Giant Board

by Groboards

A single-board computer in the Adafruit Feather form factor

Crowdfunding Page History

This page is an archive of the original crowdfunding campaign for this project. It may not be up-to-date with the latest updates and product availability. Return to the current project page.

$14,340 raised

of $12,250 goal

117% Funded! Order Below

Pledge Now

$60

Giant Board (Beta)

Early access beta version of the Giant Board SBC. Limit of two per person.


$80

Giant Board (Beta) + Wi-Fi FeatherWing (Beta)

Early access beta version of the Giant Board SBC bundled with an early access beta version of the Wi-Fi FeatherWing. Limit of two bundles per person.


$50

Giant Board


$70

Giant Board + Wi-Fi FeatherWing

Giant Board SBC bundled with a Wi-Fi FeatherWing.

Details

Recent Updates


As Featured In

MickMake

"Has twenty GPIOs, SD slot, and LiPo charging. This one actually supports a bunch of Adafruit Featherwings."

Adafruit Industries

"It can do things that everyone likes to do like... play Doom... That's how you know it's a real technology."

CNXSoft - Embedded Systems News

"It squeezes SBC into a package the size of a microcontroller board. This will in turn relax memory, storage, and processing constraints. Consequently allowing you to effectively work on your projects."

Hackaday

Hackaday

"The [quadraped] robot itself was made of a satisfyingly tidy stack of Giant Board, servo FeatherWing and Wifi FeatherWing, with a Giant Board and Wifi FeatherWing combo making up the remote control."

industriaembebidahoy

"Giant Board de Groboards, es una nueva placa SBC compatible con el ecosistema FeatherWing y capaz de ejecutar GNU/Linux..."

Giant Board is part of the Microchip Get Launched 2019 design competition!

An Open Source, Linux-capable SBC Compatible with the FeatherWing Ecosystem

The Giant Board is a super tiny single-board computer (SBC) based on the Adafruit Feather form factor. We always want more power in a smaller package, and the Giant Board delivers! It provides a small, powerful platform that is compatible with a wide range of pre-existing accessories. FeatherWing support makes the Giant Board a flexible, drop-in component for most Feather based projects.

We all love our microcontrollers, but in some cases they just don’t have the resources we need to carry out the projects we have in mind. By squeezing the power of an SBC into a package the size of a microcontroller board, the Giant Board relaxes memory, storage, and processing constraints and allows you to take your projects to the next level.

Giant Board (top)

Small, Light, & Powerful

The Giant Board fills the gap between microcontrollers and other single-board computers. It makes a great alternative to a Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone in a space constrained project where you need more power than a typical microcontroller can provide. The Giant Board is based on a form factor that is traditionally used for microcontrollers, so power consumption is important, which is why the Giant Board offers low-power modes.

Giant Board (bottom)

Giant Board Specs:

  • Processor: Microchip SAMA5D2 ARM® Cortex®-A5 Processor 500 MHz
  • Memory: 128 MB DDR2 RAM
  • Storage: microSD card
  • Sensing: 6 x 12-bit ADC with 3.3 V reference and external trigger
  • Actuation: 4 x 16-bit PWM with external trigger
  • Connectivity: 1 x I²C, 1 x SPI, 1 x UART, more with Flexcom
  • Power: via USB, with support for LiPo batteries
  • Operating System: mainline Linux kernel

Giant Board Pin Out

A Versatile Miniature Single-Board Computer

To leverage all that powerful hardware, the Giant Board runs Linux. Not just any Linux, but full Debian Linux! This gives developers and users access to an endless number of applications and libraries for their projects.

The Giant Board could be used for projects related to:

  • Media streaming
  • IoT gateway routing
  • Data collection & analysis
  • Robotics

Adafruit Blinka (CircuitPython for Linux)

Adafruit has released a set of libraries that adds CircuitPython support to Linux. Considering that the Giant Board is a Feather that runs Linux…we saw taking advantage of this support as a no-brainer. Since then, Giant Board compatibility has been fully merged and committed to the Adafruit repo! As a result, the Giant Board now has access to over over 100 hardware compatibility libraries.

FeatherWing Support

The Giant Board supports the Adafruit FeatherWing pinout, which allows it to work with over 60 pre-existing add-on boards. And CircuitPython makes this easy to do. Most sample code works with little or no modification, so you can get your projects up and running more quickly.

One of the awesome things about running Linux on the Giant Board is that Linux provides drivers for many FeatherWings. Some examples that we have tested include the Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and LCD FeatherWings. You can use an Ethernet FeatherWing to give your Giant Board access to the Internet, for example, then take advantage of graphics libraries and frameworks outside of Arduino C++ and CircuitPython to visualize data about network traffic on an LCD FeatherWing.

We could not find a Linux compatible Wi-Fi FeatherWing, however, so we made one. It is based on the ATWILC1000 Wi-Fi chipset from Microchip and has a lot of great features.

Wi-Fi FeatherWing Spec:

  • 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n
  • Station mode and SoftAP support
  • Low-power modes

Open Source and Parts Availability

We love and believe in open source, and we built the Giant Board accordingly. The design files, documentation, software, and more are available on our website and through GitHub. We also spent a lot of time deciding which parts to use for the Giant Board. It was important to us that all of its components be readily available, off the shelf, without the need to sign an NDA. As a result, anyone who wants to build their own Giant Board for a project or a product can obtain the parts they will need from most major electronics retailers.

