HLK-W801 board features Alibaba Xuantie XT804 based MCU with WiFi 4, Bluetooth LE 4.2

Earlier this month, we wrote about the 240 MHz WinnerMicro W806 Alibaba Xuantie XT804 C-Sky microcontroller with 1MB flash, 288KB SRAM found in the $2 HLK-W806 development board.

But the company has a nearly identical WinnerMicro W801 microcontroller that bumps the internal flash to 2MB, and more importantly adds a 2.4 GHz radio with WiFi 4 and Bluetooth LE 4.2 connectivity, and HiLink also released the HLK-W801 board that’s nearly identical to HLK-W806, except for some extra LEDs, a USB-C port instead of a Micro USB port, and a longer form factor to make space for the PCB antenna.

WinnerMicro W801 wireless MCU board
Source: cnblogs

HLK-W801 board specifications:

  • MCU – WinnerMicro W801 32-bit Alibaba XT804 microcontroller @ 240 MHz with 2MB Flash, 288KB RAM, FPU, DSP, crypto engine, 2.4 GHz radio
  • Connectivity
    • 802.11b/g/n WiFi 4 up to 150 Mbps supporting station, soft AP and station+soft AP modes, WPA2 security
    • Bluetooth 4.2
  • Expansion – 2x 24-pin headers with
    • 1x SDIO host with support for SDIO 2.0, SDHC, MMC 4.2
    • 1x SDIO device up to 200 Mbps
    • Up to 6x UART, 1x I2C
    • 1x SPI slave up to 50 MHz, 1x master/slave SPI
    • LCD controller with support for 4×32 interface
    • 1x I2S
    • Up to 4x ADC (16-bit, 1KHz sampling rate)
    • Up to 44x GPIOs, 5x PWM
    • Up to 15 touch sensors
    • ISO/IEC 7816 smart card interface
    • Reset, Wakeup, 3.3V, and GND signals
  • Debugging – CH340 via USB-C port
  • Misc – Reset and Boot buttons, 7x user LEDs including two connected to PWM capable pins
  • Power Supply – 5V via USB-C port
  • Power consumption – Standby: Less than 10 uA for W801 MCU, not the board itself
  • Dimensions – About 70 x 26 mm
HLK-W806 vs HLK-W801
HLK-W806 (top) vs HLK-W801 (bottom) – Source: cnblogs

Just like for the HLK-W806 board, you’ll find documentation (PDF schematics and datasheet in Chinese) and the SDK for HLK-W801 on Hi-Link website. Cnblogs’ user Milton has now used both boards, and written a getting started guide in Chinese for Ubuntu 20.04 and Windows 10. Any code for W806 should run on W801 since both are nearly identical apart from the extra storage and wireless connectivity.  As a side note, there’s also a WM-SDK-W806 on Github that receives some updates, but there’s no code for W801 yet.

It’s difficult to find benefits over ESP32-C3 RISC-V processor also offering WiFi 4, Bluetooth 5, and 5uA power consumption in deep sleep mode. Note that while most ESP32-C3 chips don’t come with embedded flash at all, the ESP32-C3FN4 features 4MB of embedded flash, so the built-in 2MB flash is not really an advantage in comparison. There may be specific projects that could leverage the feature sets of the processor and board, but I can’t think of any yet.

WinnerMicro W801 Block Diagram
WinnerMicro W801 Block Diagram

Pricing is not especially attractive at this time either, as the board goes for $10.17 on Aliexpress with free shipping, while WinnerMicro W801 MCU is offered for $7.11 on the same page But that may be because there’s only one seller that I could find at this stage, so let’s look on Taobao instead: 19.90 RMB ($3.1 US) the board and 6.29 RMB ($1 US) for the chip. That’s more like it.

Thanks to Marvin for the tip.

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3 Replies to “HLK-W801 board features Alibaba Xuantie XT804 based MCU with WiFi 4, Bluetooth LE 4.2”

  1. with better adc and more I/O this one could replace an additional microcontroller often required besides the esp controller for low level, pwm and timing stuff.

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