Weekly Roundup #45 - New Maker Products // News


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Weekly Roundup number 45 saving you time with all the good stuff from Crowd Sourcing websites, AdaFruit, SparkFun, DFRobot, Seeed, my favourite Tindie and also other places that I've managed to find.


Crowd Funding

KickStarter

A bit of a mish mash on Kickstarter this week.

MaxProLogic

The MaxProLogic claims to be an ultra low cost FPGA board coming in at US$37 or US$32 for the early birds. It's built on the Altera MAX10 FPGA and its pretty cheap. At the moment you can pick up an Altera Max10 FPGA board on AliExpress for around US$75. This has an SD slot, bunch of LEDs, buck converter and breaks out 65 GPIOs. The campaign creator is by Earth People, who have run several other successful campaigns in the past, like the UnoProLogic2.

TrackIMU

This next one is interesting. It's a bunch of PCBs with an ATmega32U4 and MPU9250 IMU. It acts as an extra input when playing games so you can turn your head and it'll change the field of view. I'm not a gamer, so don't know if this would be a good idea or not, but looks interesting.

Goliath CNC

The Goliath CNC is a new take on an old idea. This CNC removes the tethering of X and Y axis and instead has three wheels that moves it around the work piece. So you can CNC any size you want. I do have my doubts about it:

  • The angular momentum of the motor during spin up of the router might cause it to lose position.
  • and accuracy would be a nightmare once you get to very large work pieces as the error rate would accumulate. You define the work area by moving a rectangular thingy to the corners and I figure that the cable between that and the router would act as a frame of reference. So, it might actually work.

PiSerialixed

PiZerialized is a simple idea that provides what looks like a CP2104 USB to UART bridge in a handy board to be used with a Pi so you can get to the console easily. The campaign creator has several Kickstarters under his belt, so he's been in this Rodeo before.

STEGO BOARD

Stego Board isn't an SBC, nor has it got any electronics on it. It is in fact a Mechano style building frame that has placement holes for a range of SBCs, hard disks, touch screens, NUCs, Brix, ITX motherboards and even VESA mounting holes. Finally! Someone has made one! You can stack them any which way; vertically, chuck them on the back of a TV or even in a funky triangle. They also have hard disk and power supply mounts.

Aire

I know, I did say last year that I wasn't ever going to mention robotic assistants again, but this one is really cool! It doesn't have legs, arms or an evil face. Instead it's this drone thing slash vacuum cleaner that follows you around the house waiting for you to say something incredible. It has a 3D camera and can interface to Alexa so you can inadvertently order lots of expensive stuff whilst having that argument with your next door neighbor.

Apparently, it's really quiet and the rotor blades don't affect the audio pickup. Well, maybe… just check out the video of it in action.


Crowd Supply

CrowdSupply is a bit quieter this week.

HwUI

In pre-launch there is the HwUI, which is a simple board giving you a bunch of capacitive touch inputs in various positions. As well as the Cypress capacitive touch sensor it also has an STM32 and BT53 Bluetooth module. The idea is that you can use it as a generic interface to anything.

GnuBee Personal Cloud 2

Back in Weekly Roundup #21 there was the GnuBee, which was a small open source NAS running the MT7621A and 3 GbE ports allowing you to connect up 6 2.5” drives. Well know there's the GnuBee 2, with the only difference being that it can house 3.5” drives instead.

STEAM Stories

STEAM Stories is an interesting one. It's an educational tool teaching kids the basic concepts of electricity and circuits. You create 9 different circuits powered from a coin cell battery as you read through the story. Cool.


IndieGoGo

Swidget Outlet

Over at IndieGoGo there is the Swidget which was in Weekly Roundup #40 and has just started to ship on KickStarter. Well, now they are on IndieGoGo raising extra funding.


GroupGets

And a new website this week called GroupGets, which has been around for a while and allows you to benefit from the power of bulk purchases.

Z-turn Board XC7Z020

Back in Weekly Roundup something; I mentioned the Z-turn board. Well there's now a GroupGets for this board, which will effectively knock off the shipping costs of up to US$40. This board runs the Xilinx XC7Z010, which is dual core Cortex-A9 and Xilinx-7 FPGA combo. Nice little board.

