Weekly Roundup #44 - New Maker Products // News

YouTube video: Weekly Roundup #44 - New Maker Products // News

This week’s Weekly Roundup is pretty quiet and a good thing too, since I’m up in the country for a bit of a break. I’m in the dog house at the moment, because I theoretically shouldn’t be working this week.

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Crowd Funding


Just a couple of things on Kickstarter this week …


The Fennec is a small LoRa dev board powered from a single CR2032 coin cell battery. It runs an SAML MCU which is the ultra low power series managing to get down to 1.3uA. It also has a 3DOF IMU, grove port, and a handful of GPIOs.

Air-Energy Sensor for Earthquake Forecasting

Necessity is the mother of all invention and no surprise that there have been dozens of projects like this one appearing, with all the earthquakes, fires, cyclones and flooding in recent years. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of these as Makers start to come up with some good ideas.


Surprisingly something on IndieGoGo …


Back in Weekly Roundup #40 we saw the Algobrix which raised over a million US. Well now they are on IndieGoGo with roughly the same funding behind them. With almost 3 million US in funding there shouldn’t be any problem in delivering. Let’s hope they deliver.

Crowd Supply


Back in Weekly Roundup #37 there was the Quasar, but now they are looking at launching on CrowdSupply. This is a 4G mobile module that works with Raspberry Pi or BeagleBones. This module also has on-board Bluetooth, NFC, solar LiPo charging and GPS. A nice module.


Rubicon is an IP67 rated expandable case that can fit Raspberry Pis to Arduinos. The IP67 rating is a pretty decent water and dust proof standard. Enough to keep most electronics comfortably dry. Looks big enough to support a solar cell.

NanoEVB & PicoEVB

Here’s another FPGA board. This one not only contains a Xilinx Artix 7 FPGA, but comes in mini-PCIe M.2 key format. It comes as two variants; the NanoEVB and the PicoEVB, with the only difference being the NanoEVB has GPIOs. Comes as open source and open hardware - so you can really do some interesting hacking.


USB-C is starting to gain traction, which is a good thing. The Tiny-PAT is a USB-C power adapter tester. It’ll run through all the power profiles from 5v/3A to 20v/4A testing each one and indicating a pass or fail with LEDs. This is a good thing to find out if your USB-C power adapter is working properly.

LimeSDR Mini

Way back in Weekly Roundup #24 we saw the LimeSDR, now Lime Microsystems is back with the LimeSDR mini. For more than half the price of the original, you get an Altera MAX10 FPGA and LMS7002M RF transceiver. Not only that, but the partnership that Lime has with Ubuntu means that developers can push IoT apps quickly and easily. Nice.

Honorable mentions

VoltaStream AMP1

Back in Weekly Roundup #40 there was the VoltaStream Zero. Well now there is the VoltaStream AMP1, which is similar to the Zero, but this one has a DSP engine on-board and is designed for the full form factor Pis.

MKR WAN 1300 & MKR GSM 1400

Seems that the Arduino guys have been watching the market and have now come out with two new boards; the MKR WAN 1300 with on-board LoRa module running off two AA batteries, USB or 5v DC supply, and the MKR GSM 1400 with GSM module and running off LiPo, USB or 5 to 12v DC supply. Both boards run the SAMD21 MCU and have an on-board RTC.

Ultrathin Rechargeable LiPos

Looking for some thin batteries? PowerStream now have some ultra thin LiPos from 2mm down to 0.5mm with the 0.5mm versions flexible. They have several different models from 10mAh to 2.8Ah.

RK3399 Coreboard

Firefly have now released the RK3399 Coreboard. This module has similar specs to the one mentioned way back in Weekly Roundup #15, with the hexa-core RK3399, 2 or 4GB RAM, 8 to 128GB eMMC running off a 5v/3A DC supply.


The IkaScope looks pretty cool. It’s a handheld wireless scope with 200Ms/s at 30MHz bandwidth, +/- 40v input range and a 4000 sample point buffer. Pretty decent specs, but sadly only has 8bit sample resolution. So will cause a bit of division with Makers. They also have software support for all the O/S flavours.


Back in Weekly Roundup #24 we saw the PocketBone PCB gerbers and schematics being released. Well now The BeagleBoard guys have released a smaller version of this coming in at 56mm by 35mm. Contains all the usual goodies, like LiPo battery management, PMIC, SD slot, but manages to break out 72 GPIO header pins.

Maker Shops


Meanwhile over at the Tindie ranch …

LittleArm Big

The LittleArm Big from Weekly Roundup #26 is now up on Tindie. This is a 6 axis 3D printed robotic arm with metal geared servos and driven from an Arduino. Nice little unit.

RAK831 Raspberry Pi Zero Breakout

If you own a Pi Zero and a RAK831 LoRa board, then this might be handy. It’s a simple board allowing you to house both side-by-side.

USB Data/power Merger

Another simple board, but something for your toolbox. It allows you to connect separate USB data and power lines into one USB header. Useful for powering devices requiring a bit more oomph.

LG01 LoRa OpenWrt IoT Gateway

If you want a box that allows you to easily setup a multi-protocol wireless gateway, then this will do it for you. Capable of bridging LoRa, WiFi, Ethernet, 3G or 4G running OpenWRT.

