Selecting a development board or the right IoT sensor can be a challenging task. After all, reading datasheet specs isn’t always the most exciting way to spend your time and probably ranks right up there with calculating a Fourier series representation or solving an electrostatic boundary value problem. That’s why element14 established RoadTests as a regular feature on our community. element14 RoadTests are more than product reviews. They give you in-depth look at how products perform in real-life situations. Our RoadTests give you insights on the products and tools you need to do your work.
Since IoT is a hot topic, we went back through the archives of RoadTest reviews and found these 10 reviews that are really awesome. The RoadTesters are your peers – fellow element14 Community members –experts in their own right. In our humble opinion, these are the best: informative, compelling, and fun to read.
This RoadTest review “classic” transcends the definition of a product review. It’s a guide that covers just about everything you need to know about ultrasonic liquid level/concentration measurement. Needless to say, Jan Cumps has a commanding understanding of the subject matter. If you didn't know anything about this topic, you will after reading this review. You’ll quickly learn the essentials of this important type of IoT measurement, which is utilized in tanks, silos, boilers, wells, and more.
This review begins: “The location for this RoadTest is a small homestead on the side of Tiger Mountain in Washington State USA. The place is wooded with many predators..." It's an intriguing (if scary) way to begin a review of a Temperature/Humidity Sensor EVM. The product was RoadTested in a real-life application: comparing temperatures of a chicken coop's ambient temperature to a nesting box's temperature to determine if a hen was brooding. wymand's review is the first of its kind, opening new vistas in the field of Chicken Coop IoT.
This is a tour de force review about all aspects of the EFM32 Zero Gecko Starter Kit w/ Sensor Card. The review is a comprehensive analysis of the EFM32 Zero Gecko MCU, development board, sensor expansion board and the Simplicity Studio IDE. rhettc includes in-depth comments about the editor, energy profiler and debugger. The review is fully worth your time if you were wondering about the Gecko.
Sometimes reviews take some time to build momentum – mudz begins, “Remember when back in 1984 Macintosh kick started a revolution and changed the world? Nikola Tesla claiming the future belongs to alternating current? The cell phone invention? The jet engine? Wondering where I am going with this?” (Hmm. In a word, Yes! Well the review picks up speed rather quickly with incisive comments on the firmware drivers installation and the online compiler. Then he goes even further to establish an Internet connection between the IoT starter Kit which uses the two AirGrid M5-HP modules and the IBM cloud. There’s something for everyone in this review.
This review is better than the company's product documentation because it includes a nice discussion about the product’s communication capacities in plain language. Screenshots accompany kas.lewis 's discussion on the easyRadio software and his range-testing procedure is a nice touch. The review wraps up with a comparison of the Texas Instruments CC3x00 product family and the LPRS eRIC modules, which gives the review strength and a broader context.
Detailed hardware and software overviews are just the beginning of this thorough review of the TI Wi-Fi CC3200 LaunchPad & CC3100 BoosterPack. The software / API discussion is worth your time re-reading for all the insights it provides. The review is filled with nice to know information that will save time for anyone writing code for this product. A step-by-step discussion on how kas.lewis planned to use the product (i.e., to read data from a temperature and barometric pressure sensor and then plot the data in real time) makes his review more concrete and easier to understand.
This RoadTest review took a bold approach: “an attempt at trying to combine all the aspects of an IoT product into one compact module that was easy to test and prototype.” Consisting of the Arduino Yun, Infineon RGB LED Lighting Shield, and the Infineon DC Motor Shield, satyavrat masterfully goes through the pros and cons of each board. These alone make the RoadTest worth a read, offering comments like, “a lot of the pins go unused, so I can't help but think there could have been more functionality to improve the shield's utility.” He has a way with words when he sums up his RoadTest: “it was an awesome experience, the Yun, albeit with a few chinks, is really a Knight in Shining Armour to the Damsel in Distress that is IoT!” That says it all.
Have you ever wondered how awesome an Arduino would be if it had a very powerful processor, tons of memory and a good set of peripherals without needing any add-on shield connected? If you haven’t yet, you will after you read this review. marcelodantas methodically goes through the packaging, features, clarity of documentation, installation procedures, drivers, ease-of-use, and performance of the SAMA5D4. He then makes an interesting comparison of the SAMA5D4 and the Arduino. The review offers meticulous detail; the RoadTester measured how long it took to boot the Linux distribution from reset to log-in. He tests the performance on Python and shows the test code. A comprehensive and intelligent review.
What's interesting about this RoadTest review is how kas.lewis handles test-result inconsistencies. He questions the results in order to both understand them and verify the validity of his testing. His questions make the review’s discussion all the more interesting; the reader learns a lot more about the sensors as a result of it. The bottom line is his ability to communicate an engineer’s way of thinking makes this a fine RoadTest review indeed.
Sometimes the best RoadTest reviews are when the RoadTester encounters some problems and shows how he solved them. Though the problems were minor (e.g., app crashes and the battery discharging too quickly), it was through the lens of these problems that the reader gains a better understanding of the product being reviewed. This is what happened here and Frederick Vandenbosch's Blog pulled it off with skill. The screenshots of the cloud interface as well as how data was collected and stored was interesting. He supports the review by referencing other blogs he's written on the Sensortag.