Weekly Roundup #54 – New Maker Products // News


Banana PI BPI-UNO32

WR-NMP54p9The Banana Pi guys have gone… er… Bananas…
They’ve released a bunch of new boards.
The first is the Banana Pi UNO32. This is a essentially an ESP32 module in an Arduino format PCB with the usual buzzer, LEDs, buttons and USB port.
Not so exciting, but then …

BPI:bit Webduino

WR-NMP54p10… they are also hedging their bets with another ESP32 based board, this time in the microbit form factor.
It contains pretty much the same lineup as the original microbit boards, with 9DOF IMU, 25 RGB LEDs, buttons and buzzer.

Banana Pi BPI-AI-Voice

WR-NMP54p11Then there’s the Banana Pi AI Voice, which is a Raspberry Pi hat providing speech recognition.
It’s a little pricey at US$170, but runs the MicroSemi ZL38063 audio processor, with an array of 4 MEMS microphones, two class D audio amps and expansion headers for additional microphones and GPIOs.
So far, the board works with Amazon Alexa, but no information on support for any other platform.

Banana Pi BPI W2

WR-NMP54p12The last Banana Pi board that’s been released is the Banana Pi W2. This is a major step up from their previous Banana Pi R2 router and is more of a NAS board than anything else.
For a bit less than US$100 you get a quad-core Cortex-A53 Realtek RTD1296 SoC, 2G DDR4 RAM, 8G eMMC expandable to 64G, SD, 2 SATA3 ports, 3 GbE ports, 4 USB 3.0 with a USB Type C port, RTC, Pi GPIO header, mini DisplayPort, HDMI out supporting 1080p, and the icing on the cake; HDMI in and two M.2 key slots. One supporting PCIe 2.0 and the other 1.1 with SDIO.
The only downside to this board is the fact that it only supports 1080p. Everything else is right on the mark

NanoPi K1 Plus

WR-NMP54p13Not to be outdone, the Friendly guys have come out with another Pi form factor board called the NanoPi K1 Plus.
The new board is identical to the NanoPi K2, but moves away from the Amlogic S905 SoC back to the Allwinner H5, which means you only get 30fps at 4K on HDMI, swaps out the WiFi/Bluetooth module for a WiFi only variant and moves back to the horrible microUSB connector as a power source.


WR-NMP54p14Way back in Weekly Roundup #47 we saw the ODROID-MC1. Now the HardKernel guys have come out with the ODROID-MC1 Solo.
This is the same as the ODROID-MC1, but instead of a stack of 4 XU4S boards, you get just one.
This drops the price from US$220 to US$48. Nice.


WR-NMP54p15Octavo Systems are the guys who make the System-In-Package for the BeagleBones. They are now dipping their toes in the SBC market with the OSD3358-SM-RED. This board uses the same SIP as the PocketBeagle, which not only runs the OSD3358, but has 512M DDR3 RAM, 16G eMMC, SD, GbE, 4 USB2.0 ports 9DOF IMU, LiPo battery management and the BeagleBone expansion headers.
Power is via the more sensible DC jack.

Firefly AIO-3399J

WR-NMP54p16The Firefly guys are also at it again. This time they’ve released another RK3399 based board. Although it’s a bit expensive, setting you back US$240, you do get an industrial quality board with the 2GHz hexa-core RK3399, 2 or 4G DDR3 RAM, 16G eMMC, M.2 key supporting SSD and PCIe for 4G LTE, SD, DisplayPort, 2 HDMI out and in, GbE, WiFi, Bluetooth, audio in/out and a bucket load of GPIOs… This thing has everything. No wonder the price tag is so high.

Microsoft Azure Sphere MCU

WR-NMP54p17One of the problems with the IoT market is that noone really has a good solution addressing the security issues that we’ve seen in recent years. Things like fridges acting as DDoS nodes, hi-jacking cars via 4G.
The industry really needs a whole lot of standardization.
Microsoft are looking at doing this with their recently announced Azure Sphere. This is both a hardware component, which will support the MediaTek MT3620 and a cloud service.
The MT3620 runs a 500MHz Cortex-A7, an isolated 200MHz Cortex-M4F and WiFi module driven by an Andes N9. So, it’s a bit of a powerhouse, with the option of going into low power mode.
MediaTek isn’t the only chip maker to look at producing Azure Sphere compliant MCUs, Nordic, NXP, Qualcomm, ST Micro and Silicon Labs are heading into this deal as well.
It seemed only yesterday that Steve Ballmer was calling Linux a cancer.

RAK8211-NB iTracker

WR-NMP54p18The RAKWireless guys have released a new module that provides some fairly accurate GPS tracking.
It runs the nRF52832 at the core with NB-IoT provided by the Quectel BC95-G and GPS by the Quectel L70-R. It also has 6DOF IMU, pressure, humidity, temperature and light sensors. All powered from 3.5 to 18v via solar powered battery.

Eagle 9

WR-NMP54p19Ever since Autodesk bought Eagle, they’ve been making some pretty consistent improvements.
Well, the subscription charging model wasn’t an improvement, but on the software side there’s been several.
Eagle 9 has just been released. This brings several changes to design workflow. Quick Connect allows you to define groups of signals in an abstract way, move them around, save and recall them in new designs.
Quick Route allows you to route signals that are grouped together, clean up grouped signals or complete a route automatically.
Then the Design Manager gives you a much better overview of your PCB and schematic allowing you to find and manage components and signals easier.