Despite desperately needing a haircut and a shave, the Weekly Roundup is here. This time we have lots of SBCs. Really a whole bucket load and a couple of other interesting things.
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A few interesting things on Kickstarter this week.
Similar to the Tindie EMP sensor from Weekly Roundup #46
. This one is based on the AS3935
lightning detector and an Arduino Mini Pro Low Power
Looking for a high resolution portable DAC? This one has a 1.5Ah LiPo claiming 7 hours of acquisition using an AK4490
DAC, which is capable of pushing out 768kHz, 32bit, 2 channel audio from an Atmel SAM3U1C
and what looks like a Xilinx XC2 FPGA
This one is interesting. It’s a modular biological nervous system simulator based on Open Source Hardware
. Comes in kit form and teaches the concepts of neural networks without any coding. Comes with a swag of sensors, motors and brains to simulate your next robotic overlords.
Plusboard looks interesting. It’s a prototyping system based on a breadboard that allows you to transfer the components easily over to strip-board. It’s not quite clear how they do that, but looks promising. It has a built in power supply, adjustable from 3.3 to 30v, so can accommodate almost every small circuit.
The SBC Wars are still going strong. This time a volley has come from the Libre Computer
guys. This board comes in the now standardized Pi form factor and they have three variants.
- For US$9 you get an Allwinner H2+ SoC, 512MB RAM
- For US$19 you get an Allwinner H3 SoC, 1GB RAM
- For US$29 you get an Allwinner H5 SoC, 2GB RAM
All boards mirror everything that you have on the Pi2. No WiFi or Bluetooth, but they have an additional eMMC connector.
If you’re in to retro gaming, then GameShell looks good. It’s a portable, modular gaming thingy. The main board is based on a quad-core Allwinner R16
with 512MB RAM and SD slot and access to a bunch of GPIOs. There’s also modular components such as a 2.7" TFT display, keypad, battery and speakers. Not only can you play a lot of the old retro games, but you can create your own games using a variety of languages and IDEs.
This one is interesting. It’s an initiative to create a flexible licensing system for developers based on the MIT license
. It essentially allows you to open source your software with a restriction placed on commercial entities having to pay royalties for use. The campaign was created to cover the cost of legal fees. Let’s see how this one goes.
If you’ve ever designed production test board, then you’ll be familiar with pogo pins
. This Kickstarter is a simple one allowing you to connect to a Pi GPIO header using a pogo pin
Another IoT platform, this one based on what looks like the ESP32
, but this one looks to be fairly complete. They’re not only offering all the hardware, like sensors and drivers, but a cloud based API that you can use to connect to other services like IFTTT
Another LED flashlight kit. Not only does it have all the usual high brightness LEDs and USB chargeable LiPo, but this one has an on-board ATtiny85
, so you can control the 32 RGB LEDs any way you want.
DevDuino isn’t the sensor board that has been selling on Seeed Studio for some time, but another breadboard solution. Based on the ATmega32U4
it also contains an SSD1306
based OLED, header for WiFi or Bluetooth module, SD slot, RTC and 17 GPIOs with LED logic level display.
Now this is a cool idea. If you’ve ever done any hand soldering of SMT, then you’ll probably back this one straight away. SMD LEDs are a bugger to solder and getting the right orientation can be a pain.
KickStarters not in the video
A python-programmable modular tool to develop Industrial IoT solutions that solves interfacing issues with PLCs and IoT cloud services
This Kit includes Hardware,IoT Platform & User App/Dashboard needed to quickly build any IoT solution right from Scratch to Production
Unleash your creativity! Invent, tinker and make with real code and hardware. Powered by Raspberry Pi. For ages 8 to gamer
Double the power… Double the capacity… Use two 18650 Li-Ion batteries to power you Raspberry Pi
The Quadrantid Swarm encourages you to explore sound design and music with a direct and inspiring set of synthesis and sequencing tools
Diableco have a campaign up for some Pi goodies. The main Pi hat has power control, expanded GPIO with PWM control and there’s also some I2C breakouts with buttons, LCD and sensors.
Agile is an IoT gateway designed around the Pi and contains a hat allowing you to bolt on Xbee or LoRaWAN modules.
