Dev Kit Weekly: Particle Industries' ARGN-H Wi-Fi Development Board
April 21, 2023
As we all know, wireless network connectivity is a heavily involved component of basically any IoT project. And when you need a board that can support several different connectivity options, includes integrated security measures for data transfer to and from the Cloud, all in a compact, battery-powered form factor? Particle Industries has you covered.
The ARGN-H Wi-Fi development board from Particle Industries was designed specifically for wireless networking purposes. It’s based around Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52840, a multiprotocol Bluetooth 5.3-enabled SoC that provides support for 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi stacks, Bluetooth Low Energy and mesh, Thread, Zigbee, and more. The SoC operates on a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4F processor that runs at 64MHz and includes a range of cryptographic options thanks to the on-chip ARM TrustZone® CryptoCell unit, and it also provides 1 MB of Flash memory with an additional 256 KB of RAM.
The Argon board also features an ESP32 coprocessor with additional support for 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v4.2, and BLE, as well as housing four virtual Wi-Fi interfaces. The ESP32-D0WD also tacks on an extra 520 KB of SRAM and 448 KB of ROM. Externally, it includes an antenna switch, low-noise receive amplifier, power management modules, and more, making it a smart addition for the Argon’s intended wireless IoT applications.
Speaking of wireless IoT use cases, the Argon is integrated with battery-charging circuitry to enable easy connection to a single cell, 3.7V lithium-polymer battery that will get devices set for network deployment quickly.
The Argon board also comes equipped with support for digital signal processing instructions, as well as an HW accelerated floating point unit. It provides up to +8 dBm of transmitter power, which can be lowered in increments of 4 dB down to -20 dBm. The board also includes an NFC-A tag, a PCB antenna, a U.FL connector for an external antenna, and 20 mixed signal GPIO. The Argon also happens to conform to the Adafruit Feather specification, just like the ORANGECRAB kit we reviewed a couple weeks ago, so I guess dynamite still comes in small packages.
The Argon board utilizes Particle.io’s device OS firmware development platform for programming and debugging. The platform itself focuses on abstracting low-level hardware interactions, device integrations, and security so that developers can spend their time simplifying software application development, utilizing OTA update capabilities, and sending or receiving critical data to and from devices.
The Argon is a great connectivity board to have on hand for things like small, battery-powered IoT applications or securely transferring projects into the Cloud over Wi-Fi. If you want to try something a bit more high-level, though, there’s a video tutorial from Maker.io available on Digi-Key’s ARGN-H product page to walk you through using an Argon board to build a Photon MQTT Logger.
So, if you’d like to get an ARGN-H Wi-Fi development board, you can snag one from Digi-Key for $28.23. Of course, if you’re like me and you’d rather save that for the next time you don’t feel like cooking dinner, you can enter this week’s raffle for a chance to win an Argon board for free. Good luck!