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Feather Development Board is Light Like its Namesake and Versatile

Written by Stephen Vicinanza

Adafruit, the maker of many fun and serious DIY boards and devices, has come up with Feather M0 Bluefruit LE. Feather is meant to be light and fast as well as thin. The company is hoping Feather will become a new standard in portable microcontroller cores.

The Feather M0 Bluefruit LE is Adafruit’s take on an all-in-one Arduino-compatible and Bluetooth Low Energy with built-in USB and battery charging. It’s an Adafruit Feather M0 with a BTLE module.

Bluetooth Low Energy is the protocol that is used by many phone manufacturers. It is low-power and very desirable in development for its 2.4GHz spectrum wireless connectivity. It is the only wireless protocol that can be used with iOS without needing special certification and all of today’s smartphones support the protocol.

That support makes it an excellent choice for use in portable project development that might use an iOS or Android phone or tablet. The protocol is also supported in Mac OS X and Windows 8+

The Feather runs an ATSAMD21G18 ARM Cortex-M0 with a clocked speed of 48MHz at 3.3V logic, the same as used in the Arduino Zero. The chip has a large 256K Flash (8X more than the Atmega328 or the 32u4) and 32K of RAM (16X as much).

The chip has USB on board, so it carries a USB-to-Serial program and debugs capability also built in and does not need an FTDI-like chip.

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There is a built-in battery charger and a connector for any 3.7V lithium polymer battery. This makes developing a portable prototype easy and streamlined. The micro-USB connector will work to power the unit without a battery being necessary at all. You can take a battery when a power source is not available, and just plug in the USB cable when a recharge is available.

The Feather automatically switches over to USB when charging that way is available. Battery charge level can be monitored through a divider to an analog pin, another simple feature that makes development easier.

  • The board measures 2” x 0.9” x 0.28” or 51mm x 23mm x 8mm) with any headers soldered in place
  • 500mA through 3.3V regulator at peak output
  • USB bootloader and serial port debugging
  • 20 GPIO pins
  • Hardware Serial, I2C, and SPI supported
  • 8x PWM pins
  • 10x analog inputs
  • 1x analog output
  • General-purpose Pin #13 for a red LED
  • Built-inin lipoly charger with status indicator LED at 100mA
  • Weighs 5.7 grams
  • ATSAMD21G18 at 48MHz 3.3V logic or power.

BTLE

  • Nordic Semiconductor module nRF51822

For more on the Adafruit Feather M0 Bluetooth LE go to the website product page here

Adafruit | adafruit.com

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For the past 8 years, I have been writing about embedded technologies, added to my technical, academic, and medical editorial experience, with companies like Elsevier and Cambridge University Press. I tell people to read what I write, not try to pronounce my last name. I am always available for comments and suggestions you can reach me at product-editor@circuitcellar.com and I promise I will take the time to reach back out to you. I live in the North East with my wonderful family.

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Feather Development Board is Light Like its Namesake and Versatil…

by Stephen Vicinanza time to read: 2 min