Best microcontroller for wifi

Looking for opinions on different options for a wifi connected microcontroller. The obvious answer is an uno with a shield. However, since the YUN offers it right out of the box, is that a better option? Although as someone not too familiar with the actual architecture of these things, the language used in the description of the YUN is somewhat cryptic. Does it use the same language, just with additional capabilities? I've also found an arduino based chip called a spark core which looks very enticing due to it's low cost. Does anyone have experience with these? Thanks.

In my opinion, the Yun. You get all the advantages of an Arduino combined with a Linux system. On the Linux side you can program in languages like Python.

Depends on what exactly you want to do.

You will get various opinions.

Jake

So how exactly does the standard arduino/linux hybrid work actually? I guess what I'm asking is can it be used like a regular arduino with all the same functions plus wifi? Or are certain things that come easily on an uno more complex on the YUN due to it's unique architecture?

my prefered board is the DigiX from Digistump. It is pin-compatible to the Arduino DUE but has in addition one row I/O pins more and SD card + WiFi on board. It can also be programmed with a customized version of the Arduino IDE and the DUE code examples are also 100% compatible to the DigiX.

Only problem - same as for the DUE - is that due to the used ARM processor the board works with 3V3 instead of 5V most other (Arduino-) boards use.

tboneh:
So how exactly does the standard arduino/linux hybrid work actually? I guess what I'm asking is can it be used like a regular arduino with all the same functions plus wifi? Or are certain things that come easily on an uno more complex on the YUN due to it's unique architecture?

Try a Google search for "introduction to Arduino Yun." There are videos and blogs all over the place and they can explain it better than me.

The Yun is a lot like an Arduino Uno on the mcu side. The other side is Linux like a Raspberry Pi. The wifi is on the Linux side. The two sides communicate with the "bridge." For example you can have the Arduino take a sensor reading and write the result to the SD card on the Linux side. That reading can be manipulated, uploaded, etc. by a script/program or access via http as the Linux side runs a web server.

Try some research, you'll learn all about it quickly.

Thanks BlueJakester, I'll look into it.

mgcss:
my prefered board is the DigiX from Digistump..... Only problem - same as for the DUE - is that due to the used ARM processor the board works with 3V3 instead of 5V most other (Arduino-) boards use.

That looks like a great option, especially because I'm not sure whether the 20 inputs of the YUN will be enough. This gives me more inputs without having to buy a mega and a wifi shield. A couple questions though, why is 3V considered bad? Is it just for shield compatibility? I mean it's pretty easy to just throw a resistor in if your voltage is too high on a single input. Also, are there any programming differences between the DUE/DigiX and the standard arduino?

It seems to me that a RaspberryPI is about the same price as a Wifi Shield. It has so much more capability that, in my mind, there is no contest.

I get the impression that the Arduino folks are a bit out of their depth with the Yun and it doesn't have the sort of Linux support that is available for the RPI or the BeagleBone. And I reckon you can get an RPI and an Arduino for the same price as a Yun.

The only negative point about the RPI is its need for a TV screen (which I don't have). I think the BeagleBone can work directly with a PC.

...R

@tboneh: the 3v3 is indeed only a question of compatibility to other components / shields. You should be able to find suitable components for 3v3 also but you have to keep that difference in mind. It's not really a problem as you would get a lot of stuff for 3v3 as this will be the mainstream voltage in the future.

@Robin2: I use both DigiX (Arduinos) as well as Raspi. There is one major difference between both. One is a mikrocontroller board and the other one is a complete mini computer with it's own operating system. Both have their pro's and con's and of course it always depends on what do I try to achive. And based on that I decide to take this one or that one. But if you new to the whole stuff you have to focus to one plattform first. And from my point of view it's easier to start with Arduino. That does not mean, that it is always the best choice :wink:

Robin2:
It seems to me that a RaspberryPI is about the same price as a Wifi Shield. It has so much more capability that, in my mind, there is no contest.

...apart from it not having WiFi.

fungus:
...apart from it not having WiFi.

OOPs I thought it had.

But you probably have a wifi dongle stuck in a drawer somewhere.

...R

Wish I did :~. This is actually going to be my first experience with an arduino, but I have pretty extensive experience using a basic stamp and electronic circuits in general so aside from learning the ins and outs of the arduino language it should be a pretty painless transition. I think I'll be going with the DigiX, it's pretty much the only standalone wifi board I could find with enough i/o pins and for a reasonable cost. I would still like confirmation that you program it just like an uno though (aside from the extra capabilities of course). Probably the best thing about the arduino is the huge knowledge base to draw from (aka you guys!), so I wouldn't want to give that up.

You can program it as almost all Arduinos. The only thing that can cause problems during the programming: not each library works for each board. But that is again not a thing that is special to the DigiX. You will have the same prolem if you use a DUE instead or even if you use another Arduino.

The reason for that is in most cases that the libraries are not tested with each board. Typical problem for example are some I2C libraries implemented with some delay funktions for timing. If that is setup for the speed of an UNO and you use it in a DUE/DigiX you run into trouble due to the higher CPU speed. That's why you have special adapted libraries for each board.

The reason they put an entire Linux computer on the Yun is that running a WiFi setup needs more RAM/program/etc. than a normal Arduino can provide.

There's a clue in there somewhere, it says "Use a Yun!"

Thanks mgcss, that was exactly the kind of information I was looking for, very informative.

fungus:
The reason they put an entire Linux computer on the Yun is that running a WiFi setup needs more RAM/program/etc. than a normal Arduino can provide.

There's a clue in there somewhere, it says "Use a Yun!"

If that's true then why is the wifi shield a thing? If you're talking about full web capability, you're probably right, but not everyone needs that kind of power. It'll simply be uploading and receiving small packets of info from a database on a network computer which will do the heavy lifting for it. Plus the Yuns only got a measly 20 I/O pins. Right now I'm looking at at least 25 but that number may grow.

tboneh:
then why is the wifi shield a thing?

It was there before the Yun came along.

...R

tboneh:

fungus:
There's a clue in there somewhere, it says "Use a Yun!"

If that's true then why is the wifi shield a thing?

Because there wasn't always a Yun.

tboneh:
If you're talking about full web capability, you're probably right, but not everyone needs that kind of power. It'll simply be uploading and receiving small packets of info from a database on a network computer which will do the heavy lifting for it.

"full web capability" and "uploading and receiving small packets of info from a database" are very nearly the same thing.

tboneh:
Plus the Yuns only got a measly 20 I/O pins. Right now I'm looking at at least 25 but that number may grow.

We use shift registers and I/O expanders when we need more pins.