While Arduino gets the lions share of attention in the hobby community there are some limitations to 8-bit microcontrollers which have been recognized by the Arduino project with their recent announcement of plans to make ARM based development boards, as well at the Maple project (STM32 based). ARM microprocessors often offer significantly more RAM/Flash and peripherals at similar prices to traditional 8-bit microcontrollers, however they have a reputation for being harder to use.
In the maker community LPC and STM32 ARM based boards seem the norm, however in my experience LM3S (LM = Luminary Micro which is now owned by Ti) chips are far easier to work with. This is largely due to StellarisWare, which makes peripheral configuration uniform across devices. (See my comparison of UART configuration on many platforms here).
When I realized there were no inexpensive LM3S based boards available (now there are few on eBay as well) I decided to make some. I made a simple breakout style board called Cygni that was as inexpensive as possible so that people could try out ARM and find out that it wasn’t scary after all. And I made two more advanced boards one that could be a USB host (called Eridani) and one that was suitable for tasks requiring a lot of memory, internet access, USB hosting or all of the above (called Procyon).
As 2022 starts, let’s take some time to share our goals for CircuitPython in 2022. Just like past years (full summary 2019, 2020, and 2021), we’d like everyone in the CircuitPython community to contribute by posting their thoughts to some public place on the Internet. Here are a few ways to post: a video on YouTub, a post on the CircuitPython forum, a blog post on your site, a series of Tweets, a Gist on GitHub. We want to hear from you. When you post, please add #CircuitPython2022 and email email@example.com to let us know about your post so we can blog it up here.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
Maker Business — Pololu’s account of the chip shortage
Wearables — Make it sticky
Electronics — Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your semiconductor is DOA
Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Raspberry Pi Pico turns one and more! #Python #CircuitPython @micropython @ThePSF
Adafruit IoT Monthly — 2021 in Recap!
Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!
EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey
New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — NEW PRODUCT – ESP32-S3-DevKitC-1 – ESP32-S3-WROOM-2 – 32MB Flash 8MB PSRAM
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