A small board based on the PCM2706, so can drive a set of headphones easily.
A clock radio based on the Omega2! Nice. Has gesture input and integrates with Google Home, Alexa and IFTTT.
Over at IndieGoGo, there’s nothing of interest… Unusual? :-D
But CrowdSupply is cooking with gas.
Not sure where they came up with the name PulseRain M10, but I’m sure it’s a long story. This is another FPGA dev board based on one of the Altera MAX10
FPGAs that have a ridiculously long name. The exciting thing about this board is that it has a Soft-Core, 8051
based MCU clocked at 96MHz with support for the Arduino IDE
. There’s also a Silicon Lab Si3000
Voice CODEC, SD slot and JTAG. It all fits into the standard Arduino form factor, so you of course don’t have access to the hundreds of GPIOs that this FPGA offers. It would be nice to include a header pushing out a lot more of these GPIOs.
The SYZYGY Brain-1. How do you say it “scissor G”?
Anyway, it’s yet another FPGA board based on the Xilinx Zynq SoC. So that means you get all the ARM Cortex-A9 goodness bundled up with an FPGA.
Has 1G RAM, GbE and 4 headers pushing out 112 GPIOs. Nice!
This is a fairly simple board that contains a Pi CM3
DIMM socket in a PC104
form factor. Pushes out everything that the CM3 module
has to offer, along with 59 GPIOs, but has an additional USB bridge and can run off a wide 8 to 36V DC supply.
The REFLO is a reflow oven
for your PCBs. Complete with iOS app. I guess, if you back it and it doesn’t work you could always use it as a Pizza oven
Ooh! Another SDR transceiver, but this one is in a mini PCIe form factor. It runs the Lime Microsystems LMS7002M
and Xilinx Artix 7 FPGA
giving you a tuning range of 30MHz to 3.8GHz and a sampling rate of 200Ksps to 120Msps.
Back in Weekly Roundup #36
we saw the Haasoscope. This is an open source, open hardware DSO for around US$99 based on the Altera MAX10 FPGA
giving you four 125Msps, 8bit, 60MHz bandwidth channels with the option to move to two channels at up to 250Msps. There’s also an additional 9 high res / low bandwidth channels at 12bits and 1Msps as well as 22 high speed GPIOs, 16 I2C, JTAG and an SPI interface connecting to an OLED. There’s been a fair amount of talk
about this over at the EEVBlog forums
, essentially comparing the bandwidth to dollar ratio. I reckon it’s a pretty decent DSO for the price.
Crowd Supply not in the video
Nothing new on GroupGets this week, sadly.
Over at 4D systems they have released a new 0.9" TFT HMI called the IoD-09 that has an on-board ESP8266
. Has on-board SD slot and all the GPIOs are broken out. Only US$20 too! Might pick one up.
Over at HackADay there’s a project up for a USB to UART bridge, but this one is based on the MAX12931
which provides excellent galvanic isolation. This means it electrically isolates the USB side from the serial side, so you won’t have noise from your PC injected into your device, or the device won’t kick back any high voltages to your PC.
Of course the HackADay super conference
was on last weekend and they’ve put up a lot of the talks that happened. So go check out the HackADay YouTube channel.
The Banana Pi guys have come out with a challenger to the Pi Zero W
. Called the Banana Pi M2 Zero
, it has the same footprint and all the same goodies as the Pi Zero W
, but has an additional RF connector, reset and power buttons, and runs the Allwinner H2+.
The one good thing about this SoC is that it can push out 4K HDMI. So, it’s a pretty good competitor to the humble Pi.
Over at Digilent they are jumping on the SBC bandwagon and have released a Xilinx Zynq-7010
based board called the Zybo Z7. There’s two flavours; the Z7-10 with one SoC and the Z7-20 with two SoCs. Both boards have 1GB RAM, 16MB SPI flash, SD slot, GbE, HDMI and GPIO headers coming from the FPGA.
