Weekly Roundup #53 – New Maker Products // News


Orange Pi 4G-IOT

WR-NMP53p13Back in Weekly Roundup #30 we saw the Orange Pi 2G-IoT. Well, the Orange Pi guys are back at it again with the Orange Pi 4G-IoT. This board is completely different to the 2G-IoT – They’ve dropped the Ethernet port and gone wireless mad supporting not only 4G, but WiFi, Bluetooth, FM and GPS. It runs a Mediatek MT6737 SoC with 1G RAM, 8G eMMC, HDMI and LCD out and Pi header, powered from a 5v, 2A DC jack.
At US$45, it’s the cheapest way to get access to a 4G network.

Visual Git for Eagle

WR-NMP53p14If you’ve ever designed your own PCBs, then sometimes you want to be able to compare changes you’ve made between revisions. Especially if you’re working in a team. cadlab.io solves this issue by providing visual comparisons between boards and schematics along with annotations and comments.

Festivals and conferences

WR-NMP53p15Since the last Weekly Roundup there’s been a bunch of festivals and conferences. The big one was of course Embedded World 2018, but there was also the reprap festival, which highlights just how far 3D printing has come. Then there was the Trenton Computer Festival and you may have missed World Create Day and of course HackADay announced their Hacker Academy Awards. With $200,000 in cash prizes up for grabs. It’ll be interesting to see what hacks come up.


WR-NMP53p16Over at Microchip they have shown us that the old AVR series chipset isn’t dead yet by releasing a new variant called the ATmega4809. From the datasheet it seems to read like a typical AVR; 8bit RISC CPU, 16 channel ADC, SPI, I2C, but wait… what’s this? Configurable Custom Logic? Nice. Admittedly, it only has 4 lookup tables so not as advanced as an FPGA, but still is a nice feature and hopefully a sign of things to come.

Project Fin

WR-NMP53p17Over at resin.io they are dipping their toes into the SBC market with Project Fin. This is a ruggedized carrier board for the Pi CM3 Lite with up to 64GB eMMC, dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth, RTC, mini PCIe and an Artik020 MCU which can shutdown the Pi completely for low power modes. It can also handle a wide DC input supply of 6 to 30v.


WR-NMP53p18The 96boards format is finally getting some traction and we’re seeing a number of boards hitting the market using this format. Four new SBCs have just recently been released.
For example: Avnet have launched a 96boards format SBC based on the Zynq UltraScale+ SoC with on-board FPGA, 2G DDR4 RAM, micro SD, WiFi, Bluetooth, 3 USB3.0 ports, mini DP, along with the standard 96boards GPIO expansion. Powered from a wide 8 to 18v, 3A DC supply.

HiKey 970

WR-NMP53p19Then there’s the HiKey970, which is another powerhouse, running the octo-core Kirin 970 with 6GB, 4 channel DDR4 RAM, 64G UFS flash, micro SD, GbE, dual-band WiFi, GPS, GLONASS, 2 USB3.0, 2 USB Type C, mPCIe running from a wide 8 to 18v DC supply. It seems all the SBCs are starting to be a whole lot more grunty. These boards would be perfect for Machine Learning.

DragonBoard 820c

WR-NMP53p20Over at Arrow they have finally come out with the DragonBoard 820c in the 96boards format. This runs the new Snapdragon 820E SoC, which is a quad-core Kyro processor running at up to 2.35GHz. A bit of a beast. The board also has 3G DDR4 RAM, 32G UFS flash, micro SD slot, GbE, dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth, USB3.0, mini PCIe, HDMI capable of 4K @ 60Hz and unusually GPS and motion sensors. You get all this for US$200.

Developer Board 8

WR-NMP53p21Not to be outdone, Geniatech have also released the Developer Board 8, which, as far as I can see, is identical to Arrow’s board minus a couple of bits. So, not sure what’s going on there.

Raspberry Pi 3B+

WR-NMP53p22Of course last week we saw the Raspberry Pi 3B+ being released. No need to go into that here. Check out what I thought of it in my quick review.

Gumstix Chatterbox

WR-NMP53p23Gumstix have announced two boards that work with Amazon Voice Services called the Chatterbox. The first board takes a Colibri i.MX7 System-on-Module and provides WiFi, Bluetooth, GbE, RTC, SD slot and audio in and out.
The second board is designed to take the Raspberry Pi CM3 module with pretty much the same specs, except there’s no Ethernet.

SolidRun SBCs

WR-NMP53p24SolidRun have released a couple of SBCs, both of which take their i.MX8 System-on-Module, which comes in three flavours, from dual-core Cortex-A53 with 3G DDR4 RAM to quad-core Cortex-A53 with 4G DDR4 RAM. All three boards also have GbE, WiFi, Bluetooth, PCIe SSD, eMMC, SD, USB3.0, HDMI capable of 4K @ 60Hz and a bucket load of GPIOs.
This board can be chucked in to the HummingBoard Pulse, which breaks out pretty much everything on the SoM, but also provides a MikroBUS click interface and can be powered from 7 to 36v or PoE.
Then there’s the Cubox Pulse mini PC, which breaks out less of the SoM features and is designed more as a desktop.