Arduino Portenta H7 Development Board - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Arduino Portenta H7 Development Board

Author: ajayvishaal

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools

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?: Arduino mkr 1010, Arduino Nano BLE Sense

What were the biggest problems encountered?: I didn't face any major issues. However getting started with the board and setting up the Arduino IDE and Arduino Pro IDE in Linux as well as Windows to work with Portenta took some time.

Detailed Review:

Introduction:

         First of all I wanna Thank Element14 for giving a great oppourtunity to roadtest the Arduino Portenta Board. I was a very good roadtest journey. It paved a way for me to explore many new things.I'll be sharing all my experience in this review and I hope I'm giving my best in writing the roadtest review. I received the board in a neat package

{gallery} Arduino Portenta Board

 

Getting Started:

           The New Arduino Portenta has a lot of feature to explore. Some of the features includes

  • STM32H747 dual-core processor with graphics engine
  • 8MB SDRAM
  • 16MB NOR Flash
  • 10/100 Ethernet Phy
  • USB HS
  • NXP SE050C2 Crypto
  • WiFi/BT Module
  • UFL Connector (Antenna)
  • DisplayPort over USB-C

  Installing the board in the Arduino IDE and Arduino Pro IDE was easy, but then I faced some issues in uploading the code to the portenta. I got some error like this dfu-util: Invalid DFU suffix signature. At first I've no idea about this issue. Then I started googling and found solution for this issue. Since I'm using Ubuntu 18 os there were some packages blocking the Arduino IDE. However I managed to remove those packages and then I started with the Hello World Program of arduino. I flashed the basic blink program in the Arduino Pro IDE to check if the issue persists. Fortunately everything worked fine.

Arduino PRO IDE:

     Arduino Pro IDE is a new enhanced version of classic Arduino IDE with a lot of features for advanced developers. The Arduino Pro IDE(Alpha) is available for Linux/Windows as well as Mac OS.The Alpha release is for testers and not yet recommended for production use. The new features of the Arduino Pro IDE include:

  • Modern fully featured development environment
  • Debugger - set breakpoints, view trace, step through execution and more
  • Dual Mode; Classic Arduino look and Pro (File System view)
  • Designed for developing larger, multi-file, repository-based projects
  • Open to third party libraries and boards
  • New Board Manager, Library Manager and Serial Monitor
  • Git integration

     The Pro IDE has a GUI similar to Visual Studio Code. This IDE is very much suitable for programming and debugging this advance Arduino Board. The Arduino Pro IDE's GUI is given below:

{gallery} Arduino Pro IDE

 

Testing:

          I've planned to test the board by implmenting in a robotic application. Due to the lesser  supporting documents regarding the implementation of AI in the portenta. I'm still working on it. Also, I'm working on tensorflow lite packages inorder to deploy TFLite in Portenta.  But I managed to test the wifi functionality of the board. Since the Portenta has an Inbuilt Wifi and Bluetooth module, It is very much useful for the user to deploy the Arduino Portenta board in IoT based applications.

          I've tested the portenta board by connecting it to my mini robo arm. I've just done motor control test. The results are satisfactory. However this simple process also makes the board to get hot. Also When I uploaded the blink code in the board, the board gets hot. I'm attaching some of my testing pictures here,

{gallery} Testing

 

 

Future Works:

  • Planning to use it with Robot Operating System (ROS), since the Portenta has MBED OS, We can make the board to easily communiate with ROS platforms.
  • Planning to check the performance of portenta with its vision shield.
  • Planning to implement Tensorflow lite on Portenta

 

Conclusion:

     I think I've done my best in reviewing the board. However, I've planned to make many updates while exploring the features of the board. Some of my conclusions are as follows:

  • Board is getting hot even for a simple led blink program. In case the CPU load increases the board is getting hot than usual.
  • I noticed a mild noise inside the processor while running the Portenta Server example. The noise exists all the time.
  • There is no support for tensorflow lite for Portenta.
  • It is mentioned that the Portenta can be programmed using Python Programming language. But there is documentation regarding that.
  • Portenta Board has cool features but lacks a good documentation.

     The above are some of my conclusions. But this is not the end. I will be updating my exploration journey with the Portenta Board whenever I'm trying something new with it.

                                                                                                                                            Thank You!

Anonymous