Minima is a tiny Arduino Zero compatible module with SAMD21 MCU (Crowdfunding) – CNX Software

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We’ve covered a fair amount of compact Arduino Zero compatible boards based on SAMD21 Cortex-M0+ microcontroller over the years including Exen Proto, Wemos D1 SAMD21, or Seeeduino XIAO with the latter being the smallest of them all at just 23.5 x 17.5 mm.

All those boards come with a USB port (Micro USB or USB-C) by default that makes it easy to work with, but may not be ideal to integrate into projects or final products. That may be why Hamish Morley designed the Minima Arduino Zero compatible module with a size even smaller than the XIAO board at 19.8 x 16.6 mm, and the USB interface exposed through 4 pads instead of a connector.

Minima Arduino Zero Module

Minima specifications:

  • Microchip SAMD21G18A 32-bit Arm Cortex-M0+ microcontroller @ 48 MHz with 256KB of flash storage, and 32KB of SRAM
  • Expansion – 24x castellated pads (2.54mm pitch) with 18 GPIO pins, including 5x analogue capable, plys PWM, SPI, I2C, UART
  • Misc – Reset button, Tx/Rx LEDs, red user LED
  • Power Supply
    • 5V to 16V via VIN pin
    • Voltage regulator – 3.3V, 150 mA
    • ESD Protection for native USB, reverse voltage protection
  • Dimensions – 19.8 x 16.6 mm, SMD ready for hand soldering or reflow

Minima pinout diagram

The EAGLE footprint library and Arduino board files can be found on Github. The form factor makes it ideal for integration into wearables or tiny IoT projects, while the 2.54mm pitch headers still make it suitable for prototyping, especially all necessary components (e.g. LDO, ESD circuit protection) are already integrated into the board. Alternatively, there’s also an optional breakout board with a MicroUSB port and through holes.

MIcrochip SAMD21 MCU module
Minima and breakout board plus Arduino Zero for comparison

It’s not the first time we write about a SAMD21 module, as the microZERO module offers another option with more I/Os (32), a CAN transceiver, and 16MB SPI flash at the cost of being larger (32x20mm).

The Minina board has launched on Kickstarter with the 1,000 GBP funding goal, or about $1,400 US, already surpassed.  Perks start at $23 for the board only, but there are other options including a $95 IoT Kit with a baseboard equipped with  SIM808 cellular and GPS module, a battery charger, and an SPI flash. Shipping is free to 3GBP to the UK, and $13.9 to $16.8 US to the rest of the world. Rewards are expected to ship in July or August.

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