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Posts Tagged ‘arduino’

Wio LTE GPS Tracker Board Comes with a 4G Modem, Supports Espruino Firmware (JavaScript Programming)

September 6th, 2017 6 comments

Seeed Studio launched Wio GPS tracker with a 2G GSM module a few months ago, and while it should work in some countries, others are phasing out 2G networks, and only support 3G or 4G. The company has now launched an update with Wio LTE board with the same form factor, and most of the same features except they replaced the 2G/Bluetooth/GNSS module with a 4G LTE/GNSS module, and Atmel SAMD21 ARM Cortex M0+ microcontroller by an STMicro STM32 ARM Cortex-M4F MCU.

Wio LTE board specifications:

  • MCU – STMicro STM32F405RG ARM Cortex M4F MCU @ 168 MHz with 1MB flash, 192+4KB SRAM
  • Storage – micro SD slot
  • Connectivity via Quectel EC21-A (America) module
    • LTE Cat.1 modem:
      • FDD LTE: B2/B4/B12 WCDMA: B2/B4/B5
      • AT Command: 3GPP TS27.007 and enhanced AT Commands
      • Data – LTE-FDD Max 10Mbps(DL) Max 5Mbps (UL)
      • NanoSIM card
      • 2x u.FL antenna connectors
    • GNSS – GPS/BeiDou/GLONASS/Galileo/QZSS with 1x u.FL GNSS antenna connector
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio jack with mic and stereo audio
  • Expansion – 6x Grove Connectors (2x Digital, 2x Analog, 1x UART, 1x I2C)
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for power and firmware update
  • Misc – RGB LED, LTE power button, MCU reset button
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port, 2-pin JST 1.0 header for battery
  • Dimensions – 54.7mm x 48.2mm

When I reviewed Wio GPS Tracker, the instructions provided to use with the Arduino IDE did not work very well. So let’s hope they will come up with a better and up-to-date getting started guide for Wio LTE board in their Wiki. Alternatively, the new board also supports Espruino for JavaScript programming for the I/Os, micro SD card, 4G, SMS, and GPS, and shown in Espruino Wio LTE page.

Seeed Studio is now taking pre-order for Wio LTE US Version for $97.50 plus shipping. Quectel also has other EC21 modules like EC21-E (EMEA, Korea, Thailand, India), EC21-AUT (Australia), and others, so I’d expect Seeed Studio to also launch variants of Wio LTE board that work in other countries.

RadioShuttle Network Protocol is an Efficient, Fast & Secure Alternative to LoRaWAN Protocol

September 6th, 2017 5 comments

LoRaWAN protocol is one of the most popular LPWAN standards used for the Internet of Things today, but some people found it “lacked efficiency, did not support direct node-to-node communication, and was too costly and far too complicated for many applications”, so they developed their own LoRa wireless protocol software called RadioShuttle, which they claim is “capable of efficiently sending messages in a fast and secure way between simple LoRa modules”.

Some of the key features of the protocol include:

  • Support for secure or insecure (less time/energy) message transmission, multiple messages transmission in parallel
  • Unique 32-bit device ID (device number) per LoRa member, unique 16-bit app ID (program number for the communication)
  • Security – Login with SHA-256 encrypt password; AES-128 message encryption
  • Air Traffic Control – Nodes only send if no LoRa signal is active on that channel.
  • Optimized protocol –  Message delivery within 110 ms (SF7, 125 kHz, free channel provided); default LoRa bandwidth 125 kHz (125/250/500 kHz adjustable), as narrow bandwidths allow for a longer range; Automatic transmitting power adjustment
  • Operating modes
    • Station, constant power supply recommended –  12 mA in receiving mode, transmitting mode (20 to 100 mA)
    • Node Online (permanently receiving), constant power supply recommended – 12 mA in receiving mode, transmitting mode (20 to 100 mA)
    • Wireless sensor (Node Offline checking) – Node reports back regularly. 1 µA in standby mode, battery operation for years.
    • Wireless sensor (Node Offline) – Node only active if events are reported. 1 µA in standby mode, battery operation for years.

The Radioshuttle library has a low memory and storage footprint with current requirements of

  • 100 kB Flash for RadioShuttle library with SHA256 & AES
  • 10 kB RAM for Node Offline/Checking/Online mode
  • 10 kB RAM for Station Basic mode (RAM depends on the number of nodes)
  • 1 MB RAM for Station Server mode (Raspberry Pi, 10,000 LoRa nodes)

The solution supports various Arduino boards, some ARM Mbed boards (e,g, STM32L0, STM32L4), and Linux capable boards like Raspberry Pi or Orange Pi (planned). Semtech SX1276MB1MAS and SX1276MB1LAS (SX1276-based), MURATA CMWX1ZZABZ-078/091 (found in STM32 Discovery kit for LoRaWAN), and HopeRF RFM95 transceivers are supported.

