Max Holliday Merges the SAM D51 and ESP32 in Well-Documented Feather-Style SAM32 Dev Board Design

With Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, plus a microSD slot for storage, the SAM32 bundles a lot of capability into a very small footprint.

Gareth Halfacree
3 months agoHardware 101

Max Holliday has announced revisions to the SAM32 Feather-compatible board, a design which combines the Microchip SAM D51 microcontroller with an Espressif ESP32-WROOM co-processor plus a microSD slot for storage.

Designed to combine the best features of the SAM D51 and the Espressif ESP32-WROOM — including a 120MHz Arm Cortex-M4 primary processor and the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity of the dual-core ESP32-WROOM module — the open hardware SAM32 aims to be a well-documented board for a range of projects. An in-progress guidebook, available on Notion, includes example code for a range of basic functions along with a planned series of SAM32-powered full projects — the first of which, upgrading digital calipers, has already been completed.

Holliday's work on the project isn't complete, however. A series of tweaks and updates have been committed to the project's GitHub repository, including a fix for concurrent access to the ESP32-WROOM co-processor and microSD card slot, the integration of a tool for flashing the ESP32-WROOM with new code, updates to the SAM32 library, and enhancements to the firmware as well as a fix for using the board with the beginner-friendly Mu Python editor.

Those interested in the design of the board will find great value, too, in the use of an interactive bill of materials system which highlights components on both sides of the PCB as they are selected — a real boon for sourcing and pick-and-place during manufacturing, which Holliday does in-house using a LitePlacer pick-and-place machine running the open source OpenPnP software.

More details on the SAM32 can be found on the project's GitHub repository, or its Notion documentation page.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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