PRUDAQ

If you want some really seriously high speed acquisition. Then there's the prudaq, which is a BeagleBone cape that can sample at up to 40Msps. There's a long back story to this board involving Jason Holt and Google Research. This GroupGet is for the prudaq board, BeagleBone Black, 16G SD, 64G thumb drive and a BNC to SMA cable. Nice.

DIY-Thermocam

The DIY Thermocam is pretty expensive, but you are talking about thermal cameras here. This is a DIY unit that contains a bunch of stuff to create a pretty decent thermal camera. Note, however, that this does not contain the FLiR. You'll have to buy one of those for around the same price as this GroupGet or find one in a dumpster.


Honorable mentions

Amber Pi

Amber Wireless is coming out with a new board called the Amber Pi that effectively bridges a sub 1GHz wireless network to Ethernet. Running the TI CC1210 MCU it'll be able to speak to a bunch of low power short range sensors that are often used in Home Automation. I also noticed that they sell a USB RF stick, which is similar to one that was selling at ICstation a while back.

96rocks

96rocks does sound like a Gen-Y, teenager rock group, but no it has nothing to do with any music. It's a “to be released” SBC that's in the 96board format but runs the 2GHz, Dual Cortex-A72 RK3399 SoC. It also has 32G eMMC, 4G RAM, USB3 along with USB-C, WiFi, 4K capable HDMI and an M.2 key. They're also selling an expansion board with 18 Grove ports. Charbax has some more info on his YouTube channel.

Squix ESPaper Lite

Eink devices haven't really caught on much, but here's a 2.9” eink module made by Squix.

Squix… Who on earth came up with that name?!

In that 2.9” format you have a black and white 296 by 129 resolution display along with an ESP8266, LiPo battery management and 3 buttons. So, pretty cheap if you want a low power interface somewhere.

U54-MC Coreplex

I've mentioned the HiFive several times in Weekly Roundups, (#15 & #43). Well The SiFive company is soon to release an upgrade on this RISC-V core. It's a 64bit quad-core SoC with an additional management core. Up on their website they have a comparison with the Cortex-A35. It has some nice features like Physical Memory Protection, Real-Time high speed determinism and on-board interrupt controller.

AdaFruit is the new Radio Shack

Holy Toledo Batman! Is that what I think it is? Did AdaFruit just buy out the defunct Radio Shack? Or is it just trademarks? Is it just a framed stock certificate? Or is it some more fake news? Nothing like a bit of excitement.


Maker Shops

Tindie

The mish-mash theme continues over on Tindie.

Sig7Seg

Ever heard of the Signalex flip displays? These are the type you find at sporting events and are a mechanical display. This board will interface to one of those units and also provide a Particle Photon header. It can control 4 to 12” displays of a 12v DC supply and are daisy-chainable.

Advance I/O Expansion Board for Raspberry Pi

If you need a bunch of extra GPIOs for your Pi, then this board gives you an extra 18 servo controllers as well as power on/off, LiPo battery management and pushes out all the remaining GPIOs. It also has a beefy 5v/8A regulator to support all that extra servo current.

micro SD extension cord

Here's something to have in your toolbox if you have an SBC with a really hard to get to SD slot. I'd figure that some high speed SD cards may not work as that long cable may cause too much cross-talk.

USB host cape for the PocketBeagle

Do you have a BeagleBone and sick of the lack of a USB host interface? Microwavemont has the fix for you.

They also have the second revision of their ESP32-PICO double decker board with a couple of changes based on customer feedback.

OVM20 Lite

If you're in to 3D printing, then there's this board which combines a RAMPS with an Arduino Mega and is capable of running the Open Source Marlin 3D printing software.

20Msps+ ADC hat for Pi

Not quite as fast as the prudaq, but this board has an ADC that can sample at up to 20Msps. There's a Linux driver already written for it, so it really is plug and play. This board was designed because the creator has been mucking around with an Open Source ultrasound imaging platform. Nice.

ROGER BEEP

OK. So this one is basic. All it does it provide an end-of-transmission “roger beep” when you release the talk button on a HAM radio. Powered from 7 to 16V DC so it won't annoy the hammies.