Comparison Table

ManufacturerGroboards ParticleAdafruitOnionRaspberry PiBeagleBoard
BoardGiant Board ArgonFeather M4 ExpressOmega2 ProZero WPocketBeagle
ProcessorMicrochip SAMA5D2 Nordic nRF52840 + ESP32 Co-ProcessorMicrochip ATSAMD51MediaTek MT7688Broadcom BCM2835Octavo OSD3358
Core/SpeedARM Cortex-A5 Processor 500 MHz ARM Cortex-M4F 64 MHzARM Cortex-M4F 120 MHzMIPS 580 MHzARM11 1 GHzARM Cortex-A8 1 GHz
RAM128 MB DDR2 256 KB192 KB128 MB DDR2 + 384 MB swap512 MB DDR2512 MB DDR3
StoragemicroSD 1 MB flash + 4 MB SPI flash512 KB + 2 MB SPI flash8 GB eMMCmicroSDmicroSD
I²C2x* 2x7x*1x1x2x
SPI2x* 1x7x*1x1x2x
UART2x* 1x7x*1x1x3x
PWM4x 8x16x2x1x4x
ADC6x 12-bit 6x 12-bit6x 12-bit--8X 12-bit
I²S1x -1x1x1x1x
Li-Po SupportYes YesYesYes-Yes
USB Host1x USB 2.0 + 1x USB 2.0 OTG --1x USB 2.01x USB 2.0 + 1x USB 2.0 OTG1x USB 2.0 + 1x USB 2.0 OTG
Wi-Fi/BT-/- Yes/Yes (ESP32 on-board for Wi-Fi)-Yes/-Yes/--/-
Operating SystemDebian --OpenWrtDebianDebian
Operating CurrentTypical 70 mA Typical 8 mATypical 8 mATypical 200 mATypical 160 mATypical 200 mA
Feather CompatibleYes YesYes---
Breadboard CompatibleYes YesYes---
Size0.9" x 2.0" (22.8 mm X 50.8 mm) 0.9" x 2.0" (22.8 mm X 50.8 mm)0.9" x 2.0" (22.8 mm X 50.8 mm)2.8" x 1.7" (73 mm x 44 mm)2.5" x 1.1" (65 mm x 30 mm)2.2" x 1.3" (56 mm x 35 mm)
Kernel Versionv5.0.0 --v4.4.74v4.18.yv4.19
Open Source SoftwareYes YesYesYesYesYes
Open HardwareYes YesYesYesNoYes
Open Supply ChainYes NoNoNoNoNo
Price$50 $35 with kit$22.95$50.00$10$25

* Some devices have pins that can be set for either UART, SPI, or I²C interchangeably. This is called by different names for different processors. For the SAMA5D2 it is called Flexcom and for ATSAMAD51, Sercom.

Support & Documentation

Our public GitHub repository contains all of the software, schematics, and tools used to design and build the Giant Board. We also have a section on our website just for documentation and guides, including a guide on setting up the Giant Board. This documentation covers everything from logging in for the first time to building a custom OS for the Giant Board.

We also maintain a community forum for chatting about projects, sharing ideas, and seeking community input.

Manufacturing Plan

As soon as the funding goal is reached, we will place an order for parts and begin manufacturing the beta boards. We’ve been working with our US-based contract manufacturer to ensure a smooth production schedule. They provide high quality prototype and production services that have short lead times but are scalable, which makes them a great fit for our production needs. Keeping production with a US based manufacturer provides clear communication channels and helps eliminate guesswork. Should anything change, or should problems arise, they are just a phone call away.

The manufacturer will be handling the production of PCBs as well as populating the boards. All PCBs will be electronically verified. We will purchase components from a large electronics distributor in the US and ship them, in bulk, to the manufacturer. This will help us keep lead times down and allow for a shorter production schedule.

Fulfilment & Logistics

All Giant Boards will be delivered to Crowd Supply’s warehouse for final distribution to backers worldwide. For more information, please see this page about ordering, paying, and shipping.

Risks & Challenges

Production at any scale comes with some risks and challenges. Parts can go out of stock, ship late, or be discontinued, all of which can extend lead times and delay production. This is why we source our parts from reputable distributors that have large stocks of components and can supply alternatives should they run out of something.

Problems can arise during manufacturing, as well, which is why we use a US based manufacturer for production. Clear lines of communication allow us to address issues promptly should they crop up. We will provide updates on any issues that we encounter, including details on how we addressed them.

We have ordered prototypes during all phases of development and have tested our designs extensively to ensure that everything works as intended. Having had prototypes made throughout the development process will also help us minimize the risk that, when we do go to production, some aspect of our design will prove unexpectedly difficult to manufacture. All of this gives us confidence that production will go smoothly and that your Giant Board will work as intended.


Credits

Groboards

I'm a hardware and software engineer from Phoenix, AZ with a passion for creating and making electronics. Always refining and learning new skills to make bigger, better things.


Christopher Alessandro


MacroFab

Contract manufacturer

Mouser Electronics

Component provider

Subscribe to the Crowd Supply newsletter, highlighting the latest creators and projects: