8Bit or 32Bit processors



  • A number of people have ask me about why I'm using 32bit processors when an 8bit will do. Well its simple, for small development projects of less that a few hundreds unit, the larger flash, larger ram, faster CPU, lower power devices, and cheaper raw devices, allow for faster code development... no time wasted on how to save flash or ram space.. seldom having to concern myself about CPU speed.

    If I'm doing a project that requires very large volume, or special needs, I will again consider an 8 or 16bit processor, but again, these days often the 32bit devices are cheaper and more functional.

    Below are a number of CPU boards with RFM69 or RFM95 Radios attach that can be used with MySensor.

    In MySensor space, for my projects, my favorite 32bit processor board is:
    RocketScream M0 ultra pro Ver2, RFM69 or RFM95 radio, battery connector/charger, USB port, EUI64 chip, large external flash, very low power, u.FL or SMA connector, great support...
    http://www.rocketscream.com/blog/product/mini-ultra-pro-v2-with-radio/

    Other 32 Bit:
    Adafruit Feather LoRa M0, NO EUI64, No External flash, battery connector
    https://www.adafruit.com/product/3178 RFM95
    https://www.adafruit.com/product/3176 RFM69

    Non 32 bit processors:
    MoteinoMega LoRa, ATmega1284P, RFM69 or RFM95, EUI64 chip, large external flash, u.FL or SMA connector
    https://lowpowerlab.com/shop/product/119

    Moteino LoRa, ATmega328P, RFM69 or RFM95, large external flash, NO EUI64 chip
    https://lowpowerlab.com/shop/product/99

    Adafruit Feather LoRa, ATmega32U4 CPU, NO EUI64, No External flash, battery connector, RFM69 or RFM95
    https://www.adafruit.com/product/3078


  • Mod

    As always it's all a matter of choosing the right solution for every needs. If you need to have a battery powered sensors that is going to sleep 99.999% of the time with a 1-2 years battery life, you will look for the lowest standby drain power, while if you need processor power, ram, storage etc you need to look at the boards you mentioned 😀



  • Hi lafleur!

    I am glad to see that you are using the Adafruit Feather M0. Since I do have some issues with that, I would be grateful if you could have a look at my problem and help me out.

    https://forum.mysensors.org/topic/6908/adafruit-feather-m0-rfm69hcw-with-mysensors



  • @Sweeman

    I'm on travel, and do not have any hardware to test with...

    some notes:

    Use generic M0 processor definition tool-->board--> Arduino zero (native USB port)

    If I remember, 2.1.1 has NOT yet implemented sleep for M0 processors

    Here is a striped down version of your code.... get it to work first sending messages to your gateway, then start adding your real code back.... This complies, but I DID NOT HAVE ANY HW to test it on...

    Make sure you check the radio pins on the feather and that they are correct.

        /**
         * The MySensors Arduino library handles the wireless radio link and protocol
         * between your home built sensors/actuators and HA controller of choice.
         * The sensors forms a self healing radio network with optional repeaters. Each
         * repeater and gateway builds a routing tables in EEPROM which keeps track of the
         * network topology allowing messages to be routed to nodes.
         *
         * Created by Henrik Ekblad <henrik.ekblad@mysensors.org>
         * Copyright (C) 2013-2015 Sensnology AB
         * Full contributor list: https://github.com/mysensors/Arduino/graphs/contributors
         *
         * Documentation: http://www.mysensors.org
         * Support Forum: http://forum.mysensors.org
         *
         * This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
         * modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License
         * version 2 as published by the Free Software Foundation.
         *
         *******************************
         *
         * DESCRIPTION
         *
         * Example sketch showing how to send in DS1820B OneWire temperature readings back to the controller
         * http://www.mysensors.org/build/temp
         */
    
    
        // Enable debug prints to serial monitor
        //#define MY_DEBUG 
    
        // Enable and select radio type attached
        //#define MY_RADIO_NRF24
        #define MY_RADIO_RFM69
    
        #include <SPI.h>
        #include <MySensors.h>  
    
    
    unsigned long SEND_FREQUENCY        = 10000;      // Minimum time between send (in milliseconds). We don't want to spam the gateway.
    unsigned long currentTime         = 0;
    unsigned long lastSendTime        = 0;
    unsigned long keepaliveTime       = 0;
    
    
    
        #define MY_RF69_SPI_CS 8
        #define MY_RF69_IRQ_PIN 7
        #define MY_RF69_IRQ_NUM 4
    
        // Initialize temperature message
        MyMessage msg(0,V_TEMP);
        
    
    /* ******************************************** */
        void before()
        {
         
        }
        
    
    /* ******************************************** */
        void setup()  
        { 
     
        }
    
    
    /* ******************************************** */
        void presentation() {
          // Send the sketch version information to the gateway and Controller
          sendSketchInfo("Temperature Sensor", "1.1");
          //present(0, S_TEMP);
          }
    
