Adafruit Feather M0 Express

The courier showed up today, with a really neat new board from Adafruit – the Feather M0 Express. It is essentially a break out board for the Microchip (formerly Atmel) ATSAMD21G18, which is the same 32-bit 48MHz ARM M0+ micro used in the Arduino Zero, plus a 2MB flash memory, RGB LED, and a LiPoly charger. It’s not too expensive at $20USD, nice and tiny, and I think could be a real hit.

Using the Feather M0 Express from Arduino IDE almost couldn’t be easier – just add the Adafruit Board Manager URL to your Arduino IDE settings, then install the “Adafruit SAMD Boards” – instructions at https://learn.adafruit.com/add-boards-arduino-v164 .

However, the really exciting new option available with this new board, is CircuitPython – Adafruit’s implementation of MicroPython. Getting setup for CircuitPython is super easy, though the documentation is still under development so it might seem a bit intimidating at first read. Here’s what I did:

  1. Download the latest CircuitPython uf2 file for your board from https://github.com/adafruit/circuitpython/releases
  2. Connect the Feather to your computer via USB
  3. Put the Feather in to bootloader mode by “double clicking” the reset button. You’ll know it works when the #13 LED starts fading on and off.
  4. Copy the uf2 file from step 2, on to the FEATHERBOOT USB drive that should have appeared in step 3.  Wait a few seconds.

There should now be a USB drive available called CIRCUITPY, and a virtual serial port available.

Using your favourite serial console with the virtual serial port gives an interactive terminal, aka REPL, which can be used directly as below. Or, just save a source file as main.py in the CIRCUITPY drive to get your program to run at boot.

Adafruit CircuitPython 0.9.5 on 2017-04-14; Adafruit Feather M0 Express with samd21g18
>>> print("hi")
hi
>>> help()
Welcome to Adafruit CircuitPython 0.9.5!

Please visit learn.adafruit.com/category/circuitpython for project guides.

Built in modules:
 __main__
 builtins
 micropython
 array
(list continues)

Let’s make the “hello world” of embedded programming (but this time, done on-target using tab completion!):

>>> import digitalio
>>> import board
>>> import time
>>> with digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.D13) as led:
...     led.switch_to_output()
...     while True:
...         led.value = 1
...         time.sleep(0.5)
...         led.value = 0
...         time.sleep(0.5)

Board meeting notes

Notes from the recent board meeting, which is open to all members. Discussing financials, running of the makerspace, and how to help the makerspace succeed.

Apologies for posting this so late, this is the first time I’ve had any free time to type it up. This is a direct transcription from my notebook, so it’s a bit jumbled.

 

Financials: Bank account getting low – epxect to be able to get more promised pledges + some members putting in more, to get us through to March.

Paul is doing high-school afternoon classes next year, in contact with local high-schools. This wil help put the word out about the Makerspace.

Corporate sponsorship? Tools and/or money, grants.

Need ~$7000 per year.

Looks like some members will need to put in more to keep bank ok, rather than solely rely on memberships. [Some board members put their hands up for this]

Why haven’t we heard from some pledges?

Things we haven’t done:

  • Incorporate
  • Become charity
  • Try to get grants. eg from DCC, EDV (Economic Development Unit)

Need to have board elections.
Add more board members. Board voted to add: Chris Edwards, Reece Arnott, Brian Paavo – based on existing involvement.

Start next year with general meeting and elections. Also have 1st year anniversary / official opening celebration (to build profile).

Need to make the workshop more welcoming, feel like a play room.

  • Unfinished projects visible
  • Posters
  • Photos
  • Etc

We should use the mailing list more.

Idea: How does it work? / Dismantle workshop. Fun, get to learn how something works, and gets parts and consumables to use for later projects.

Thursday nights: Open every night, but do talkws less often. More social – sit around coffee tables and talk. More projects / normal workshop.

Need bigger/better project screen.