Discovering the Onion Omega, a small board with big possibilities!


– Unboxing remark: damn the base board indeed is really small! –

A micro USB cable is not included (Who really cares? If you are into electronics your house is probably full of these cables or chargers, and our china-friends will send you one for less than 2$…).

Setup via the ‘first time wizard’ is really easy. The default credentials are root – onioneer.

Wifi enabled, small, not to expensive, easily upgradable when connected to the internet… all pro’s, but are there also con’s? Yes there are! Unless you buy an additional shield you cannot plug in a ethernet cable, you have only one usb port, very little disk space on the flash chip and there is no serial port interface free to communicate with a microcontroller. Disk space it not really an issue since there are very small usb flash drives available, but then you’ll have to sacrifice your one and only USB port. Luckily, small USB hubs are available for a couple of dollars, so get one if you don’t have one. Now you can modify your USB flash drive and use it as Rootfs so the disk space issue is also tackled! USB to RS232 converters work with the Omega, so you can create virtual serial ports as much as you have free ports on your USB hub! Now you have a perfect little WiFi enabled, OpenWrt/Debian based linux server on which you can host Node JS applications which can provide realtime values you collect from the sensors or microcontrollers you attach. I also use it as my portable wifi enabled remote git repository.

Some time after the initial hardware release the Omega team announced that nodejs and npm were (finally… they promised it from the start!) available as a package to install without hassle. This makes the Omega the perfect companion for microcontroller projects! It can send its data to the Omega over uart, after which the Omega can serve it to conected webbrowsers over websockets for real time updates.

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