Zero BZ1 Arduino Board comes with SD and LiPo charger

Zero BZ1 Arduino Board comes with SD and LiPo charger

One of the most beautiful things about using the Arduino ecosystem is its stackable ideology, where you can easily add new functionality to almost any Arduino board and make the bare metal Arduino board look so powerful. Hackers can decide to add an IoT add-on, SD storage add-on, or even a display add-on to a plain Arduino board. This is nice concept about the whole Arduino ecosystem but it can also bring up new challenges like:

  • Cost – The more add-ons you add, the more is the cost of the final device.
  • Power consumption – Since several people design add-ons, and some do have some unnecessary features, the power consumption of the device can easily significantly increase.
  • Size – Well, this is obvious. Final product becomes bigger and maybe sometimes not attractive or professional.
Typical Arduino UNO Shield

Of course, there are many ways around to solve these problems. You can get a board that houses most if not all the things you are going to need and thankfully there are many boards that offer several add-ons in one single board. One of my favorite boards of all time has been the Gboard from IteadStudio This is a fantastic board packed with so many things, but unfortunately, you really can’t use them all since you will quickly run out memory on the little Atmega 328P processor.

Zero BZ1, (Arduino-Compatible) with SD and LiPo charger
Zero BZ1 Board

Another interesting board I recently came across is the Zero BZ1, which is an Arduino Compatible board that comes with built-in SD card storage option and a LiPo charger, but most importantly it is inexpensive at least as compared to most boards.

The Zero BZ1 is Arduino Zero compatible since it runs on the same processor; the 32KB of SRAM and 256KB of flash memory ARM Cortex M0 microcontroller SAMD21G18. The inbuilt Lithium Polymer (LiPo) battery charger and regulator makes it ideal for battery-powered applications, combined with the SD card you will get a full powered device geared towards data logging application that can run autonomously for a long time.

It comes with a Micro SD slot, Real-time Clock (RTC), 10-bit DAC, Lipo regulator, USB for uploading and debugging, LED for indicator or debugging, an onboard temperature sensor and some decent number of IOs. Any attached LiPo battery can be charger using a USB or a 5v – 6v solar panel.

Below are some of the device specs:

  • Processor – ARM Cortex M0 microcontroller SAMD21G18
  • Memory – 32Kb of SRAM and 256KB of Flash
  • Operating Frequency – 48MHz
  • Others – PWM Supported – 20 PWM pins
    • 12bit A/D converters, 14
    • 10bit D/A converter, 1
    • I2C,  6
    • SPI, 6
    • UART, 6
    • Temperature sensor
    •  SD card Socket
    • AP2112 Voltage regulator 600mA
    • MCP73831 Li-Polymer Charge Management Controller
  • Dimension – 24mm x 54mm (0.94in X  2.14in)

An interesting possibility is combing the Zero BZ1 with anESP32, which will easily make it an ideal edge computing IoT device. The board is currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter, and it goes for about $18. The Zero BZ1 Kickstarter campaign is running until January 14th. If you are lucky enough, you might be able to get the board for $14 as an early bird. The shipping is expected in March 2019.

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Hi, I'm software, a hardware guy, and a technical writer. Have had a stint with the EdTech industries, but mostly interested in the space of deploying AI for edge computing. Otherwise, I am writing or coding about some technology pieces covering IoT, GPU computing, LoraWAN, PCB, Machine Learning, Precision Agriculture, Open Electronics, and related fields. Got a tip, freebies, launch, gig or leak? Contact me on Twitter, or via email: I don't bite.

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