What makes the spark better than getting an arduino with a. Wifi adapter. Can’t you program that to do similar things?
1.) The Arduino Wifi shield does not provide a cloud backend to perform APIs like calling functions, reading variables, publishing to events etc.
2.) OTA firmware download is available out of the box for the core. You will need to program via USB for the Arduino or use custom firmware to do OTA flashing
3.) The BOM cost of a spark core is lower than Arduino + Wifi adapter. That lowers your product cost if you are intending to me one, or simply allow you to own more cores and do more awesome projects!
4.) The spark core has a more powerful 32bit MCU compared to the Uno, Leonard etc. (I know they have the 32bit models but the cost is higher)
I Arduino but the features provided by the Spark Core opens up many possibilities
Thanks! Are there any downsides?
My trek to the Spark started with the awesome discovery of the Arduino platform!
After surfing and research I discovered other such platforms and finally, due to price and features, I chose to play with both Raspberry Pi (with a usb/wifi adapter) and the Spark-Core. I’m quite impressed with the size, price, and function of the Spark and the available info and help on these forums, is fantastic. I also got the ShieldShield which gives compatibility with Arduino shields.
The Spark is also darn cute!
Yes, the spark is highly addictive! Handle with care!
My project is a battery powered weather station with solar charging. The data should be send over wifi because the station stays 6m away from the house. I started with an regular Arduino connected with a WiFly board. Most of the sensors need 3.3V and older Arduino boards run at 5V. Saving power with the WiFly needs additional wiring. Then I found out that the WiFly module has a big power problem (lost config during brown out, needs at least 3.2V).
Then I remembered that I have two of the Spark.IO I backed at kickstarter. The drivers for my sensors were allready available in the IDE library so I give it a try. It took just 1h to have all sensor up and running.
Off cource I had some learning curve, but today, this device is my favored wifi enabled arduino code compatible device. The ability to prog over wifi is a very nice feature for my projects.
The only downside is the long delivery time. I ordered two devices at 14.07.2014 and I still waiting for it.
The spark is brilliant for the price, performance and size. The community is great and growing and the core evolving. The only downside that I have found is power usage, a spark seems to need a lot more current that an arduino but would probably use less than an arduino with a wifi shield attached.
I unfortunately wasted my money on one of these before I came across the spark core:
Elechouse wifi module and shield
It took weeks to get it up and running and I had constant problems getting it to connect at all even to configure the damn thing. I eventually thought I had got it working when it bricked for absolutely no reason. With all that considered and the fact that a spark is only $5 more than the above module and shield I think it really is a no brainer.
I would imagine that the Adafruit wifi shield would be easier to set up and better supported that what I bought but it alone costs more than a spark core. It has the same CC3000 wifi unit and looks like an enormous spark core without the m3 etc etc.