SparkFun Things Plus Matter Connects DIY IoT Devices to Home Automation

Powered by a Silicon Labs MGM240P wireless module.

SparkFun's latest Thing Plus board aims to accelerate IoT and smart home device development. The new Thing Plus Matter board combines their agile hardware development platform with a Matter-compatible wireless module from Silicon Labs.

SparkFun designed the Thing Plus Matter around a Silicon Labs MGM240P Multi-protocol Wireless Module. It contains an EFR32MG24 Wireless SoC. The core has an Arm Cortex-M33 core running at 39 MHz with 1,536 kilobytes of flash and 256 kilobytes of RAM. Additionally, the module has a built-in antenna for 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity.

The MGM240P supports IEEE 802.15.4, the basis for Zigbee and Thread protocols. It also supports Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) 5.3. This combination of protocols makes it suitable for Matter. While not a wireless protocol, Matter operates as an application layer on top of other technologies, allowing devices across IoT ecosystems to communicate. For example, it enables integrating Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and others with IoT devices.

Since Thing Plus is a Feather-compatible form factor, the new board physically measures (58.42mm x 22.86mm) and has consistent electrical connections. For example, Thing Plus Matter has 13 GPIOs, serial interfaces like I2C/SPI/UART, and an analog-to-digital input. These pins are arranged so that a wide range of shields can connect directly to the board.

Alternatively, all Thing Plus boards include SparkFun's Qwiic Connect System for interfacing with sensors, displays, actuators, and other I2C-based devices β€” without soldering!

Silicon Labs' IDE, Simplicity Studio, supports the Thing Plus Matter. SparkFun provides a getting-started guide for programming their board with the IDE. Onboard is a dedicated EFM32 microcontroller that acts as a J-Link programmer and debugger. This combination means you can develop code and debug issues directly from Simplicity Studio. However, the Thing Plus Matter also has unpopulated pins for an external programmer via a Mini Simplicity Connector.

SparkFun says the Thing Plus Matter draws only 15 microamps in low-power mode. Additionally, when powered by a LiPo battery, an onboard circuit monitors the battery's charge level.

The Thing Plus Matter is available now from SparkFun's store for $24.95. For additional technical detail, check out the getting started guide.

James Lewis
Electronics enthusiast, Bald Engineer, and freelance content creator. AddOhms on YouTube. KN6FGY.
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