Go Down

Topic: Arduino Tian and Primo? (Read 1 time) previous topic - next topic


So, I saw the so-called Arduino "Tian" board in the arduino.org side of arduinos, and... It just looks like an Yun with Cortex-M0 processor.

Also, I saw the "Primo" board there and Thought that is just an arduino with ESP8266.

What are your thoughts?


My thoughts on most of these new boards is they shouldn't be released until there is sufficient software support. If they're not going to make that effort then they shouldn't make the board. These may be more advanced boards but the people buying them are expecting that when you pay the Arduino price the Arduino easy to use experience comes with it. This has not been the case. I feel sorry for the beginners who buy the Arduino 101 instead of the Uno because the specs are better and it's only $5 more. I feel like having a ton of different boards with different architectures just spreads development work out that would be much better focused. That's not to say Arduino should always mean AVR. It's good to progress but jumping on every new chip that comes out just leaves a bunch of customers with not very useful hardware.

The Primo falls into that same category because of the microcontroller they're using. I think anyone buying it expecting "an arduino with ESP8266" will be disappointed unless .org makes a real effort on the core. They're trying to give a bunch away to try to get people to do the development for them which does not seem like a good sign to me.

The one I think has potential is the Uno WiFi, which truly is an Arduino with ESP8266. The ATmega328P is well supported and so is the ESP8266 so there's no need to write a whole new core for the board. The only question I have is about the serial expander. I haven't looked into it but I'd hope this board can be used with existing libraries such as WiFiESP instead of being locked into .org's library. The concept seems very sound to me and I'm surprised this wasn't done long before.


So, Is Primo useless if I have an ESP8266?


I don't know those boards but I wasted money on a Yun thinking I was getting a neat little Linux board with a Leonardo attached. Instead I got a Leonardo without a usable Serial1 and with some Linux stuff stuck on the side.

Two or three hours spent thinking and reading documentation solves most programming problems.


So, Is Primo useless if I have an ESP8266?
Not necessarily. For me the Primo would be useless because I like to focus on a small set of microcontrollers that are well supported and I know well. I also have no need of the Bluetooth and NFC features of the nRF52. If you like tinkering with different chips from the standard Arduino ones or you need those features it could be great. The main brains of the thing is the nRF52 microcontroller which at first might seem inferior to just running on the ESP8266 directly but the WiFi functions of the ESP8266 take up a significant amount of the memory and processing power so you're not really getting the full specs of the ESP8266 for your program. There's definitely something to be said for just letting the ESP8266 handle WiFi and doing everything else on a separate MCU.


I disagree they shouldn't release these sorts of boards, after all there are people who like to explore them, even if it means dealing with lacking software support, and doing so will make useful libraries available more quickly than if .org is to develop them all in house before releasing. That said, they need to make it very obvious what people are actually buying so no one buys a Primo expecting it to just be an Uno with some extras to both avoid customers getting frustrated and thus maintaining an image of making these kinds of technologies more available to anyone.

I think however .org is not entirely to blame either. A lot of times, people buy stuff without really knowing what they are getting, even with the information available in plain writing and there's only so much .org can do to make things obvious.


It seems they just RETIRED this board?!?

Go Up