LonRa Board – Click to Enlarge

The developers have also designed their own LongRa board, compatible with Arduino Zero, based on Semtech SX1276 LoRa radio chip with a 168 dB link budget and support for 868 MHz & 915 MHz frequency. The board can be powered by its micro USB port, or by two AA batteries if you’re going to use the board as a wireless sensor node.

RadioShuttle protocol is not open source for now, and while it support multiple devices as stated previsouly, if you are not using LongRa board, a 25 Euros license is required per device.

 

ESPDUINO-32 & Wemos D1 R32 ESP32 Boards Support (Most) Arduino UNO Shields

September 4th, 2017 2 comments

The compact ESP32 NodeMCU like board are great for many project, but in case you plan to leverage your existing Arduino shield, it’s more convenient to have a compatible board. We’ve previously seen Noduino Quantum board sold for 99 RMB on Taobao, and $25.90 on AnalogLamb, but doit.am has designed a cheaper model called ESPDUINO-32 that supports shields compatible with Arduino UNO, and sold for $13.73 on DealExtreme.

ESPDUINO-32 board specifications:

  • Wireless Module – ESP-WROOM-32 based on Espressif ESP32 dual core Tensilica LX6 processor with 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 LE
  • Expansion – Arduino UNO headers with SPI, I2C, digital I/Os, 1x analog input up to 3.2V, 5V, GND
  • USB – 1x USB device port
  • Misc – Button
  • Power Supply – 5 to 12V input via DC jack or Vin pin
  • Dimensions – 66 x 53.3 x 13.5 mm

The board can be programmed with the Arduino IDE selecting ESP 32 Dev Module board. You’ll find links to documentation in Smartduino github account. Note that if you have shields using the Analog input they may not work properly since there’s only one input supporting up to 3.2V, as Arduino UNO board support 6 analog inputs up to 5V.

While searching for other sellers for the board, I also came across Wemos “TTGo” D1 R32 going for just over $10 on Banggood, and basically the same specifications as ESPDUINO-32, except it replaces the USB type B receptacle with a micro USB port. Despite the name, the board does not appears to be designed by Wemos, since there’s no mention of it on their Wiki nor Aliexpress store.

LoFive is a Tiny Open Source Hardware Board based on SiFive FE310 RISC-V Open SoC

August 31st, 2017 9 comments

Do you remember HiFive1? It’s an Arduino compatible board based on the SiFive FE310 open source RISC-V SoC. Michael Welling has now started working on LoFive board using the same processor, but in a much smaller & breadboard friendly form factor.

LoFive board specifications:

  • MCU – SiFive Freedom E310 (FE310) 32-bit RV32IMAC processor @ up to 320+ MHz (1.61 DMIPS/MHz)
  • Storage – 128-Mbit SPI flash (ISSI IS25LP128)
  • Expansion – 2x 14-pin headers with JTAG, GPIO, PWM, SPI, UART, 5V, 3.3V and GND
  • Misc – 1x reset button, 16 MHz crystal
  • Power Supply – 5V via pin 1 on header; Operating Voltage: 3.3 V and 1.8 V
  • Dimensions – 38 x 18 mm (estimated)

The board will be programmable with Arduino IDE + Cinco just like HiFive1 board.

Click to Enlarge

The board is also open source hardware, so beside the aforelinked info on Hackster,io, you’ll also find the KiCAD schematics, PCB layout, and 3D renders, released under CERN Open Hardware License v1.2, on Github.

$6.10 Loraduino Board Combines LoRa and Atmega328P MCU

August 30th, 2017 8 comments

We’ve previoulsy seen low costs SX1278 LoRa modules @ 433 MHz  which you could connect to your own board, but Electrodragon is now selling Loraduino board with an Atmega328P MCU and SX1278 for just $6.10 / 5 Euros plus shipping, and using a layout similar to Arduino Pro Mini.

Loraduino specifications:

  • MCU – Microchip / Atmel Atmega328P MCU with Arduino pro mini bootloader
  • Storage – 16Mbit SPI flash for data
  • LoRa
    • Semtech SX1278 IC with 433mhz, or 470mhz central frequency
    • 10 km max range
    • 20dbm max power rate (configurable by software)
    • Tx current: 120 mA @ + 20 dBm; 90mA @ + 17dBm;  29mA @ + 13dBm
    • Data Rate –  1.2K to 300Kbps with FSK;  18 bps to 37.5Kbps with LoRa
  • Expansion
    • SX1278 Lora: leadout for pins IO1, IO2, IO3
    • Atmega: 14x digital input/output pins (including 6x PWM outputs), 6x analog inputs (TBC)
  • Misc – Programmable LED (D7),  power LED, and charge status LED.
  • Power Supply – On-board Lithium battery source jack, and MCP73831 smart charge IC. Charge when 5V power supplied to board.
  • Dimensions – 46×23 mm (Arduino Pro Mini: ~33x17mm)
  • Operating temperature –  -40 ℃ ~ +85 ℃

The board ships with a spring pin antenna, and a battery cable. The MCU and SX1278 chip are connected through an SPI interface. There’s limited information on the Wiki, where they explain you can use the board with Radiohead RF95 library, and load rf95_reliable_client.ino in Arduino IDE to test it out.

