This week's Weekly Roundup is a bit quiet. A few SBCs from some new comers, motor drivers, power control boards, a rogue teapot and I know at least one of my subs is keeping track of how many times I say WiFi.
First up on Kickstarter we have …
A pretty grunty H-Bridge Arduino shield. It's based on two half bridge IR2104S drivers, four 60v, 50A MOSFETs and an ACS712
current sensor to prevent over-current situations.You can drive a 15A inductive load with 0 to 99% PWM in both directions.
It's all powered from a 7 to 24v input and has a 5V regulator on-board to also power the Arduino. Nice.
The Chromatron is an LED driver board with ESP8266
managing all the interfacing and scripts and an XMega128
handling all the LED driving. It can drive up to 300 LEDs and the creator has made a fairly complete Python API
and scripting engine. Once he hits the funding goal he plans to release everything as open source. Seems to be one of the more complete LED controllers around.
CrazyPi is yet another robotics board, but like the Chromatron, seems to be one of the more complete products. This one has a lot of grunt. Running a Rockchip RK3128
quad core Cortex-A7 CPU with 1G DDR3 RAM, 16G eMMC, WiFi, Bluetooth, SoundWave, and all the input/output expansion options, as well as a Cortex-M3 MCU, motion and temperature sensors. So it's essentially a small SBC the size of a credit card for around US$29. Nice. The CrazyPi Advanced kit chassis, wheels, 4G LTE, 4K/s LIDAR, 18650 battery housing, and 2 axis camera mount allowing 720p video streaming for US$466. Even better. Comes with Ubuntu
pre-installed. You can either run this board as a plain SBC, or as a Robotics platform supporting SLAM
and object tracking.
Nothing really interesting on IndieGoGo this week again, …
… but Crowd Supply …
has a campaign in pre-launch that started out as a HackADay project
. It's a stand-alone VT100 terminal that supports USB and PS2 based keyboards and a 5v tolerant UART. Has the 80 by 48 character display and even has an on-board bell sound. This is one handy thing to have in your toolbox.
One of my Twitter followers, Mark Nottingham
, is currently on a crusade to get rid of the teapot, or rather the 418 HTTP status code which equates to “I'm a teapot”. It all started out as a joke back in 1998
and has remained ever since. There are good arguments from both sides of the fence to getting rid of it. Mark, who incidentally has been tagged as, (for some reason), “the most boring man on the Internet
", just so happens to be the current chairman of the IETF HTTP working group
. So he does have some clout. What does it mean for the average Maker? Well, nothing really, except that you may, or may not see the 418 status code go away
. My money is on it staying based on the fact that us Makers are a stubborn lot.
Developer Preview number 5 of Android Things has a few updates and changes. The recent demise of Intel's IoT products are of course not going to receive any updates, but the i.MX6 UL SoC is now supported as well as ES2.0, WebView and dynamic pin muxing on the Raspberry Pi3 and Android O support. Now, that's nice to see.
Kaynes Technology have released a new SBC based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 212
SoC. It has 1G DDR3 RAM, 8G eMMC, SD slot, 100MbE, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, USB, IMUs, audio in/out, HDMI and the usual 40 pin GPIO header. Runs from a 12v DC input or 2.5Ah battery. There's also an optional 7” capacitive touch display.
ACME systems have come out with a new SoM inventively called the RoadRunner. For 36 euros you get an SAMA5D27
SoC with 256M DDR3 RAM and 16MB SPI flash. It breaks out all the good stuff on to two Hirose
100 pin connectors such as 100MbE, touch panel interface, 7 I2C, 7 SPI, CAN, ADCs, USB, HDMI and 128 GPIOs. You can get at all of this using their 30 euro evaluation board.
Anaren have just released a new version of their cloud-based IoT development platform called Atmosphere and adding in BeagleBone support in the process. Atmosphere
is a development platform allowing you to connect up your IoT devices to Amazon Web Services
and supporting C#, C++ and Python.
Gumstix is now providing LoRa add-ons. There's the Overo Conduit which is tagged as a LoRa gateway with an on-board 100MbE and options for LoRa and WiFi modules.
There's also the Gumstix Pi Conduit LoRa gateway, which has a Pi CM3 socket, 100MbE and LoRa and LTE modem headers.
