This week's Weekly Roundup shows us lots of FPGA boards, more ESPs and the demise of a Polymath, Inventor and a random guy getting annoyed at caloric theory.
Not many things on Kickstarter this week.
If you're going to DefCon
at the end of July this year in The States, then you can pick up an unofficial DefCon 2017
badge on Kickstarter for around $US45 .
This next campaign is a small one from someone who's created 22 already on Kickstarter. It's a simple board that provides regulated 3.3 and 5 volt outputs from a mechanical crank, allowing you to power an Arduino or even a Raspberry Pi.
While we're on the topic of alternative power, here's another Kickstarter for a solar powered battery management board. This board is capable of providing a 1A charge current for LiPos, as well as a constant 1A 5v USB port.
You can query the board from a USB port so you can shutdown safely when battery is low.
The Decaf is a smart LCD screen that's based on the PiXCL, which is an interpreted language that allows you to build real time control applications. This first batch of boards are based on a Cortex-M3 with SPI flash, LCD touch screen and USB that allow you to interact with sensors, buttons and switches.
While surprisingly over at IndieGoGo there is…
… this IoT development kit comes in three “flavours”. The IntoRobot Fig, Fox and Ant.
The Fig contains an ESP32, CP2104 chip and light sensor.
The Fox is the same, but with an STM32 and SIM800C GSM module.
while the Ant uses an STM32 along with a LoRa module.
All of them have UFL antenna connectors as well as onboard antennas and break out all the GPIOs from the MCUs.
They also have an API that works with their IntoRobot Cloud service that allows you to code and program from the Internet.
A couple of things on CrowdSupply this week, but I've only included one in this video.
The NanoEVB is yet another FPGA board. This one is based on the Xilinx Artix FPGA in a handy M2 key format.
This will be one to watch when it goes live.
So, you would have heard by now how Intel has taken a step back from the Maker market by making the Galileo End Of Life, Joule and Edison boards. A bit of a shame. However, they are continuing with their Curie, which is good news for UDOO, since their x86 board has only just come out with a Curie.
The results from the Hackerboard survey are out….. No surprises that the Raspberry Pi is dominating the top three spots, however, it's clear that the x86 camp has started to make a dent in the mainly ARM based lineup. I'm predicting that by next year we'll be seeing at least 3 X86 boards on this top list and possibly 4.
So, if you're watching this video sometime in 2018 you can either laugh at me hysterically or nod in agreement.
Back in a previous Weekly Roundup, I mentioned the DART-6UL board that was selling for around $US24 . Now we have the DART-6UL-5G which adds a dual-band WiFi & Bluetooth module.
Olimex now have a fairly cheap ESP32 based board that provides not only the on-board WiFi and Bluetooth module, but a 100MbE port and micro uSD slot. It's aimed at people wanting to create IoT gateways.
This is one topic we were recently talking about on the MickMake Patreon slack channel.
Microsoft is starting to be one of the “cool guys” again and have released the MXChip IoT developer kit.
This board contains an EMW3166 WiFi module, STM32, OLED display, audio processing chip and a whole bunch of sensors. all running off a USB port.
If you want to get a preview board for free, then you can sign up here
The IceZero is yet another FPGA board hitting the market. This one is based on the Lattice ICE40HX and is designed to fit on to a Raspberry Pi Zero. This means you can do all your development right from the Pi Zero.
The only issue I see is that they haven't broken out all the GPIOs that this FPGA is capable of doing.
Olimex has also joined in with a bunch of boards based on this same FPGA, This one has a handy edge connector that allows you to slot in a range of add-ons, such as ADC or DAC boards and analog or digital IO boards.
I saw over at CNX software that the Inforce 6309 SBC is on sale at the moment. All you have to do is enter in “summer” as the discount code on checkout and you can pick one up for only $US89.
The Telco Orange must have read too many kids books as they've just released a board called the LoRa explorer kit.
It is on the expensive side, but for around 84 euros you get a SAMD21, RN2483 LoRa module, RN4871 Bluetooth module, Atmel crypto chop, 4Mbit flash and rechargeable LiPo coin cell.
You also get 6 months free access to Orange's cloud service.
While a different kind of Orange company seems to have found a large stock of mobile phone screens and have released them as an add-on for your Orange Pi 2G-IoT.
Some good stuff on Tindie again.
This one looks pretty cool. It's an ESP8266 with OLED that allows you to do funky things like monitor the number of packets being sent on a WiFi network. It's not limited to one network either!
Good tool for checking WiFi accessability while on the run.
If you have a project that needs haptic feedback, then this Tindie store has several kits ranging from this ERM haptic pack with 8 arrays and 10 vibrators
or this Piezo based pack with 4 drivers and 10 piezos
or this LRA pack with 4 drivers and 5 LRAs.
They seem expensive, but you're getting a lot within the packs.
Haven't seen many LPC1768 based boards around. This one has the Cortex-M3 MCU, USB and JTAG connectors running off a 9v 1A DC jack and breaking out pretty much all the GPIOs on this MCU.
This is a simple but neat idea. This guy has taken several AdaFruit MEMS mics and embedded them in resin to make them waterproof. Great idea if you have them exposed to the elements.
