Here is a look at some of the most interesting crowdfunding campaigns this month on Kickstarter, featuring a USB hot multi-tool, a power-oriented microcontroller, and an FPGA-based prototyping board with multiple interfacing and i/o options.

Solderdoodle Plus

The Solderdoodle Plus is is a concept that expanded from the Solderdoodle Pro—a portable soldering iron capable of maintaining a temperature of 700 F for a minimum of two hours—which was successfully funded in 2015. Expanding the concept, the Solderdoodle Plus also features plastic melting and light wood burning capabilities, giving it a wider range of possible uses.

The Solderdoodle Plus enables wired and unwired use using any USB A port to charge or power the device. The device uses two Panasonic NCR18650B lithium-Ion batteries which take up to four hours to fully charge (capacity: 3350mAh), 5-15 Watt power output, at least two hours of use, and heats up to 800 F in five seconds.

The campaign is seeking to secure funding for manufacturing and production costs, with approximately 12 months before the final product is shipped.

For more information, visit the Kickstarter page.



iolinker FPGA Board

The iolinker is a compromise between the reconfigurability of the FPGA and the simplicity of a basic microcontroller. The goal is to provide users an easy, fast, straight-forward prototyping and circuit building experience while reducing electronic waste.

The iolinker is compatible with Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and PC, has 49 GPIOs, options for UART, SPI, and I2C interfacing, and the ability to chain up to 127 boards together. With the ability to read signal levels on all pins, the iolinker can also help designers locate short circuits or see the behaviours of their systems. The board can also produce PWM signals, further expanding the device’s potential.

The iolinker runs on a 4300 LUT LCMXO3L-4300E-5UWG81CTR50 FPGA chip, with 3.3V GPIOs. An Arduino shield allows for level shifting of the GPIOs to 5V. The team behind the Iolinker has plenty of ideas on expanded capabilities for the board in the future, including more features taking advantage of PWM abilities, and a built-in microcontroller so that default pin configurations can be stored in EEPROM.

Production of the Iolinker is planned to begin in April and shipment expected in May. Visit the Kickstarter page here.



Protean 8x2 Power Microcontroller

The Protean 8x2 microcontroller was conceptualized after the realization that there was a disconnect between high power output and microcontrollers. Wanting more power output without the additional hardware or concern for proper management, and with all the benefits of easy to use microcontroller platforms, the creator of this Kickstarter campaign enables users to configure multiple high power outputs using a compact, easy to program device.

The Protean 8x2 uses the Arduino platform (ATmega328P), 16 isolated FET-based (N or P) i/o channels, RS485 interfacing, and can work with outputs of up to 100V, and has a range of possible applications such as driving pin-ball machine nodes and LED lighting control.

The campaign is seeking funding for final testing, production, and manufacturing, with delivery expected in June 2017.

For more information, visit the Kickstarter page here.