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Open-source IoT kit runs OpenWRT, mimics Arduino Yun

Apr 24, 2015 — by Eric Brown 7,487 views

A “Domino.IO” Kickstarter project offers an Atheros AR9331 module running OpenWRT Linux, plus two tiny baseboards, one of which is Arduino Yun compatible.

To stand out from the growing number of OpenWRT Linux-based computer-on-modules and tiny, com-LIKE single board computers running Qualcomm’s WiFi-ready Atheros AR9331 system-on-chip, startups are now offering entire modular kit families based on an AR9331. Last month, we saw an Onion Omega Kickstarter project, which has since been funded, based on an AR9331 COM with stackable expansion modules. Now a Hong Kong based startup called Domino.IO has gone on Kickstarter to sell its own kit that expands on a Domino Core COM with Domino Pi and Domino Qi expansion boards, as well as smaller I/O modules that enable further customization.

An overview of Domino.IO’s modules and boards
(click image to enlarge)

Like Onion’s Omega, one of the Domino.IO expansion modules — the Domino Qi Mini — provides Arduino compatibility. But rather than mimicking an Arduino Duo, the Domino Qi Mini is a clone of Arduino’s first Linux-ready SBC, the AR9331-based Arduino Yun. Like the Yun, it mimics an Arduino Leonardo board, and also runs Linino, a custom version of OpenWRT.

The Domino Qi Mini can be further expanded with a Domino Qi Baseboard, adding Arduino Shield compatibility. In addition, you can expand the Qi Mini with four of the seven smaller Tile expansion modules that are available to the other main expansion board, the general-purpose Domino Pi. Domino.IO’s diagram, shown above, should clarify matters.


The Domino.IO Kickstarter project, which at publication time was less than $2,000 shy of its $30,000 goal, offers a variety of combo funding packages due to ship in May or June, depending on the package. These start at $10 for the Domino Core COM, or $19 for the Domino Pi as well as a Single Ethernet and Single USB modules. A $37 early bird package includes the Domino Qi Mini and Domino Qi baseboard. Other combinations are available including a $99 package for the full Domino.IO kit.

A breakdown of the major Domino.IO components follows.

Domino Core

Like the Onion Omega, this AR9331-based COM incorporates 64MB DDR2 DRAM, 16MB SPI flash, and an 802.11n radio. The 50 x module expresses its I/O via 60 castellated edge vias around its perimeter, with 2mm pitch. The module offers support for dual Fast Ethernet ports, as well as an Ethernet switch. Other I/O includes USB2.0 host and client, serial, SPI, I2S, SLIC, S/PDIF, JTAG, nine LED pins, and 29 GPIOs. It also supports SLIC (subscriber line interface card) for interfacing with VoIP/PCM devices.

Domino Core top view (left) and with its shield
(click images to enlarge)

Domino Pi

Despite its name, the Domino Pi does not offer Raspberry Pi compatibility, but it gives you a somewhat similar set of peripherals. This 71.12 x 33.02 x 10mm expansion board provides only a single real-world port: a USB to UART bridge that can act as serial port that defaults to use as a U-Boot or Linux console.

Domino Pi top (left) and bottom
(click images to enlarge)

The +5V input, +3.3V output board has a2A DC/DC power supply. There’s also a 2.4GHz WiFi PCB antenna, a jump-start button, and dual LEDs. I/O is provided by add-on modules that plug in via dual 28-pin, 2.54mm pitch headers, and provide the interfaces listed above for the Core.

Domino Pi angle view, and stacked with expansion modules
(click images to enlarge)

Domino Qi Mini

The Qi Mini adds an ATMega32U4 MCU for compatibility with the first-generation Arduino Yun, and offers a bridge from the Atheros to the Yun. At 55.88 x 33.02 x 10.8mm, it’s said to be half the size of the Yun. You can use existing Arduino source code, and program the Qi directly using the standard Arduino IDE, says Domino.IO.

Domino Qi Mini top (left) and bottom
(click images to enlarge)

Power, antenna, and expansion header details are the same as with the Domino Pi, and it offers additional LEDs and reset buttons. A real-world USB port is available for boot/console use. The headers support USB 2.0, a single Fast Ethernet port, and a variety of ATMega signals.

Another view of the Domino Qi Mini
(click image to enlarge)

Domino Qi Baseboard

The Qi Baseboard extends the Domino Qi Mini to create a defacto Arduino Shield compatible board. The 68.58 x 53.34 x 17mm board includes coastline Fast Ethernet port, USB, and microSD connections. Other onboard I/O includes the Arduino Shield connectors, an additional USB and micro-USB headers.

Domino Qi Mini on its baseboard
(click image to enlarge)

Tile add-on modules

As noted, four of the add-on tiles support both the Domino Pi and the Domino Qi Mini, while the last three listed below — Dual Ethernet, I2S Audio, and LED — can be added only to the Pi:

  • Single Ethernet — 1x 10/100 Ethernet port
  • 3xUSB+MicroSD — 1x real-world USB 2.0 host, two USB headers, and a microSD slot
  • Single USB — 1x USB host/client port
  • SPI/JTAG — debug port
  • Dual Ethernet — 2x 10/100 Ethernet ports, stacked vertically
  • I2S Audio –audio jacks
  • LED — bank of LEDs

Domino add-on modules
(click image to enlarge)

The Domino.IO kit is claimed to be fully open source in software and hardware, including the availability of full schematics. The kit supports open source cloud services like Sparkfun, ThingSpeak, and Weaved, says Domino.IO. The Domino.IO team is an offshoot of GL Technologies in Hong Kong, and was responsible for the GL.iNet Smart Router, which runs OpenWRT.

Board signal pinouts

The signal assignments of I/O pins on the each of the three Domino.IO boards — Core, Pi, and Qi Mini — are shown in the diagrams below.

Domino board pinouts: Core (left), Pi, and Qi Mini
(click images to enlarge)

Further information

The Domino.IO kit is available on Kickstarter through May 13 in a variety of packages as listed above. More details may be found on the Domino.IO Kickstarter page, and there’s considerably more detail at the Domino.IO website.

(advertise here)

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One response to “Open-source IoT kit runs OpenWRT, mimics Arduino Yun”

  1. Chad McDonald says:

    Looks like a great set of boards. 100% funded!

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