[uC] Microcontroller

NeoPLC is a store that has a bunch of these small modules that are designed to be stacked on top of each other. Starting with this BLE module, there's a battery charger, OLED, IMU, GPIOs and a bunch of other ones.

Lora Hack - HPRF

Here's another LoRa and ATmega328 combo board. This one can be powered by LiPo, USB or headers pins up to 6v. It also has an integrated LDO giving you even more range.


AdaFruit, Seeed, SparkFun, DFRobot, DigiKey

AMG8833 IR Thermal Camera FeatherWing

Back in Weekly Roundup #38 AdaFruit had the AMG8833 based thermal camera breakout. Well now they have it for the FeatherWing, but dang it, it's out of stock.

Feedback 360 Degree - High Speed Continuous Rotation Servo

A servo won't be able to let you know what position it's in. Unless you get one of these, which combines a 360 degree continuous rotation servo and a feedback wire that's attached to an internal hall effect sensor. This will give you fairly accurate positioning of the horn. All you have to figure out now is where is the zero point.

SparkFun LiPo Charger/Booster

SparkFun have a new LiPo charger capable of pushing out 1A at 5v from a LiPo. Runs the typical combination of MCP73831 and PAM2401 ICs. SparkFun say you can daisy chain them to have more than 5v, but don't expect to be able to get 100v from 20 of them.

Infrared Thermometer Module

DFRobot has this infrared thermometer module. Runs off 3 or 5v and capable of measuring from -10 to 50 degrees C at 0.06 degree accuracy. Pretty decent unit.

MIKROE-2756 Pi 3 Click Shield

Over at DigiKey there's the MIKROE Pi hat which has two Click Board sockets. It also has an MCP3204 12bit ADC on-board.


The Cheap Side

Over in China …

Wemos® Motor Shield

You can pick up 10 of these Wemos compatible dual motor drivers from BangGood driven over I2C. Although I'm skeptical about the 15v / 3.2A maximum specs they have.

Wemos® CH340G Breakout

There's also this USB to UART bridge for the WeMos, based on the CH340G IC.

JQ6500 Voice Sound Module

Similar to DFRobot's DFPlayer, but this one can also update the contents of the SD card, which the DFPlayer can't do. From the description it looks like you can update the SD card over SPI at the same time as playing mp3 files. Hmmm. Might get one of these and try it out.

Dual Channel Inductive Loop Vehicle Detector

EleCrow have un-populated PCBs for their dual channel inductive loop vehicle detector. If you're really keen on finding out if a vehicle is in your driveway, then you'll need to hack around with this sort of stuff.

Signal Generator PWM Pulse

You could probably do this with any MCU, but if you want a simple cheap PWM signal generator, then this one even has a small LCD. Capable of generating a 3.3 to 30v signal from 1Hz to 150KHz. So not the world's fastest, but at $3.35 each it's a toolbox filler.

TTL to RS485 Converter

If you want to play around with RS485, then this will make your life easier. Has 3.3 or 5v logic in and RS485 out the other side and can run at up to 256kbaud. Flow control is automatic, so you probably won't be able to handle bus contention with multiple masters. However, it does have some reasonably decent protection on-board to handle mis-wiring.

Power Polarity Detection Module

If you're mucking around with mains power, then this simple board will let you know if you have things wired up incorrectly. Great idea, but really it's an accident waiting to happen. Really don't like those exposed solder points with no mounting holes in the PCB.


Honorable mentions

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

Kubb Passive Edition

Yet another fan-less computer claiming to be “The world's first no noise minicomputer that combines design and high performance.”

Phase 1

“Phase 1 is the affordable 3D printer you have been looking for.” Maybe, maybe not?

PrintDry Filament Container

An airtight filament storage solution that keeps your filament dry

I'm Back™ Pro

Much like Arnie, but this guy is on to something with two successful KickStarters in the past.

minifab

Yet another “affordable 3D printer using LCD masking tech, printing without PC.”

Cubibot

Another 3D printer, this one claiming to bring, (amongst other things), “fun and education to your life.”

T-BOTS

This one might be a good project to build with your kids. It's a balancing robot kit.

Geocaching - Reactive Lights

For all those geo-cachers out there.

PiCube 4x4x4 LED CUBE for Pi

Another cube lighting project for a Pi!


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