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New Arduino Due Brings More Power To the Table 130

mikejuk writes "After six years in the making, the Arduino Due is finally becoming available and, with a price tag of $49, is bound to give a boost to the platform. The Due, which means 2 in Italian and is pronounced 'doo-eh', replaces the 8-bit, 16MHz Uno by a 32-bit, 84MHz processor board that also has a range of new features — more memory, a USB port that allows it to pretend to be a mouse or a keyboard say, 54 I/O pins and so on — but what lets you do more with it is its speed and power. The heart of the new Arduino Due is the Atmel SAM3X8E, an ARM Cortex-M3-based processor, which gives it a huge boost in ADC performance, opening up possibilities for designers. The theoretical sampling rate has gone from the 15 ksps (kilosamples per second) of the existing boards, the Arduino Uno, Leonardo, and Mega 2560, to a whopping 1,000 ksps. What this all means is that the Due can be used for much more sophisticated applications. It can even play back WAV files without any help. Look out for the Due in projects that once would have needed something more like a desktop machine."
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New Arduino Due Brings More Power To the Table

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  • Bug (Score:5, Funny)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @02:06PM (#41722735)

    The only question I have is, have they fixed the problem with the chameleon circuit? Because otherwise, all I can build with it is a big blue box. -- Some madman

    • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @10:35PM (#41725411)

      worse: the mega 2560 shipped with a REALLY bad bootloader. if you happened to have the 'wrong' sequence of binary data in your compiled sketch, the BL would enter monitor mode, almost like the hold hayes modems would on +++.

      ie, the geniuses didn't even think that an escape seq NEEDS a delay after the last char. doh!

      and so, large sketches and ones with this seq in them, either in string or binary form, will cause upload failures.

      probably even to this day, half a year or more later, the mega ships with this bug (the R3 does).

      out of the box, its broken. shipped that way.

      sigh.

      I'm staying with the 328p chip, for the most part. even that took a while for the arduino guys to get really stable and reliable.

  • by taktoa ( 1995544 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @02:06PM (#41722737)

    The TI Stellaris Launchpad ($5, free shipping, 80 MHz) and Raspberry Pi ($30, 700 MHz) beat the living hell out of the Due on price and processing power

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @02:15PM (#41722787)

    Look out for the Due in projects that once would have needed something more like a desktop machine

    There are a lot of microcontrollers that bridge the gap between a 16MHz Arduino and a desktop machine.

  • WAV ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alvieboy ( 61292 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @02:16PM (#41722791) Homepage

    "It can even play back WAV files without any help."

    Well, ZPUino [alvie.com] does this for a long time (14.4KHz, stereo, and more), and it's also opensource (actually, BSD for hardware, and GPLv2/v3 for software). Runs at 96MHz, and it's fully customizable (even the chip is customizable: see SoundPuddle [slashdot.org] for example, or the Rectrocade synth) [kickstarter.com].

    What Arduino users were actually expecting (well, I was), was a proper IDE. I don't think writing proper applications for the Due platform with current Processing IDE is feasible. So far everyone has been quiet about this (there were rumours other IDE would be on the forge).

    But the price tag is indeed attractive.

    Alvie

    • by MangoCats ( 2757129 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @02:38PM (#41722897)
      We were playing back 44.1KHz WAV files using a 68HC11 a big PROM chip and a DAC, probably before you were born.... Now get off my lawn!
      • by geoskd ( 321194 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @03:19PM (#41723163)

        We were playing back 44.1KHz WAV files using a 68HC11 a big PROM chip and a DAC, probably before you were born.... Now get off my lawn!

        I can remember trying to get near and far calls working with the GCC cross compiler back when the B32 version of the HC12 came out. Damn that was obnoxious. It was that or write custom calling routines in 68HC12 assembler. God help you if your project wouldn't fit in the low 64K... The alternative was to cough up $500 for a green hills license.

        -=Geoskd

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 21, 2012 @02:39PM (#41722913)

      If you want to write proper programs, forget about using the Arduino libraries and IDE and just use a real one instead. There are several for AVR. It is probably the most widely supported microcontroller architecture.