The Friendly guys have come out with two new boards. The first one called the Fire 2A
; which is based on the Samsung quad-core Cortex-A9 S5P4418 SoC
and 512MB RAM, …
… and the Fire 3
, which moves to the octo-core Cortex-A53 S5P6818 with 1GB RAM. Both boards have GbE, SD slot, DVP interface, USB, RTC, standard GPIO header and they have inventively replaced the AXP288
PMIC with an STM32
MCU to manage power states. So, the STM32
will be able to power up and shutdown the main SoC. Nice.
WandBoard have come to the party with three new SBCs based on the quad-core Cortex-A53 i.MX8M SoC
- The Lite has 1G DDR4 RAM and 4G eMMC,
- the Pro has 2G DDR4 RAM and 8G eMMC,
- and the Deluxe has 2G DDR4 RAM and 16G eMMC.
All three boards have GbE, USB3.0, Pi compatible 40 pin GPIO, USB-C and the Pro and Deluxe have WiFi & Bluetooth.
novtech in conjunction with Arrow Electronics
have produced an SBC called the iMX7 96. Not only is it 96boards
compliant, but it runs the NXP i.MX7 SoC
, with 512M RAM, SD slot, WiFi, Bluetooth, USB2.0 and runs off a 8 to 18V, 3A DC supply. It has some pretty decent low power modes able to get down to 250uW in standby.
Waveshare have come out with a Pi CM3
base-board that breaks out everything possible from the module. It also has a DS18B20
1-wire IC, USB to UART, 10bit 38Ksps, 11 channel ADC, 16bit 2 channel DAC, RTC and Arduino compatible headers.
Even though the website says it’s “coming soon”, you can actually fetch the latest version of RetrOrangePi. If you already have version 3.0.1, then you can upgrade by downloading
and running the “ropi4.sh” script from the RetrOrangePi website.
If you haven’t used Arduino Create
before, it’s a cloud based IDE that allows you to program your Arduino devices, without having to download and update an IDE on your PC. Support has now been added to include Linux. So you can update your Linux devices as if they were an Arduino device. Nice.
The HardKernel guys are finally selling their ODROID-MC1 cluster. This contains 4 ODROID-XU4S
boards, heatsink and fan. So, for US$220 you get a 32 core, 8G RAM cluster. The have also published several getting started guides for a Docker Swarm
and build farm
Interestingly, the Pine64
guys seem to be looking at producing yet another SBC. This time based on the Allwinner H6. It’ll contain 1, 2 or 3G RAM, GbE, SD slot, RTC, WiFi, Bluetooth and mini PCIe connector. Looks promising.
ST Micro have come out with a new ultra low power MCU series called the STM32L4+
. This new MCU can drop down to 20nA with 5 wakeup pins and no RTC or 43uA per MHz. That’s a seriously low quiescent current. There’s several different models providing TFT and MIPI-DSI
Over at Tindie, there’s a bunch of cool things.
We saw the ULTIM8x8
back in Weekly Roundup #29
on Crowd Supply. Well, this simple board allows you to connect 3 ULTIM8x8 RGB LED
boards together into one unit without soldering.
The WiFi deauthor is a small device that initiates the deauth attack
on a WiFi network. Well now it’s at version 2.0 and has better LiPo charging control, faster power on and a better 2dB antenna.
PowerBrick looks like a decent power supply. It comes in kit form and provides two regulated outputs that provide two selectable voltages either 5v or 3.3v at 5A peak or 4A continuous. It also has reverse pins so you can mount it on to a breadboard and a USB power connector to power SBCs.
Here’s a fairly cheap 2G mobile hat for a Pi based on the Neoway M590E
2G module. Access is over serial port.
This board seems to have the lot. Running the iMX233
SoC as the main CPU, it also has an ATmega328
, and SIM900
GSM module, 64M RAM, SD slot, 46 GPIOs coming from the iMX SoC
, 8 from the SIM900
and 16 from the ATmega328
. Runs off a 6 to 12v DC supply and can charge a LiPo from solar panels.
is a pretty decent I2C sensor. It contains temperature, humidity, pressure and gas sensors all in one package. This board has a small buck converter and logic level converter, so can handle 3.3 or 5v logic levels and DC supply.Pesky Products
has made a 10DOF IMU board that is the next step up from the MPU9250
. This one contains several ICs providing much lower current draw, faster measurements and lower jitter.
