October Engineering Product Picks

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This month we will a look into the multi-function, electronic instrumentation device, OpenScope MZ from Digilent, the new small sized SBC, PocketBeagle from BeagleBoard.org, and the versatile development board, Tessel 2 from Seeed Technology .

OpenScope MZ

When it comes to testing circuits, it is always essential to have a function generator and an oscilloscope, but sometimes the cost of having one in-home might be too much. The OpenScope MZ from Digilent, is an open source, multi-function, electronic instrumentation device that can be controlled by using WaveForms Live on your computer or mobile device. It is a portable device that can acquire, visualize, and generate signals from circuits, sensors, and other electronic devices, but having a lower cost than an actual oscilloscope and function generator.

It has an easy set-up and easy-to-use control for the oscilloscope, logic analyzer, and waveform generator. OpenScope MZ also has built-in Wi-Fi to make it portable and easy to connect, and with its price point, it is a great alternative for usual bulky and expensive oscilloscopes and function generators.

For more info on the OpenScope MZ, check this article out.

Features include:

Connectivity

  • WiFi (802.11g)
  • USB 2.0 (High Speed Required)

Oscilloscope

  • 2 Channels
  • 12-bit resolution per channel
  • 6.25 MS/s sample rate
  • Flat bandwidth up to 1 MHz at ±0.5dB
  • 2 MHz of bandwidth at -3dB
  • 1 MΩ of input impedance
  • ±20 V input voltage range
  • Maximum buffer size of 32640 samples per channel

Arbitrary Waveform Generator

  • Sine, triangle, sawtooth, square and DC outputs
  • 10-bit resolution
  • 1 Hz to 1 MHz frequency
  • 3 V pk2pk output with ±1.5 V offset
  • 10 mA output current
  • 25000 sample buffer size

Logic Analyzer and GPIO

  • 10 Channels multiplexed between the Logic Analyzer and as general purpose IO
  • 3.3V CMOS logic for both the Logic Analyzer and GPIO
  • 7 mA source and 12 mA sink when used as GPIO
  • Logic Analyzer has a sample rate of 10 MS/s
  • Maximum buffer size of 32640 samples per channel for the Logic Analyzer

Power Supply

  • 2 Channels
  • ±4 V output voltage
  • 50 mA per channel

Other features

  • Two external triggers
  • USB powered device
  • 4 user LEDs

PocketBeagle

BeagleBoard.org recently released their own small-sized SBC, the PocketBeagle, a USB key-fob computer. It is the smaller version of the BeagleBone Black, with dimensions of 56mm x 35mm x 5mm, but also packing a similar punch as the BBB Wireless. It has the new Octavo System OSD3359-SM System-in-Package (SiP) module, where it includes its 1GHz Texas Instruments Sitra ARM Cortex-A8 AM3358 System-on-Chip (SoC). The Cortex-A8 gives it a 64KB dedicated RAM and a 64KB shared L3 RAM.

It includes two 32-bit 200MHz PRU (programmable real-time units), which means that it is great for low-latency, real-time applications, such as 3D printers, drones, robots, and laser cutters. The PocketBeagle has 72-expansion pin headers that are unpopulated (meaning no pins), giving it space for analog inputs, digital IOs, and other peripherals.

To learn more about the PocketBeagle, click here or to see how it compares to another small-form SBC, the Raspberry Pi Zero, click here.

Features include:

Texas Instruments® Sitara™ AM3358 Processor (Integrated in the OSD3358-SM):

  • 1GHz ARM® Cortex-A8 with NEON floating-point accelerator
  • SGX530 graphics accelerator
  • 2x programmable real-time unit (PRU) 32-bit 200MHz microcontrollers with single-cycle I/O latency
  • ARM® Cortex-M3 for power and security management functions

Memory

  • 512MB DDR3 800MHZ RAM (Integrated in the OSD3358-SM)
  • 4kB I2C EEPROM (Integrated in the OSD3358-SM)
  • SD/MMC Connector for microSD

Software Compatibility

  • Debian GNU/Linux images customized for BeagleBone®
  • Cloud9 IDE on Node.js w/ BoneScript library
  • Any BeagleBone Black® software not needing access to unavailable expansion pins

Connectivity

  • High speed USB 2.0 OTG (host/client) micro-B connector (USB0)
  • Bootable microSD card slot (MMC0)

Power management

  • TPS65217C PMIC is used along with a separate LDO to provide power to the system (Integrated in the OSD3358) with integrated 1-cell LiPo battery support

Debug Support

  • JTAG test points
  • igdb and other monitor-mode debug possible

 Power Source

  • microUSB connector
  • expansion header (3 options: battery, VIN or USB-VIN)

User Input / Output

  • Power Button with press detection interrupt via TPS65217C PMIC (hold for 10s to initiate hardware power cycle)

Tessel 2 Board

The Tessel 2 Board from Seeed Technology, is a versatile development board that has many plug-and-play modules that quickly and easily get your project going. The Tessel 2 has a 580MHz Mediatek Router-on-a-Chip, a 48MHz Atmel SAMD21 Coprocessor, 64MB DDR2 RAM, Wireless programmable 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and much more.

It has 10-pin modules that can include accelerometer, relay control, ambient, climate, infrared, servos, RFID, or GPS. Its USB modules can include BLE, cellular, MicroSD, camera, and audio. It even has community created modules ranging from distance, color sensor, keypad, lights/LEDs, motion, motors, pulse, screen, and button/switches. The Tessle 2 runs JavaScript and supports Node Package Manager (NPM) – that’s HTTP, Twitter, web server, color, and async right out of the box.

Features include:

Processor and Connectivity

  • Preinstalled with Node.js 4.2.1 LTS or newer
  • Easy to use CLI for remote programming and configuration
  • 580MHz Mediatek Router-on-a-Chip
  • 48MHz Atmel SAMD21 Coprocessor
  • 64MB DDR2 RAM
  • 32MB Flash Storage
  • Wirelessly Programmable 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
  • Supports 10/100 Ethernet
  • MicroUSB Power
  • 2x 10-Pin Tessel Module Ports
  • 2x USB Ports

10-pin Modules

  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient
  • Relay
  • Climate
  • Infrared
  • Servos
  • RFID
  • GPS

USB Modules

  • BLE
  • Cellular
  • MicroSD
  • Camera
  • Audio

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