Omega2 expansion board

This is one of the few Omega2 breakouts that I’ve seen. This one will breakout the 2mm spacing headers to a breadboard friendly 2.54mm spacing and also has a 3.3v LDO on-board removing all those pesky power issues.

Pen/Laser Bot Controller

If you want to make a simple laser engraver, then this board has everything you need. With headers for two Pololu stepper driver boards, an Arduino Nano header, laser, limit switch and DC power connectors. There’s also a handy Pi header.

TvB LoRaWAN Node

Yet another LoRaWAN board, this one has an on-board ATmega1284P MCU and LDO for LiPo battery but allows either an RFM95W or RN2483A module to be soldered on.

LoRa Cat Shield

We saw this one as a Kickstarter back in Weekly Roundup #39, which is an ESP8266 board that also contains a LoRa module and three Grove ports.

ESP32-PICO Motherboard

And one of the few boards to be running the ESP32-PICO-D4 MCUs. This one has LiPo battery management, CP2102 USB bridge and all GPIOs broken out. Nice.

Solar Powered LiPo Charger

If you have a project needing solar power, then this board can supply a 5v/400mA and 3.3/250mA DC supply. The state of the battery can be monitored from I2C and there is an Arduino library being created. Note that this charger only works with solar cells pushing out 5v or less.

AdaFruit, Seeed, SparkFun, DFRobot, DigiKey

And the major shop fronts have been working like dogs …

Adafruit DotStar

AdaFruit have their take on the FireBeetle LED display with this 6x12 RGB LED board for their FeatherWings.

Pimoroni Unicorn HAT HD

And they also have the Pimoroni Pi hat which has 256 RGB LEDs crammed into that small space and driven by an on-board STM32.

Pimoroni OnOff SHIM for Pi

Not having an on/off switch on the Pi is a bit of a pain sometimes. This PCB shim solves that by providing a micro USB port and LDOs powering the Pi directly from the GPIO header.

Pimoroni Button SHIM for Pi

They also have this handy button shim giving you 5 buttons running from an I2C based GPIO expander. Just plug it in and go.

Onion Omega2 plus add-ons

SparkFun have all the Omega2 boards in on their store now, from the Omega2 and Omega2+ to all the add-on and expansion boards with a couple of new ones that weren’t seen on the original Kickstarter.

Mixtile GENA

DFRobot have the Mixtile GENA in, which is a wearable development platform running the nRF51822 and MT6260 MCUs, LCD and G sensor. They claim it’ll run on a single battery charge for up to 5 days.

Cyclone 10 FPGA dev board

Digi-Key have the Altera FPGA evaluation kit in, which runs the Cyclone 10 low power FPGAs. This operates at 1 and 1.2v logic levels and breaks out all the GPIOs from the IC.

The Cheap Side

and on the cheap side of town, there’s …


AliExpress have a WeMOS LoLin32 Lite for around US$5. The shipping alone to down-under costs about that. These boards have LiPo battery management, SPI flash and come pre-loaded with micropython.

1.8V-5V to 3.3V DC Step Down Step Up Converter

Over at BangGood, for US$10 you can pick up 10 of these charge pump regulators converting a 1.8 to 5v input to a 3.3v output. You only get 150mA peak on these puppies, but they’re handy to have around.

Hantek PSO2020 portable scope

And they also have this Hantek PSO2020 USB scope. It can handle 96Ms/s at 20MHz. Like the Ikascope, has only 8bit resolution, but has a little more storage at 1M samples. Looks interesting and cheap enough for me to get one of these to check out.

TTP223 Capacitive Touch Switch

And ICstation have these cheap capacitive touch switches. Pretty sure these were the ones that Peter Scargill found a while back. Pretty cheap at 22c each.

TEC4056 18650 Charger Module

I’m starting to collect a lot of 18650 batteries now. This charger is pretty cheap and uses the TP4056 charging IC.

TEC-06 Battery Capacity Tester

And I wouldn’t mind picking up one of these LiPo battery testers which can simulate a linear load of up to 500Ah. It’ll calculate the charge and discharge rates and give you an estimated capacity.

Honorable mentions

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

475 Kits

We create kits that inspire a new generation of makers, offering learners of all ages an open invite to engineering.

Davidson RobotEx 2017

With your help, we will be designing a robot to compete in Crossfire, the B.E.S.T competition for 2017.


Create humanoid, tank, gorilla, vehicle or any other robot with Mabot, and program it with Mabot Apps on your SmartPhone or iPad.

Dynamics 3D printer

New Era of 3D printer & Laser Engraving machine, Affordable, Compact, Large print volume, Superior print accuracy. Unique design.


Print directly from your smartphone or tablet. A mobile 3D printer that has it all. Multi-Color. 360 Degree Scan. Open Source.


User-friendly for beginners; Quality printing expected by pros; A petri dish for creative children; Attractive & Affordable for YOU.

The Maker’s Vise

Calling all Makers, Fixers, Designers, Artists! If you’re out there expressing yourself, The Maker’s Vise can improve your workflow!!


BeePi is an electronic beehive monitoring system that uses video, audio, and temperature data to estimate the state of a bee colony.


An open source parallel printing accessory that doubles the output of TAZ 3D printers

Adafruit STEMMA - TSL2561 sensor



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