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Know your hardware

In this tutorial, you will get a general idea of the hardware you'll use.

SwiftIO Feather board

The SwiftIO Feather board (or SwiftIO board) can execute the code you write and makes your idea come to life. After you connect it to different hardware and download code to it, it can interact with the real world, using sensors to detect its surroundings or utilize things like light or speaker as an output.

The board you'll use is the SwiftIO Feather board. It is a simplified version of the SwiftIO board. Though small in size, it’s powerful enough for all projects. One of its advantages is that it can be easily embedded in any of your projects.

The SwiftIO Feather board is compatible with the Adafruit feather system. This means you could use it together with the hardware in their system. There are so many possibilities!

Let’s take a look at it in detail:

Parts of feather board
PartDetail
MCUi.MX RT1062 Crossover Processor with Arm® Cortex®-M7 core @600MHz
Storage8MB flash, 32MB external RAM
Power3.3V
LEDBuilt-in RGB LED
USB portUSB-C, used to download the code, as well as power the board.
GPIO36 (D0-D35), used for digital input or output.
ADC14 (A0-A13) 12-bit resolution analog to digital converter, used for analog input.
PWM14 (some are paired), used for PWM output.
I2C2 (I2C0, I2C1), SCL and SDA pins used for I2C communication.
SPI2 (SPI0, SPI1), SCK, SDO, SDI pins used for SPI communication.
UART3 (UART0, UART1, UART2), RX and TX pins used for UART communication.
I2SIn1 (I2SIn0), SYNC, BCLK and RX pins used for I2S audio input.
I2SOut1 (I2SOut0), SYNC, BCLK and TX pins used for I2S audio output.
CAN1, CTX and CRX pins used for CAN communication.
Counter2 (C0-C1), used to measure the number of pulses.

A pin refers to a connector on the board. They are on the two sides. You can connect other hardware to the board through these pins. This is the pinout diagram of SwiftIO Feather board. It shows the usage of all pins.

Pinout of feather board

You may notice some of the pins are marked with several names. It means they can be used for multiple functionalities. Therefore you need to decide the pin’s usage in your code. You will know more about it in the next tutorial.

SwiftIO Circuit Playgrounds kit

Only with the board, you may still don't know how to start. Luckily, the SwiftIO Circuit Playgrounds is an easy-to-use starter kit for you. It is specially designed for all newbies. No wire is needed! All the modules are directly connected to the shield in the middle through the stamp holes.

Stamp hole on the kit

The shield on the middle of the kit is for easier connection, and it's the SwiftIO Feather board that communicates with all the modules. After you plug the SwiftIO Feather board into the shield, the circuit is built. Then you could program the SwiftIO Feather board to control the modules.

Plug SwiftIO Feather to the shield

Let’s look into these modules in detail:

Each part of playgrounds
ModuleQuantityDescription
LED1Can be toggled on and off, or set to any brightness.
Button2Control the current flow in circuits as you press or release it.
Potentiometer2Vary resistance connected in the circuit.
Buzzer1Produce sounds of different pitches.
Humiture1Measure temperature and humidity.
Color sensor1Detect the color of an object and the light intensity.
Accelerometer1Detect movement by measuring the acceleration.
Speaker1Generate sounds or play the audio files back.
Microphone1Record sound.
LCD1Display graphics or images.
You may wonder why some modules have a connector, while others don’t.

These connectors are provided in the event that you wish to disassemble the board. Please note that disassembly is a one-way process, though, and you will not be able to reconnect the parts through the included board. Once apart, use 4-pin cables to connect the module to the shield. Some modules (the LCD, speaker, and microphone) don’t have a connector since they require more than 4 wires and don’t support 4-pin connectors.

Each part of playgrounds
Attention

Make sure not to connect these modules to the shield through the connectors since they are already connected through the board!

How can you disassemble the board?

As mentioned before, there are several pairs of stamp holes on each module for circuit connection. So the modules are separated by cutting at these holes as shown below.

Disassemble the kit
Attention

Once again, you cannot put the board back together and once you’ve broken it apart, you will need to connect any circuits manually using cables.