Why should I get a LinkIt ONE?

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This is the first in a multi-part series on choosing and becoming familiar with the LinkIt ONE.

Why LinkIt ONE?

Maybe you’re on the fence about what platform to start off with. Maybe you have a project in mind that you need Wi-Fi connectivity. Maybe you want to just have all the hardware taken care of so you can move onto coding. Maybe you need a LinkIt ONE.

What is it?

It’s a very nice and complete Arduino clone, with the chips coming from MediaTek, and the board coming from Seeed Studio. It uses a micro USB for programming, and you need to use a special variant of the Arduino IDE that has packages and libraries in the right place. I’ve been able to add new libraries to this without any compatibility issues, so don’t worry about that.

Hardware for price is unparalleled. You get a device with GPS, Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz and client only), Cellular, BT, built in battery connecter/charger, microSD slot, 10 mb flash for code, and a 260 MHz processor to make it all work. There’s no cases available, so for now you’re going to have to make your own. There’s also two Grove adapters (I2C and UART) right on top.

What can it do?

With the amount of programming space you can use (about five times of a normal UNO), there’s not much you can’t fit into it. With the array of hardware available, there’s not much connectivity that is not available. I have used it for projects that leverage the extra storage space, along with the wireless connectivity abilities. Having everything on one board makes getting up and going with code really easy.

What can’t it do?

Since the pins are 3.3v, you need to make sure you connect things properly. You also have to choose (there’s a switch on the board) between accessing the SD card or the serial back to the computer by USB. I’ve also found there’s no native way to provide power back to the board, I have to connect by USB to recharge the battery and power the ONE.

Summary

The LinkIt ONE is very versatile, compact, cheap (now $60 USD) Arduino clone that can utilize existing sensors and libraries to truly be the IoT backbone for 99% of your connected devices.

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I2C Hacks: How to Splice Clocks into Chip-Selects

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An interesting way to get around only having one I2C address. I will have to try this out. Thanks @hackaday!

Hackaday

There comes a time when you need to wire up three, four, or more identical i2c devices to a common microcontroller. Maybe you’re thinking about driving a whopping 32 seven-segment displays with four of those MAX7219CNG 8-way digit drivers, or maybe you have a robot full of joints–each of which needs a BNO055 inertial sensor for angle estimation. (See above.) Crikey! In both of those cases, you’re best bet might be a schnazzy I²C device that can do most of the work for you. The problem? With a single I²C bus, there’s no standard way defined in the protocol for connecting two or more devices with the same address. Shoot! It would’ve been handy to wire up three BNO055 IMUs or four MAX7219CNGs and call it a day. Luckily, there’s a workaround.

We’ve seen some clever tricks in the past for solving this problem. [Marv G‘s] method involves toggling between…

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