    
    /* ******************************************** */
        void loop()     
    { 
    
        currentTime = millis();                                    
    
     /* ***************** Send Sensor Data ***************** */
    
        if (currentTime - lastSendTime >= SEND_FREQUENCY)          // Only send values at a maximum rate
        {
          Serial.println("*** Sending Sensor Data"); 
    
         lastSendTime = currentTime;
    
        // lets send some data
          float temperature = 67.4;
           // Send in the new temperature
          send(msg.setSensor(0).set(temperature,1));
        }  // end of if
    
    } // end of loop
    
    
    

  • Hero Member

    I see "cheap" and then 30-40$ boards as suggestions, am I missing something ? :o


  • Mod

    "cheap" is all related to where you live :D



  • The M0 chip cost less that the 8bit 328, so building your own boards, it cost less...

    Then you need to add a radio, $2 to $9. Crystal, $.50, connectors, flash, voltage regulators, leds, capacitors, resistors, pcb board.... ect, all add cost....

    But vendors building board, need to make a profit to stay alive, so you pay for their work....

    So yes, finish boards in small quantity cost $20 to $40 or so.... not a bad price for what you get.....


  • Hero Member

    I see, I didn't realize there were M0 chips so insanely cheap.



  • @Nca78

    As manufacturing of chips goes to smaller and smaller die size, chip cost go down and preformance goes up..... older processors cost more to build that newer parts!

    It all means better performance, less power and more features for less money...

    The intel 8080 when it was introduced was $360, power hungry, no ram, no storage, no I/O, needed a lot of support chips.... we have come a long way!!!!



  • @lafleur

    You should also add this to your test code to see debug messages from the MySensor stack.. Also add to gateway, so that you can see what happening on both ends....

    /*  Enable debug prints to serial monitor on port 0 */
    #define MY_DEBUG            // used by MySensor
    #define MY_DEBUG_VERBOSE_RFM69 
    


  • @lafleur

    Thank you very much! This is a big step in the right direction for me and I hope that I can get it to work with that :)

    To add to this discussion:
    These radios come already assembled. It is true that you could save some money by assembling them yourself and maybe more by ordering directly from Hong Kong (which takes anything between 4-10 weeks) and hoping that they sent you the right stuff. But if you add up the stuff that you would need and the time to solder etc. then at least I would end up spending more for a bigger and uglier radio.


  • Mod

    Still a pro mini is well tested platform, performance is not an issue for a sensor node anyway



  • @gohan Pro-mini, is a great part, but sometime you need a lot more! 32 bit is the future for me, less power, less cost, more resources....less hassles...


  • Mod

    Agreed but at the moment you have to choose between the future that isn't sure to work or the past that has been proven reliable 😀


  • Admin

    @gohan

    The only way we can get the shiny new things to be proven hardware, is to have people build stuff using it :) That way, we can have more people testing the hardware, and reporting any bugs (if there is any), and have a better chance for getting it to be the next big thing :)


  • Hardware Contributor

    @lafleur

    I was wondering where you can get a M0 processor for less then the price of an atmega328p ? Most SAMD21's I see are 5 times the price of an atmega328p (normal given it's much better capacities).


  • Admin

    @GertSanders

    atmega328p costs 2.07$ on mouser : http://www.mouser.dk/ProductDetail/Microchip-Technology-Atmel/ATMEGA328P-AU/

    If you take the equivalent atsamd20E15, it cost 1.84$ http://www.mouser.dk/ProductDetail/Microchip-Technology-Atmel/ATSAMD20E15A-AU

    (both have 32Kb flash)

    If you beef up the atsam to the largest memory, it costs 2.36$ http://www.mouser.dk/ProductDetail/Microchip-Technology-Atmel/ATSAMD20E18A-AU

    But then you also have 256Kb of flash and 32Kb ram available, for .29$ extra (compared to the atmega328)..

    Of course that is not atsamd21, but for a standard node you don't need the USB capabilities of the '21, and a '20 should be enough..


  • Hero Member

    On AliExpress you can find STM32 with Cortex M0 for as low as 0.4$ per unit. Not compatible with Arduino unfortunately but for that price the specs are pretty impressive...
    And the STM32F103C8T6 which are compatible with Arduino and soon compatible with MySensors are around 1$, similar price than AtMega328 but for Cortex M3 at 48MHz, 64KB of flash, 20KB or RAM and lots of extras.


  • Hardware Contributor

    @tbowmo said in 8Bit or 32Bit processors:

    ATSAMD20E18A-AU

    Too bad that MOUSER still charges me 20 EUR for transport, even for something as small as a single chip. I would need to buy for more then 50 EUR before transport cost is waived. How the suppliers on Aliexpress do it, I do not know.


  • Hero Member

    @GertSanders said in 8Bit or 32Bit processors:

    How the suppliers on Aliexpress do it, I do not know.

    They just use cheaper shipping options that are much slower. It's possible in the US too as you can order PCBs from PCBs.io for 5$ shipping included, and they are in the US.


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