Tag Archives: Mcu

Adafruit Feather 328P – Arduino Uno on the Feather Family

Adafruit Feather 328P is the latest addition to the ever-expanding feather family boards manufactured by Adafruit. The Adafruit Feather development boards are a set of development boards made by Adafruit that can either be standalone, stackable or both. The feather boards all includes a LiPo battery connector, which will allow projects to easily be powered by LiPo batteries for on the go use.

Adafruit Feather 328P
Adafruit Feather 328P

The Adafruit Feather 328P is based on the popular Atmega 328P, the same processor that powers most Arduino maker boards especially the legendary Arduino Uno. With the Feather 328P, you can bring classic Arduino Uno code and even libraries to the Feather form factor. Measured at about 51mm x 23mm x 8mm (without the headers soldered in) and it weighs just 4.8g.

The Feather 328P is lightweight and a small form factor development board. At the heart of the Feather 328P is an Atmel ATmega 328P running a 3.3V and 8MHz. At 8MHz, the feather 328P can’t fully compete with the Arduino Uno which runs at 16MHz but is fair enough. The Feather 328P includes a 32KB of flash memory (storage memory), 2KB of RAM, and it uses the SiLabs CP2104 to give it a USB-to-Serial program which also provides users with some integrated debugging capabilities.

feather on a breadboard

The Feather 328P boards come without any headers soldered, so you have to solder yourself to start using it for prototyping. Unlike the Arduino Uno and some other Arduino board which are not fully breadboarding compatible, the Feather 328P fits perfectly into a breadboard and will be great for quick prototyping without the need for jumper cables.

Like other Feather development boards, the Feather 328P also includes a LiPo battery connector for any 3.7V Lithium Polymer batteries with a built-in battery charging. It will charge straight from the micro USB port, and you don’t necessarily need a battery to make it work, it will run just fine straight from the micro USB connector. The Feather will automatically switch over to USB power when it’s available making sure your project never goes offline as far you still got some juice in the battery though. You can also measure the battery voltage through one of the analog pins, the analog pin must not be connected to anything for this to work.

The following are some of the specifications of the Feather 328P:

  • Size  – 2.0″ x 0.9″ x 0.28″ (51mm x 23mm x 8mm)
  • Weight – 4.8 grams
  • Processor – ATmega328p @ 8MHz with 3.3V logic/power
  • Power –
    • 3.3V regulator with 500mA peak current output
    • Built-in 100mA lipoly charger with charging status indicator LED
  • USB serial converter (CP2104) for USB bootloading and serial port debugging
  • GPIO –
    • 19 GPIO pins + 2 analog-in-only pins
    • 6x PWM pins
  • Connectivity –
    • Hardware I2C, SPI.
    • For UART devices, should use SoftwareSerial
  • Others –
    • 8 x analog inputs (two are shared with I2C)
    • Pin #13 red LED for general purpose blinking
    • Two LEDs for serial data RX & TX
    • Power/enable pin
    • 4 mounting holes
    • Reset button

The Feather 328P comes with an extra prototyping area to add some couple of components without using a breadboard. The Feather 328P is available for purchase and priced at $12.50, you can buy now online at Adafruit Store. To find out about the other feather boards, check them out here.

Panasonic PAN9420 is a standalone fully embedded Wi-Fi Module

Building an Internet of Things infrastructure most times depends upon the wireless connectivity, but there are many options for wireless and not every device is IP addressable – a requisite feature for IoT. There are many wireless interface options, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), ZigBee, Z-Wave, Lora, RFID and Satellite, each with their own unique balance of power, range, data rates, mesh networking, interference immunity, and ease of use. However, some interfaces are not yet native-IP enabled, so cannot be addressed directly or exchange data with other devices and servers over the Internet. These then require a separate gateway, adding expense and complexity to the final solution.

PAN9420 Wi-Fi module

This is where Wi-Fi stands out: it is based on the IEEE 802.11 standards with native IP addressability, is ubiquitous, well understood, and can scale well in terms of data rates to optimize for power consumption. The PAN9420 is a 2.4 GHz ISM band Wi-Fi-embedded module from Panasonic.

The PAN9420 is a fully embedded stand-alone 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi module and the successor of the PAN9320.  It includes a wireless radio and an MCU for easy integration of Wi-Fi connectivity into various electronic devices. The module is specifically designed for highly integrated and cost-effective applications and includes a fully shielded case, integrated crystal oscillators, and a chip antenna.

