Originally published at: https://blog.particle.io/2018/08/03/particle-mesh-hardware-update-important-changes-in-the-final-product/
The hardware designs for the Argon, Boron, and Xenon are final. A lot of engineering and design has happened since we started taking preorders for Particle Mesh hardware in February and we want to share with you the changes we’ve made to improve all of the Particle Mesh dev kits.
TL&DRAll three dev kits have more flash memory and PWM pins than we originally planned. The Argon has some special design changes to its Espressif Wi-Fi chip and now requires an external antenna — not to worry, it's now included.
The Argon, Boron, and Xenon get More flash memoryWe increased the flash memory on the Argon, Boron, and Xenon from 2MB SPI flash to 4MB SPI flash. This increase will give you more space for your programs and comes at no additional cost to you.
- Design plan: 2MB onboard SPI flash
- Final hardware: 4MB onboard SPI flash
The Argon, Boron, and Xenon get More PWM pinsWe've doubled the number of PWM pins from 4 to 8. With PWM pins you can do things like fade LEDs and control servo motors. Having more makes building easier.
- Design plan: 4 PWM pins
- Final hardware: 8 PWM pins
Additional Argon-only changesThe Argon will come with more flash and PWM pins that you can use just like the Boron and Xenon. But there are two changes that are specific only to the Argon: the Wi-Fi coprocessor and the antenna configuration.
Final Argon Wi-Fi CoprocessorThe Argon final design uses the Espressif ESP32-D0WD 2.4G Wi-Fi coprocessor with 4MB of on-board flash dedicated to the ESP32. This is a dual-core version of the ESP32 with more memory than its single-core variant.
- Design plan: Espressif ESP32-S0WD 2.4G Wi-Fi coprocessor with 1MB flash
- Final hardware: Espressif ESP32-D0WD 2.4G Wi-Fi coprocessor with 4MB flash
While the dual-core of the Espressif ESP32-D0WD is not user accessible, the additional 4MB flash on the chip allows room for future Wi-Fi improvements.
Final Argon Antenna ConfigurationDuring the initial design we wanted the onboard PCB antenna to be user selectable between the Nordic mesh/Bluetooth radio and the Espressif Wi-Fi radio. Unfortunately, after testing our engineers concluded that implementing a second RF switch resulted in too much signal degradation and did not produce the high performant user experience we wanted.
- Design plan: user selectable onboard PCB antenna between the mesh/Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
- Final hardware: onboard PCB antenna for mesh/Bluetooth and a provided external antenna for Wi-Fi
In the final design of the Argon the mesh/Bluetooth radio uses the onboard PCB antenna and the Wi-Fi radio uses an included external antenna. While this might be disappointing to some, our goal is to provide you with the best possible connectivity experience. Dedicating the onboard antenna for mesh/Bluetooth and requiring an external for Wi-Fi meets our high standards.
There is still time to add to your preorder. Remember, once the preorder phase closes in a few weeks board prices will increase. And don’t forget, you can follow the Particle Mesh timeline to see what goes into building our next generation of hardware and software.