Single-board Computers take over Embedded Industry

Manas Upadhyay

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  • A well designed embedded Board can make the Embedded System more reliable and compact.
  • Important Factor for battery-powered devices.
esp wroom32 with pin diagram
esp wroom32 with pin diagram

The initial designing for new microcontroller-based development can be a complex task. There are many interrelated and dependent factors to consider while designing an embedded system . Power consumption is perhaps one of the most important aspects of any battery-powered design.
Typically, a microcontroller will draw the most current when operating at a high resource level, so if it is possible to reduce the duration of high computes resources to the absolute minimum, battery life can be preserved. The design engineer can then consider using a much faster microcontroller according to the requirement of the task to be performed by the designed embedded system.
Any system developed should follow the design standards and also meet the requirements by the user. Other parameters can further be included enhancing the features of the system like wireless connectivity, on-screen displays, dedicated pins for peripheral device synchronisations etc. The addition of a wireless transceiver, an antenna and matching components creates a highly optimised SoC module that is suitable for a wide range of applications.
The ESP32 module has been adopted by professional engineers and makers as a reliable and cost-effective choice for the development of embedded systems. One of the reasons for the higher demand can be the fact that the device, as well as its module, reduces the need of a breadboard approach while designing the system and hence makes it a perfect model to be used in designing any embedded platform with higher efficiency and precisions.
By using this approach, errors and faults introduced by a breadboarding approach can be minimised, allowing the developer to fine-tune the application and complete all software development and debugging within the project’s allocated timescale.
The Espressif ESP-WROOM-32 (right) is a perfect example of a powerful wireless microcontroller module based around the ESP32 series of processors. The dimensions for the device is 25.5x18mm and it comprises a single ESP32 SoC that contains two 32-bit Xtensa LX6 processor cores, flash memory, a PCB antenna and a combined type‑approved, globally‑certified Bluetooth Low Energy, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radio. Due to its property to provide both the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Radio features, it is comparable to Nordic Semiconductors nrf52840 which is in the same class of embedded modules. The CPU cores can be individually controlled and the clock frequency is adjustable from 80MHz to 240MHz to suit the application.
The ESP32 hosts a range of peripherals including an on-die Hall sensor, capacitive touch inputs, an SD card interface, and a set of serial protocol supports with I2C, SPI, I2S, UART, Ethernet and CAN interfaces. The capability to work on low energy makes it a perfect companion for mesh-based technologies such as data acquisition and smart lighting based systems. The device can also in sleep and deep sleep modes which makes this device to work for years on a single battery when deployed to fields for data collections.
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