Posts with «srl» label

Pimoroni Wash Their Hands Of Arduino

One of the big stories of last year was the fracture of the official Arduino supply into two competing organisations at daggers drawn, each headed by a different faction with its origins in the team that gave us the popular single board computers. Since then we’ve had Arduinos from Arduino LLC (the [Massimo] Arduino.cc, arguably the ‘original’, and Arduino trademark holder in the United States) and Arduino SRL (the [Musto] Arduino.org, and owner of the Arduino trademark everywhere except the US) , two websites, two forks of the IDE, and “real” Arduino boards available under a couple of names depending on where in the world you live due to a flurry of legal manoeuvres. Yes. it’s confusing.

Today came news of a supplier throwing its hands up in despair  at the demands imposed on them as part of this debacle. Pimoroni, famous as supplier of Raspberry Pi goodies, has put up a blog post explaining why they will henceforth no longer be selling Arduinos. They took the side of Arduino LLC, and the blog post details their extensive trials and delays in making contact with the company before eventually being told they would have to agree to purchase substantial stocks both Arduino and Genuino branded versions of identical products and agree to sell them through separate supply channels for both Europe and the rest of the world before they could proceed. This is not a practical proposition for a small company, and the Pimoroni people deliver a very pithy explanation of exactly why towards the bottom of their post.

We’ve covered the Arduino versus Arduino debacle extensively in the past, this is simply the latest in a long line of stories. Pimoroni have hit the nail on the head when they make the point that the customers and suppliers really don’t care about spats between the various inheritors of the Arduino legacy, they just want an Arduino. And with so many other Arduino-compatible boards available they don’t have to look very hard to find one if the right shade of blue solder-resist or the shape of the map of Italy on the back isn’t a special concern. Can we be the only ones wishing something like this might knock a bit of sense into the various parties?


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, news
Hack a Day 11 Aug 21:00

First Look – Arduino M0 Pro with 32 bit ARM Cortex M0

Here at tronixstuff we keep an open mind with regards to new hardware, and in this spirit we have the following “first look” of the new Arduino M0 Pro (previously called the Arduino Zero) from Arduino SRL. If the term Arduino SRL is new to you – click here to learn more.

This is the second Arduino-branded board that takes the leap from 8-bit to 32-bit microcontrollers (with the Due being the first), and according to Arduino SRL offers a lot of promise:

With the new Arduino M0 pro board, the more creative individual will have the potential to create one’s most imaginative and new ideas for IoT devices, wearable technologies, high tech automation, wild robotics and other not yet thinkable adventures in the world of makers.

The Arduino M0 pro represents a simple, yet powerful, 32-bit extension of the Arduino UNO platform. The board is powered by Atmel’s SAMD21 MCU, featuring a 32-bit ARM Cortex® M0 core.

With the addition of the M0 board, the Arduino family becomes larger with a new member providing increased performance.

The power of its Atmel’s core gives this board an upgraded flexibility and boosts the scope of projects one can think of and make; moreover, it makes the M0 Pro the ideal educational tool for learning about 32-bit application development.
Atmel’s Embedded Debugger (EDBG), integrated in the board, provides a full debug interface with no need for additional hardware, making debugging much easier. EDBG additionally supports a virtual COM port for device programming and traditional Arduino boot loader functionality uses.

Lots of buzzwords in there, so let’s push that aside and first consider the specifications:

Microcontroller – ATSAMD21G18, 48pins LQFP – the “main” microcontroller
EDBG Microcontroller – AT32UC3A4256, 100pins VFBGA
Operating Voltage – 3.3 V
DC Input Voltage (recommended) – 6-15 V
DC Input Voltage (limits) – 4.5-20 V
Digital I/O Pins – 14, with 12 PWM and UART
Analogue Input Pins – 6, 12-bit ADC channels
Analogue Output Pins – 1, 10-bit DAC
DC Current per I/O Pin – 7 mA
Flash Memory – 256 KB
SRAM – 32 KB
Clock Speed – 48 MHz

Lots of good stuff there – increased clock speed, increased flash memory (sketch space) and SRAM (working memory). No EEPROM however you can emulate one.

Note that the M0 Pro is a 3.3V board – and also the DC current per I/O pin is only 7 mA. Once again the user will need to carefully consider their use of external circuitry and shields to ensure compatibility (as the “classic” Arduino boards are 5V and can happily source/sink much more current per I/O pin).

The ADC (analogue-to-digital) converters have an increased resolution – 12-bit… and the addition of a true DAC (digital-to-analogue) converter allows for a true variable voltage output. This could be useful for sound generation or other effects. You can pore over the complete details including board schematics from the arduino.org website.

Moving on, let’s have a look around the Arduino M0 Pro board itself:

You can’t miss the sticker asking you to download the IDE – as Arduino SRL have forked up the Arduino IDE and run off with it. Click here to download. Upon removing the sticker you have:

Note the connector for the JTAG interface which works in conjunction with Atmel Studio software for debugging. You can also use the USB connection which connects to the EDBG microcontroller (example). When Atmel offers a native MacOS version we’ll investigate that further. SPI isn’t D10~D13 as per the older boards, instead it is accessed via the six pins on the right-hand side of the board. Turning the M0 Pro over doesn’t reveal any surprises:

And like the Due there are two USB ports:

A Programming USB port for uploading sketches through the Arduino IDE and “normal” use, along with a native USB port for direct connection to the main microcontroller’s serial connection. For “regular” Arduino IDE use, you can stick with the Programming port as usual.

So let’s try out the M0 Pro. We’ve downloaded the arduino.org IDE (which can co-exist with the arduino.cc IDE). Drivers are included with the IDE for Windows users, so the board should be plug and play. Note that if you need to reflash the Arduino bootloader – Atmel Studio is required. Moving on – within the Arduino IDE you need to set the board type to “Arduino M0 Pro (Programming Port)”:

… and the Programmer to “M0 Pro Programming Port”:

… both of these options are found in the Tools menu. When using these faster boards we like to run a simple speed test that calculates Newton Approximation for pi using an infinite series, written by Steve Curd from the Arduino forum. You can download the sketch to try yourself.

In previous tests the Arduino Mega2560 completed the test in 5765 ms, and the Arduino Due crushed it in 690 ms. As you can see below the M0 Pro needed 1950 ms for the test:

Not bad at all compared to a Mega. Thus the M0 Pro offers you a neat speed bump in an Uno-compatible form-factor. At this point those of you who enjoy making your own boards and dealing with surface-mount components have an advantage – the Atmel ATSAMD21G18 is available in TQFP package for under US$6… so you could cook up your own high-performance boards. Example.

At this point I’m curious about the onboard 10-bit DAC that’s connected to pin A0, so I connected the DSO to A0 and GND, and uploaded the following sketch:

void setup() 
{
  pinMode(A0,OUTPUT);
}

void loop() 
{
  for (int i=0; i<1024; i++)
  {
    analogWrite(A0,i);
  }
  for (int i=1023; i>=0; --i)
  {
    analogWrite(A0,i);
  }
}

… which resulted with the following neat triangle waveform:

… and here it is with the statistics option:

With a frequency of 108.7 Hz there’s a lot of CPU overhead – no doubt controlling the MCU without the Arduino abstraction will result with increased performance. Finally – for some other interesting examples and “how to” guides for the M0 Pro, visit the Arduino labs page for this board.

Conclusion for now

There are many pros and cons with the Arduino M0 Pro. It is not the best “all round” or beginner’s board due to the limitations of the hardware GPIO. There’s the DAC which could be useful for creating Arduino-controlled power supplies – and plenty of PWM outputs… but don’t directly connect servos to them. However if you can live with the current limits – and need a faster clock speed with an Arduino Uno-compatible board type – then the M0 Pro is an option for you.

Furthermore the M0 Pro offers an interesting bridge into the world of 32-bit microcontrollers, and no doubt the true performance of the MCU can be unlocked by moving away from the Arduino IDE and using Atmel Studio. If you have any questions for the arduino.org team about the Arduino M0 Pro ask in their support forum.

And if you would like your own Arduino M0 Pro – tronixlabs.com is offering a 10% discount off this new board until the end of November 2015. Enter the coupon code “tronixstuff” in the shopping cart page to activate the discount**. tronixlabs.com – which along with being Australia’s #1 Adafruit distributor, also offers a growing range and great value for supported hobbyist electronics from Altronics, DFRobot, Freetronics, Jaycar, Seeedstudio and much much more.

As always, have fun and keep checking into tronixstuff.com. Why not follow things on twitterGoogle+, subscribe  for email updates or RSS using the links on the right-hand column, or join our forum – dedicated to the projects and related items on this website.

** discount not available in conjunction with any other offer, and not valid for CCHS/MELBPC deliveries or pickup orders. 

The post First Look – Arduino M0 Pro with 32 bit ARM Cortex M0 appeared first on tronixstuff.

Adafruit And The Arduinos At Maker Faire

The apparent lull on the Arduino front the last few weeks was just the calm before the storm that is the Bay Area Maker Faire (BAMF). Both companies claiming the Arduino name were there over the weekend, with news and new products in tow. Ironically, you could see from one booth straight over to the other. Small world.

