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Open source Raspberry Pi IoT HAT starts at $21

Nov 22, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 1,700 views

The “RabbitMax Flex” is a RPi HAT board for IoT with an IR transceiver, relays, 5x cable slots for I2C sensors, and optional dev kits with LCDs and sensors.

A growing number of Internet of Things add-ons are available for the Raspberry Pi SBC, including HAT add-on boards and other development kits, but most are aimed at more experienced developers. An Indiegogo project from Bulgaria called RabbitMax Flex is targeting the more casual DIY prototyper with a completely open source HAT board that doesn’t require soldering. As the name suggests, the board relies on flexi cables.



RabbitMax Flex with (left) and without cables
(click images to enlarge)

The RabbitMax Flex is designed for those who want to do “embedded software development without the urge of understanding perfectly the hardware,” writes creator Leon Anavi. The board can be used to develop weather stations, desk assistants, and other IoT gizmos.

Anavi has doubled his modest 512-Euro flexible funding Indiegogo goal, and early bird packages are still available with only 11 days left. A 20 Euro ($21) package ships in Dec. 2016 while a 24 Euro ($25) package is due in Mar. 2017. A 32 Euro IoT Starter Kit that adds a 16×2 LCD and a temperature sensor arrives in March, and a 48 Euro IoT Advanced Kit due in April builds on that with humidity and light sensors. A 64 Euro ($68) IoT Developer Kit for April adds a USB-to-serial cable along with a microSD card.

The HAT itself, which requires a 40-pin Raspberry Pi, offers the following features:

  • IR transmitter (IR LED)
  • IR receiver (IR photo sensor)
  • Relay
  • Piezoelectric speaker (buzzer)
  • Button
  • RGB LED
  • Slot for modular 16×2 LCD character display
  • Slots for up to 5x plug and play I2C sensors for temperature, barometric pressure, humidity and light
  • UART pins for debugging



RabbitMax Flex on a Raspberry Pi (left) and full IoT Developer Kit
(click images to enlarge)

The RabbitMax Flex supports the following I2C sensor modules, with examples written in Python and C available on GitHub, and others can be added with some software integration work:
  • BMP180 for temperature and barometric pressure
  • HTU21 for temperature and humidity
  • BH1750 for light

Schematics are available for the RabbitMax Flex, which has already been developed. Anavi is now focused on software development. The board already supports Raspbian Linux, but Anavi is working on a custom distribution based on Yocto Project with OpenEmbedded. The distro will ship with an application that can report data from the sensors and receive remote commands via MQTT. An HTML5 web interface with Node.js backend is also being planned for remote control.




RabbitMax Flex YouTube overview

 
Further information

The RabbitMax Flex is available on Indiegogo starting at 20 Euros ($21) for shipment in Dec. 2016 or 24 Euros ($25), due in Mar. 2017, with dev kits ranging from 32 Euros to 64 Euros. More information may be found at the RabbitMax Flex Indiegogo page. There’s also a giveaway contest on Facebook running through Dec. 2. Send in your DIY project idea and win a chance at a free RabbitMax Flex.

 

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