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July 10, 2015



Board Overview

The Phoenard hosts an Atmega2560 microprocessor, to which many other peripherals are connected. The FTDI driver chip enables Serial communication with the computer through USB, which is also used for programming the chip. In summary, the following components exist on-board:

  • Li-Ion battery: Supplying 3.7V, regulated at 3.3V main board voltage
  • MCP73831: The controller for charging the lithium battery off 5V USB voltage
  • Atmel AVR Atmega2560: 16MHz microprocessor board controller
  • 30-pin Phoenex connector: Exposes GPIO pins for general project use
  • 12-pin Phoenon flex connector: Exposes GPIO pins for on-board extension use
  • TFT 2.8 Inch LCD: Full 16-bit color LCD with ILI9325 driver IC
  • SIM908: GSM, GPRS and GPS in one module, accessible through serial commands
  • Simcard Holder: It uses the standard size Sim-card
  • Speaker and Microphone: for SIM908 calling functionality
  • VS1053b: Audio decoding chip supporting MIDI and a variety of audio formats
  • FT232RL: USB-2-serial bridge for programming and communication with a computer
  • HM-11: Bluetooth 4.0 module for short distance wireless communication
  • ESP8266: WiFi module for wireless internet communication
  • 23K256: 256 kBits (32 kilobyte) SPI external RAM
  • Micro-SD: FAT16 and FAT32 accepted in software
  • MPU6050: Accelerometer and Gyro sensor in one package
  • HMC5883l: Magnetometer sensor
  • BMP180: Pressure and temperature sensor


Phoenard Kit

Phoenard comes with extension boards you can plug in the bottom connector and on-board connector, antennae for the SIM, Li-Ion battery, 4GB Micro-SD card and a plexiglass transparent casing.


In detail

We will go by important components to explain what they can be used for in terms of prototyping capabilities.


A 8-bit microprocessor running at 16MHz. Hosts 248 KB of program flash memory and 8 KB or SRAM. Through the bottom 30-pin connector on the board, 6 analog inputs, SPI/I2C/RxTx and 5 digital I/O pins are exposed. The amount of exposed digital I/O can be increased using shift registers or other microprocessors connected through SPI.


Micro-SD card

Accessible through SPI using the standard Arduino SD library. The Micro-SD card can be used to store programs, images, music and your own sketch contents. The most important use of the card is to store and load programs, which is done automatically by the Atmega2560 firmware that is pre-installed. It is also possible to read and write the card through the computer using the firmware, making it possible to adjust the contents without plugging out the card.


TFT LCD Touch Screen

A 320×240 resolution screen with a resistive touch screen. The screen is connected to the microprocessor using an 8-bit data bus, allowing for moderate speed operation. Suitable for hosting interactive user interfaces, not suitable for use as video playback. The touchscreen calibration data is persistently stored on the microprocessor, making it hassle-free to use.


SIM908 Module

This module hosts GPS, GPRS and GSM wireless communication. Can be used to send and receive text messages, make and receive calls, perform long-distance data communications and read out GPS-supplied information. Controlled through Serial using AT-commands, or by using our library that exposes the essential functions. Comes with connected microphone, speaker and full-size sim card holder.


HM-11 BLE 4.0 module

Perform wireless communication with other Bluetooth devices from up to 30 meter distance away. Controlled through Serial using AT-commands. This module can be used to communicate with smartphones, beacons or other Bluetooth-enabled devices.


ESP8266 WiFi module

Set up a simple WiFi server or connect to existing WiFi hotspots and send/retrieve information using the internet. Controlled through Serial using AT-commands.


MPU6050/HMC5883L/BMP180 sensors

These sensors provide accelerometer, gyrometer, magnetometer, temperature and pressure readout. Controlled using an I2C interface with existing Arduino libraries, the sensors can be used for motion-control and altitude measurements.


23K256 external SRAM

A high-speed SPI controlled chip that supplies an additional 32 Kilobyte of volatile SRAM for use in software. This can be used to buffer quantities of data that don’t fit in the 8KB internal SRAM, extending the microprocessor’s capabilities.


VS1053B Audio decoder

Ogg Vorbis / MP3 / AAC / WMA / FLAC / MIDI audio decoder chip. This chip can be used to supply audio output to the audio jack connector and on-board 30-pin connector. This allows for music player and sound effect capabilities.



Next up: Phoenard Installation