The PAN9420 is a 29.0×13.5×2.66mm SMT package with a fully shielded case and a high-performance Marvell® 88MW300 MCU/WLAN System-on-Chip (SoC) inside, an integrated crystal oscillator at 38.4MHz, a clock crystal at 32.768KHz, medium access controller, encryption unit, boot ROM with patching capability, internal SRAM, and a chip antenna with option for a selectable external antenna. It also comes with an integrated web server, over-the-air firmware update, two UART interfaces, and a full security suite.

Block Diagram for the PAN9420 module

Simultaneous Wi-Fi connections can easily be implemented from the module with other smart devices as a result of its support for parallel access point and infrastructure mode. Client (STA), a micro access point (μAP), and Ad-hoc mode (Wi-Fi Direct) applications are enabled by the pre-programmed Wi-Fi SoC firmware. Raw data can be sent over the air from UART to smart devices, web servers, or PC applications with the transparent mode.

Unlike the PAN9320, the PAN9420 has an enhanced temperature range of -40 °C to +85 °C and reduced power consumption in transmitting, idle and power down. The PAN9320 and PAN9420 both have the same PCB configuration making it easy to migrate from PAN9320 without any changes to the PCB design. With a power supply of 3.0 to 3.6V and a power down mode current consumption less than 1mA, the PAN9420 is suitable for low power applications and should run comfortably with coin cell batteries.

It’s available in an Evaluation Kit containing one PAN9420 Mother Board (MB), one PAN9420-ETU daughter board which includes the PAN9420 FCC approved version, and one USB-cable packaged in a large case. The PAN9420 FCC version module already comes preinstalled with a firmware for easy deploying IoT based applications. The Evaluation Kit is going for around $128 and the PAN9420 module is costing at about $20.76 on digikey.

MicroZed is a Powerful and Low-Cost ARM + FPGA Linux Development Board

MicroZed is a low-cost development board from Avnet, the makers of the $475 ZedBoard and the entry level MiniZed development boards. Its unique design allows it to be used as both a stand-alone evaluation board for basic SoC experimentation or combined with a carrier card as an embeddable system-on-module (SOM).

The MicroZed processing system is based on the Xilinx Zynq®-7000 All Programmable SoC. The Zynq®-7000 All Programmable SoC (AP SoC) family integrates the software programmability of an ARM®-based processor with the hardware programmability of an FPGA, enabling key analytics and hardware acceleration while integrating CPU, DSP, ASSP, and mixed-signal functionality on a single device. The processing system offers the ability to run standard operating systems like Linux, real-time operating systems, or a combination of the two. The programmable logic provides a unique capability to create custom interfaces or custom accelerators. Together, they provide a versatile, performance optimized solution.

ZedBoard™ is a low-cost development board for the Xilinx Zynq®-7000 All Programmable SoC. This board contains everything necessary to create a Linux, Android, Windows® or other OS/RTOS-based design all at a cost of $495. The MicroZed sells for $199 with close performance and functionality with the ZedBoard. MicroZed contains two I/O headers that provide connection to two I/O banks on the programmable logic (PL) side of the Zynq – 7000 AP SoC device. In stand-alone mode, these 100 PL I/O are inactive. When plugged into a carrier card, the I/O are accessible in a manner defined by the carrier card design. The MicroZed board targets application in the areas of general FPGA evaluation and prototyping, embedded SOM applications, embedded vision, test & measurement, motor control, software-defined radio, industrial network and industrial IoT.

The Zedboard is based on Zynq-7020 with 85K logic cells while the MicroZed is based on the lower Zynq-7010 with a 28K logic cell. The MicroZed has 1GB RAM instead of 512 MB on the ZedBoard and has lesser interfaces as compared to the ZedBoard.

The following below are the features of the MicroZed SoM:


  • XC7Z010 – 1CLG400C


  • 1 GB of DDR3 SDRAM
  • 128 Mb of QSPI Flash
  • Micro SD card interface


  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet
  • USB 2.0

User I/0 (via dual board-to-board connectors)

  • 7Z010 Version
    • 100 User I/0 (50 per connector)
    • Configurable as up to 48 LVDS pairs or 100 single-ended I/O


  • 2×6 Digilent Pmod compatible interface providing 8 PS MIO connections for user I/0
  • Xilinx PC4 JTAG configuration port
  • PS JTAG pins accessible via Pmod
  • 33Mhz oscillator
  • User LED and push switch

The MicroZed Evaluation can be purchased from the Avnet store here and comes with the following: MicroZed board, Micro USB cable, 4GB μSD card, Getting Started Card and a Xilinx Vivado WebPACK support and the Avnet’s MicroZed SOM comes bundled with the Wind River’s Pulsar™ Linux.

