Home > Hardware, Linux > $15 Open Source Hardware VoCore Wi-Fi Module Runs OpenWRT (Crowdfunding)

$15 Open Source Hardware VoCore Wi-Fi Module Runs OpenWRT (Crowdfunding)

There are already low cost Wi-Fi modules that can be used for the Internet of Things such as AsiaRF AWM002 and Hi-Link HLK-RM04. However, AsiaRF mainly caters to companies, and the Hi-Link module has a limited memory (16MB), which may or may not be an issue depending on your application. VoCore Wi-Fi module could prove to be an interesting option as it is the same $15 to $20 price range, runs OpenWRT with 32 MB RAM, will be open source hardware, and provides up to 20 GPIOs in a tiny (25x25mm) form factor.

VoCoreVoCore Wi-Fi module specifications:

  • SoC – Ralink/Mediatek RT5350 MIPS processor @ 360MHz with dual band 802.11n Wi-Fi with data Rate up to 150Mbps
  • System Memory – 32 MB RAM
  • Storage – 8MB SPI Flash (for firmware) / 16 MB on limited edition
  • Available Signals (Via through holes):
    • 10/100M Ethernet
    • USB
    • UART, I2C, SPI
    • I2S, PCM
    • JTAG
    • Over 20 GPIOs
  • Power Pins – 3.3V, 1.8V, GND
  • Power Consumption – 200mA~210mA @ 5V (during ping)
  • Dimensions – 25×25 mm

The developers envisions the device to be used for applications such as Wi-Fi to USB bridges (for printers, scanners…), robot remote controls, portable VPN routers, wireless speakers and more. He also promised to release all hardware design files including schematics, PCB layout, bill of materials, as well as source code for the boot loader and openWRT.

VoCore Module with Dock

VoCore Module with Dock

The project is currently on Indiegogo (fixed funding) where the developer aims to gather at least $6,000 to complete development, and go ahead with mass-production to lower the unit cost of the board. An early bird pledge will allow you to get the board for $15,  after which it will go up to $20, and if you want the VoCore module with the Dock as shown above, you can pledge $40 to get a complete DIY kit (Soldering required) or $45 if you don’t feel like doing the assembly yourself. Shipping is free to the US and China, and an additional $3 anywhere else, with delivery scheduled for September and October depending on the perks.

The project’s progress can be followed on Vonger’s blog.

Thanks to Oliveira for the tip.

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  1. The Cageybee
    May 22nd, 2014 at 19:06 | #1

    1mm headers? Not very hobbyist friendly. :-(

  2. deets
    May 23rd, 2014 at 05:08 | #2

    Plus no RF shielding so no modular certifications.

  3. Mongrol
    May 23rd, 2014 at 06:06 | #3

    and ironically, it’ll need firmware blobs to run. So hardly open at all.

  4. May 23rd, 2014 at 21:54 | #4

    The project is already funded. I hope manufacturing will be OK.

  5. May 24th, 2014 at 02:54 | #5

    @Mongrol
    Can you tell us what kind of blobs? I am curious to see how it supports ad-hoc mode, and other special wifi modes, like VAPs or ad-hoc demo.

  6. Jon Smirl
    May 24th, 2014 at 08:44 | #6

    @zoobab I don’t believe anyone has gotten Adhoc mode to work on the RT5350. RT5350 is almost identical to RT3050/3052, it just has an integrated PA.

    He is using OpenWRT. You can check out the code here = https://openwrt.org/
    RT5350 has been in OpenWRT for years.

  7. Jon Smirl
    May 24th, 2014 at 08:50 | #7

    Poking around a little I think it can run Adhoc, but not simultaneously with AP/STA. That is a main advantage to the AR9331 and why all of the BATMAN people use Atheros.

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