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Electronics => Open Source Hardware => Topic started by: robertferanec on October 02, 2018, 01:21:35 am

Title: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: robertferanec on October 02, 2018, 01:21:35 am
What in your opinion is the best open source board? Which one is the most used?

I am thinking to start a new open source project and I would like to choose the right open source board for it. Thank you.
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino)
Post by: NivagSwerdna on October 02, 2018, 01:39:20 am
What in your opinion is the best open source board? Which one is the most used?
Depends.
There are so many SBC out there it really depends on what are your core requirements?
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: robertferanec on October 02, 2018, 03:18:34 am
There are so many SBC out there it really depends on what are your core requirements?

I am looking for something similar to Arduino UNO, same popularity (or higher), but different board or different chip manufacturer e.g. Arduino Nano, NXP, ST Micro, etc. I do not need it for any particular project. It is a board to play with - I would like to have a look at a board what many people use to build their own projects.
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: Siddharth on October 02, 2018, 03:36:48 am
Have a look at the Teensy boards. Much more powerful than Arduino UNO and in a very compact size....along with the simplicity of Arduino programming environment. Very popular as well.

Few more third party boards that supports Arduino platform, and are widely used are Nucleo boards from ST, Launchpads from TI, or something like a cheap blue pill.
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: NivagSwerdna on October 03, 2018, 11:53:12 pm
NodeMCU, ESP32 family
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: RoGeorge on October 03, 2018, 11:56:58 pm
Raspberry Pi
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: robertferanec on October 04, 2018, 12:18:47 am
Thank you  for suggestions. I checked Teensy and NodeMCU and there is not really much information about licensing. Maybe I missed something?

I was thinking about Raspberry Pi, but I believe, RPi is not really open source and also it may be difficult to buy some of the chips.
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: mbest on October 04, 2018, 02:30:31 am
The raspberry pi is more of a SBC, and there have been discussions where people were asking why there are no clones, or wondering if they can build something similar, and because of licensing on the broadcom chip and HDMI, it's pretty much a black box component that is only available on the rPi
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: Siddharth on October 04, 2018, 03:58:41 am
When you install Teensyduino on your platform you will get a copy of the license file (license.txt) along with the libraries. It is a GNU general public license and you can find it on GitHub as well. :-+
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: SaabFAN on October 04, 2018, 05:48:35 am
STM32 "Bluepill" - My favorite at the moment :)
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: robertferanec on October 04, 2018, 10:47:42 pm
STM32 "Bluepill" - My favorite at the moment :)
I like it. The chip looks good. A lot of pins, direct USB (no converter needed), 5V tolerant pins. Together with Arduino Nano, one of my favorites at this moment. Thanks for the tip.
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: SaabFAN on October 05, 2018, 01:15:04 pm
One thing I have to mention though about the Bluepill: When I did my bachelor-project earlier this year, i2c seemed to be running in Software. Symptoms of that were a max. SCL-Frequency of about 170kHz, as well as a complete lockup of the chip if a certain timer (can't remember which one) was being used by the application when i2c-Communication was also being implemented.

Another big problem I found is the fact that there are no asynchronous timers in the STM32F103-Series. Makes measuring of high frequencies difficult to impossible and the timer-functions in general had limited easy to understand documentation and examples available. The latter might have improved, as well as the i2c-situation, but those were stil two problems I was only able to solve by adding a Arduino Nano about 3 weeks before the deadline to one of the expansion-slots I had put into the design for exactly this kind of eventuality.

Current project I use this chip in is my RF Signal-Generator. Even with a graphical user interface and totally non-optimized software, it has plenty of memory left and over 30MHz SPI-Clock to program signal sources and send data to the display.
Once I understand how to program the DMA, or the libraries for the display start making use of DMA, things can probably be sped up quite considerably. So a lot of potential in that chip to be unlocked if programmed with the Arduino IDE and the Libraries of the STM32Duino-Project :)
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: robertferanec on October 08, 2018, 11:32:40 pm
SaabFAN, thank you very much for pointing out these issues. I will have a careful look at the STM32 chips before I make the final decision.
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: donotdespisethesnake on October 10, 2018, 05:10:24 pm
Thank you  for suggestions. I checked Teensy and NodeMCU and there is not really much information about licensing. Maybe I missed something?

I was thinking about Raspberry Pi, but I believe, RPi is not really open source and also it may be difficult to buy some of the chips.

Neither Teensy, NodeMCU or RPi are Open Source, if by Open Source you mean both the hardware and supporting software are published with a recognized Open Source license.

If you exclude Arduino Uno, it's very difficult to find any boards that are both popular and Open Source. Since no one really knows how many boards are sold, deciding if a board is "popular" is largely subjective.

