board. Well the same Tindie store now has a version for the ESP32.

PewPew Lite FeatherWing

The PewPew Lite is a simple board with 6 buttons and a 4 colour, 8x8 LED matrix display that fits on to an AdaFruit Feather and allowing you to create your own handheld console.

Coin cell battery emulator

This store always has some good ideas. It simulates a coin cell battery from 5v in via micro USB. A great idea if you want to do development on a board powered by coin cell and you don’t want to have to buy a bucket load of coin cell batteries.

GSM Multi Switch

Here’s another GSM based relay board running an ATmega328P and SIM900 module allowing you control over two 10A relays. You can use the default firmware, or use the ICSP to load up your own.

Single Board Relay Computer

Not many people would want to buy this next one, but it’s pretty interesting. This guy has created a small MCU using only relays. Of course he has cut down the size considerably by using RAM chips, but the 83 relays form the core of the CPU. There’s 1024 bytes of memory, executing at a clock rate of 12Hz. Just fast enough to see things move. Nice.


Yet another CAN bus board. This one uses the ESP32 and a TI CAN-BUS transceiver. It also has a regulator that can accept up to 15v input, CP2102 USB to UART and SD slot. It has all the basics for doing vehicle telemetry.

CAN Ethernet gateway/logger

And yet another, but this one is based off an Orange Pi Zero and supports CAN-BUS v2. So it can act as a CAN gateway over WiFi or Ethernet, or log data to a USB flash drive.

Inline Nexus Micro Linear Actuator

These look like some pretty decent actuators. They’re made from aluminium and ABS plastic and are IPX6 rated and waterproof. They run off a 12v DC supply with a 4.4 pound push/pull force at 13mm/sec and 150mm stroke.

BLE to WiFi Bridge

This is a pretty simple board that provides a gateway between Bluetooth and WiFi. It’ll receive BLE advertised data and send it to an MQTT server. Based on the TI CC2640 and ESP8266 you can also OTA program it.

Cactus WHID

Another HID injector slash hacking tool. This one has an ATmega32u4 and ESP-12s on-board, allowing you to send key strokes over WiFi. Use it as a keyboard shortcut tool or just to annoy someone.

AdaFruit, Seeed, SparkFun, DFRobot, DigiKey

Widora AIR Based ESP32

And over at Seeed they have even more ESP32 boards. The Widora has all the usual stuff on-board, like CP2102 USB to UART bridge and voltage regulators.

GeeekNET ESP32

And then there’s this GeeekNET ESP32 board. This one with additional LiPo battery management, similar to AdaFruit’s Feather.

Flow Breakout Board

This flow breakout board is useful for drones. Contains the VL53LOx Time Of Flight and PMW3901 optical flow sensors allowing you to measure X, Y and Z movement. Powered from either 3.3 or 5v.


We’re starting to see a lot of 3G and 4G boards hitting the market, but they’re still quite expensive at the moment. This one is a US only board running the Quectel 4G LTE modem with onboard GPS. It also contains an STM32F405, 6 Grove connectors and audio jack.

Flick - 3D Tracking and Gesture Breakout

This is really cool and has changed my ideas on my video editing console that I’m making. It’s a gesture control board using the MGC3130 chip that allows fairly accurate 3D tracking of objects. Resolution is up to 150dpi at up to 150mm away and talks I2C to your Pi. They have several different variants; the standalone case, Pi Hat, and Pi Zero hat.

Adafruit APDS9960 Proximity, Light, RGB, and Gesture Sensor

And another gesture sensor, this one from AdaFruit using the APDS9960 gesture sensor accessible via I2C using 3.3 or 5v logic.

RedBearLab BLE Nano v2

SparkFun have the RedBearLab Nano v2, which is an update on their nRF52832 based board. It’s pretty tiny too.

Silicone Case for LattePanda

Haven’t seen too many silicon cases for SBCs, but DFRobot have one for a LattePanda. You can still get to all the connectors and even allows a fan to be installed.

Bionic Robot Hand

They also have a robotic hand built from 5 SG90 servos. Every digit can be controlled independently. This one is for righties and this one is for lefties.

Dragonfly Cellular System-on-Module

DigiKey have a DragonFly Cellular SoM. A bit expensive, but these are fairly rugged modules with an ARM Cortex-M4 allowing connectivity to 4G LTE, 3G HSPA and 2G RTT.

The Cheap Side

Over in China, there’s …

433Mhz Universal Copier

a module that allows you to copy 433MHz RF remote controls and replay them using an IoS and Android app. Supports a bucket load of different devices.

5V 3A buck converter

Amazing how these things are becoming really cheap. You can pick up 5 of these buck converters for around a dollar each. You’d never be able to make your own for cheaper. This one converts a 24v DC input down to 5v at 3A load.

TP4056 charge protection module

Or you can pick up 10 of these TP4056 LiPo battery management breakouts for less than a dollar each.

WeMos TTgo ESP32 Arduino board

And this WeMos TTgo, which is an Arduino compatible board based on the ESP32. Can be powered from up to 12v using the typical buck converter arrangement and also has on-board USB to UART bridge.

Arduino Automatic Smart Plant Watering Kit

If you want to hack around with watering your plants, then this kit from EleCrow is pretty cheap. It’s an Arduino shield with 4 relays, water pump, 4 valves and 4 soil moisture sensors.


ICstation have a pretty cheap GPS module based on the ATGM336H. Has a 2.5m accuracy so would be good for use-cases where you want a positioning. Seems to contain a super-cap which I gather keeps satellite info stored for a period of time. Access via plain old UART.

Honorable mentions

A few bits and pieces that I didn’t include in my video.

Hubert the Humanoid

Master cutting-edge robotics with a research-grade humanoid robot kit at 1/10 of the price. Learn ROS, machine-learning, and much more.

The Vorpal Combat Hexapod

A low cost, open source, wireless, 3D printed, Scratch programmable Hexapod Robot designed for games, education, and FUN!


The Critter is for beginner robot builders to learn coding and 3D Printing on a robot that is different from anything they’ve seen.


A multipurpose easy to assemble robot for all ages. Learn robotics, develop code and use Augmented Reality.


Get everything you need to build up your own huge 3D printer, including construction plans, manuals and BOM. It’s quite simple!


The World’s First Straight Line Mechanism 3D Printer.


Sculpto+ is a compact desktop 3D printer and app-based software that makes 3D printing more accessible than ever before.

The Nixie Clock VII

The Nixie Clock VII, GPS module driven with new firmware and several improvements to pc board design. Time base of 1PPS or hertz.

Arduino SingleWireSerial

This expansion module can turn one digital output pin on an Arduino into up to 63 more. Quick, effective, and easy to use.

ESP8266 Internet Radio

ESP8266 internet Radio board with on-board stereo amplifier. It’s the same one as found on Tindie.

Blind Engine

Blind Engine is a device that transforms your existing blind & shade into smart electric blinds connected to your smartphone.

STEAM Stories

SanStar WS-3A Medical Board

SanStar™ WS-3A Medical Motherboard with Android 5.1. Running an RK3288 Quad-core Cortex-A17 @ 1.8GHz.


Six Synchronized Full HD Cameras for NVIDIA® Jetson TX1/TX2.

PiPo X12


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