    • by dmitrygr ( 736758 ) <dmitrygr@gmail.com> on Sunday October 21, 2012 @02:43PM (#41722935) Homepage
      Playing WAV is doable on 8-bit AVR or PIC The 2012 ADK (same cpu as due) I got ogg decoding to work in realtime, and bt's audio codec too (SBC). That sort of things does need more CPU power than the AVRs have
    • by hamster_nz ( 656572 ) on Monday October 22, 2012 @12:03AM (#41725755)

      It can't be the IDE.

      If it was, then other more powerful Arduino-like products such as Digilent's ChipKit [digilentinc.com] would have taken the market by storm... Arduino IDE, Arduino form-factor, 80 Mhz 32-bit MIPS CPU, 512K Flash. 32K SRAM, 42 I/Os, works just like a really fast 3.3V Arduino for $35. I've got one, and they are all that they say they are, but somehow they just are not Arduino,

      I suspect the "Due" will somehow be "just not Ardunio" too.

      Maybe there is a herding mentality where the first thing people ask themselves when deciding on a controller to use in a project is "can I do it with an Arduino?", but maybe it is just that everybody has them in their box of toys...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 21, 2012 @02:21PM (#41722813)

    is the pi better, or is that just limey bombast?

  • Why Arduino again? (Score:4, Informative)

    by geoskd ( 321194 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @02:25PM (#41722831)

    All I can say is that Arduino was ok for its time, but there are plenty of other better alternatives out there. Take the Digilent line of uController boards [digilentinc.com] For example. the MX3CK is basically the Arduino Due with a whole ton better IO. If you want really advanced, jump to the MX7CK and kick the crap out of that Arduino. For additional fun take a look at their Pmods. Point being, there are plenty of better alternatives to the Arduino out there already; alternatives that compete and defeat on features and cost.

    -=Geoskd

    • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @03:40PM (#41723305)

      I'll tell you 'why arduino': its the community, the examples, the help, the web blogs that have snippets you need to integrate and get a product working, fast.

      THAT's why.

      its not about the chip. there were always better chips.

      the abstraction, community support is what makes the system a winner.

      • by geoskd ( 321194 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @05:59PM (#41724155)

        I'll tell you 'why arduino': its the community, the examples, the help, the web blogs that have snippets you need to integrate and get a product working, fast.

        THAT's why.

        its not about the chip. there were always better chips.

        the abstraction, community support is what makes the system a winner.

        Funny, but I always thought those were the things that made the Arduino platform the weakest.

        My sister is an artist. She is involved with Film/Video, and as such has high exposure to Information technology. She recently undertook a project involving a low end video switcher, and an Arduino board. The project was relatively simple, but involved more I/O than a stock Arduino is capable of. She had two halves of the project working by virtue of being able to get the code from two other projects, but had no idea how to integrate the whole. Worse, because the Arduino board she got has very limited I/O, there was no way she could use it without some kind of add-on board to break out more I/O. She got frustrated because it was nowhere near as easy as she was told it would be (Not having basic understanding of circuits is a critical limitation). Several of her artist friends had heard about the Arduino and had her convinced that the whole thing would take her a day or two of tinkering at the most. At the end of three weeks, and many hundreds of dollars in books and parts invested, she came to me with her tail between her legs asking for help. The "community support", you are so fond of just told her that her project was too big for her to handle. The reality was that the Arduino board was simply too limited for what she wanted to do. The Digilent line I listed above was just the ticket. One Digilent u board, with three PMods, and she was off and running. The sample code was enough to get her moving, and I taught her the circuitry basics she no longer needed just in case she wanted to try some advanced stuff. In all, she could have saved three weeks and several hundred dollars if she hadn't been lied to by the Arduino community who told her that embedded design is easy enough for anyone to handle without any kind of formal training. The reality is that most people without any kind of programming grounding do not have the foundation they need to be able to handle anything more complicated than making the Arduino behave as a glorified light switch. Sure there are lots of cool programs out there, but putting two or more of them together is not practical because of the boards limitations. Using any one of them by itself, it would be cheaper to buy a commercial product to do just that one function (No tinkering necessary). That's why the PMods are so great. The bigger boards can handle many of them at once, allowing your to build your project lego style. Integrating it all will still require some programming skill, but the Digilent line collapses the problems almost entirely into the software domain.

        -=Geoskd

        • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Monday October 22, 2012 @05:55AM (#41726801)

          So the community identified the problem and that is it's weakness?

          Admittedly there's no helping some people who are way out of their depth but they were right. If she's overloaded the I/O requirement of the simple Arduino system then the best community couldn't help her, not without breaking out some serious electrical magic which she likely isn't capable of give she's picked the wrong system to begin with.

          Now imagine if she didn't have a project that was out of league. There's a reason her artist friends have recommended it, because it's simple and because there's great community support. Embedded design is piss easy if you stay within the bounds of what a system is capable of. She didn't. Her friends did, otherwise it wouldn't have come so highly recommended. Hell you don't need "formal training" to actually use many far more difficult microcontrollers. You just need to know your limitations.

          The Arduino has brought to the only slightly nerdy masses something that was previously reserved for EE majors and hardcore nerds. It's no panacea, but since it's inception I have seen more applications for microcontroller projects than I ever have.

        • She got frustrated because it was nowhere near as easy as she was told it would be (Not having basic understanding of circuits is a critical limitation).

          If you don't understand or want to learn electronics, Arduino is not for you.

          Sure there are lots of cool programs out there, but putting two or more of them together is not practical because of the boards limitations. Using any one of them by itself, it would be cheaper to buy a commercial product to do just that one function (No tinkering necessary).

          And that is where Raspberry Pi comes in. You can buy USB dongles and hang them off of it and access them with high level programs running on a complete operating system, even including the development system on the device if you want, or not. And it's cheaper than this device, to boot. The Arduino seems like more of a PLC today than anything else. I'm struggling to figure out what it's good for though. Everything I want to talk to is 5V, so I'd need additional logic to do pretty much anything, whereas with an Arduino I can run a servo or read a typical sensor just by plugging in wires. But then I don't want this new device, I just want a rinky dink Arduino (perhaps a nano) attached to something more capable, like R-Pi... because I'm going to save more than the whole cost of the cheaper, older arduino.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @03:45PM (#41723345) Homepage

      Yeah. call me when you have one of those this small...

      https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10999 [sparkfun.com]

      I am integrating this stuff into insane tiny things and making a mint. Steampunk people have a buttload of money and when you make something that "works" they will pay any price for it. no other platform has a drop in and go board this small and this cheap that has so many libraries that I don't even have to write a program, most of what I look for is already done.

      Anyone can do a monster board... Give me the boards that are so small you could lose them if you sneeze.

      • by geoskd ( 321194 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @06:12PM (#41724211)

        Yeah. call me when you have one of those this small...

        These [digilentinc.com] are almost exactly the same dimensions, and can support two 12 pin PMods, or five 6 pin PMods. You could hook up the OLED display PMod to one of these things without any wiring necessary at all, plug and play. Instant 128 X 32 pixel display. Try doing that with an Arduino and let me know how that turns out for you.

        -=Geoskd

      • by Formalin ( 1945560 ) on Monday October 22, 2012 @01:03AM (#41725973)

        Every time I go to sparkfun I'm amazed by how much they overcharge. That's about $5 of parts in small quantity, and very little assembly. Nice margin.

        Definitely a fan of the AVRs with hardware USB... I've been using them for everything lately.

    • by Viewsonic ( 584922 ) on Monday October 22, 2012 @09:55AM (#41728101)

      I looked this over, and while the starter $40 board looks comparable, the Pmods are all overly expensive compared to the Arduino. I also don't see any built it yourself kits for a fraction of the cost? Perhaps if you want to point out something "better", next time try posting something that is, you know, actually better.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 21, 2012 @02:35PM (#41722881)

    TFA mentions 12-bit ADCs but appears to have a blank space in the spec chart. I`m also wondering what it has for timers.

    With all of that speed and I/O it seems like this could be a better and cheaper board to use in place of Megasquirt for fuel injection. It would need the software written for it and it would need power transistors, etc. but for $49 damn! The lowliest Megasquirt board costs over $100 in kit form and the Megasquirt 3 which has comparable CPU speed is $400 or more if I remember right.