This micro SD breakout is similar to another on Tindie
, but has standard 0.1" spaced headers instead.
This small board has an ATmega328P
RF transceiver module powered off a coin cell battery. It also has a temperature, humidity and light sensors as well. Firmware delivered supports OTA programming and also MySensors.
Did you miss the HackADay superconference
? Missed out on one of the Superconference badges
? Well, pick one up on the Tindie HackADay store
With this board you should be able to retro fit it to any quadcopter that uses brushed DC motors. Runs an STM32L4
as the brains and has an MPU9250
9DOF IMU, MS5637
barometer and EM7180
motion co-processor providing 10DOF fusion output. This board should be pretty stable and I think I might just order one of these as I have a quadcopter that has a pretty basic RC remote.
BluChip Plus is a pretty tiny Bluetooth 5.0 breakout board. I think it’s the smallest nRF52832
based board I’ve seen so far.
This is cool. Someone has created a WAV audio player using an ATtiny85
. Can handle 16bit, stereo, 48kHz WAV files. No idea on the SD card size limit, but pretty cool anyway.
AdaFruit, Seeed, SparkFun, DFRobot, DigiKey
And from the major shop-fronts …
… there’s something for the Hammies over at ITead with their Airspy HF+, which is an SDR for the HF and VHF bands. Capable of frequencies from DC to 260MHz, it has some decent SNR specs for the price.
Seeed Studio have their cheap Mini LiDAR, which is capable of detecting objects from 300mm to 12m. Interfacing is over UART and runs off a 5v supply.
They also have an OBD CAN-BUS dev kit that can work at up to 1Mb/s. Access is over plain UART.
Over at AdaFruit they have their ATSAMD09
breakout board with seesaw firmware
and their MiniBoost charge pump giving you a 100mA, 5v DC supply from a 3v input.
and they also have their digital power meter that’s capable of handling 6.5 to 100Vdc at 20A.
Over at SparkFun they have the Arduino MKR1000
in stock, which is based on the ATSAMW25
SoC and includes LiPo battery management.
Or if you’re in to satellite comms, the RockBLOCK 9603 allows you to send short messages using the Iridium SatComm
service. It’s an expensive unit, but allows you communicate anywhere in the world. Of course you’ll also have to pay for line rental, which is around US$13/month for the basic service.
SparkFun also have their TB6612
based motor driver breakout allowing control of two motors at up to 3.2A peak. Runs off a 2.7 to 5.5v supply while the motors can be driven up to 15v.
A digital pot is a handy thing to have around. DFRobot have a breakout for a dual 100K ohm digital pot. Runs off 3.3 to 5v supply with the 8bit wipers being able to change within 1mS. Access is over SPI.
This shield is designed for DFRobot’s M0 and contains the Wolfson WM8978
audio processor as well as dual 3W amplifier, mic and SD slot. Capable of decoding 3D surround sound and also has a programmable notch filter.
DigiKey has the Thunderboard Sense 2 in, which is an IoT dev kit from Silicon Labs. Runs the Wireless Gecko
, which is a multi-protocol radio with an ARM Cortex-M4
core and also has temperature, humidity, pressure, hall effect, IMU and light sensors. Also has an integrated J-Link debugger
Yet another FPGA dev kit. This one from Lattice and is aimed at video processing. Running off a 12v DC supply it has two MIPI-CSI-2
connectors and an ECP5-85 FPGA
for image signal processing.
This is the Rolls Royce of stepper driver boards using . A bit expensive, but can drive 2-phase bipolar steppers with selectable current from 500mA to 2.8A off a 10 to 30v DC supply. Has some complex motor control such as S-shaped ramps, stall guard and chop syncing.
GE have some decent boost modules. These ones on DigiKey can push out 16 to 54v DC at 2A from an 8 to 16v DC input. You can pick them up from around US$20 a pop.
Over at Pololu they have a bunch of high power DC brushed motor drivers. This one designed for an Arduino has a dual H-bridge allowing a 6.5 to 30v operating range and they claim it can handle up to 22A without a heatsink.
Or this one designed for a Pi, capable of handling up to 18A without a heatsink.
A few bits and pieces that I didn’t include in my video.
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