The Internet of Things is a hot topic, but there are few boards available that provide an easy introduction to it. The Core board from Particle —previously Spark— is one of them.
The Particle Core is a compact board built around a Cortex M3 MCU and the WiFi CC3000.
The MCU runs at 72 MHz and features 128KB of flash and 20KB of SRAM. The boards has 16 GPIOs, 8 of them analog, and the standard I²C, SPI, UART and JTAG ports.
The CC3000 SoC from Texas Instruments provides the standard WiFi 802.11 b/g with WEP, WPA and WPA2 security.
At USD39, the board is rightly priced.
The out-of-the-box experience is rewarding. The package includes a bread-board and an USB cable.
Configuring the board can't be easier thanks to the SmartConfig technology from Texas Instruments and the iOS or Android app developed by Spark.
All the steps are described in this procedure.
Once the board is configured and connected, the same app launches Tinker, a remote-control for the board.
I've selected the GPIO D7 which corresponds to the blue LED and defined it as digitalWrite (left).
Touching the D7 button on the smartphone turns the blue LED on and off (right).
Because the commands go through Internet, the board and the phone can be located anywhere in the world, provided both have access to internet.
The main board includes one RGB LED for status, one blue LED connected to pin D7 and two buttons for configuration.
Below, the standard pins map.
The RGB LED provides the status of the board based on its colours and speed of the blinking.
It is easy to get lost with so many colours and speeds combinations, hence the need for a handy help sheet.
The two buttons, RESET and MODE, allow to reconfigure the board, from soft reset to hard reset and factory reset.
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Spark provides four different shields for the main Spark Core board:
The major difficulty with the Internet of Things deals with the multiple environments to deal with when developing a project: