The Internet of Holiday Lights RoadTest Plus - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: The Internet of Holiday Lights RoadTest Plus

Author: clem57

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Independent Products

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: Raspberry Pi B+ and PC Arduino V3

What were the biggest problems encountered?: Infineon shield had no headers. This lead to problems because I an a NOOB when soldier is needed. I will get training for future evaluations and practice will help as well.

Detailed Review:


Arduino UNO

Let me say this marks a few firsts. One is the first use of the Arduino Uno. I have a Raspberry Pi that I picked up as a whim because of its small size. Because I enjoyed so much, internet searches led me to Element 14 which I think is the best anywhere. Opening th box which is small like the RPi, first thing I noticed was the headers were females unlike the male headers on the RPi. Much better for me with many male to male with the breadboard I had. I installed the IDE (picked the beta1.5.8 since I knew I needed the Yun). Plugged in USB to laptop Windows 7 and programmed the demo blinking lights. Oh so cool to run in a matter of minutes. Of course elation with the Uno did not carry on with other things. image


Examining the PCB, I noticed all the labeling for a NOOB like me. Also the power can come from USB while programming and later from a DC jack when done programming. Nice! This version V3 has the ATMEGA328P. If for some reason you burn the chip (Ugh!), Online I found a place to order just the cip with a UNO bootloader for a few dollars. Make sure to get a bootloader!!! Otherwise you will need a programmer.




  • Simple IDE to download and use with many demos. Set board to UNO first and then set port to COMx on Windows 7
  • Clean design PCB with layout and labeling
  • Female headers
  • Replaceable processor must be 28 pins.
  • Can do real time control unlike RPi.




  • Processor is only 16 Mhz whereas the RPi is 700Mhz
  • Cannot run Linux. This may be why it confuses some.


Arduino Yun


The Arduino Yun (means cloud in Chinese) is a marriage between Arduino Leonardo and an AR9331 processor running Linino (OpenWRT deviantimage). The best way to explore the Yun is reading the examples page. I leaned more here than anywhere else. Another great source was YouTube tutorials and the great content on Element community especially @Peter Oakes. His blogs are both fun and informative, Here is a pictorial to explain the two sided personalities:





  • Linio is an AR9331 chip from Atheros used in many routers on the market. It is built for wireless and owns the SD card, USB host(micro sized). ethernet and WiFi radio.
  • On first startup, the default is AP mode unprotected where you can use laptop and connect as you would with your router. Nice!
  • The other USB(normal size) connects with ATmega32u4 and you must use libraries to access! I found not really useful, but will explore later.
  • The bridge uses UART to talk between the two chips. This means AR9331 programs the ATmega32u4 using avrdude.
  • The <Bridge.h> allows several useful things like Serial1 to AR9331 and Serial is USB. Process allows a task to run under Linux (Linino) to run Python (included), shell commands (BusyBox), and anything that talks wireless (MQTT/REST).
  • REST is very easy to setup. Just load the correct example and use URL on webpage connected to this device. I will show in future blog.





  • Same IDE used as for UNO.
  • Clean design PCB with layout and labeling like Uno
  • Female headers like UNO
  • Wireless built in with ethernet too. I will explore some options in later blogs.
  • Can do real time control using ATmega32u4 and do Linux (Linino)
  • Processor ATmega32U4  is only 16 Mhz with AR9331 running 80Mhz.
  • With a reset for WiFi, AR9331, and ATmega32u4 available, you can reset anything! I also bricked it and the reset saved the day. Sweet.imageimage



  • Understanding the bridge protocols. Takes more time, but worth the efforts.
  • I could not get virtual serial USB port to work on windows. I plan on exploring other options.
  • More complex setup than UNO.

Infineon Shield


This is where this Road test takes a turn. The lack of headers already in the shield is such a turn off. How much do they cost? Oh less than $2. And they put so many other chips and connectors. Why not the headers.


But I will show the board even though I could not make it work!



    Why not the actual picture? See @[IoT Christmas Sparkle Ball] Trying to Connect  Lights. I really cannot comment more here.


Finally, I want to thank the folks at Element14 for allowing me to do my first Road Test. It was fun and helped me learn many things. I plan on taking a class to learn more about building part. Also thank the sponser donating equipment like MCM and manufacturers for build their great products.