Tag Archives: Arduino DUE

ERASynth, An Arduino-Compatible RF Signal Generator

A young startup based in Istanbul has launched a crowdfunding campaign to bring its RF Signal Generator “ERASynth” into mass production. ERA Instruments is specializing in creating solutions in the areas of analysis, modelling, design and development of Communcation, RADAR and SIGINT systems.

ERASynth is a portable analog signal generator that generates RF frequencies from 250 kHz to 15 GHz. The output signal is produced using an advanced multiloop PLL architecture to minimize the phase noise and spurious. This clean signal can be used as a stimulus source for RF testing, an LO source for down-conversion or up-conversion, a clock source for data converters, and as a test signal source for software defined radio (SDR).

ERASynth Features & Specifications

  • Architecture: Multiloop Integer-N PLL driven by a tunable reference. No fractional-N or integer boundary spurs
  • Frequency Range:
    • ERASynth: 10 MHz to 6 GHz
    • ERASynth+: 250 kHz to 15 GHz
  • Amplitude Range: -60 to +15 dBm
  • Phase Noise: typical phase noise @ 1 GHz output and 10 kHz offset. -120 dBc/Hz for the standard version and -125 dBc/Hz the plus version.
  • Frequency Switching Time: 100 µs
  • Reference: Ultra-low noise 100 MHz VCXO locked to a ±0.5 ppm TCXO for standard version and ±25 ppb OCXO for the plus one.
  • MCU: Arduino Due board with BGA package Atmel Microcontroller (ATSAM3X8EA-CU)
  • Interfaces:
    • Wi-Fi interface for web-based GUI access
    • Serial-USB (mini USB) for serial access
    • Micro USB for power input
    • Trigger Input (SMA) for triggered sweep
    • REF In (SMA) for external reference input
    • REF Out (SMA) for 10 MHz reference output
    • RF Out
  • Dimensions: 10 cm x 14.5 cm x 2 cm
  • Weight: < 350 g (12.5 oz)
  • Power Input: 5 to 12 V
  • Power Consumption:
    • < 6 W for ERASynth
    • < 7 W for ERASynth+
  • Enclosure: Precision-milled, nickel-plated aluminum case
  • Open Source: Schematics, embedded Arduino code, Web GUI source code, and RS-232 command set

ERASynth is only 10 x 14.5 x 2 cm sized and it is consuming less than 7 Watts. It can be powered by a cell phone power-bank. Inclusion of an on-board Wi-Fi module and an open source web GUI makes ERASynth ideal for portable applications. Also its price make it affordable by everyone including makers, students, universities, research labs, and startups.

Compared with other low cost USB signal generators, ERASynth provides better features in many factors. It also delivers similar functionality of the professional RF signal generator with lower price. The tables below demonstrate the comparison.

The crowdfunding campaign on Crowd Supply will be closed by tomorrow, they raised about $35,000 of $25,000 goal. You can order your ERASynth for $500 and ERASynth+ for $750. More technical details are available on the campaign page.

Beginner-Friendly Two-Sided Development Board

MikroElektronika, the microcontroller development boards and accessory boards manufacturer, introduced a new development board for beginners and non-experts called Flip & Click.
Flip & Click is a rapid prototyping tool that is an Arduino Due on one side, and four mikroBUS™ sockets on the other side.

The Two Sides Of Flip & Click Board
The Two Sides Of Flip & Click Board

The first side, the blue side, is Arduino Due side, it based on the Atmel ATSAM3x8E ARM® Cortex®-M3 processor which runs at 84 MHz and features 512KB of flash memory and 100KB of SRAM. This side is compatible with Arduino Leonardo shields thanks to its connectors, which makes it easy to expand its functionality and to add more features.

The other side, the white side, is the Click side. It has four mikroBUS sockets marked from A to D and four blue LEDs, also marked from A to D.

Flip & Click On Board Parts
Flip & Click On Board Parts

The mikroBus is a proprietary add-on board interface specification by MikroElektronika (mikroE). It consists of two 8-pin rows that expose I2C, SPI, and serial ports, 5V and 3V3 power supply, an analogue input, a PWM output, and reset & interrupt signals. All these pins, except the power supply ones, can be used as GPIO too. MikroE has developed several hundreds of extension boards for it, many of them have sensors, and there are also GPS, phone and other wireless boards, motor & LED drivers, etc.

Flip & Click board specifications:

  • MCU – Atmel AT91SAM3X8E Cortex M3 micro-controller @ 84 MHz with 512 KB flash, 100 KB SRAM (64+32+4), also used in Arduino Due.
  • Expansions Headers
  • Arduino UNO compatible headers on the top
  • 4x mikroBUS socket on the bottom
  • USB – micro USB port for programming and power
  • Misc – Reset button, LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port
Flip & Click Software & Hardware
Flip & Click Software & Hardware

Flip & Click can be programed with both Arduino IDE and Python. For Arduino IDE programmers, you need only to plug it in with USB cable, run the IDE and start writing your sketches – it will be recognized as Arduino Due.

For Python lovers, they can use Zerynth Studio and select MikroElektronika Flip & Click from ‘available boards’ after connecting it, then you can start writing your programs.

Flip & Click is available for $39 on its official page where you can also get access to full documentation, resources, and sample projects. Many users have published their reviews about this board and you can find them here and here.

Flip & Click During MakerFaire
Flip & Click During MakerFaire