High powered microcontroller/FPGA board

The QWERK controller board
This QWERK board has pretty much everything a hobbiest developer could want.

A place called Charmed Labs has come-up with a very powerfull, fully featured controller board which would be suitable for any number of hobbiest projects from robots to ride vehicles.

The board has a somewhat unusual configuration with a nice ARM CPU, a couple FPGAs, a few high-current drivers, quite a handful of hobby servo outputs, ethernet, USB, and more. Even though the pricetag is $330, this would be a fantastic board to have around to do experimenting and prototyping, although it’s certainly not the kind of thing you’ll want to embed (waste) in tiny projects.

The QWERK features:

  • 200 MHz ARM9 RISC processor with MMU and hardware floating point unit
  • 32 Mbytes SDRAM, 8 Mbytes flash memory
  • Latest generation Xilinx Spartan 3E FPGA for custom I/O peripherals
  • Linux 2.6 installed
  • WiFi wireless networking support
  • WebCam video input support
  • 4 Amp switching power supply, 90% efficient, 7 to 30 Volt input range
  • Rugged aluminum enclosure
  • 5.1” x 5.8” x 1.3
  • 4 closed-loop 2.0 Amp motor controllers (supports both quadrature encoder and back-EMF “sensorless” feedback)
  • 16 RC-servo controllers
  • 16 programmable digital I/Os
  • 8 12-bit analog inputs
  • 2 RS-232 ports
  • USB 2.0 host ports for connecting standard USB PC peripherals
  • 10/100BT Ethernet port
  • Built-in audio amp for playing MP3 and WAV files

Thanks to Case on the Coolest-gadgets.com forum for finding this. The potential of this board is amazing — I’ve rarely seen this kind of equipment on industrial controllers (which are also I/O heavy) and certainly not at this price.

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