SparkFun’s Latest Thing Plus Packs the Dual-Core Low-Power AzureWave AW-CU488 Module


SparkFun has launched another new entry in the Thing Plus family, this time tapping AzureWAve’s AW-CU488 low-power Wi-Fi and Bluetooth microcontroller chip β€” and it’s called the SparkFun AzureWave Thing Plus.

“The SparkFun AzureWave Thing Plus is a Feather form-factor development board equipped with the AW-CU488,” SparkFun’s Chris McCarty explains of the latest entry in the breadboard-friendly development board family. “The module features the Realtek RTL8721DM integrated single-chip low-power dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) wireless LAN. Connect the SparkFun AzureWave Thing Plus to the cloud to grab current weather conditions in your area, post sensor data to a server, control the lights in your next home automation project, or even calculate the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) of an input audio signal!”

The board is built around the AzureWave AW-CU488 module, which includes two processor cores: a high-performance 200MHz Realtek Real-M300 Arm Cortex-M33 core and a low-power Real-M200 Cortex-M23 core. The module includes 512kB of static RAM (SRAM) and 4MB of pseudo-static RAM (PSRAM), plus 4MB of SPI flash.

The module also includes dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks plus Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy (BLE). An interesting extra feature is the presence of a two-channel audio codec, offering up to a 176.4kHz sampling rate. There are 30 available general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins β€” more than on a standard Thing Plus or Feather board, made possible by a slight increase in the board’s length β€” with seven connected to a 12-bit analog to digital converter (ADC), 11 supporting pulse-width modulation (PWM), and two UART, two SPI, and one I2C buses.

Power and data are provided to the board through a USB Type-C connector to the bottom end, while as a Thing Plus it also includes the usual lithium-polymer (LiPo) charging circuit with two-pin JST connector and a Qwiic connector for solderless linking to external I2C devices. AzureWave positions the AW-CU488 as ideal for battery-powered projects thanks to overall low power draw and an ultra-low-power suspend mode β€” though SparkFun hasn’t released power draw figures for the AzureWave Thing Plus.

The SparkFun AzureWave Thing Plus is now available to order on the company’s store for $74.95 before volume discounts; additional information is available in the board’s hookup guide.