Aliexpress Development Boards Part 2

l293D dual motor driver
Dual Motor driver shield, original design from Adafruit motor shield, now discontinued from Adafruit, it’s still a wonderful shield at ~2,50€.
This shields drives 4 motors or 2 small steppers, making possible to assemble a 4 motor rover with a pan and tilt head on a small budget.
It uses almost all digital pins on an Arduino Uno, but leaves out the analog pins and duplicates the GND and 5V pins, which is useful for most purposes.
The L293D can’t stand more than 0.6A per motor, but it’s fine for small motors. The motor driver chip has a thermal shutdown protection, so you won’t risk frying it by overload(even tough never reverse polarity!).

lilypad clone
This LilyPad ATmega32u4 clone adds nothing to the original lilypad, still sold by Sparkfun, but it has the same price you would get by getting the project from Sparkfun, generating the Gerbers and having the board assembled, tested and shipped by a Chinese supplier.
For ~6€ you can enter in the world of wearable prototyping, while the original would cost ~32.50€ after shipping and taxes.
Even if wearables isn’t your thing these board have a LiPo battery connector, which makes easy to incorporate it in a portable project.
If you buy this board consider donating 5€ when you download the Arduino IDE, to support software libraries.

orange pi

Orange Pi PC is stunning. It’s like what would happen if Raspberry Pi foundation would be founded in China.
For ~17€ you can get in Europe a microcomputer with comparable specs of a Raspberry Pi 2 priced at 42€.
Looking closely at the datasheet it’s a completely different board than a Raspberry Pi 2 in many things:

  • -It must be powered trough a 5v 2A power jack
  • -no display port, only HDMI
  • -100mb ethernet
  • -RAM shared with GPU
  • -one less usb port
  • -few operating system images available
  • +64Gb TF card support
  • +IR receiver
  • +interface with cheaper camera modules, of comparable quality
  • +debug UART
  • +OTG and Host usb ports
  • +integrated microphone
  • +power switch

So if you are looking for an easy setup, a Raspberry PI would be way faster to arrive and easier to setup, with good chances there is alreay an image for an sd card which does all you need. Flash the system and ready!
But if you are looking for a board to employ in a loosely connected cluster, cheap smart robots and taking advantages of the built in bonus like the IR receiver and microphone, this is for you.

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