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Four new Arduino Nano boards break price/performance/size barriers

May 20, 2019 — by Eric Brown — 1826 views

Arduino expanded its line of 45 x 18mm Nano boards with a $10 “Arduino Nano Every” model, a faster WiFi/BT-enabled IoT model, and two BLE boards. The new models offer price, performance, and size improvements over earlier Arduinos.

At the start of this weekend’s Bay Area Maker Faire, which could be its last in that locale (see farther below), Arduino opened pre-orders for four new 45 x 18mm Nano form-factor boards to join its earlier, Nano 3. Shipments are due in mid-June for the Arduino Nano Every replacement for the Nano 3, as well as the higher-end, WiFi-enabled Nano 33 IoT. There’s a mid-July ship date for the Bluetooth-equipped Nano 33 BLE and Nano 33 BLE Sense wearable modules.



Arduino’s new Nano boards (left), and as displayed at Bay Area Maker Faire (credit: Richard Lehrbaum)
(click images to enlarge)

As the LinuxGizmos name suggests, we tend to stick to coverage of Linux-driven boards, but we’re always interested in what’s up with Arduino. Even if there’s only one remaining board that runs Linux — the Arduino Yun Rev 2 — there are plenty of mashups of Arduino boards and Linux-driven tech such as the Raspberry Pi. That trend should accelerate with the optionally castellated, compute-module like Nano boards, which can be more easily integrated in heterogeneous designs.

The 8-bit, 5V Nano Every offers price, performance, and feature improvements over the Nano 3. The other three 32-bit, 3.3V boards provide lower-cost, smaller footprint alternatives to other Arduino models, such as the 65 x 25mm MKR boards. All four models offer micro-USB ports for debugging.

As noted in Hackaday, the new Nano boards differ from the original in that they offer a castellated/through-hole hybrid design instead of through-holes. Each board can be ordered with or without pre-soldered headers for the Nano-comnpatible, dual 15-pin interfaces.

The pin-less versions enable easier, COM-like integration into existing PCBs, potentially as a companion chip to a Linux-driven board. As Hackaday suggests, Arduino may be competing directly with Espressif’s castellated, Arduino-compatible, ESP32 module, which is included in the Nano 33 IoT.

The four Nano boards are as follows, with pricing listed without headers and with headers:

  • Arduino Nano Every — $9.90 or $11.90 — 20MHz Microchip ATMega4809 AVR with 48KB flash, 6KB SRAM; USB-to-serial via Microchip SAMD11D14A (Cortex-M0+)
  • Arduino Nano 33 IoT — $18 or $20 — 48MHz SAMD21G18A (32-bit Cortex-M0+) with 256KB flash, 32KB SRAM; U-blox NINA W102 (ESP32) WiFi/BT module; Microchip ATECC608A crypto chip; 6-axis IMU
  • Arduino Nano 33 BLE — $19 or $21 — 64MHz U-blox NINA B306 (Nordic Semi nRF52480 based on Cortex-M4F) with Bluetooth 5.0 LE, 256KB flash, 1MB SRAM; 9-axis IMU
  • Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense — $29.50 or $31.50 — 64MHz U-blox NINA B306 (Nordic Semi nRF52480 based on Cortex-M4F) with Bluetooth 5.0 LE; 256KB flash; 1MB SRAM; ATECC608A crypto chip; 9-axis IMU; multiple sensors and mic

 
Arduino Nano Every

The Arduino Nano Every essentially replaces the ATmega328P-based, Arduino Uno-like Nano 3 with the more powerful, and highly energy-efficient ATMega4809, which is also used on Arduino boards such as the Arduino Uno WiFi Rev 2. The Nano Every has a 25 percent higher clock speed, 50 percent more flash, and 3x times the SRAM of the Nano 3, but sells for about half the $22 price.



Arduino Nano Every
(click image to enlarge)

The Nano Every also adds the USB-to-serial chip, which should provide more advanced users with some additional hacking opportunities. Hackaday calls the board’s new power regulator a “really nice touch.” The chip “turns up to 21 V of input into the regulated 5 V for the chip, with the added bonus of sourcing up to 1 A for external components through the 5 V pin on one of the headers.” This enables hacker sto “choose to inject your unregulated power through the VIN line, or the USB header,” says the story.

 
Nano 33 IoT, BLE, and BLE Sense

As the product names suggest, the three 32-bit Nano 33 boards all run at 3.3V. The $18 to $20 Nano 33 IoT offers the same SAMA21 MCU and ESP32-based U-blox NINA-W102 WiFi (802.11b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.2 module. The NINA-W102 is also found on Arduino’s $33.90 MKR WiFi 1010 and FPGA-enabled, $74.90 MKR Vidor 4000 boards, but with higher prices and larger footprints.



Arduino Nano 33 IoT
(click image to enlarge)

The Nano 33 IoT supports Arduino IoT Cloud, as well as full TLS secure transport via the crypto chip. The IMU further expands potential mobile and robotics applications.

Instead of the Nano 33 IoT’s SAMD21 and NINA-W102 combo, the Nano 33 BLE and Nano 33 BLE Sense feature a U-blox NINA B306 module based on Nordic Semi’s Bluetooth 5.0 equipped nRF52480 processor. The boards are designed for wearables and other low-power devices that need short-range BLE communications.



Arduino Nano 33 BLE (left) and Nano 33 BLE Sense
(click images to enlarge)

Both Nano BLE models offer a 9-axis IMU. The BLE Sense board adds temperature, pressure, humidity, light, color, and gesture sensors. The BLE Sense also adds a microphone and the same ATECC608A crypto chip found on the Nano 33 IoT.

 
Is this the last Bay Area Maker Faire?

The Bay Area Maker Faire, which is closely associated with Arduino announcements, has been home to a fun and fabulous mix of maker creations both techie and non. It may also be on the way out. Hackaday quotes Maker Media CEO Dale Dougherty as saying it is “quite possible” this weekend’s edition will be the last event.



Arduino booth at 2019 Bay Area Maker Faire
Credit: Richard Lehrbaum
(click image to enlarge)

Attendance slipped 30 percent over the last two years to 100,000 in 2018, and corporate sponsors have started backing away. Exhibitors are balking at the $525 to $1,500 booth charges at the San Mateo County Event Center, which is linked to rising prices in the Bay Area. Hackaday also suggests that the improving economy has put a dent in maker participation. More people are returning to full-time work and can afford to buy new devices instead of spending their reduce free time making or improving them.

 
Further information

The four new Arduino Nano boards are available for pre-order, with the Nano Every and Nano 33 IoT boards due to ship in mid-June and the Nano 33 BLE and BLE Sense models expected in mid-July. Prices ranging from $9.90 to $31.50 are listed above. More details may be found in Arduino’s Nano announcement, which offers links to product and pre-order pages for both the header and non-header models.
 

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2 responses to “Four new Arduino Nano boards break price/performance/size barriers”

  1. iridiumsat says:

    ESP32 still be the best on every perspectives.

  2. Max says:

    There are some in the so-called “maker” crowd who apparently think that the way to drive multiple motors is by using a separate Arduino for each (all of them controlled via serial by yet another one, of course). Everyone else who doesn’t feel the urge to demonstrate how one would be enough as long as you have half a clue just uses a vastly more powerful $2 STM32 “blue pill” or, indeed, an (also vastly more powerful) ESP32. Too little, too late – and meanwhile ye olde Uno clones are still available at something like $3 for whenever you really just want an LED flashed (and you’re not delusional enough to think it takes an RPi Zero to do that)…

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