Need a controller that is more powerful than an Ardunio but smaller than a Raspberry Pi?

August 9, 2019

Like most makers my staple for controller boards has been a mix of Arduino Nano, Uno and Mega for small embedded type applications with modest computing capacity and memory and the Raspberry Pi Zero, 3’s and 4’s for bigger computer type applications with much more computing capacity and memory. But what if you want something in between? What other boards are out there?

There are two recent developments that have caught my eye.

First is the new Teensy 4.0 Development Board from PJRC. I’ve used Teensy boards and supported previous PJRC Kickstarter campaigns in the past and found them to be really good boards with good software and great support. The latest board from them shows a significant increase in computing capacity, program memory and data memory.

Here’s its specs.

Processor: NXP iMXRT1062, ARM Cortex-M7
Clock: 600 MHz
Memory: 1024K RAM, 2048K Flash
Storage: none
Sensing: 14 x ADC
Actuation: 31 x PWM
Connectivity: 3 x SPI, 3 x I2C, 7 x Serial, 2 x USB, 3 x CAN Bus, 2 x I2S, 1 x S/PDIF, 1 x SDIO
I/O: 40 x GPIO
Operating System: none

The other board that I’ve been watching is the GiantBoard from Groboards. They have just finished (8/09/2019) a successful crowd funding campaign on crowdsupply.

Their board is based on Adafruits Feather form factor and has the following spec:

Giant Board Specs:

Processor: Microchip SAMA5D2 ARM Cortex-A5 Processor
Clock: 500 MHz
Memory: 128 MB DDR2 RAM
Storage: microSD card
Sensing: 6 x 12-bit ADC
Actuation: 4 x 16-bit PWM
Connectivity: 1 x I2C, 1 x SPI, 1 x UART. 1 x USB
I/O: 20 x GPIO
Operating System: Linux kernel 4.14

Neither of the boards have native WIFI, BT or Ethernet. Nor do they have any native video capability.