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Arduino SRL Turns Focus To New Connected Boards (hackaday.com) 67

szczys writes: Arduino has driven a tidal wave of embedded development over the last decade. But last year a rift formed in the shape of two companies — Arduino LLC and Arduino SRL — who are suing each other over trademark. While that is ongoing, each company is trying to outdo the other in terms of new hardware. Arduino SRL is now focusing on producing connected boards and will soon have several new offerings available. The Uno WiFi is a traditional Arduino with an ESP8266 WiFi chip on board. The Tian has a MIPS processor with 2.4 & 5 GHz WiFi making it a Linux single board computer with support for low level pin driving. And the Lei is somewhere in between the other two and only for the Chinese market (it would need FCC certification to be sold in the US). From the user side the trademark dispute looks like a waste of energy, but if it drives the companies to produce more boards and fight for followers on price and quality that may be the silver lining.
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Arduino SRL Turns Focus To New Connected Boards

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  • by U2xhc2hkb3QgU3Vja3M ( 4212163 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @03:21PM (#51236675)

    With the Raspberry Pi Zero available for only 5 U.S. dollars, is the Arduino obsolete?

    • Doubt it - the Pi Zero needs bolt-ons to be very useful. (http://makezine.com/2015/11/28/chip-vs-pi-zero/) As another poster mentioned, the marketing strategy seems to be "flood the education market" kind of like Apple did back in the day - people actually building anything will probably steer clear of the Pi Zero.

      • Doubt it - the Pi Zero needs bolt-ons to be very useful.

        That's not necessarily true. If what you're doing can be done with 3.3 volt digital logic, then you don't need to add anything but a power supply to the Pi Zero to make it do things. If you were using it, say, to control a drone, you wouldn't need anything out of the ordinary. You'd need an ESC with a linear regulator (even cheap ones often have that, like the $10 XXD 30A ESCs) and you'd probably need to use a voltage divider for your PPM input, since it's 5V. But if you can live without voltage monitoring

    • No. Next question.

    • Nope the PI is a much higher level board running a multitasking operating system. You're not going to bit bang any but the most simple and slow interface reliably on that. Sure if your making LED blinky lights it's fine. Decode or send some proprietary RF coms not so much. Pretty much it's unsuitable for anything but realy basic relay type work.

      Mind you the useful uno clones are about $5 as well. ESP8266 also about $5 and the new ones are breadboard friendly as well thats a huge upgrade in CPU umph.

      • Arduino is closer to RealTime (think Analog) than PI. It all has to do with what the application is that you decided. If you need automated and precise controls you're gonna go Arduino, but if you don't , Pi would function well. And if you can keep your Pi clean, it might suffice even for some rudimentary near RealTime controls.

        Having had this discussion with my FIL this weekend, it is easy to "get one of each" and see which one works best.

        • It would be nice to hae a real-time option for the rpi, but soft rt can be made to work well enough in many cases where something physically is being controlled (car, rocket, sprinkler). Mostly because solutions can be calculated much faster than available processing time. So you calculate a control law in soft real time and spit out the control signal based on a hard rt clock. I haven't tried it with the rpi, but works very well under windows.`
          • There have been attempts. Simple robotic controls etc are not that hard, the rpi breaks down when trying to do things that need tight and continuous timing. It's pretty easy to use a dedicated micro for anything that timing sensitive and connect it up to a rpi for higher level logic.

            • Yup. That's why you ave to write a lot of the software at the driver level.

              I used to write software for a couple of the rt linux variants about 15 years ago. It's not that difficult for a large class of problems as there are many things that do not need to be rt, eg, memory allocations, hd or network access. You can run those things as background tasks and trigger/signal them from a fg rt task for writing/reading.

              It takes some systems knowledge and analysis, but not particularly difficult IMO. The one t

        • Things like the ESP8266 with a much higher clock rate realy fill that in between niche. Wifi and IP stack and enough ram and excess CPU to make them useful while still being dirt cheap at $5 for a complete breadboard friendly design but without OS overhead.

      • "Nope the PI is a much higher level board running a multitasking operating system. You're not going to bit bang any but the most simple and slow interface reliably on that. "

        You are kidding, right? How do you suppose Linux manages it? It seems you have never heard of interrupts. :-(

        • And you have never heard of interrupt latency, You're not going to bit by bit decode anything of any significant speed on any multitasking OS. Interrupts are great but PC devices all have some sort of buffer. 80's parallel port uses a latch / ack setup, I'm old enough to remember 8250 UARTS and not being able to get past 9600 baud reliably. Try turning off interrupt coalescing on a 10gb nic, receiving min sized packets at line rate and watch any OS cry. To my knoledge linux does not bit bang any common

          • Throwing around terms such a latency, propagation delay, rise time, fall time, set-up time, undershoot and overshoot, jitter, etc. (though I'm sure you haven't even heard of a couple of them) doesn't make you sound smart, when your assertion is absurd.. Ultimately, there is absolutely no reason why you can't reliably generate and receive signals in a timely fashion. Bitwise or bytewise; it's all the same and I have written numerous device drivers for a number of different multi-tasking OSs. I assure you
            • Zero__Kelvin,

              The OP does have some valid points. His scenario involves bit banging in the application, not the OS. Task switching delays, swapping, non-granular timers, and other delays can lead to very odd behavior.

