What is the Neutrino?
The Neutrino is an inexpensive, open source, miniaturized version of the Arduino Zero!
Featuring a 32-bit ARM processor running at 48MHz, and boasting 32K of ram, the Neutrino is far more capable than your typical Arduino. And because it has the same processor and pinout, all libraries written for the Zero will work on the Neutrino without any modification!
Finally, being open-source, you're free to modify it as you wish and integrate it into your own designs - without ever needing to pay any royalties or licensing fees!
What's new with v3.0?
This new revision of the Neutrino will feature several changes to the design, some of which have yet to be determined, but most notably:
- The current TQFP package for the SAMD21 will be replaced with a QFN package and will be shifted closer to the USB connector. (There's a very good reason for this, but that's for a future Kickstarter campaign!)
- The SPI header in the middle of the board will be moved to the rear. (This is also something I need to do for the sake of future products.)
- I will be moving the status LED from pin 13 to the presently unused TXL pin. (This will allow me to remove the mosfet and a pull up resistor that are taking up precious space.)
- I may be adding a second LED to indicate power as I did on the Tau.
- I may also be swapping the diode on VIN for another slightly larger one with a higher current rating but also a slightly higher voltage drop. Undecided.
A couple things I don't intend to change up include the size of the board and the order of the pins along the sides.
- Microcontroller: Atmel ATSAMD21G18 ARM Cortex M0+
- Clock speed: 48 MHz
- Operating voltage: 3.3V
- I/O pin limits: 3.3V, 7 mA
- Digital I/O pins: 14, with 12 PWM
- Analog input pins: 6, 12-bit ADC channels
- Analog output pins: 1, 10-bit DAC
- Flash memory: 256 KB
- SRAM: 32 KB
- Voltage regulator: 3.7-5.5V input / 3.3V, 300mA output
- Dimensions: 1.4 x 0.7" (36mm x 18mm)
Programming is easy! Like most Arduinos, you simply plug the board into your PC using a micro USB cable, select the board you want to program, and hit the upload button in the IDE when you're ready. The Neutrino ships with the Zero bootloader installed, and most of the time it will auto-reset when the USB serial port is opened by the IDE, but in the event that this fails, you can always hit the reset button on the board to force it to enter bootloader mode after your program finishes compiling.
Like most Arduinos, the Neutrino features a status LED you can control from your program. On the Neutrino 3.0 the plan is to connect this LED to a previously unused pin which on the Zero is normally connected to the TX LED. This will allow me to remove a mosfet and pull up resistor which will reduce the cost slightly and give me more breathing room when routing traces.
The Neutrino 2.0 did not have a power LED, but the Tau did, and I would like to add one to the Neutrino 3.0 as well. I just need to find room for it!
Say goodbye to the Tone() command forever! Turn your Neutrino into a virtuoso by connecting an amplifier to pin A0 an using the Audio library to play .WAV files with the built-in DAC!
The Neutrino 3.0 also features a reset switch. Normally you won't need it, but if your sketch ever locks up and you can't seem to upload a new one to the board, you can press that magic button twice to force the bootloader to stay on!
Why the relaunch?
I've been fresh out of the Neutrino for a couple months now, and I really need to restock!
But more importantly, as I briefly mentioned above in the section about what changes I'll be making, there are some new products I'm developing and will be launching on Kickstarter in the coming months that are based on the Neutrino but will require these design revisions to work.
For example, by removing the mosfet for the status LED and shifting some other things around, I'll be able to route the SPI bus to the back of the board where, like on the Firecricket, I could mount a MicroSD slot. Right now, it's impossible with the board's two layer design to route those SPI signals there.
And the change to a QFN package for the processor is also a necessary step for future products. ...but I've already said too much!
Thank you for your support!
Risks and challenges
I don't anticipate any issues delivering these boards. The design is only being altered slightly, I have a very good idea of what they'll cost to manufacture and ship having manufactured similar boards previously, and the firmware will remain unchanged from the previous version. It's all fairly straightforward!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (15 days)