Tindie seller LeoNerd has launched a low-cost development board for radio projects, combining an ATtiny814 microcontroller with an 868MHz CC1101 radio module in a compact design selling at just $10.
"Lately I've been working on some radio-controlled tech for theatre use, and found that the usual 2.4GHz band that many radio systems run in is very crowded, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals all competing for bandwidth," Leo explains of the reason for the board's existence. "I need local control of some LED outputs, so a microcontroller with PWM and enough spare cycles to drive a WS2812 LED chain is required.
"There are a variety of MCU + radio module combinations around, but most of those seem to be based on nRF24 or ESP8266 modules and run in the 2.4GHz band. This one targets the 868MHz telemetry band, where spectrum may be quieter and range longer. Combining a microcontroller with a radio running in the 868MHz band makes a convenient way to use a different part of the radio spectrum away from that crowding, with local processing to handle PWM LED outputs or driving other mechanisms by reliable remote control."
The Microchip ATtiny814 microcontroller at the heart of the board includes 512b of RAM, 128b of EEPROM, and 8kB of flash memory, and links to the CC1101 radio — which is available in a variety of industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) band flavors specific to various countries' licensing regulations, but which Leo is offering only in 868MHz — for communications. A header provides access to the microcontroller's two unused general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins, both offering interrupts and pulse-width modulation (PWM), alongside USART and I2C connectivity.
The board is now available from the LeoNerd's Store Tindie page, priced at $10 per unit.