Adafruit provides an Ethernet FeatherWing peripheral board for its popular Feather ecosystem of development boards—a valuable option for IoT and automation projects. But it has its limitations. The Feather still needs to be powered separately, and no built-in globally unique MAC address is provided for the user, making deployment hard.
What if we could fix these issues? What if there was a drop-in replacement that would not only provide Ethernet, but also power your Feather, and give you a globally unique MAC? And still be 100% compatible in size, connections and software support? Enter the PoE-FeatherWing!
Arduino and CircuitPython example code is available on GitHub. This code includes examples like Arduino "Web Client Repeating", which allows you to make repeated HTTP requests using DNS, as well as others.
Ethernet FeatherWing running Arduino demo code
|PoE FeatherWing||Adafruit Ethernet FeatherWing||wESP32|
|Manufacturer||Silicognition LLC||Adafruit Industries||Silicognition LLC|
|Ethernet system||WIZnet W5500||WIZnet W5500||LAN8720A + ESP32|
|Ethernet throughput||~13 Mbps||~13 Mbps||~90 Mbps|
|Ethernet MAC||Globally unique - provided by 24AA02E48||Manually applied||Provided by ESP32|
|PoE power||4 W||0 W||13 W|
|Output voltage||4~5 V||0 V||12 V or 5 V + 3.3 V|
|PCB size||55.9 x 22.9 mm||55.9 x 22.9 mm||75 x 40 mm|
|CPU||Flexible, off-board||Flexible, off-board||ESP32, on-board|
|Price||$29 (shipping included)||$19.95 (shipping not included)||$55|
Testing of the initial 100 units showed a few small things that could use improvement. Most users would never notice a difference in normal use, so we are offering 100 early bird boards at a discount price, and they will ship shortly after the campaign ends.
Here is an explanation of the small differences in the early bird boards:
Flyback transformer The first hand-built prototypes used a flyback from Hanrun, and performance was characterized with them. The 100 initial run units were built with supposedly equivalent transformers from Link-PP. Unfortunately, they’re not perfect equivalents. Turns out they have more parasitic inductance, which causes more ringing on the output, which in turn heats up the secondary diode more. So these samples have slightly lower output capability and likely higher EMI. Rev 3 production will be built with transformers from Hanrun.
Output regulation The goal is to have lower-than-5 V output so as to not interfere with USB when plugged in on the Feather. It’s a bit lower than it should be, if someone wants to use the lithium battery charging on their Feather.
|Rev 2 Units||Rev 3 Units|
|Minimum voltage under load||4 V||4.3 V|
|Transformer||Link-PP with higher EMI||Hanrun with lower EMI|
|Max output power*||3 W||4 W|
*A USB-powered Feather only supports 2.5 W, so both 3 W and 4 W are just fine.
I have again partnered with my trusted manufacturing partner KingTop Technology to produce these boards. We have received an initial run of 100 pieces, which have been used for testing and validating the design, and development of a test fixture. The fixture is on its way to KingTop, and they will use it to produce and test another 900 pieces to support the campaign.
Project development logs can be found at the Hackaday.io project page.
As in my previous campaigns, I will use Crowd Supply as my fulfillment service for this campaign as well. Details on Crowd Supply fulfillment can be found in their guide page on ordering, paying, and shipping.
Most risks and challenges have already been dealt with prior to the launch of the campaign. The biggest risk was getting a PoE design to work in such a small footprint, and the design has already been proven. Another risk is component lead times, but KingTop already has all components in their possession. KingTop themselves are also pre-vetted, as they’ve manufactured several other Silicognition LLC products. The only remaining risk is shipping and import issues due to pointless trade wars started by people who have nothing better to do than stroke their egos. Should any issues arise that would set back the shipping date, backers will be informed through project updates.
"Well, I for one am very impressed. It always amazes me when someone like Patrick looks at something like an Ethernet FeatherWing and says to themselves, “Hmm, not bad, but I can do better.”"
Produced by Silicognition LLC in Longmont, Colorado.
Sold and shipped by Crowd Supply.
Rev 2 board with minimal technical differences versus main production Rev 3. These boards will ship shortly after the campaign ends. Headers are included, but not soldered.
A FeatherWing that provides Ethernet, up to 4 W of power, and a globally unique MAC to your Feather. Headers are included, but not soldered.
Five production PoE FeatherWings. Headers are included, but not soldered.
Ten production PoE FeatherWings. Headers are included, but not soldered.