  • A bit expensive? (Score:4, Informative)

    by echusarcana ( 832151 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @02:59PM (#41723007)
    It is a great learning tool, but the Arduino always seemed a little overpriced: especially the Mega 2560 version. On the Uno you inevitably run out of I/O pins when you are building anything remotely useful. I've switched over to the Teensy for my projects. A much better value: http://www.pjrc.com/teensy/ [pjrc.com]
    • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @03:32PM (#41723247) Journal

      You just don't get it, what made the Arduino so popular is that you could do things with it straight out of the box, without first having to solder on pins like the cheapest Teensy. Just put in a led, write some simple code and the Arduino ran. That is what sold it. The arduino is something a kid could take to work for show and tell and that I find an amazing idea in this day and age when most kids are raised with black boxes.

      All the experts and people that knew what they were doing could already buy all the electronics they wanted and put it together, the Arduino filled no gap for them, it was for all the people who aren't experts that this kit exists. For all those who want to try their hand at it but don't have the patience and/or knowledge to start messing about with setting up something completely from spare parts. The Arduino is a kit just a tiny bit under the electronic kits sold in toy stores. The teensy would be sold in a hobby store. Different level. Some devices help people cross over. That is why Lego is so immensly powerful, sure, you can make far better stuff with raw material and a toolset but it helps people get started.

      And it doesn't help anyone get started if all the "experts" sneer at the choice of starter tools. It is the reason makers areas succeed or fail by the attitude of their founders. Some can be really hostile to any newby who comes in all excited but makes the mistake of having only a 9 bucks soldering iron. Oh NO! SHUN HIM!

      Meanwhile the maker area's that welcome people are exploding and running out room.

      • by aXis100 ( 690904 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:32PM (#41724845)

        "All the experts and people that knew what they were doing could already buy all the electronics they wanted and put it together, the Arduino filled no gap for them"

        I dunno. I *could* have built a board from sratch, but it's just not worth my time. When people are making arduino compatible clones and LCD breakouts for $15 each it's a no brainer, grab their board and concentrate on the rest of the interfacing circuitry.

    • by Xenna ( 37238 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @03:54PM (#41723417)

      The teensy 2.0 is very convenient indeed.

      But, what do you know, the teensy now has a new generation 3.0, based on ARM Cortex M4! Just out!

      Check this out:
      http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paulstoffregen/teensy-30-32-bit-arm-cortex-m4-usable-in-arduino-a [kickstarter.com]

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Monday October 22, 2012 @06:01AM (#41726809)

      Now if only we could get a multiplexing shield for the Arduino. oh wait! [mayhewlabs.com]

      I think you've missed the point. Please show me a large plethora of "shield" to expand the functionality of the teensy in a plug and play fashion. e.g. off the top of my head I want to create a project to interface via ethernet, GPS, and 3G. There's an off the shelf solution for this that connects to the I/O pins on the Arduino to achieve just this. What's available for the Teensy without needing a soldering iron?

      For the record I don't actually use Arduinos. I've programmed dedicated uCs for all my tasks when needed. But I don't pretend that there isn't an incredible market for the Arduino that opens up the world of microcontrollers in a very easy way to a large number of people for which it was previously too difficult.

  • MIssing the point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @03:08PM (#41723091) Homepage Journal

    The point that everyone - manufacturers and users alike - seem to be missing is the toolchain.

    The popularity of the original Arduino was entirely due to the free IDE released by Atmel for their chips. Since then many other companies have released micro boards hoping to hop on the bandwagon, mostly with little success.

    Micro boards have been available since the 1980s. I've personally used 68HC11 single-board computers ($50 each) in that era for personal projects. They are programmed in assembler, because the C compiler can cost several thousands of dollars - upwards of $10,000 depending on vendor and capabilities.

    Look through back-issues of Hackaday [hackaday.com] to see all the neat, new single-board computers which have been released - none of them rise to the popularity of the Arduino.

