Beside excellent software support, and a great community, the two most popular maker boards on the market, namely Arduino and Raspberry Pi, also have many add-on boards, respectively called Shields and Hats, to expand their user and connect sensors, buttons, displays, and so on… Several Linaro’s 96Boards compliant development board launched last year such as LeMaker Hikey and DragonBoard 410c with support for recent versions of Android and Debian, and recently three Mezzanine add-ons boards, as well as somewhat pricey USB to TLL debug board, have started to show up to make it an even more interesting platform.
The first kit is made by LinkSprite and includes Linker Base Mezzanine Card with several sensors and cables.
Eight 4-pin connectors with ADC, UART, I2C, and GPIOs allow you connect the eight sensors ad modules provided with the kit:a button module, a red LED module, an light sensor, a thermal module, a linear/slide potentiometer module, a tilt module, a touch sensor module , and a relay module. Eight 20cm cables, and a plastic case are also provided.
You can find the documentation on LinkSprite wiki. Sadly, you can’t buy the kit directly from LinkSprite store, and the only seller appears to be Arrow Electronics, where it is sold for $25 + shipping.
The second mezzanine board is based on STM32F4 ARM Cortex M4 micro-controller.
- MCU – STMicro STM32F446 ARM Cortex-M4 @ 180MHz MCU in LQFP100 package
- Connectors – Low Speed and High Speed 96Boards CE connectors
- Expansion Headers
- Arduino Uno Revision 3 Headers
- 8x 4-pin Grove headers with I2C, GPIOs, SPI, UART, etc… ARM®mbed™ -enabled (see http://mbed.org) planned for the first quarter of 2016
- Sensors – 9-axis accelerometer/gyroscope/magnetometer, pressure, microphone
- USB – Micro USB port supporting virtual Com port, mass storage, and debug port
- Debugging – On-board ST-LINK/V2-1 debugger/programmer
- Misc – User LEDs and buttons, configuration jumpers
- Power Supply – Via 96Boards, or external +5V source connected through a Grove or Arduino Uno Revision 3 connector in standalone mode
- Dimensions – 85 x 55 mm (TBC)
The board is supported by IAR, Keil, GCC-based IDEs, and ARM mbed online, and documentation and tools can be found on STMicro B-F446E-96B01A product page. Price and availability have not been announced, and according to the diagram above has been designed by Dizic.
The last board is powered by an Atmel ATMega328 MCU and only uses the Low Speed connector of 96Boards platforms.
It supports up to 18 Grove modules and one Arduino shield, and features two extra SPI headers. The microcontroller can be programmed from the Arduino IDE. Half of the grove sockets are controlled by the MCU, while the other half is managed by the host processor on the main board. A USB-UART interface provides access to the 96Boards baseboard’s serial console.
The board should be available by the end of January. Pricing has not been released. A few more details can be found on 96Boards Sensor Mezzanine page.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
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