Perhaps the biggest news from Arduino LLC is that hacker-friendly Adafruit is now going to be making officially-licensed boards in the US. Competing with this news, Arduino SRL brought its new boards, including the Yun Mini and ARM-powered Arduino M0. And [Massimo Banzi] and Arduino LLC seem to be taking an end-run around the Arduino SRL trademark by announcing the “Genuino” brand for European production. For all the details, read on!

The Adafruit Connection

As announced by [Massimo] in his “State of the Arduino” keynote speech at the BAMF, Arduino is licensing Adafruit to produce a range of the “most-requested” Arduino boards at their factory in New York. So those of you looking to support Arduino LLC with your purchases also get to help line [Ladyada]’s pockets at the same time. That’s a big win in our book.

Photo: Atmel

It’s not a complete surprise that Adafruit should get tapped as a US fab for Arduino.cc. They’ve been selling the boards and producing copious Arduino-related tutorials since their beginnings in 2005. More recently, Adafruit partnered with Arduino LLC to create the Gemma board, which is basically an ATTiny85-based Arduino-a-like in a tiny round, wearable-friendly board. (If you’re familiar with the Adafruit lineup, it’s essentially a Trinket in the round format of a LilyPad Arduino.)

Indeed, after the deal is done and the dust has settled, it’s a bit surprising to us that this hasn’t happened earlier, what with both Adafruit and Sparkfun producing licensed boards and Arduino LLC looking for new manufacturers. Anyway, good job Adafruit and Arduino (LLC)!

(New) Hardware from Arduino SRL

Arduino SRL had its Yun Mini, which is essentially a smaller version of the Yun — a mashup of an Arduino Leonardo with an OpenWRT-capable router chipset. We’ve reported on these previously but it’s fun to see them in the flesh.

The M0 is interesting. Before the troubles began, Arduino designed an ARM-M0+ based board with Atmel. Now Arduino LLC has it listed on their website as the Arduino Zero, but still hasn’t got any for sale yet. Arduino SRL has the boards on their website as the Arduino Zero Pro, with a different name, but is now touting this version as the “M0 Pro”. What’s in a name? Not much. The circuit layouts and parts appear identical.

The Portal Battle

Both of the Arduino companies are working on getting your Arduino development into “the cloud”. (Conscience compels us to note that “the cloud” is actually just other people’s computers.) Anyway, this essentially means new web-based and browser-based versions of the IDE that tie into web services. Interestingly enough, the two companies have different takes on what that entails.

According to their Maker Faire press release, Arduino SRL will be launching a web portal for makers to “promote and distribute their products” and share code and ideas. Located at my.arduino.org (which currently seems to be password-access only), the idea seems to be to create a mini-Tindie for Arduino-based products. This couples with their “Arduino IDE-alpha”, a JavaScript-based IDE that will run in the browser.

Meanwhile, Arduino LLC displayed previously announced their alternative development platform, Arduino Create. Arduino Create lets you write, compile and upload sketches “directly from the browser with the Arduino Web Editor”, and store your code in the “Arduino Cloud”. Arduino Create looks slick: certainly a lot better than the homely Java IDE that we’re all used to. It’s too early to tell what this “cloud” is all about, but it looks like it will include code sharing, schematic and wiring hookup storage, and easy sharing among users.

We already use blogs, Hackaday.io (shameless plug!), Github, and other “cloud” services to store our projects and code, so we’re not entirely sure what either of these portal offerings will bring to the table. It’s 2015, is anyone still hurting for project hosting space on the web?

Cynically, we note that both of these companies are in a battle to “own” the Arduino community and that getting people to host code and projects on their servers is an obvious strategy, and providing a web-based IDE to facilitate this capture is the tactic.

And before we leave “the cloud”, we should note that both Arduinos are late to the game. codebender has been around and programming Arduinos on the web since 2012.

New Names

Photo: Making Society

Finally, as if it weren’t bad enough with Arduino LLC and Arduino SRL, [Massimo Banzi] also announced that licensed boards for the European market will be sold under the new “Genuino”.

Actually, this is a pretty cagey maneuver, because it side-steps the European trademark issues (which [Massimo] referred to as “the bullsh*t” in his talk) and is a cute name to boot. “Genuine”, get it?

Our take? As [Massimo] almost said in this video interview with Make, “a rose by any name would smell as sweet.” If Arduino LLC loses the trademark lawsuit in Italy, they’ll not be allowed to sell boards using the “Arduino” name. The best way to limit the damage in the future is to make the switch now, while everyone is watching, and give the market time to adapt.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, cons

Arduino vs Arduino

What side do you support?

The form submission is anonymous.
I will post the results on Google+ around the 14th of April 2015.

Make your choice below:
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ScottC 08 Apr 11:31