    Open source enthusiasts may mention that you can use GCC, but that's a compiler not a toolchain. Open-source tools require an investment of learning and trial-and-error to get things working correctly, and most of the time it's a large investment that people don't want to make. The standard practice for open source is to find a tutorial, follow every step, and then google for answers when it doesn't work.

    When the [whatever other board you happen to like] comes with a plug-and-play IDE that lets developers concentrate on the code instead of getting the code onto the board, then you'll have something.

    • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @03:46PM (#41723359)
      I wish I had mod points. You've hit the nail on the head with a hammer even Thor would respect.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 21, 2012 @04:39PM (#41723717)

      A related point: Even when a board comes with a GCC toolchain /w Eclipse and whatnot (like the Stellaris dev. kits), it's often overly complicated and voodoo-ish to get everything installed and configured.

      I would like to think that a simple (?) embedded board could be made to work with similar or less effort than setting up e.g. a basic C compiler or assembler in Windows or Linux.

      Here's my ideal recipe, which I have never seen any vendor try to follow:

      - One compiler binary: 'compiler.exe'.
      - One set of C runtime library source + headers. Precompiled library + source files. All headers in a single directory.
      - One, small, simple, set of board support files. All as C source.
      - You run the compiler on your input C files. You reference the CRT header files + board support header files. You link it to the C runtime and low-level board support runtime, if such a thing is required (hint: it shouldn't. if you can't make your MCU 'go' without a bunch of extra crud holding things together, maybe you should take another look at your VHDL code).
      - You upload the compiled binary over e.g. serial, USB or whatever. The board contains a 'hard' loader and flasher, so no fancy extra crap is needed for this stage.
      - You reset the board. The binary runs.

      It's not so hard! It's basically just manufacturers being lazy and/or engineers thinking "if I have to suffer through N proprietary toolchains and crap, so should my end-users'.. Grr!

    • I would argue that the toolchain is only half of the story. The other half is shields. And they just changed the voltage... cha cha cha

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @03:24PM (#41723193) Homepage

    It's an ARM CPU, but with only 96KB of RAM. That's very small for a CPU of that power.

  • by ThorGod ( 456163 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @03:28PM (#41723229) Journal

    Do we need "more powerful" embedded devices, or do we need smaller, more efficient devices?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 21, 2012 @04:22PM (#41723597)

    Damn Americans.

    "replaces the 8-bit, 16MHz Uno BY a 32-bit, 84MHz processor"

    It's "replaces... WITH a 32-bit, 84MHz processor".

  • by Catmeat ( 20653 ) <[mtm] [at] [sys.uea.ac.uk]> on Sunday October 21, 2012 @04:35PM (#41723693)
    Really nice but...

    It acts as a host though a microUSB. And exactly how many mice, keyboards, memory-sticks etc use that?

    So it looks like the first job on getting one would be to de-solder the socket and try and replace it with a full size USB.

  • by scharkalvin ( 72228 ) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @04:45PM (#41723773) Homepage

    Once again Arduino has taken a nice chip and cut off it's legs while mounting it on an compatible platform. It looks like almost half of the Due CPU's available IO pins are NOT accessible on the board (unless you are good at soldering fine wire to .4mm spaced pins by hand). They did the same thing on the Arduino Mega with the atmega1280 and atmega2560 parts (leaving out at least 16 of the IO pins, including the XCK signals so you CAN'T use the usarts in SPI mode!).

    If you want to go ARM, you might consider the Teensy3.0 which DOES make all of the I/O pins available (though you will have to solder some wires to pads on the bottom of the board, but at least the pads are there!). The Teensy 3.0 is also about $15 cheaper than the Due.

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Monday October 22, 2012 @12:01AM (#41725743)

    Seriously .... FIX THE FUCKING PIN SPACING YOU ASSHOLES.

    I know thats going to kill what little karma I have, but for fucks sake the pin spacing the digital pins with that nice little nonstandard gap is freaking obnoxious to all hell and back making it practically impossible to use with say .... a normal freaking prototyping board.

    Yes, it will break shield compatibility but it'll make it work with all sorts of other non-Arduino boards and moving forward the damn shields will be fixed too.

    No, I didn't use enough cuss words and caps in this post. Someone should be strung up for taking a nice little prototyping board and fucking it up. Douche.

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