Red Hunter is back again with an update to his Octosonar. Version 2 now has better signal processing, a better library and 3.3 volt logic level support.
ESP everywhere is now on Tindie. This was a Kickstarter campaign that ended up being fairly popular. This is just for the plain board where you'll have to try your hand at soldering SMDs.
And this board is pretty simple, but something that you'll really need if you're wanting to get into retro Arcade machines. It allows you to easily connect up joysticks and buttons to an Arduino.
And this board is useful if you're doing any diagnostics on the USB bus, allowing you to insert an Amp meter and connect up logic probes to the USB.
AdaFruit, Seeed, SparkFun, DFRobot, DigiKey
Over at Seeed Studio they have an SDR that is capable of operating between 1kHz to 2GHz : has a number of other features like 10 preset filters, low noise preamp, 10MHz bandwidth and running the SDRuno firmware.
They also have several Artik kits, like this 053 starter kit in an Arduino form factor
or this 530 starter kit with onboard 4core Cortex-A9 and 512MB RAM,
or this 710 starter kit with onboard 8core Cortex-A53 with 1G RAM and 4G flash.
All three provide you connectivity to WiFi, Bluetooth, ZigBee and Thread networks.
Sometimes you just have no choice but to use VGA. This handy box from AdaFruit converts a VGA input signal into HDMI out. Nice.
While over at SparkFun, they have the tinyTILE, which is a Curie based board. Probably the smallest Curie board I've seen.
For those who don't know about the Intel Curie. It's a dual core MCU with a small x86 Quark and ARC cores, running at 32MHz with 384kB flash, 80kB RAM, Bluetooth, 6DOF IMU and onboard PMIC.
It's a pretty cool chip. Glad Intel didn't get rid of it.
If you have a micro:bit, then SparkFun have a couple of add-ons. This weather board has onboard temperature, humidity, pressure and light sensors and connectors for wind speed, rainfall and soil sensors.
Or this moto:bit board which has two Hbridges allowing control over DC or stepper motors. Also has onboard battery management.
Over at DFRobot they have a fairly cheap IR based scanner that can scan up to 120 degrees at 170mS every 60 degrees at 100 to 800 mm range.
And prices of laser rangefinders are getting lower and lower. $US139 is still a fair whack, but the TF01 has a range of up to 10m at 500Hz sampling frequency.
Looks like DigiKey will be getting in the Digilent OpenScope soon, which was a successful Kickstarter campaign.
No info on pricing yet.
Pimoroni have a neat Pi Zero based e-ink display that's capable of displaying red, black, and of course white, at 212 by 104 pixels. They have a fairly decent Python library as well.
The Cheap Side
BangGood have a bunch of cheap passive component boxes ranging from capacitors, transistors and resistors.
And this WeMos ESP32 board with LiPo battery management, breaking out all the GPIOs.
If you buy your ESP32s as bare modules, then you really need to get one of these. Just plonk your ESP module in and program away.
Got a bunch of transistors and not sure if they do or don't work ? This transistor tester looks decent, although I haven't yet tried it out. Runs off a 6 to 12 volt DC supply and has a snazzy LCD display for testing NPNs, PNPs, FETs, diodes, thyristors and SCRs.
I think I might pick one of these up.
The PAM8610 is a step up from the PAM8403s. Runs off a 6 to 15 volt supply, so isn't quite suitable for MCU work, but is more responsive than the 8403s.
Man, I've just gotta get one of these! This is a full coin slot mechanism with control board as you'd find on vending machines.
It's actually a time control board, but I'll be able to retro fit it on to an ESP and a mechanical lock so I can charge my teenagers every time they open the fridge door.
ICstation have a neat CC2640 based Bluetooth board, which is similar to the CC2240, but with a faster MCU, more flash and GPIOs.
Another cool toy. This is a vehicle detector used in parking lots to highlight free car spots. Wouldn't mind getting one of these so I can check if any cars are in my driveway before I even get home.
There's also this cheaper module.
You would have seen the X800 SATA expansion board in my previous weekly roundup.
DC now have the X820, which is similar to the X800 but with an additional USB3 port. Not sure that's going to help as it's sitting on a USB hub, but anyway…
There's also the X850, which is designed for mSATA drives. It's basically a USB2.0 to mSATA converter in a format that can easily attach to a Pi.
A few bits and pieces that I didn't include in my video.
A 3D printer for $99! Too good to be true? Who knows?
WYA3DP - Yet Another 3D Printer! This one around the 499 GBP mark.
Or this one around the 250 euro mark, based on the Delta design.
Another very cheap 3D printer. Only $95!
Will they never end?
theMikeybot - a cheap wireless robot for families and schools controlled using block programming from any computer.
Very Useful Circuits: learn the basics of electrical engineering through practical, hands-on soldering projects.
If you missed the LayerOne security conference last month you can still pick up a conference badge. Based on the STM32 it also has SD slot, 2.4” LCD and CAN transceivers.
The SparkFun gamer:bit is a fun-filled “carrier” board for the micro:bit
With the micro:arcade kit you will be able to turn a classic controller into an arcade cabinet by connecting just a few buttons and switches.