              Your example of the SPI device driver is not exactly valid - it represents an SPI master device. SPI master mode is not timing sensitive, so delays in bit-banging the clock out don't matter. You could delay the clock transitions randomly and as long as the data is present and you don't exceed th

              • "The OP does have some valid points. His scenario involves bit banging in the application,"

                Well, I really can't help it if he is an idiot who doesn't know where hardware interface code belongs, now can I?

            • You do realize that SPI master is very easy to implement, after all you never have to react to a clock. Take a quick look for people trying to bit bang a SPI slave under linux not so much success. Yes their are bitbanged drivers find one that has to follow a clock and do that for a non trivial protocol at an appreciable speed. Now sow me something that does this in userspace. The marginal cost to do it "right" for a hobby project is trivial, hell the ESP8266s are cheaper than you can add a network connec

    • With the Raspberry Pi Zero available for only 5 U.S. dollars,

      Most humans can not get their hands on a Pi Zero for 5 or even ten U.S. dollars.

      is the Arduino obsolete?

      No, especially since I actually can get one in my hands for about $3.50.

      • I am willing to bet that in Canada I would be impressed with someone who could get a single zero shipped to their door for much less than $30. ($22 USD). Then to top that off if you ship USP from the states there is a good chance of being hit with a $40 fee. Most of the Raspberry sellers use UPS. Thus the $5 zero could literally be over $70 delivered.

        Yet if I order a Chinese Arduino, it will be delivered in 2-3 weeks for $2-3.

        On an interesting note about their fighting. There is a saying in science, "Sc
      • I got mine from Micro Center for $5.40 (tax) retail. I ordered it on their webstore for in-store pickup, and picked it up on my way home from work. I assume that the channel will fill up soon enough and they will be ubiquitous and cost MSRP for everyone.
        • I assume that the channel will fill up soon enough and they will be ubiquitous and cost MSRP for everyone.

          I look forward to that, and would even be willing to pay a reasonable shipping fee to get a couple of them in my hot little hands, if only that were possible.

    • Don't know, do you make phone calls with your phone or with your PC?

      The Arduino and the Raspberry Pi are two different things with two very different purposes. One is a chip which can be programmed to perform actions in real time, the other is a ridiculously scaled down computer. Sure you can scale one up and the other down, but as always when you push something outside it's primary purpose you end up with something completely different.

      • I make most of my calls with my PC. I either use skype, or I can get my apple to use my iPhone to make telco calls. I have a great headset so it is far more pleasant to use.

        But I agree, the arduino can be pushed surprisingly hard but I use it as basically a really cool IO port for something with a bigger brain that is easier to program.
      • A ridiculously scaled down computer that is equivalent to a mainframe computer a few years ago.
      • Don't know, do you make phone calls with your phone or with your PC?

        I make calls with my Arduino [instructables.com], you insensitive clod!

    • a controller is not a multi-user time-sharing computer and vice-versa.

      next question, please?

    • Very different markets. Raspberry Pi is high end 32 bit with lots of memory. Arduino is very tiny 8 bit system. Raspberry Pi has linux and a full system ready to go. Arduino is dumbed down if you use their programming environment, intended for people with little hardware or software experience. Both are intended for hobbyists and are popular for being popular, rather than existing eval boards.

    • Re:Is Arduino dead? (Score:5, Informative)

      by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @05:30PM (#51237557) Homepage Journal

      Not even close, though it may see reduced application.

      Arduino (AVR) can operate at a wide range of voltages and doesn't need terribly close regulation. It can go down to extremely low power if the regulator and power LED is removed (The pro-mini offers a solder link that can be cut to do that easily). It is more robust than the Pi.

      Where more computation power is wanted and the above aren't as important, the Pi comes into play.

      They both have their place.

    • You're comparing apples and pancakes. They occupy completely different device categories.

    • With the Raspberry Pi Zero available for only 5 U.S. dollars, is the Arduino obsolete?

      No. Because the Arduino is a microcontroller and the Pi is a small computer that runs a fully fledged OS. There is a big difference.

  • Usurper! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @03:32PM (#51236783)

    Remember, kids: SRL is the usurper Arduino that secretlyfiled the Arduino copyright and started dicking Banzi and Co (arduino.cc) out of royalties. This issue [github.com] from April 2015 ("Rename this fork and use less confusing versioning") had its most recent comment 17 days ago.

  • by NimbleSquirrel ( 587564 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @03:40PM (#51236831)
    This article completely brushes over the Trademark dispute, where if the facts were published it would become clear that ArduinoSRL (formerly Smart Projects) has been attempting to hijack the Arduino brand. ArduinoSRL/Smart Projects produced boards under license from Arduino.cc. In 2008 they sneakily registered the trademark in Italy just before Arduino.cc pursued registering the trademark internationally. Arduino.cc found out and tried to negotiate for the trademark that was rightfully theirs. Subsequently, Smart Projects stopped paying royalties to Arduino.cc, changed their name to ArduinoSRL, and have declared themselves the real Arduino. Funny thing is that the code they distribute to run their hardware is still from Arduino.cc
  • by mmiscool ( 2434450 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @04:11PM (#51237029)
    The esp8266 is already arduino compatible using the board manger in the arduino IDE. https://github.com/esp8266/Ard... [github.com] Why go through the trouble making a board that has 2 microcontrollers on it when the ESP8266 has wifi, runs at 80 MHz and commonly comes in packages with 1,2 or 4 mb of flash memory for your program. Seems to me to be to little too late. http://www.banggood.com/NodeMc... [banggood.com] http://www.banggood.com/ESP826... [banggood.com] http://www.banggood.com/3Pcs-E... [banggood.com] I feel like there needs to be a whole article on the ESP8266 on here.
    • So can you just order the very cheapest ESP8266 breakout ($2) and use it as an Arduino? Or do you need a fancier one?

      • Yep. The cheapest ones will need a usb to serial convert to be programmed. The more expensive ones have this built in to the board.
        • That is fascinating and exciting. Even 512kB of flash is a lot, frankly, for that kind of money.

          • by Lurks ( 526137 )

            It's difficult to overstate the importance of the ESP8266. It was marred a bit in the first place with the $5 modules that only had a serial interface and a firmware that spoke in AT-commands. This is paradoxically how these stupid AVR+ESP8266 boards work. They're worthless. The AT/serial firmware is buggy and unreliable and a complete waste of time.

            The thing that made the ESP8266 lift off is the breakout boards with USB serial onboard allowing direct programming of the device. For about $10 you can get one

            • For me, there's really only one usage case for 8-bit AVRs. That's the ATtiny85s run for about $3 on a board with USB (digisparks).

              I have a digispark, I'm trying to get USB and a PS2 controller interface to work at the same time with no success so far...

              • by Lurks ( 526137 )

                Interesting. Are you using the software USB serial library (CDC or something?). Uses up half of the flash and most of the RAM but it does work. It's just really really tight. Presumably you're using the arduino library for PS2 controllers? Looks like it's bit-banging, might well expect the AVR to run at a particular speed. Might want to look at that?

                • Yeah, I'm trying to use the USI serial hardware built into the attiny85. The USB part works. The PS2 part is just an SPI interface, there's an additional line but you can ignore it. I think the USB stuff is also using USI, maybe, so it's complicated. Maybe I need to save some registers aside before I do my SPI communications, and then restore them before I run the function to do the USB stuff. I might have to go ahead and just implement SPI without USI... ugh

        • Well, I got my ESP-01s, I have some ESP-03s coming as well. And the other thing you need is an external power source for flashing, because the USB to serial converters won't have enough 3.3 volt as a rule since it's coming out of the PL2303 chip. Apparently the Arduino Nano gets its 3.3 from the same place, so that's no solution... I guess I could bring some 3.3 out of my PC :p I've got a WS2812 array here I would like to drive with this one. I've got a buck converter coming to drive the ESP-01. The 3.3 vol

  • Every time I see slashvertisements or articles for this type of equipment I cringe at the fact that there is no easy end user solution for security with all these devices. How can your grandma put these devices in a dmz where security compromises don't impact her online banking or whatever? For most people, the limit of their home network security is their wifi pass phrase-- once that is known little is protected.

  • by Xenna ( 37238 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @05:55AM (#51240525)

    In my experience wifi is a bit too unreliable to run your IoT applications on. Wifi links can be unreliable and anyone could DDOS your IoT application from a (relatively) safe distance and it's a real bummer if you can't enter your house when you need to because the rfid reader/finger print scanner can't contact your door latch. Therefore (been there done that) I prefer a good wired ethernet solution. Personally I use the openpicus flyport ethernet for such applications. Small, cheap and rock solid. But I'd prefer a compact wired Arduino so I can run my state machine library on it.

    I guess competition is good, but the Arduino trademark stuff is a bit annoying.

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