Connaxio's Espoir Is a Compact, Dual-Core IoT Development Board with mikroBUS and Full PoE+ Support

Offering up to 15W of power to your hardware, this handy board makes for a quick and easy way to wire up an IoT project.

Canadian Internet of Things specialist Connaxio is preparing to launch a compact open source board designed to drive projects using Power over Ethernet (PoE): the Espressif ESP32-based Espoir.

"Espoir is a fully compliant Power over Ethernet+ (PoE+ 802.3af/at) ESP32-based devboard that lets you jump straight to business. It provides up to 15 watts of power to your application at 5V and 3.3V," Connaxio's Marc-Antoine Lalonde writes of the design. " Four full copper layers give the board enhanced electromagnetic compatibility and thermal dissipation. Its PI-filtered power input and outputs give excellent analog performance."

The Espoir isn't just a power board, though: Its on-board ESP32-MINI-1 module means it's a fully-functional microcontroller board in a compact footprint, offering a choice of single- or dual-core processors running at up to 240MHz, 520kB of static RAM (SRAM), and 4MB of flash. The on-board radio, meanwhile, adds 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy (BLE) connectivity on top of the Ethernet port's 100-base-T connectivity with a claimed 80Mb/s sustainable throughput.

The ESP32's general-purpose input/output (GPIO) capabilities are brought out to a compact header plus a mikroBUS socket, providing immediate compatibility with a wide array of add-on boards — plus two Connaxio has designed itself: The IO One mikroShield, which offers nine signal-voltage-ground (SVG) connectors, a temperature and humidity sensor, and an I2C bus connector, all aimed at simplifying garden automation and monitoring projects; and the PMOD Compatible mikroShield, which converts the mikroBUS socket into one compatible with PMOD accessories.

On the power side, the board accepts 37-57V Power over Ethernet (PoE) with no additional hardware required, or can take 5V through a USB Type-C socket which also provides USB 2.0 data connectivity. When driven via PoE the board can push 5V at 3A to connected hardware, Connaxio has confirmed.

The Espoir design is fully open source, with design files published to the company's GitHub repository under the CERN-OHL-W v2 reciprocal license; Connaxio is also planning to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Crowd Supply for the dual-core variant, with pricing not yet confirmed.

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