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The XIAO Development Board From Seeeduino Packs a Powerful Processor in a Tiny Footprint

Seeed Studio’ Latest entry in their Arduino based Seeeduino family Comes to a tiny 23.5mm x 17.5mm dimension. The XIAO Development Board packed with Microchip’s ATSAMD21 microcontroller. The XIAO Development Board can be easily integrated into any wearables project . The Seeeduino XIAO is also a breadboard-friendly development board that’s similar to Adafruit’s Trinket M0 and Attiny85 based digispark. The only difference is it packs a more advanced processor (ATSAMD21G18 vs. ATSAMD21E18), adds more GPIOs, and is significantly smaller in size.

The XIAO Development Board features a 32-bit Arm Cortex-M0+ CPU with a 256Kb of Flash memory and 32Kb of SRAM. The XIAO is offering 14 GPIO pins, 11 analog pins, 11 digital pins, 10 PWM pins, and a DAC pin. It also packed with I2C, UART, and SPI interfaces. Along with a USB Type-C port, Few LEDs, one reset button, power out pads (for battery power). It has an operating voltage of 3.3V.

The Seeeduino XIAO is a breadboard-friendly development board that’s similar to Adafruit’s Trinket M0. Only it packs a more advanced processor (ATSAMD21G18 vs. ATSAMD21E18), adds more GPIOs, and is significantly smaller in size.

The back of the Seeeduino XIAO features four power pads designed for hooking batteries for battery-powered operations. This makes the development board ideal for wearables and other portable projects that don’t require connected power. SeeedStudio also states that they have added an extra 32.768KHz to the MCU’s internal crystal oscillator. For Help on time fixing with added stability and accuracy. Wich is a better way of approach from SeedStudio

Programming the board made simple as well the board makes use of the Arduino IDE and its extensive library. SeeedStudio is currently offering the Seeeduino XIAO on its product page. Which retails for just $4.90,.Making it one of the cheapest SAMD21-based boards on market right now!

STM32WLE5 : STMicro Launched World’s First Die Integrated LoRa SoC

Image source: STMicro Officialpage

STMicroelectronics has announced the first LoRa SoC, Named STM32WLE5 well Designed for the long-range and low-power wide-area networking.

However, the STMicro’s STM32WLE5 is not only the first SoC(System on Chip) to integrate LoRa connectivity. Their first claim comes from the fact that it is the world’s first to place it on a die. Rather than simply integrating on the same main SoC hardware.

The STM32WL comes with an Arm Cortex-M4 processor running at 48MHz with DSP (digital signal processor ) and memory protection unit. It comes with up to 256kB of flash memory and up to 64kB of SRAM.

The radio system supports LoRa modulation alongside (G)FSK, (G)MSK, and BPSK, and works from 150MHz up to 960MHz. With one output running up to 22dBm and the other optimized for power consumption, running at up to 15dBm.

The Semtech SX1262 sub-gigahertz radio thus finds itself closer to the heart of the design. which could potentially spell good news for power draw.

While looking to the security side of the design. It includes AES 128- and 256-bit off acceleration. Fully hardware-level random number generator, a private key accelerator, and a 96-bit ID unique to each chip. Connectivity includes two SPIs, three I2Cs, one ultra-low-power UART, two USART, seven 16- and 32-bit timers. It also comes with One analog to digital (ADC) and digital to analog converters (DAC) at a 12-bit of resolution. The SoC also comes with an onboard temperature sensor and two ULP comparators. Also plus up to 43 general-purpose input/outputs (GPIOs).

Arduino Portenta : Arduino goes pro CES2020

 The open-source hardware platform Arduino.cc today launched the new low-code platform and modular hardware system for IoT development. The whole concept is here to support small and medium tech businesses the tools to develop IoT hardware products without having to invest in specialized technology resources.

The new hardware board named the Arduino Portenta H7, which features everything needs to get started with making an IoT hardware solution for small and medium businesses, including a wide range of features, crypto-authentication chip and communications modules for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy, and also comes LTE which is arrow band IoT.

Powered by 32-bit Arm microcontrollers, Portenta combined with Cortex-M7, these low-power modules are meant for designing the industrial applications as well as edge processing solutions and robotics applications. It shall support a wide range of coding platform like Arm’s Mbed OS, support Arduino code, Python and JavaScript applications.

Built on Arm Pelion technology, the latest generation of Arduino solutions brings users the simplicity of integration and a scalable, secure, professionally supported service. 

Official comment from arduino.cc :

“By combining the power and flexibility of our production ready IoT hardware with our secure, scalable and easy to integrate cloud services, we are putting in the hands of our customers something really disruptive,” commented Arduino CEO Fabio Violante. “Among the millions of Arduino customers, we’ve even seen numerous businesses transform from traditional ‘one off’ selling to subscription-based service models, creating new IoT-based revenue streams with Arduino as the enabler. The availability of a huge community of developers with Arduino skills is also an important plus and gives them the confidence to invest in our technology”. 

The new H7 portenta module is now available for beta testers, with general availability dated for February 2020.

Xpedit – Atmosphere Monitoring Device for Hiking and Trekking

When you are planning to do an adventure journey or trekking to the wild, it is essential to have a device in your backpack that helps you to understand the environment.

For my upcoming adventure trip, I planned to build a handheld device that helps me to monitors temperature, humidity, air pressure, and altitude as well as an alarm can be set for any of the parameters that go beyond a user-defined threshold value. The device is powered with 1000maH lipo battery, with a backup of 72 Hours continuous running!

I made this device smaller in size, smarter to use, looks cool in your hands and durable outdoor. I keep the budget within $18!

Step1: Get the Parts and Tools!

Component and Parts :

Tools:

  • Soldering Iron
  • Multimeter
  • Allen key 3mm Screw Drivers
  • Tweezers
  • Files

Supplies:

  • Spray Paint (any color for your choice)
  • Spray paint clear coat
  • Sandpapers, Gloves, Mask, and Googles

Softwares:

Machines:

  • 3D Printer
  • Vinyl Cutter Machine (Not necessary, Just for cutting logo)

Step 2: Designing PCB Using Autodesk Eagle

I use Autodesk Eagle to design all my projects PCBs. It is free and easy to kickstart learning PCB designing.

I used fusion 360 to design the outline of the PCB and the enclosure for 3D printing. It is simpler by syncing the eagle project into the fusion 360 projects. I used the 3D model of the PCB (designed in Eagle) in fusion360 and I modified the outline of the PCB in Fusion360 and export it back to Eagle.

For Designing the Xpedit I used Atmega328p-AU as the microcontroller along with 20mhz resonator. Using BME280 is capable of sensing temperature, humidity, air pressure, and altitude. I Used 128 x 64 OLED to display the information. Xpedit is power by a 3.7V lipo battery, TP4056 is used to charge the battery accordingly. A buzzer and button-sized Vibrator motor are used for notification. A rotary encoder is used for user inputs and for changing into various modes.

You can download the Eagle Project files and Gerber Files from the GitHub

I ordered 10 PCBs of xpedit from Pcbway. I always choose pcbway because of their high-quality PCBs for cheaper price and a great one to one customer support!

If you want to directly manufacture the PCBs. check out PCBWAY

Step 3: Designing Enclosure Using Fusion360

I use Fusion360 for 3D modeling. Like I said we can sync the projects between Autodesk Eagle and Autodesk Fusion 360. It is easy to design an enclosure for the PCB with the help of the sync feature. I designed a minimalistic Enclosure for the Xpedit.

I also used 3mm brass threaded inserts for holding the enclosure parts as much stronger.

Step 4: 3D Printing the Enclosure Parts

Depending on what you need, you could modify the enclosure parts to suit your needs. You could use bigger capacity batteries or more sensors etc…

If you want to stick with the default design, then you can download the files from Github.

I used Ultimaker 2+ for 3D printing the parts. You can use any 3D printer that you have access to!

Step 5: Sanding the 3D Printed Parts

It took me about 8 hours of printing, But it really depends on your 3Dprinter and the slice settings!

After 3D printing the parts, I used Files and sandpaper for smoothening rough edges. It is better to use small files as I used in the above image

  Step 6: Install Threaded Inserts

I am using M3/6mm Threaded Inserts for screwing the lid to the bottom enclosure. If you’re using the same version of mine, You can install them now. These inserts will hold the PCB inside the enclosure and hold the lid strong!

Step 7: Spray Painting and Clear Coating the Enclosure

For a better and neat look, I used spray paint. You could use any color that you like. I used black as my choice. I did two coats of black spray paint. It is better to use a spray clear coat to protect the painting from peeling off!. Before you do spray painting, cover the threaded inserts using small pieces of masking tape. After painting the black color, I cut out an “XPEDIT” vinyl sticker using a vinyl cutter machine and stick it on the lid. Then i spray painted the clear coat to protect the paint and sticker.

Step 8: Soldering Components

Start soldering with the smallest components first. Probably the resistors and capacitors and then move your way to the larger ones. If you are soldering SMD components in your first time, it is a little bit hard to solder. Don’t worry, you will become used to after soldering a few components!

Step 9: Load Firmware in to the Xpedit

Time to upload your code and let the microcontroller do the work for you!

Do not use the Arduino NANO’s or UNO’s board bootloader. We are using 20Mhz Clock. Use the custom Atmega328p board manager from the below Link.

To upload the bootloader use an ISP programmer or use your Arduino as ISP. If you want to build Your USBtiny ISP programmer, check out my instructable to build one yourself from the link below. This is the same ISP that I am using to upload the firmware!

Download and upload the firmware from Github!

Link to the Custom Atmega328p Board manager for Arduino

Link to the Build your own USBtiny ISP programmer

Step 10: Place the Board in Enclosure!

Place the Board in Enclosure!

After uploading the firmware and everything goes good. You can place the board Inside. Before placing the board, First, place the Vibrator motor and apply a little hot glue or place a foam seal on the top of the motor and solder the wires to the pads on the board. Place the Slide Switch into the Lid and apply some hot glue to hold up the switch. Solder the switch Wire to the PWR Header pads on the PCB. At last, insert the battery into the battery slot and guide the wire through the channel. Solder the Redwire to the +(Plus) Header and Black Wire to the -(Minus).

Remove the header pins from the OLED display and place it in the Display Slot on the LID. Make use of a Duct tape or any tape with a strong bond for placing the display in the slot. Use Hot glue if necessary. Use a four-wire ribbon cable to connect the display on to the PCB.

Place the PCB in the enclossure and put the lid on. Use the four M3/15mm Screws to hold the enclosure. Stick the small compass into the slot on the lid using a two-part adhesive!

I used hot glue in a few places on the PCB, like the USB port, Display, and Switch for a strong bond.

Put on the Knob we printed earlier on to the rotary encoder after everything put together!

Step 11: Deploy

Now that’s it!

Don’t forget to take the Xpedit on your next Adventure trip!

All the files will be available in Github
If you want to put some new features on to xpedit Follow the project on Github!

This project is free and open-source. If you like what I do and want to support my projects consider following me on:

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