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Arduino Due launch brings ARM to the platform

Arduino Due launch brings ARM to the platform

The Arduino Due replaces the usual eight-bit 16MHz ATmega328 microcontroller with a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 running at 84MHz.

The Arduino team has officially launched the Due, a more powerful version of its eponymous microcontroller designed for those who have outgrown the eight-bit original.

Originally built to help students learn about electronics and programming, the Arduino project has gone from strength to strength with its open-source hardware design. While the latest revision, the Leonardo, includes some new features, all Arduinos have had one thing in common: they are all built around eight-bit microcontrollers from Atmel running at 16MHz.

For most of the tasks you would want an Arduino for - sensing, control and other simple but real-time projects - that's fine. Some programmers, however, have found themselves outgrowing the device, and while third-party designs based on the Arduino but featuring 16- or even 32-bit controllers have been created, there has been little from Arduino itself - until now.

The Due, designed to take over from the ATmega328-based Uno, replaces the eight-bit microcontroller with a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 processor running at 84MHz - a significant increase in power. The Atmel SAM3X8E, the chip at the heart of the new Due, is claimed to be able to handle sampling rates from the integrated analogue or digital inputs of up to 1 megasamples per second (1MS/s) - up from 15 kilosamples per second (15KS/s) of the Uno and Leonardo.

To help users take advantage of the extra power, the Due comes with an integrated digital-to-analog converter - the first Arduino to feature such hardware. As a result, it's possible for the Due to output true analogue signals rather than faking it through pulse-width modulation (PWM) as in previous designs. That said, PWM is still present and correct on the same pins as the Uno and its predecessors for compatibility with existing Arduino add-on 'shields.' The number of inputs and outputs have been boosted to 54, with 12 new analogue output pins for the DAC.

The biggest change, however, could spell trouble for those hoping the Due will be a drop-in replacement for the Uno or Leonardo: rather than the 5V logic previous official Arduinos have used, the Due uses 3.3V logic - the same level as the equally ARM-based Raspberry Pi microcomputer. As a result, those wishing to interface the Due with 5V hardware will need a level converter.

The Due is due (sorry) to go on sale later today, priced at $49.

7 Comments

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Guinevere 22nd October 2012, 14:38 Quote
Nit-pic:

Is it correct to say "From Arduino" when Arduino is the name of the hardware platform and Arduino Labs is the people behind it?

It's Arduino Labs fault of course for naming themselves and their product line the same, but you wouldn't say the "Diavolino" board was "From Diavolino" you'd say it was from the "Evil Made Scientist" team or something similar.

I know I'm sad, and I know this isn't as bad as someone using LEGOS as a plural of LEGO which we all know is the ultimate wordplay sin in the whole of geekdom.
theshadow2001 22nd October 2012, 15:56 Quote
Nit-pic:

Lego is the company. They make Lego bricks. So calling the bricks either Lego or Legos is incorrect.
greigaitken 23rd October 2012, 03:48 Quote
lego is the plural of lego-brick. no nit pick required
korhojoa 23rd October 2012, 11:24 Quote
Guinevere 23rd October 2012, 11:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by korhojoa
It's not nit-pic.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nitpick

You win the internets!
Blackshark 24th October 2012, 06:26 Quote
Erm, is the RPi not 5V? Sure it is....
Gareth Halfacree 24th October 2012, 08:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackshark
Erm, is the RPi not 5V? Sure it is....
Nup. It takes a 5V input from a microUSB port, yes, but the first thing that happens is that 5V input hits a regulator and gets dropped to 3.3V - which is what all the internal logic runs at. If you're using the GPIO port, that's an important fact to know: if you connect 5V to any of the GPIO pins, you'll fry the Pi - it's 3.3V all the way, just like the new Due.
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