NullTek Disciple – Bringing UART OS to an Open-Source Embedded Platform

By Nulltek

It’s become apparent that a I need a configurable multipurpose embedded control system. This is something I have been theorizing the designs for since I was in university (See Butterfly Board). Now with me putting a more intense focus on developing out the NullTek open-ecosystem, I would like to design and build a controlling ‘hub’ that can natively tie together all the sub projects that I have planned for development (Starting with the NullTek CIPS).

This board would have use-cases in both automation and as a manually configured controller / logger. My targets for this design:

  • Interface over either USB or Ethernet, I know, looses a little bit of the UART-OS pedigree here. Ethernet is just a much more stable protocol for any sort of long term, reliable automation.
  • STM32 Based, one of the generic chips though, nothing like being able to source grey-market prototype components cheaply.
  • Support Slave NPC devices as well as 1 wire slaves.
  • >= 4x accessable 10 bit ADC inputs.
  • >= 10x accessable GPIO
  • 5V System Vcc with onboard regulation.
  • Support SNTP for local time server syncronisation. Dedicated RTC XTAL to provide decent holdover performance.
  • As usual, low BOM cost, generic parts to be used where possible. Aiming for < $30 per board.

While my primary focus is still on developing the CIPs software, and using UART AOS as a prototype host for the switch, the NullTek Disciple design will still be happening in the background. Geez I am having a lot of fun with hardware design at the moment, also learning a bunch of new things with this ‘Full Stack’ OSHW development. I expect to start really kicking the NullTek Disciple off around April 2020, so stay tuned.