Texas Instruments have released a really cheap, tiny project evaluation module for the BeagleBone Black. For US$99 you get the DLP2000
display module that can project a 640 by 360, 30 lumen adjustable display. This is pretty amazing as the previous version was selling for around US$600. I think I'm really tempted to pick one of these up.
Sony is mixing things up with their new boards called the Spritzer. It's an Arduino compatible board with Sony's own CDX5602 MCU which is Cortex-M4F
MCU. It also has 8MB flash, SD card, 8 channel mics, audio codec driving speaker out and 2 camera interfaces. The CDX5602 is actually a GPS chip, so as an added bonus you get GPS as well.
A couple of my subs let me know about a new Orange Pi SBC, which is the Orange Pi Zero Plus. So that means we have the Zero 512, Zero 256, Zero Plus 2 H3, Zero Plus 2 H5 and now the Zero Plus. It'd be really nice if they gave them code names instead of confusing us. This new board has the Allwinner H5
and GbE, WiFi, 512MB RAM, SD slot and 2MB SPI flash.
Another set top box manufacturer is dipping it's toes into the SBC market. This time from VideoStrong. They have released a fairly expensive board running the RK3399
hexacore SoC, with 4G DDR3 RAM, 16G eMMC, GbE, QiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, MIPI and DP out, mini PCIe, RK808 PMU, and a bunch of GPIOs. It's an expensive board, but has a bucket load of options.
If you're looking at doing some audio streaming, then the 50 euro VoltaStream Zero is a Pi compatible board that runs an i.MX6
ULL SoC with 1G RAM, PCM5121
DAC, TOSLINK audio jack, WiFi, USB port and Pi compatible GPIOs. It runs, of course, Linux with Volumio
support on the cards. The board schematics has been released under the Creative Commons license
, so it means you can create your own boards if you want. Nice.
guys have come to the party with two new boards called the ODROID-HC1 and the ODROID-MC1
The HC1 is aimed at people wanting to create their own NAS solution and comes as a package with heatsink, space for housing a 2.5” drive and a modified version of the XU4. All you need is a 5V supply and you're away. The MC1 is essentially the same, minus the disk storage capabilities. Both products are stackable and they have demo-ed a very impressive 1600 CPU 400G RAM cluster made up of these boards. Wow. Both boards are expected to be released September 2017.
This next one isn't exactly a Maker product, but interesting anyway. It's a TV box, but it says it contains an Allwinner H6 SoC. This is probably the first time I've seen an H6 out in the wild. It contains all the usual stuff that you see on a set top box, but unlike the H5's piddly 3G RAM, the H6 supports up to 64G DDR4 RAM and also USB3.0, HDMI 2.0 on 4K.
Over at Tindie you won't find any teapots.
The PiPixel is a simple enough Pi hat with logic level converter that allows you to drive WS2812 LEDs up to 5A between 3 to 24 volts. So that means you can drive 12v based LED strips.
If you're getting into solar water heating, then this one looks pretty good. Supports several temperature sensors and allows you to switch two mains relays based on certain conditions.
If you've ever wanted to program up a bunch of ESP8266
modules then you'll know how annoying it is with the smaller pad spacing. This board will allow you to slot in an ESP board using those funky bendy wire holder thingies. They call them Frogo pins. I call them bendy wire thingies.
The STM32 is a nice MCU, although it started off pretty badly. This breakout board is for the STM32F415
which is clocked at 168MHz with 192KB RAM, and 1MB flash and exposes almost everything from that MCU.
This next board is a JTAG and SWD debugger. Has logic level shifting, supporting 1.7v to 5v targets and can provide 3.3, 100mA to to the target. It is compatible with almost all the IDEs and supports the full range of STM32
This is handy mic amplifier based on the MAX9814
designed to slot on to a Teensy
with DC power filtering and analog output biasing of 0.6v.
digital synthesizer is a pretty decent chip with built-in high speed 48bit quadrature DAC, I and Q synthesizer. You can tune it to a resolution of 1uHz on the 4 output channels with a 300MHz input clock. If you need some signal generation, then this looks pretty decent.
The next couple are a bunch of Pi power solutions.
This one is a UPS of sorts for your Pi, with a 7 to 24 volt DC input or microUSB input. It'll switch over to whichever is providing power. There's a simple GPIO for status.
Then there's this one which has space for two 18650 batteries. The creator claims he can run a Pi3 for 15 hours on two 2Ah batteries.
And this one is powered prototyping board for the Pi.