PulseRain M10 – FPGA Development board is Arduino compatible

Over the years FPGAs have become readily available to the maker community. They are now more accessible than ever as many development boards has seen the light. It’s now possible to embed a soft-core MCU into an FPGA  rather than using a hard-core ASIC MCU and here is where PulseRain comes into play with an open source design down to the silicon level.

The PulseRain M10 board embeds an open source soft MCU core (96 MHz) in an Intel/Altera MAX10 FPGA, while is Arduino compatible. In addition, the soft-core MCU features onboard resources like voice CODEC, microSD socket, SRAM, on-chip ADC, and dual IO voltages. The board will soon be available for funding on crowdsupply.com.

Features & Specifications

  • FPGA: Intel/Altera 10M08SAE144C8G
    • Logic Elements: 8 K
    • Block Memory: 378 Kb
    • User Flash Memory: 32 KB
    • 18 x 18 Multipliers: 24
    • Internal Configuration: 2 (This FPGA does not need external memory for configuration)
    • PLLs: 1
    • On-chip A/D Converter: 12 bit
    • Temperature Sensor: On-chip TSD (Temperature Sensor Diode)
    • Package: 144-pin EQFP
  • Microcontroller: Soft-core FP51-1T, with support package for Arduino IDE
    • Clock Rate: 96 MHz
    • Processor Core: Enhanced 1T 8051, with RISC implementation
    • Throughput: Single clock cycle execution for most instructions
    • Instruction Memory: 32 KB
    • Data Memory: 8 KB
    • On-chip Debugger: Yes (supports code download throughput of 921600 bps)
    • Open Source Compiler: SDCC (Small Device C Compiler)
  • Onboard Peripherals and Components:
    • Voice CODEC: Silicon Lab Si3000, with onboard microphone and speaker jack
    • DTMF Decoder: Available through software library
    • UART/PWM/I2C: The default configuration has 2 UARTs, 6 PWMs and 1 I2C
    • SRAM: 1 Mbit serial SRAM (Microchip 23LC1024)
    • microSD Socket: Molex 472192001
    • OpAmp and Potentiometer for Analog Input: 6 analog input channel, 1 potentiometer on A0
    • USB: USB/UART bridge (FT232R), with 921600 bps throughput
    • JTAG Header: Yes
    • Push Button: 2
    • Oscillator: 12 MHz crystal oscillator, with DIP package
    • LEDs: 6 (2 for USB/UART indication, 1 for IO power, 3 for general purpose)
  • Form Factor and Input/Outputs:
    • Arduino UNO Rev 3 Compatible Dimension: 2.1 inch x 3.2 inch
    • Maximum Height: 0.5 inch
    • IO Pin Map: Compatible with Arduino UNO Rev 3
    • IO Voltage: Dual voltage support (3.3 V / 5 V)
  • Power: 5 V USB or 7-12 VDC jack
  • Host Interface: microUSB

Programming the ATtiny10 using Arduino IDE

David Johnson-Davies @ technoblogy.com has a nice guide on how to program ATtiny10 6-pin mcu using the arduino IDE. Programming is done using the widely available USBasp programmer from Thomas Fischl. Examples are also included on the guide.

Unlike the SPI protocol used to program the larger AVR chips, such as the ATmega328 in the Arduino Uno, the ATtiny10 uses a programming protocol called TPI (Tiny Programming Interface) which needs only five wires. Fortunately Thomas Fischl’s excellent USBasp programmer supports this protocol [3]; you can build your own, order one from his site, or they are widely available on eBay [4], Banggood [5], etc.

Ultra-low-power MSP430 microcontrollers

Developers can implement simple sensing functions with TI’s lowest-cost microcontroller family

Texas Instruments (TI) on November 10, unveiled its lowest-cost ultra-low-power MSP430 microcontrollers (MCUs) for sensing applications. Developers can now implement simple sensing solutions through a variety of integrated mixed-signal features in this family of MSP430 value line sensing MCUs, available for as low as US$0.25 in high volumes. Additions to the family include two new entry-level devices and a new TI LaunchPad development kit for quick and easy evaluation.

