It’s been a couple of weeks since I returned to the Pi, and I’m already seeing people using the same old default add-on boards all over the internet. Don’t get me wrong – they’re popular because they’re good quality, useful and affordable – but they don’t excite me.
What does excite me is when I find small batches of weird little wonders lurking in the dark, dingy alleyways of the internet. Odd little boards from different places, in different colours with different features.
They’re not mass-market, they’re not easy to find, and they’re usually not as cheap as mainstream options – but they are different – and that makes them interesting.
So, here we go average readers, a short list of some of the lesser-known oddities of the Pi add-on market that I’ve found. Enjoy!
Can we stop calling things ‘Berry’ please?! Lazy name aside, this board from ‘OzzMaker’ (even more cliché naming conventions being used here) rocks an accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, temperature sensor, GPS and a barometric sensor.
In a way it risks becoming one of those ‘do a million things’ add-on boards that I love to hate – on the other hand – it’s going to be very useful for someone creating a outdoorsy project, considering how these sensors and functions can be combined. Altitude, GPS, weather, velocity – feels like a project that would be used in the air, but I’m not sure what for yet.
I like how the cut-out allows free use of the remaining GPIO pins – it avoids any doubt over what’s used by the board. I’m also fascinated at how they got all this stuff on a tiny Zero sized PCB.
Available from OzzMaker.com for $62 AUD.
This company came up on my Twitter feed a couple of days ago. Without that, I wouldn’t have heard of them – and that makes it all the more attractive.
I know what you’re thinking, we’ve seen this kind of thing before from some of the big names in the game. We have, but we haven’t seen it done in this simple way yet, and certainly not at this price. £4.80 is a steal, I almost felt guilty ordering it.
These guys currently sell just 2 products, which adds to that ‘small-batch rare stuff’ feel.
I’ve ordered one and it should be with me shortly, so expect a blog on it soon.
Available from WonkyResistor.com for £4.80.
Shut the front door! Have you seen the price of these add-on boards?! Imagine the damage you could do in Amsterdam with $138 in your pocket.
If you don’t fancy getting swervy in the Netherlands, this might be a better way to spend your money…if you also have a boat.
You see these bright blue add-on boards are designed for nautical folk. Using the OpenCPN navigation software and on-board modules, it turns your Pi into a full-blown chartplotter to navigate the seven seas. It’s sporting a GPS module as well as a compass, gyro, air pressure and humidity sensor, and even has a little amplifier on board to hook up to the boat’s loud-speaker, which is of course used to play Drum & Bass to fishermen when morale is low.
For power it accepts a boat’s 12V power supply whilst also acting as a UPS with a lithium battery, and if things go a bit ‘perfect storm‘, you can even charge your phone with the USB port to call Popeye for help.
It’s technically a steal as the manufacturer suggests that professional equivalents cost much more. Always trust the salesman right?
Available from Tindie for (gasp) $138.50