Arduino is unique in being the only genuinely Open Source board. Why did you exclude it anyway?
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: robertferanec on October 10, 2018, 05:27:40 pm
Neither Teensy, NodeMCU or RPi are Open Source, if by Open Source you mean both the hardware and supporting software are published with a recognized Open Source license.
That's what I am worried about. I am looking for fully open source (HW+SW). For example, Arduino shows the licensing directly in the schematic, many other boards do not clearly say it.

Arduino is unique in being the only genuinely Open Source board. Why did you exclude it anyway?
I excluded just Arduino UNO. I have created a lot of materials based on Arduino UNO, so I am looking for a different board now. Arduino Nano is a very good candidate + I am also considering something with STM32. I am just not convinced, that community around STM32 is as as strong as around Arduino Nano.
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: xaxaxa on October 10, 2018, 05:35:21 pm
None of these boards are something you would use in a project. These boards are basically just a breakout board with some passives. You will generally always want to use the microcontroller directly and avoid a lot of cost and manufacturing headache (soldering pin headers is labor intensive and to be avoided).
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: xaxaxa on October 10, 2018, 05:39:21 pm
A stm32f103 needs no external components other than a bypass cap (crystal is optional). I would imagine it's similar with most other modern microcontrollers these days. There is no excuse to not directly put it on your board.

Even in the prototyping phase I never start with an arduino or other dev board. The circuit will differ so much compared to your final PCB that the tests done on an arduino are meaningless. I have designed my first PCB that includes an stm32 without having ever touched a dev board (I have looked at its schematic though).

If we are talking SBCs then it's a different story, but if you are making a product it still makes more sense to make your own board since BGA and multilayer boards add very little cost in production compared to hand soldering pin headers.
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: robertferanec on October 10, 2018, 10:10:33 pm
None of these boards are something you would use in a project. These boards are basically just a breakout board with some passives. You will generally always want to use the microcontroller directly and avoid a lot of cost and manufacturing headache (soldering pin headers is labor intensive and to be avoided).
This is perfectly fine. I just want to re-design the board a little bit and make some videos about how to add your own changes. Then, from the videos people should be able to learn how to customize this board, re-design it to their needs and for their own applications.
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: robertferanec on October 10, 2018, 10:12:57 pm
What about BeagleBone boards, Olimex or the new Arduino VIDOR?
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: Nominal Animal on October 28, 2018, 08:32:59 pm
SparkFun created an ATmega32U4 board, Pro Micro (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/12640) under CC-SA 4.0.  The ubiquitous cheap clones use the Arduino Leonardo bootloader.  I like the ATmega32U4 because of its simplicity and hardware USB 1.1 (12 Mbits/s, easily reaches a megabyte a second using e.g. USB serial endpoint).  The HID support in particular is very nice: makes it very easy to create human interface devices like keyboards, joysticks, and gamepads. (I've also used one to simulate an USB-connected vinyl cutter I did not have access to, but had an USB data dump for, for developing/bug-fixing a driver for.)

With the Leonardo bootloader, in Linux, the best way to get them reliably programmed is to detach, wait a couple of seconds, then reinsert, wait a second, and click program in the Arduino environment; the timing is sometimes a bit tricky to get right. (Getting the Leonardo bootloader to properly trigger a firmware upload is the issue.)

You can obviously create your own bootloader, too, but I've not bothered yet. There is even an instructable, IIRC, on how to upload a new bootloader to a Pro Micro clone. If you want to play with making your own board variant, you could start with the Pro Micro at EasyEda (https://easyeda.com/oshw/Pro_Micro_5V_16MHz_Open_hardware-qJfxrJ1Vd) (an online circuit design tool).



As to Teensies, head over to PJRC.com (https://www.pjrc.com/) or the forum there (https://forum.pjrc.com/). Paul Stoffregen is the developer of Teensies. To create your own Teensy variant, you can create your own board based on the schematic (the board files aren't publicly available, I think), and buy a preprogrammed bootloader chip from PJRC.com. This is what others have done. PJRC.com funds the development by keeping the bootloader (including processor initialization part) proprietary. Note that Paul Stoffregen not only develops the Teensies and maintains Teensyduino, he also supports the Arduino environment, both via fixing bugs (https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/ReleaseNotes) and developing various libraries (https://www.arduinolibraries.info/authors/paulstoffregen) (at GitHub (https://github.com/paulstoffregen)).

(I personally could be described as a rabid open source and linux advocate, but for cases like this, I definitely understand why keeping some parts proprietary is necessary for a very small company to fund the development.)
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: robertferanec on October 31, 2018, 07:04:32 pm
SparkFun created an ATmega32U4 board, Pro Micro (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/12640) under CC-SA 4.0. 



Note that Paul Stoffregen not only develops the Teensies and maintains Teensyduino

Thank you.

Pro Micro - I like the direct USB and I am checking now also Arduino Leonardo
Teensies - I had a look at these, but as the licensing is unclear, it just would not feel right to create a clone. From all the boards I had a look at, the Arduino is still on the top of my list, but I keep looking.

