Intel jumps into the DIY/Maker market and misses



  • I followed up on one announcement from CES that looked intersting to me - Intel now makes a single-board computer the size of an SD card. It may be a good thing, it may not be a good thing.

    However...

    In the Intel website they are also touting "Galileo" which is advertised as an Arduino compatible board. http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/do-it-yourself/galileo-maker-quark-board.html

    Now I've done a lot of Arduino stuff and it's been a really useful platform to prototype ideas quickly. It's extremely tolerant of mistakes and it does showy stuff very easily. If you want to have a bunch of LEDs flashing in a pattern controlled by a serial terminal, then it will take about 10 minutes to write the program and 20 minutes to wire up the hardware even if you've never seen an Arduino before. (Some prior programming experience in a C-like language is helpful, otherwise you are limited to downloading programs ["sketches" in Arduino] that other people have written. Plus it's so simple that most students are able to work out what to change to hack an existing program to do what they want.)

    So Intel, in their wisdom, have created a board with a 400MHz processor running Linux that can emulate an Arduino. Most Arduino chips are 16MHz, so I think Intel has just picked a speed that lets their emulator run inefficiently and still get the job done. Nonetheless, the Arduino IO pins are driven by a port expander which has very limited speed, so you can't twiddle an output at anything like the rate that an Arduino is capable of. Goodbye SoftwareSerial, goodbye radio-control PPM emulations, goodbye pin interrupts...

    Then there's the cost - more than 3 times a standard Arduino. Granted, you do get an Ethernet port with it, which may be useful to many people, so it's just under twice the cost of an Ethernet Arduino.

    But the big miss in my opinion is that it REQUIRES a 5V power supply. The original Arduino accepts pretty much any voltage from 5V to 16V, which suits a lot of battery-powered devices that you might want to put the Ardunio into. The other neat feature of the original is that it can run off USB power and still do useful things while attached to your computer. So the startup cost of plugging things in and getting started understanding a simple program that blinks an LED on and off is just a USB cable. I don't have enough power outlets near my PC to plug it into power while I'm programming it.

    Galileo would be spinning in his grave (slowly, at the same speed as the port expander.)


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Qwerty said:

    But the big miss in my opinion is that it REQUIRES a 5V power supply.

     

    The data sheet pages all to go a "site is down for maintenance" link right now, but Adafruit says it takes 3.3v or 5v.

    While I understand your point, voltage regulators aren't exactly arcane.



  • @FrostCat said:

    @Qwerty said:

    But the big miss in my opinion is that it REQUIRES a 5V power supply.

     

    The data sheet pages all to go a "site is down for maintenance" link right now, but Adafruit says it takes 3.3v or 5v.

    While I understand your point, voltage regulators aren't exactly arcane.

    More cost and complexity to install a 7805 or similar.



  • @FrostCat said:

    @Qwerty said:

    But the big miss in my opinion is that it REQUIRES a 5V power supply.

     

    The data sheet pages all to go a "site is down for maintenance" link right now, but Adafruit says it takes 3.3v or 5v.

    While I understand your point, voltage regulators aren't exactly arcane.

     

    Wake me up when you can run it off a coin cell.

     



  • You can count on Intel to not get single board computers. They also have a Raspberry Pi competitor - a much more power hungry, with no low level I/O ports, and way more expensibe, but there is SATA (no idea where you'll power the disk from). At least, it's faster, what this one isn't.

    About the 7085, yeah, it's cheap and easy to get... and you'll solder it where, exactly? The Arduino does not need custom circuit boards, you just buy shields and plug them - that's nearly the entire point.

     



  • @Qwerty said:

    But the big miss in my opinion is that it REQUIRES a 5V power supply. The original Arduino accepts pretty much any voltage from 5V to 16V, which suits a lot of battery-powered devices that you might want to put the Ardunio into. The other neat feature of the original is that it can run off USB power and still do useful things while attached to your computer. So the startup cost of plugging things in and getting started understanding a simple program that blinks an LED on and off is just a USB cable. I don't have enough power outlets near my PC to plug it into power while I'm programming it.

    USB is 5V @0,5A (more with USB3), can't it run off that?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Zemm said:

    @FrostCat said:

    @Qwerty said:

    But the big miss in my opinion is that it REQUIRES a 5V power supply.

     

    The data sheet pages all to go a "site is down for maintenance" link right now, but Adafruit says it takes 3.3v or 5v.

    While I understand your point, voltage regulators aren't exactly arcane.

    More cost and complexity to install a 7805 or similar.