Thanks to Zoobab for the tip

Aspencore 2017 Embedded Markets Study – Programming Languages, Operating Systems, MCU Vendors, and More

August 15th, 2017 2 comments

Aspencore media group asked readers of their EE Times and Embedded.com websites to fill out an online survey about their embedded system projects. They got 1,234 respondents mostly from North America (56.3%), followed by Europe (25.2%), and Asia (10.6%). This resulted in a 102-page market study which you can download here. I’ve extracted a few slides to have a look at some of the trends.

My current embedded project is programmed mostly in:

C language is still the most used language in embedded systems, but other languages like C++, Python and even assembly language are gaining traction.

Please select ALL of the operating systems you are currently using.

Operating system is more spread with Linux being the most used via Embedded Linux distributions, Debian, and Ubuntu. FreeRTOS comes in second place, while Android registers fourth with 13%.

Which of the following Version Control software systems do you currently use?

Git has finally supplanted Subversion in 2017, with all other version control software losing ground.

Did you start your current embedded design with a development board?

Switching to some hardware slides, 44% used a development board to start their embedded design with ST Microelectronics, Texas Instruments and Xilinx at the top three.

Which form factor boards are you currently using, and considering using ?

Most used custom or proprietary form factors in their designs, and I’m actually surprised at the rather large number of designs using low cost boards form factors such as the ones used in Arduino, Raspberry Pi, or BeagleBone boards. The “considering using” for Raspberry Pi is particularly high. The question does not clearly states whether it’s for evaluation / prototyping only, or in the end product however.

Please select the processor vendors you are currently using.

The chart is a little confusion due to the recent M&A activity, but Texas Instruments, Freescale (now NXP) and Atmel (Now Microchip) take the top three spots. You cannot add Freescale (26%) and NXP (17%), or Atmel (26%) and Microchip (25%), since some respondents may have already selected both. Renesas is only at 9%, but it was only second to NXP (Freescale + NXP) in MCU market share in 2016, so maybe the apparent discrepancy is due to the sampling in the survey with the majority of respondents from the US & Canada, which may also explain why Greater China companies like Holtek, or CEC Huada Electronic Design do not register at all.

You’ll find many more interesting slides in the full study.

Sony Spritzer is an Arduino Compatible Board with Built-in GPS, Audio Codec

August 14th, 2017 9 comments

Look who is joining the maker community! Sony has showcased their Arduino compatible Spritzer board during the Maker Faire Tokyo on August 5-6. Despite lacking on-board network connectivity, the board is said to have been designed for IoT applications with features such as an integrated GPS and an advanced digital audio codec and amplifier.

Sony Spritzer specifications:

  • MCU – Sony CDX5602 ARM Cortex-M4F ×6 micro-controller clocked at up to 156 MHz with 1.5MB SRAM
  • Storage – 8MB Flash Memory, micro SD card
  • GNSS – GPS, GLONASS, supported
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio jack
  • Expansion I/Os
    • Digital I/O Pins – SPI, I2C, UART, PWM ×4 (3.3V)
    • Analog Pins – 6ch (3.3V range)
    • Audio I/O – 8ch Digital MICs or 4ch Analog MICs, Stereo Speaker, I2S, CXD5247 audio codec with 192 kHz/24bit High-Resolution audio
    • 2x camera interfaces
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for programming
  • Power Supply – Via Power barrel and Vin pin?
  • Dimensions – Arduino UNO form factor?

In case you wonder why they bother to include GPS, but not WiFi or Bluetooth, that’s because the board is actually based on a Sony GPS chipset (CDX5602GF or CDX5602GG) that’s manufactured using FD-SOI process allowing for much lower power consumption. I don’t understand the meaning of “x6” in the specs, unless that’s an hexa-core Cortex M4F MCU, which I don’t think is possible.

Click to Enlarge

The block diagram above does a decent job at explaining what’s feasible with the two chipsets used in the board. You’ll have to connect external module to get Bluetooth, WiFi, and LTE, a display up to 360×240 resolution can be used via SPI, all sort of sensors can be connected via the expansion header, the board is suitable for microphone arrays, and it can be powered by batteries thanks to a charger circuit and fuel gauge inside CXD5247 audio codec / PMU chip. The board can be programmed with the Arduino IDE and USB cable.

