C.H.I.P. is a $9 personal computer

Another critical question they don’t have in the FAQ.

Power consumption. How many milliamps it will take from the battery? Will it sip or guzzle? Will there be some low-power modes, so the unit can just sit in standby for some days until needed?


Sure, but then you have a hand-made… what? A chip with power supplied. Input and output would probably be helpful, and if you’re trying to build a pH sensor- for example, you still have to build the pH sensor. The processor is not the sensor - so you’re back to having your grad students make pH sensors by hand, and then plug everything, and then deploy the sensors. At the end of the day, have you saved a penny? Or have you just hand-crafted something that sells in bulk for a few bucks?

Frankly, I like @jhbadger’s idea better, except that you’d probably get burned as a witch.

You can take a shortcut and buy the sensor including the module.

Edit: Analog output but way cheaper, $30.
And, like the sparkfun one, out of stock. Which may possibly indicate some demand.

Building the sensor itself would be cooler but there are issues involved. Needs too good lab to be commonly doable. Some sensors are of course DIYable from scratch, though. (Thought… could the difference of the H+ ion mobility be used in some sort of dynamic, e.g. impedance, measurement?)

The processor is not the sensor. The processor is a cheap, easy, comfortable way to rig up the sensor into an offline/datalogging or fully online sensor network.

Likely yes. See below.

…and is only at best 80% of what you want, you have to spend more time than building it from scratch on reverse-engineering the protocol to liberate it from its own limited-capability app it otherwise wouldn’t run without, and/or the few bucks is in the range of $1000s because its pedigree is in Agilent or other lab equipment juggernaut. And you wouldn’t have the schematics nor the firmware, so no easy path for upgrading and mods.

That’s somewhat unfeasible, given that the necessary time travel technology is still quite far from being available off the shelf. Unlike the $9 IoT-core modules.


If I may be allowed to be a petty contrarian like everyone else…

At the present rate of progress, yes. The problem with time travel scenarios is you really don’t know whether or not tomorrow a time traveler from the future might show up and make the technology readily available by next month.


I knew my time would come!


I was under the impression that most digital pH meters were based on a fuelcell, like a breathalyzer…

I guess I was mistaken.

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It only has 64MB of RAM?


A bad pH sensor is $60, and they need calibrated quite often. A bad water moisture sensor is $50, and you still have to go outside and look at them. A bad, wireless temp and humidity sensor… Barely exists.

Its not that I am lazy (I am) but I want a text alert when my orchid greenhouse hits 48f at 3am, instead of running the heater (which also has a crap thermostat)

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What brand keyboard controller is that? That’s what first caught my attention. .

If this thing is anything like the T.V. show then I expect there will be an awful lot of crashes.


So why allwinner? If you’re banking on community driven open source Allwinner seems like an extraordinarily bad ides.


Because they are the ones with the kickstarter? Why nobody else is there with the same or better specs for the same or better price?

I’d call it only somewhat bad idea. It could be worse.
I’d suggest a steady pressure on them to release the sources, and in parallel hope for somebody better to release a knockoff or functional equivalent or, perhaps, even something better. Until then we’re stuck with what we got.


It says 512Mb in the kickstarter, twice.

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It probably helps that you can straight up buy Allwinner A10 chips in single unit volumes, so they probably don’t need much in the way of volume to get a good price:

Also, it’s not without precedent. Most SBCs seem to use Allwinners. That doesn’t make it OK, of course, but they do have a lot of momentum in this space. Thanks for pointing it out though, I was under the impression that Allwinner were getting pretty decent with their community because all I’d heard about before was their improved kernel support.

I want them to be doing better. I don’t like being a wet blanket but I just want people aware of the fact their troubles are very Very recent.

And there is a free software advocate on every thread I’ve seen discussing the kickstarter doing this very thing.

Which is a good thing as it maintains the pressure on the vendor to cough out the missing sources.

What’s even better than a $9 linux-running SoC board? A $9 SoC board with no blobs in firmware.

No, it doesn’t because the “vendor” here is the folks running the kickstarter, not the maker of the chip. It is bitching at the wrong party.

The vendor is in a better position to pass the pressure to the chip maker. We cannot do much else, and having the code source can be kinda important.