    You're talking about spending $100, and fussing over $1.95, plus the cost of two resistors?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    TBH, the Netduino sounds more interesting to me--I generally like working at a higher level.



  • @FrostCat said:

    @Zemm said:
    @FrostCat said:

    @Qwerty said:

    But the big miss in my opinion is that it REQUIRES a 5V power supply.

     

    The data sheet pages all to go a "site is down for maintenance" link right now, but Adafruit says it takes 3.3v or 5v.

    While I understand your point, voltage regulators aren't exactly arcane.

    More cost and complexity to install a 7805 or similar.

    You're talking about spending $100, and fussing over $1.95, plus the cost of two resistors?

     

     

    using static resistors for a voltage drop isn't that good of an idea if either the source is not stable or the load isn't constant



  • @FrostCat said:

    You're talking about spending $100, and fussing over $1.95, plus the cost of two resistors?

    The "cost" of a 7805 in a typical highschool project/halloween costume is working out that you actually need it (after you fry a board) then working out where to get it and finally where to mount it and attaching wires to it in a way that they don't get flexed and fracture off it. Those skills are beyond most highschool students. Not that they can't learn this, but it's a barrier to getting something working quickly.

    No, I'd prefer to pay $30 and then I can use any old battery I have lying around from an RC toy or whatever.

    As for the comment "Just run it off USB?" My reading of the Intel site says that it requires a 3A, 5V supply, even when it is connected to USB, as it needs the extra power to flash the memory. 3A is a lot of power for a 5V supply. You don't get that out of your usual USB-replacement chargers.



  • I can't see how anyone this board is targeting would want to buy it.

    By the time you're sufficiently aware of what the words "Arduino", "Intel" "microcontroller" mean, you probably want either a Raspberry Pi (for a much better "PC-like" experience) or Arduino Mega (for a much better microcontroller experience).

    If you need the combination of both, you probably know enough to go for a Raspberry Pi AND an Arduino and some high-speed comms between the two.

    It would still be cheaper than this thing and probably more versatile.



  • @fowkc said:

    If you need the combination of both, you probably know enough to go for a Raspberry Pi AND an Arduino and some high-speed comms between the two.
     

     Alamode - Arduino Compatible Raspberry Pi Plate



  • @ratchet freak said:

    using static resistors for a voltage drop isn't that good of an idea if either the source is not stable or the load isn't constant

    The LM317 is a multi-voltage regulator and the resistors set the required voltage. It does it by using the output as a voltage reference so it is quite stable, within documented limits. I used this chip when I was in high school to let me power my walkman from the cigarette lighter in my parents car so I could listen to Nirvana or Metallica while they listened to John Williamson. I even had a series of trimpots hooked up to a 6-way switch so I could choose various voltages for my various devices.

    The point I was trying to make was more the complexity of having to install another chip. If it needs more than 1A then you'll need to find a high power regulator and/or use a bypass transistor. More complexity.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Zemm said:

    @ratchet freak said:
    using static resistors for a voltage drop isn't that good of an idea if either the source is not stable or the load isn't constant

    The LM317 is a multi-voltage regulator and the resistors set the required voltage. It does it by using the output as a voltage reference so it is quite stable, within documented limits. I used this chip when I was in high school to let me power my walkman from the cigarette lighter in my parents car so I could listen to Nirvana or Metallica while they listened to John Williamson. I even had a series of trimpots hooked up to a 6-way switch so I could choose various voltages for my various devices.

    The point I was trying to make was more the complexity of having to install another chip. If it needs more than 1A then you'll need to find a high power regulator and/or use a bypass transistor. More complexity.

     

    Well, sure, fair enough.  But again, you're talking about a $100 system anyway, so at least as far as additional cost is concerned, it's close to rounding error.  WRT complexity, your own experience suggests it's not that big a deal.

    I realize this is opposition to the way this site works, but if you're going to gripe about something it's probably worth focusing in on the major things, like "what is this thing suitable for at its price point" rather than what's involved powering it.  I would imagine that trying to run this off a coin cell battery (or even a small handful of AAs) like some Arduino operations do is most likely going to be an exercise in futility.



  • @FrostCat said:

    I realize this is opposition to the way this site works, but if you're going to gripe about something it's probably worth focusing in on the major things, like "what is this thing suitable for at its price point" rather than what's involved powering it.

     

    But when the forgone conclusion is "ABSO****INGLUTELY NOTHING, YET AGAIN, GFJ INTEL", how else are you supposed to get your kicks?

     


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