The company demonstrated the board the Maker Faire with a drone utilizing the GPS and the 6-axis sensor support, a smart speaker utilizing the audio functions, a self-driving line-tracing miniature car, and a low-power smart sensing IoT camera using the camera interface of Spritzer.

You’ll have to get patient before getting hold the board, as the Spritzer board is planned to be available for developers in early 2018. Visit the product page (in Japanese) for more details.

Thanks to Jasbir for the tip.

Microchip SAM D5x and SAM E5x ARM Cortex-M4 Micro-Controllers Launched with Optional Ethernet and CAN Bus

August 2nd, 2017 No comments

Microchip has just introduced two new families of micro-controllers based on ARM Cortex-M4F with SAM D5x and SAM E5x series sporting up to 1 MB of dual-panel flash and 256 KB of SRAM both with ECC support. Both families also support QSPI flash with XIP (eXecute In Place) support, features an SD card controller and a capacitive touch controller, with SAM E5x family also adding support for two CAN-FD ports and Ethernet.

Microchip SAM A5x/E5x key features and specifications:

  • MCU Core – ARM Cortex-M4F core running at 120 MHz with single precision Floating Point Unit (FPU)
  • Memory – Internal memory architecture with user configurable Tightly Coupled Memory, System memory, Memory Protection Unit and 4KB Combined I-cache and D-cache; up to 256KB ECC SRAM, up to 1MB ECC flash
  • Storage I/F – Quad Serial Peripheral Interface(QSPI) with Execute in Place (XIP) Support
  • Peripherals
    • Up to 2x Secure Digital Host Controller (SDHC)
    • Peripheral Touch Controller (PTC) supporting up to 256 channels of capacitive touch
    • Full speed USB with embedded Host/device
    • Dual 1Msps 12-bit ADCs up to 32 channels with offset  and gain error compensation.
    • Dual 1Msps, 12-bit DAC and analog comparator
    • Up to 8x Serial communication (SERCOM) ports configurable as UART/USART, ISO 7816, SPI or I2C
    • SAM E5x series only:
      • 10/100M Ethernet MAC with IEEE1588 (E53/E54)
      • Dual Bosch CAN-FD 1.0 Controller (E51/E54)
  • Security – Symmetric (AES) and Asymmetric(ECC) Encryption, Public Key Exchange Support (PUKCC), TRNG and SHA- based memory integrity checker
  • Power Modes – Supports 5 Low power modes with 65µA/MHz Active Power Performance
  • Packages – 48 to 128-pin package options
  • Temperature Range – -40°C to 85°C

Some SAMD5x SKUs are pin-to-pin compatible ARM Cortex M0+ based SAMD2X MCU, so you can easily upgrade existing design with a more powerful MCU core. There only one main “sub-family” with SAMD5x: SAMD51, but SAME5x has three sub-families depending on Ethernet and CAN options:

  • SAME51 – 2x CAN-FD
  • SAME53 – Ethernet MAC
  • SAME54 – 2x CAN-FD and Ethernet MAC

Click to Enlarge

Microchip has used the higher end version of SAME54 processor in SAM E54 Xplained Pro Evaluation Kit in order to help customer kick-start development as soon as possible. Key features for ATSAME54-XPRO board:

  • MCU – Microchip ATSAME54P20A microcontroller
  • Storage – 256 Mbit QSPI Flash, SD/SDIO card connector, AT24MAC402 serial EEPROM with EUI-48 MAC address
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet (RJ45) via KSZ8091RNA PHY
  • USB – micro USB interface, host, and device
  • Expansion
    • Parallel Capture Controller header (ArduCAM compatible)
    • CAN connector
    • Three Xplained Pro extension headers
  • Debugging
    • 10-pin Cortex Debug Connector with SWD
    • 20-pin Cortex Debug + ETM Connector with SWD and four bit trace
    • Embedded Debugger
    • Embedded current measurement circuitry (XAM)
  • Security – Microchip ATECC508 CryptoAuthentication device
  • Misc – 1x reset button, 1x programmable button, 1x QTouch PTC button, 1x yellow user LED, backup super capacitor, 32.768 kHz & 12 MHz crystals
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port

The board and all Atmel SAMD5x / E5x processor are supported by Atmel Studio 7 IDE, and Atmel START online tool to configure peripherals and software.

Microchip SAM D5x and SAM E5x are in available in volume production, with pricing starting at $2.43 for 10K orders. SAM E54 Xplained Pro Evaluation Kit is available for $84.99. Adafruit is also working on – likely cheaper –  SAMD51 based Feather M4 and Metro M4 boards that will support Arduino (See github for current code).

More details can be found on SAM D and SAM E MCU product pages.