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Do we want an Xmega based Arduino board?

 
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Per Svensson

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Joined: 03 Oct 2004
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Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2021 11:58 pm    Post subject: Do we want an Xmega based Arduino board? Reply with quote

Hi,

The Arduino HW boards UNO and Mega2560 are very popular among DIY's and some of these are using Bascom to program them. Fair enough!
There are also hundreds of "shields" available to expand the functionality to whatever you can think of.

However, we would have more "Bascom power" if there also was an "Xduino256" or something similar based on the Xmega family rather than the slower Mega. (Of course still with the popular Arduino I/O pinout.)

So why isn't there an Xmega based Arduino on the market you may wonder?
The answer is that all Arduinos are powered from 5V and therefore also most shields are,
but Xmega run on 3.3V, so an Xduino must be made 5V-friendly as well. This can be done!

To make this short - how many of you would welcome an "Xduino256"?
I could design and manufacture such a boards for you if there is interest enough. We need a decent volume to make production cost resonable. I suppose price is a key issue here, and an Xmega based Arduino will never be as cheap as one from china. We can, on the other hand, for a small extra cost, integrate extended functionality like sensors for Acceleration, Rotation, Magnetism, Pressure, Humidity, WIFI, BLE, CAN, uSD and others.
We do not necessarily need to assemble all at the same time, but still add them to the layout for those of you who manage to solder in SMD-chips. For those who can't - no harm done. Just ignore those pads. The basic functionality is there anyway.

By adding these extras there will also be less need for many of the most common shields. This saves money.

I really have no idea of what you think of this idea, but it has occupied my mind for some time so let's see what people here say.

Do we want this?
Can we agree on a reasonable cost?
Can we agree on some desirable extras that most people use?

/Per

(BASCOM-AVR version : 2.0.8.3 )
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albertsm

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Joined: 09 Apr 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i like the Xmega and indeed the available add on boards are great. personally i like the simple solutions with one device on a board so i can test it easily without designing a board.
so i do not use shields often. i had bad experience with low quality connectors. it is cheap but the quality is low too.

when i look at the users who use xmega i think most of them are prof users that design their own boards. i guess they would find an xmega compatible board convenient for testing too.
when ever i do a project with a new board there is always the problem : what goes on it, and where to stop.
when you design some xmega board for shields i will buy some Very Happy

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MWS

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Joined: 22 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 12:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Do we want an Xmega based Arduino board? Reply with quote

Per Svensson wrote:
So why isn't there an Xmega based Arduino on the market you may wonder?

Because the XMega is too expensive maybe? Because someone has to write libs for the Arduino-habitat to use the benefits of the X-series there, while this someone isn't found yet?
Quote:
The answer is that all Arduinos are powered from 5V and therefore also most shields are,

As you talk about the core's voltage and not ext. power, the Arduino Zero's core ATSAMD21G18 runs 3.3V, the earlier Due AT91SAM3X8E and also a few other smaller boards also do.
Quote:
but Xmega run on 3.3V, so an Xduino must be made 5V-friendly as well. This can be done!

XMegas are great for those already used to AVR, these users get more power while the controller is supported by their preferred language Bascom.
If you want to move out from this circle into the one of Arduino and its language, then the benefits of a XMega board diminish, compared to the ones already on the market, Zero runs at 48 MHz, the Due at 84 MHz.
That means for a market of users as described above it will work, for the market of Arduino users likely not.
Quote:
To make this short - how many of you would welcome an "Xduino256"?

I would welcome it, because it extends the possibilities for Bascom, but I would not buy it, because neither XMegas are my preferred controllers, nor do I have to use them in a professional way.

If you would do such a board, I'd keep it simple, use one some ports level shifters to communicate with 5V shields, but not on all ports, I'd avoid a jack of all trades device.
Quote:
Just ignore those pads. The basic functionality is there anyway.

Wouldn't be SMD-sockets a great deal? Someone needs to invent them. ;D
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SZTRAD

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Joined: 30 Dec 2019
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm happy to agree with MWS. Smile
They already tried it in Poland there was a project extrino which was compatible with UNO, but it did not have all the fully compatible inputs from all boards, if I remember correctly. EDC will probably know more.
https://www.gotronik.pl/extrino-xl-full-modul-xmega-atxmega-kompatybilny-z-arduino-p-3091.html
As MWS writes now rather everyone goes the way of NANO and the periphery is simply solved on the motherboard if needed. It's cheaper. The libraries on the xmega on the arduino are,but again as MWS writes it's kind of unfinished. Why is it that the more powerful STM32 with the board costs $2 from China? And it's fully ported. And now the RASP PICO has come along and will overwhelm everything with power. I don't quite understand why I would use it or what I could build. Price $5. I don't think development will pay.
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albertsm

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since this topic seems not to do much with BASCOM-AVR anymore, i moved it.

I think Per proposed an Xmega board usable with BASCOM-AVR and with the arduino shields.
I did not read that the goal was to have the cheapest possible processor solution. these change all the time. There is always one the cheapest.

Also : I propose that you only respond when you are interested. It is more helpful that writing why you are not interested. After all the question was not : why are you not interested.

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MWS

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

albertsm wrote:
I propose that you only respond when you are interested.

