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Open source Arduino compatible board has WiFi, Bluetooth, RF

Dec 12, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 4838 views

Mintbox Technologies announced a $24, open source “Winkel Board” Arduino compatible with ATmega128 and ESP8266 chips, OTA programming, and WiFi, BT, and RF.

Pune, India based Mintbox Technologies, which previously released a “Mintbox Home” home automation system, has launched a Crowd Supply campaign for an open source Arduino/ESP8266 compatible called the Winkel Board. Mintbox Technologies appears to have no relation with the Linux Mint/CompuLab Mintbox mini-PC collaboration, and we’re fairly confident the Winkel Board has no connection with the Winklevoss twins.

Winkel Board (left) and with optional i2C Gyro Mount
(click images to enlarge)

Mintbox Technologies has already built the fully open source Winkel Board, and has posted schematics ahead of launch. The project will go forward regardless of whether the campaign meets its modest $1,080 goal. You can invest in a Winkel Board for $21 (early bird) or $24, with shipments due Feb. 28. There’s also a $12 Winkel Core version with the female and male GPIO headers left unsoldered.

The Winkel Board is designed for those who want a wireless ready Arduino compatible without the need for buying wireless shields, and also need a multifaceted system that offers preconfigured, OTA-enabled Bluetooth and a 2.4GHz RF transceiver in addition to WiFi. The board supports Arduino IDE programming.

Winkel Board specs compared to other Arduino compatibles
(click images to enlarge; source: Mintbox Technologies)

Like many other Arduino compatibles, including the Arduino Uno WiFi, Arduino Primo, Arduino STAR Otto, and 4Duino-24, the board integrates the Espressif ESP8266 wireless SoC for WiFi. In addition to offering WiFi, it also adds additional chips and modules for Bluetooth and RF.

The 16MHz ATmega128 MCU, which communicates with the ESP8266 (ESP12-E model) via UART, offers 4KB RAM and 128KB flash. The 5V, 50 x 50mm board draws power from a micro-USB port.

The Winkel Board uses the Itead HC-05 Bluetooth-to-Serial module for the 2.4GHz Bluetooth V2.0+EDR radio.

Front (left) and back detail views
(click images to enlarge — front view: (a) jumper pins for Smart Opt, (b) 16Mhz crystal, (c) NRF24101, (d) Atmega128, (e) ISP header, (f) micro-USB port, (g) reset button; back view: (a) ESP8266 ESP12-E, (b) DS3231 RTC, (c) HC-05 (BT), (d) CR2032 battery.)

For the RF chip, Mintbox Technologies tapped Nordic Semiconductor’s 2.4GHz nRF24L01 transceiver. The board also includes a Maxim Integrated DS3231 Real-Time Clock (RTC).

A gyroscope+accelerometer mount, which connects via I2C, is available for only $3 more. The board is further equipped with 38x DIO pins, 7x PWM digital I/O pins, and 8x analog inputs.

Winkel Board pin assignments
(click image to enlarge)

One of the Winkel Board’s main selling points is its OTA programming of both the ATmega128 and ESP8266. This is accomplished by pairing the board’s HC-05 Bluetooth module to a laptop and then using Bluetooth’s serial COM port to upload the new program, says Mintbox Technologies. The board also has a smart opt feature that lets you selectively turn off individual radios and other components to save power, which is valuable in battery powered applications including drones.

Further information

The Winkel Board is available on Crowd Supply for $21, or $12 for a Winkel Core with GPIO headers left unsoldered. All prices include free shipping in India or the U.S., with shipments due Feb. 28. 2017. Volume discounts are also available. More information may be found on the Winkel Board Crowd Supply page, as well as a Winkel Board txti page, plus a Winkel Board Instructables page. But wait, there’s more — you can check out the Winkel Board Reddit page, the Winkel Board page on, and the Mintbox Technologies Winkel Board page.

(advertise here)

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