The Arduino Yún is my favourite microcontroller. It comes with two processors, an ATmega32u4 (like what you find on many Arduino boards) and an Atheros AR9331. The Atheros runs a lightweight version of linux, and is often found in wifi routers and NAS devices. This networking history means the Yún can handle most wired or wireless network configurations you throw at it.
The Yún overcomes all the crippling limitations of the Arduino Ethernet. It works with HTTPS connections and packs seven PWM pins.
With all the recent hullabaloo over royalties, I have no idea what is ‘officially’ Arduino anymore. Nor do I have a clue about which open source developers need supporting. It makes my wallet a little happier though, as I don’t feel guilty buying cheaper Arduino derivatives. I didn’t even blink when I picked up the Seeeduino Cloud for a solid $23 USD cheaper than the ‘official*’ Arduino Yún.
So how does the Seeedunio Cloud stack up against the original Arduino Yún?
Well the Seeeduino Cloud is a derivative of the Yún and 100% compatible. But calling it a ‘clone’ would be completely unfair. At the hardware level, Seeed have made considerable improvements over the Arduino Yún.
Most obviously, Seeed didn’t skimp on accessories. They ship the cloud with an external wifi antenna, a small rectangular PCB with sticky adhesive backing. The adhesive makes it easy to attach the external antenna to the side of your project or enclosures. While the Yún only has a socket for an external antenna, and the antenna itself is purchased separately.
Next Seeed have done an amazing job at making the Seeeduino Cloud impossibly thin. Yes. The Cloud is the Macbook Air of Yún boards. Look at this puppy from the side and you will notice that Seeed have cleverly inset the ethernet connector into the PCB. Plus they got the USB host to sit flat on the board. Well they wedged it into the PCB as well, while the original Yún leaves the USB host clumsily on its side. These major improvements make the Seeeduino’s pin headers the tallest component on the board.
Seeed also included a couple of Grove connectors, making it compatible with their Grove modules. This whole system is designed to make it easier to prototype without soldering. They are not my thing. I enjoy soldering, and find wonking out little protoboards a relaxing exercise. So it is pretty cool that Seeed are able to support both people like me, and those who want a bit more plug and play in their hardware hacking.
On the software side of the fence lurks my only minor quibble. Seeed haven’t managed to make such a spectacular improvement here. The software they are running on the Atheros is just a rebadged version of what you find on the Arduino Yún. It is easy to spot. Because. Ummm. The user interface still references the ‘Yún’ in a couple of places. EDIT: Seeed are working on fixing this in the next iteration.
Minor quibble aside. Move over Yún. I think the Seeeduino Cloud is my new favourite microcontroller.
I give the Seeeduino Cloud 4.5 stars out of 5.
* Is there even such a thing as an official Arduino board anymore?
- 2016/03/05 - The people at Seeed Studio have let me know that they are working on a fix for the software issues mentioned in this review. This is excellent news, it is great to see Seeed committed to improving their software platforms.
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