Features and benefits of TI’s MSP430 value line sensing MCUs

  • Developers now have the flexibility to customize 25 common system-level functions including timers, input/output expanders, system reset controllers, electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) and more, using a library of code examples.
  • A common core architecture, a tools and software ecosystem, and extensive documentation including migration guides make it easy for developers to choose the best MSP430 value line sensing MCU for each of their designs.
  • Designers can scale from the 0.5-KB MSP430FR2000 MCU to the rest of the MSP430 sensing and measurement MCU portfolio for applications that require up to 256 KB of memory, higher performance or more analog peripherals.

The new MSP430FR2000 and MSP430FR2100 MCUs (with 0.5 KB and 1 KB of memory, respectively) and the new development kit join the MSP430 value line sensing family which includes the MSP430FR2111, MSP430FR2311, MSP430FR2033, MSP430FR2433 and MSP430FR4133 microcontroller families and their related development tools and software.

Pricing and availability

Developers can purchase the value line sensing portfolio through the TI store, priced as low as US$0.29 in 1,000-unit quantities and US$0.25 in higher volumes. Additionally, the new MSP430FR2433 LaunchPad development kit (MSP-EXP430FR2433) is available from the TI store and authorized distributors for US$9.99. Today through Dec. 31, 2017, the TI store is offering the LaunchPad kit for a promotional price of US$4.30.

For more information visit: www.ti.com/ValueLine-pr

STMicro Introduces 20 Cents MCU in 8-Pin Package

STMicro has launched STM8S001J3, a new 8-bit micro-controller that sells for $0.20 per unit in 10k quantities. STM8S001J3 is also the first STM8 MCU offered in 8-pin package (SO8N), and should compete with some of the Microchip Attiny or PIC12F series micro-controllers.

STM8S001J3 has small package and little number of pins, but still it embeds rich set of peripherals. Below some of key features of this device:

  • Core and system
    • Flexible clock control capable to use three clock sources: 2 internal (HSI 16MHz, LSI 128kHz), 1 external clock input.
    • Wide operating voltage range: from 2.95V to 5.5V
    • 5 I/Os
    • 8- and 16-bit timers
  • Memories
    • 8k Flash
    • 1k RAM
    • 128 Bytes EEPROM
  • Conenctivity and debug
    • UART
    • SPI
    • I2C
    • Single Wire Interface Module
  • Analog
    • 10-bit ADC with 3 channels

PICKit 3 Mini

Reviahh has published a new project, the PICKit 3 Mini:

Previously, I made a Pickit 3 clone – (see previous blog post). It works well, but I have often wondered just how little of its circuitry was needed to program and debug the boards I make. For instance – I primarily use the newer 3.3V PIC32 processors, so I really don’t need the ability to alter the voltage like the standard Pickit 3 can. I also have no real need for programming on the go, or even to provide power to the target MCU to program. Knowing this – I decided to see what I could do to remove the circuitry I didn’t need, yet still have a functioning programmer/debugger.

PICKit 3 Mini – [Link]

Attiny Programmer (using Arduino UNO)

by @ instructables.com:

The Arduino UNO is small, but if you require your project to be in a small enclosure, the UNO might be way too big. You could try using a NANO or MINI, but if you really want to go small, you go tiny, Attiny to be precise.

They are quite small, cheap chips (basically small Arduinos) and can be programmed in the Arduino IDE, however you might notice that there is no USB connection. So how do we program it???

Attiny Programmer (using Arduino UNO) – [Link]

20 PIN PIC Development Board

Small size multipurpose 20 Pin PIC Micro-Controller development board, includes onboard 5V regulator, prototyping area and ICSP programing port. The board provided with few more components which includes 4 optocoupler, 2 LEDs connected to RA5, RC7 with series resistors, 2 tactile switches and 2 Trimmer Potentiometers.  These components help to implement Microchip’s AN1660 single phase AC Motor driver. Just need 3 Phase Inverter IPM module to complete the Motor driver, Code and documents can be obtained from Microchip website.  However these components can be used to implement other application or can be left unsoldered.


  • Supply 7-12V DC
  • 20 PIN SO20 PIC16F1509 Micro-controller
  • On Board 5V Regulator
  • Connector for Microchip AN1660
  • CN5 5V Isolated supply required if Microchip AN1660 Used
  • On Board PIC programing ICSP port
  • Two Connected LED on RC7, RA5 port Pin

20 PIN PIC Development Board – [Link]