PS: For my initial testing I bought Arduino Vidor and played with it. That board is in very early stage of product cycle at this moment - not much documentation and software around it yet :(
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: fchk on December 27, 2018, 09:41:38 am
What in your opinion is the best open source board? Which one is the most used?

What are YOUR requirements? Do you need
- USB
- Ethernet (10? 100? 1000?)
- display output (TFT? LVDS? VGA?)
- digital and/or analog inputs/outputs (number? voltage? current?)
- memory
- computing power?
- special low-power options?

First answer these questions, and then we can show you the best board for YOUR requirements.
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: blueskull on December 27, 2018, 09:47:12 am
Bule pills?
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: jmelson on January 03, 2019, 10:50:21 am
Well, if you need more than the simplest micro, such as something that runs apps on the net, the Beagle Bone is quite good.  1 GHz Arm processor, ethernet, lots of I/O, USB host and target, and a pair of 200 MHz microcontrollers for things that need fast "real time" interfacing.  Certainly more expensive than an Arduino, but a heck of a lot more powerful.  I've used them for several projects that needed to be remote-controlled over the net via some kind of GUI.

Jon
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: ebastler on January 04, 2019, 02:38:57 am
Regarding the "widest used" question:

If we assume that Arduino is the most popular platform, and that the split of models sold via their official store is representative, then the Nano is currently the most popular model: https://store.arduino.cc/arduino-genuino/most-popular?dir=desc&order=bestselling
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: robertferanec on January 05, 2019, 12:41:42 am
What in your opinion is the best open source board? Which one is the most used?

What are YOUR requirements? Do you need
- USB
- Ethernet (10? 100? 1000?)
- display output (TFT? LVDS? VGA?)
- digital and/or analog inputs/outputs (number? voltage? current?)
- memory
- computing power?
- special low-power options?

First answer these questions, and then we can show you the best board for YOUR requirements.

The exact peripherals are not the most critical requirements. I am planning to use the board in my youtube videos and I would like to use a board, which many people already own and know how to work with.
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: Scrts on January 05, 2019, 03:17:54 am
Just FYI: http://linuxgizmos.com/catalog-of-122-open-spec-linux-hacker-boards/ (http://linuxgizmos.com/catalog-of-122-open-spec-linux-hacker-boards/)
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: fki82 on March 06, 2019, 06:07:05 am
The price to performance ratio is quite good on the blue pill STM32F103 boards. No 32bit Arduino clone is nearly as cheap.
It has been around for a while, so there is plenty of information online.
https://wiki.stm32duino.com/index.php?title=Blue_Pill (https://wiki.stm32duino.com/index.php?title=Blue_Pill)
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: dave3533 on March 07, 2019, 12:45:08 pm
Adafruit, Sparkfun, or Digilent would be the first few places I'd look for something like that. I'm not sure the Parallax Propeller is opensource or not, but that's also an interesting choice.
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: robertferanec on March 07, 2019, 08:27:39 pm
The price to performance ratio is quite good on the blue pill STM32F103 boards.
- I will get the blue pill board. Many people recommend it.
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: wilfred on March 07, 2019, 09:00:59 pm
STM32 "Bluepill" - My favorite at the moment :)
I like it. The chip looks good. A lot of pins, direct USB (no converter needed), 5V tolerant pins. Together with Arduino Nano, one of my favorites at this moment. Thanks for the tip.
What about the Arduino Leonardo.
https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Arduino_BoardLeonardo (https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Arduino_BoardLeonardo)
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: robertferanec on March 07, 2019, 09:14:33 pm
What about the Arduino Leonardo.
https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Arduino_BoardLeonardo (https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Arduino_BoardLeonardo)
Leonardo is very nice, just too similar to Uno. I have already made a modification of Uno (https://www.28pins.com/ (https://www.28pins.com/)) ... but maybe this could be also a way to go (Leonardo has some advantages).

PS: I had a look also at Arduino MKR Vidor 4000 - software and community for this board is not ready yet. Currently I am playing with Blueduino https://wiki.aprbrother.com/en/BlueDuino_rev2.html (https://wiki.aprbrother.com/en/BlueDuino_rev2.html)
Title: Re: What is the best and widest used open source board? (Except Arduino UNO)
Post by: westfw on March 14, 2019, 12:13:51 pm
What about one of the SAMD boards?  Adafruit and Sparkfun both have a suite of OSHW based on SAMD21, and they (can) use the Arduino IDE.
"Blue Pill" is more of a "manufacturer reference design" than OSHW.  I'm not sure that I understand the differences, legally, but I don't know if you'll find a schematic and PCB floating around with a big "This designed is OSHW" license disclaimer.
There's the "Wiring" board, which is essentially the Arduino predecessor.  It faded because it was originally "too expensive", but ... costs have changed and it might be worth reviving.  Extra pins!  (not "popular", but as an Arduino compatible...)
https://hackaday.io/project/62511-revive-wiring(https://cdn.hackaday.io/images/373871520994640030.jpg)