And another one providing 18650 battery power. This one has auto-standby mode and will completely power off the Pi when current drops to less than 30mA for 10 seconds.
I've been looking for a large dial that I can use while editing videos. This one looks pretty decent. It's a precision rotary encoder with on-board ATmega168
that I'll be able to program up to simulate a USB device.
AdaFruit, Seeed, SparkFun, DFRobot, DigiKey
Over at Itead they are selling the Sonoff Smart Socket that could be a teapot. It turns your average power point into a WiFi controlled one in the same way all the other Sonoff devices work.
And over at Seeed Studio they have an update on their CAN bus shield. The newer version has selectable OBD-II or CAN standard pinouts, SD slot and a few other changes to make it easier to hack your car.
The Crazyflie is a good add-on for drones. Its on-board Time of Flight sensor allows you to measure the distance to the ground fairly accurately.
Back in Weekly Roundup #38
I mentioned Microsoft's Azure development board. Well you can now pick it up at Seeed Studio on back-order.
And so do DFRobot!
DFrobot also have this cool bone conduction kit. Which isn't something that comes from a mad scientist, but rather allows you to play music directly into your inner ear by vibrating your skull. OK. Maybe it does sound like a mad scientist, but this is cool. It allows you to hear ambient noise around you while listening to the music of your choice.
If you're looking for a multi-touch display, then Seeed have this 800x480 resolution HDMI based display that has 10 multi-touch points. Nice.
If you are going to be doing some serious coding on ARM based MCUs, you could use the OpenOCD
and Raspberry Pi method, or just pick up a Segger J-link adaptor. At US$20 a pop it's well worth it.
is the next series in SAMD MCUs. It's a step up from the SAMD21
with 1Ms/s ADC and DAC, crypto engine, CAN bus, SD and MMC controller and running on 1.8v logic levels. AdaFruit will be soon releasing an Arduino compatible board based on this mighty chip.
The RageBridge comes at a serious price, but it is for people wanting serious control over DC motors. It can control 2 DC motors at 40A continuous or 90A burst on a 8 to 40v DC supply. Control is via UART, RC radio or analog.
Over at SparkFun they have the Pi Desktop on back-order. This is an ABS enclosure with heatsink, RTC, power management, and Pi hat with on-board mSATA port. Nice.
I've mentioned the RealTek Ameba
several times in past Weekly Roundups, (40
). SparkFun now have the Ameba Board in stock.
A GeoFence is a virtual boundary based on GPS location. This board allows you to easily create one. Runs an ATmega328P
, LiPo battery management, RTC, and a Titan X1 GPS
Over at DigiKey there is the BeagleBone X15 board, which is an expensive SBC, but has 2G DDR3 RAM, 4GB eMMC, 2x GbE ports, 3x USB3.0, eSATA, mSATA, SD, 2x C66 DSPs, 2x Cortex-M4 MCUs and 4 Programmable real-time units. This is a board built for real-time applications and allows you to create software defined peripherals and video encoding and decoding.
The Cheap Side
In Weekly Roundup #40
I looked at some cheap touch switches. Seems everyone is jumping on the band-wagon now. BangGood have a bunch of touch switches that are designed to be a drop-in replacement for your standard light switches. The other good thing is that they are also controlled by wireless remote.
They also have this carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide sensor. I might pick up one of these and use it in an air quality sensor array.
Over at ICstation they have a bunch of 1080p, MIPI-CSI camera modules with inbuilt infrared lamps for night vision.
And a cheap RealTek 8189
module which is the same as used in the RAKwireless WisCore
and a whole bunch of SBCs.
And the EMW3081
WiFi module as used in the Microsoft Azure IoT Developer Kit
A few bits and pieces that I didn't include in my video.
Smart Touch Display for home and building control. Fits into standard 55mm switch series and uses MQTT to send and receive commands.
Join the battle on your desk. Fight side by side with your friends as one crew against another. Become a battle robot master.
This robotic arm is currently used at Tarleton State University for research in kinematics and operates from a BlueTooth connection.
The 2nd version of Zero Ruler with simple compass and mini protractor
The D2K Insight is a high performance, personal(DLP-SLA)LCD based 3D printer. It's an affordable way to produce high quality 3D objects.
Teach yourself robotics and programming in one ultimate 3D printed robot kit. Open source, high tech, and novice friendly.
This plug-and-play stompbox analyzes audio in real-time & generates music visualizations for smart LED pixels. Transform sound to light.