I welcome it, and that's what Per asked, my reasons of welcome are different however.
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hgrueneis

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Joined: 04 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Arduino why?
These days it is very cheap to design your own boards.
I have a Xmega-board as a central processor and six Atmega boards connected to it and communicating with SPI, RS232@250K,TWI, also controlling 18 RC-servos(actually more, because they are in parallel).
Board designs are often free for a limited pin number. Sending the files to China and receiving 10 pieces of 5x5cm for 20 or so Euro
is a real bargain. The rest is Bascom. I never had an Arduino and do not think I ever will. If you are serious about Hobby or professional design, then you should not use prefabricated boards. I have tried one and it was JUNK, because it did not fit my needs.. The system is controlling a VTOL that can fly horizontally or in vertical mode (with lots of automatic functions, like airspeed, altitude, gear, and stabilization and all compensated for temperature and altitude, automatic vertical landing and so on) Version 2. Will be flying late this year. Most systems tested.
Just wanted to say, that you do not need Arduino to do something FUN!
My 2 bits for Ardurino
Regards
Hubert
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mmarlette

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Joined: 30 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have used the MikroElektronika Xmega boards and just bought the MIKROE-580, MIKROXMEGA ATXMEGA128A1 EVAL BRD $24USD from Digikey, last one.

I used the Ready board before, modified the power supply with more efficient regulators for battery operated devices. Nice proto area as well. Kind of small but works!

They work well with BASCOM and are very reasonable.

Regards,

Mark


NOTE FROM ADMIN : link removed. no free ads for ME here
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Per Svensson

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark A is right!
"I think Per proposed an Xmega board usable with BASCOM-AVR and with the arduino shields."
The idea is NOT to provide hardware for "Sketch programmers". It is to provide powerful hardware for Bascom programmers.


Mmarlette: Interesting this Ready for XMEGA .
Great value for a few bucks, and there are other boards too, but all I have seen suffer from lack of Arduino Shield compatibility. So does the eXtrino as well if I undestood the Polish website.

Hubert:
Arduino why? These days it is very cheap to design your own boards.
Partly true, but not for everybody. I imagine that most Bascom programmers neither know how to do it, or want to spend time and money to design a board.

And yes! Please! Those of you who think my suggestion is worth considering. Wave your hands!
Of course it is very valuable to get hints of already existing solutions. (we do not want to reinvent the wheel),
but most interesting is to hear from you who would be prepared to buy one of these Xduinos

I certainly have no desire to take on this task if there is no support for it among our group.
Neither have I any need or desire to become a wealthy man from this project Wink
However, the project must bear its own costs, so it is important that it is getting high acceptance among us.

It is also vital that we first of all get a feeling for if the concept is right. In the next phase we can start discussing what functionality we want from the board. We all want Bascom to get more active members right?
It is not good enough that WE know how good it is. We also need more smart members who can benefit to the environment and for this we need good modern and powerful hardware to run on.

So please. Do not just read this thread and ignore it. Exclamation
Whether you like it or not, make your voice heard even if it just a like or dislike.

/Per
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mmarlette

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Per,

Mmarlette: Interesting this Ready for XMEGA .
Great value for a few bucks, and there are other boards too, but all I have seen suffer from lack of Arduino Shield compatibility. So does the eXtrino as well if I undestood the Polish website.

That is true, but then all of my designs are not common so an external board that plugs in to the expansion headers is all that is needed. I just get a jump as don't have to do the uC design. Generally a proof of concept and initial design.

I am not so good that I can get my designs perfect the first turn. Simple AVR stuff, ya. The Xmega design requirement generally makes the design pretty complex.

Good thread!

Regards,

Mark
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laborratte

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As MWS wrote I think the lack of XMegas is more likely based on missing Arduino IDE implementations - the few projects were not touched for years. I 've found a hardware, but it seems also not available any more. Another group started a kickstarter campaign and failed.

I personally will not buy it. Because I am used to make my own boards (with exactly the hardware needed) I was never digging into the arduino eco system and I don't see it happen in future for me. To be honest - the last bigger project which needed a XMega I programmed over 3 years ago. Since then I use 8-Bit AVR only for small and not time critical jobs - everything a tiny with internal clock can do and is - thanks to the still great BASCOM - programmed in one hour. All bigger projects use 32Bit processors - as they are cheap and powerful. OK, downside is C and often the lack of usable documentation for libs - but: you can't have your cake and eat it.

My 2 cent.
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SZTRAD

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2021 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Per
well so my opinion directly to the board why it is difficult to design it and why no one does it. The biggest problem is with analog inputs, which are also used as DI/DO. It's quite complicated and certainly not cheap to solve. And enough shields use them both ways. Perhaps the I2C will be quite difficult to engage both analogue and level converter. All the boards I've seen so far have 3V3 logic for that very reason.
So from my point of view, it's a commendable job, but it's not worth the effort if you're not doing it for yourself. I don't want to take away your appetite and passion for work, but try to look a little further ahead.
Who works with atxmega (I'm not that, I haven't found a use for them) makes board according to what they need. Atxmega's a nice piece of silicon, but it didn't catch on a bit. It was Atmel's last product before the microchip takeover, and it's pushing in a slightly different direction now.The only significant advantage was the 12-bit converter, which already has attina series 2, DMA and I/O count.
Who wants to look ways,who doesn't want to look reasons. That's what a gentleman in the Czech Republic said, and it's true. So look for a way.
So if you succeed, I'll add it to the collection.
RS
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Per Svensson

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2021 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As there are so few reactions to this suggestion I think I'd better drop the subject.
There would be technical issues to tackle but these compromises could have been discussed along the way.
Now it seem that just around 100 forum members have read the post and only a few have responded,
Out of these, most are not very enthusiastic so I conclude that a general Arduino compatible Xmega processor board is not wanted.

No harm done. Now we know this so let's focus on other more urgent matters.

/Per
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