Arduino Pro Range Grows with the Arduino Edge Control, Designed for Smart Agriculture Projects

With a wide range of inputs and outputs, including on-board isolated relays, the Edge Control aims to help boost crop yields.

Arduino has announced a new entry into its Pro-branded IoT development board family, aiming at sensing and control in outdoor environments with a focus on smart agriculture: the Arduino Edge Control.

"The Arduino Edge Control is capable of connecting sensors and drive actuators like latching valves (common in agriculture). Moreover, it has the capability to provide real-time monitoring over the entire process, thereby reducing production-related risks," the Arduino team writes of its latest design. "Remotely control your application through the Arduino Cloud (or third-party services) using a choice of connectivity options suitable to the location. The Arduino Edge Control features built-in Bluetooth and its connectivity can be expanded with 2G/3G/CatM1/NB-IoT modems, LoRa, Sigfox, and Wi-Fi by adding any one of the MKR boards."

Based on a Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840 system-on-chip with a 64MHz Arm Cortex-M4F processor core and Bluetooth connectivity, the board includes 1MB of on-board flash and 2MB of additional QSPI flash, six edge-sensitive digital input pins with interrupt wake-ups, eight latching relay command outputs with drivers and an additional eight without drivers, four 4-20mA analog inputs, eight 0-5V analog inputs, and 16 inputs dedicated to hydrostatic watermark sensors. An additional four relays are included, galvanically isolated and supporting 60V/2.5A devices. A microSD slot is provided for storage, and a connector allows for the additional of an LCD panel.

Power is provided through a 12V input, ready for connection to a battery system with solar charging; when paired with a 5Ah battery, Arduino claims the board's low 200uA sleep current gives the system a 34 month operational lifespan between charges. The Arduino Edge Control also includes an Arm CryptoCell CC310 security subsystem, and a security coprocessor with 128-bit AES/ECB/CCM/AAR acceleration. As you might expect from an outdoor-rated device, the system offers a wide operational temperature range from -40 to +85°C (around -40 to 185°F).

Arduino says the board is ideal for smart agriculture projects, and highlights three application examples: Using the board to automatically manage the temperature and humidity in a greenhouse to minimise carbon emissions and boost growth; controlling and monitoring a hydroponic or aquaponic system; and assisting with the cultivation of mushrooms through its watermark sensors and various outputs.

More details on the Arduino Edge Control can be found on the Arduino Store product page, while a getting-started guide has been published to the Arduino Pro site.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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