Cool Boards and Chips to be Aware of
This page is intended to be a knowledge base for microcontrollers, development boards, and Systems on Chip (SoCs). Since ’embedded systems’ is a broad topic, both high level boards (such as those from the Rasperry Pi family) will be included along side with low-level, single chip microcontrollers. Device families will be roughly organized from high-level to low-level. If you would like to contribute to this list, contact the community coordinator.
Note: This page is a work in progress and will be continuously edited….
Raspberry Pi Family
If running running Linux on a tiny board interests you, Raspberry Pi is a great place to start. On the down side, these won’t be as helpful if your goal is to learn low level embedded system programming.
Recommended for beginners:
Arduino Boards and Modules
Arduino boards are classic for beginners and hobbyists. There is enough documentation online to create a project from scratch with no prior background whatsoever in electrical engineering or coding. Arduinos can also be quite helpful for more experienced engineers/hobbyists who want to rapidly test out ideas.
ESP8266 and ESP32
The ESP8266 and ESP32 families are a great place to start if you are interested in including WiFi or BLE in your project. The ESP8266 is strictly a WiFi chip, but the ESP32 supports WiFi and BLE while boasting a 2-core processor, RTC, and secondary ULP microcontroller. This is particularly useful for IOT applications.
The ESP32 also has some Arduino support, though I recommend using ESP-IDF since some of the Arduino features are glitchy.
Recommended for beginners: ESP32 Dev Board
Recommended for non-beginners: ESP32-WROOM32
As the name suggests, ATtiny microcontrollers are tiny 8-bit AVR microcontrollers. This is a good place to start learning the basics of embedded systems since there are relatively few features to keep track of.
ATMEGAs are a popular family of microcontrollers within the AVR family. Most Arduino boards use ATMEGA chips, so this could be a natural progression from Arduino to integrating microcontrollers into your own boards.