C.H.I.P. – Not A Replacement For Beast, But A Useful Controller Board

I’ve been looking for an ARMed replacement for Beast’s power-sucking/fanfull/large corpse. This isn’t it. It is a very well documented controller that ships with a minimal installation of Debian GNU/Linux complete with GUI. I could, for instance, use this thing to make a pulsewidth modulator for a power supply. It’s obviously overkill for such a task but at the advertised price, $9, it’s OK. Why it can’t replace Beast:

  • only 512MB RAM
  • no gigabit/s Ethernet, just USB and Bluetooth and Wifi…
  • only 1gHz CPU
  • no SATA
  • not shipping until June, 2016

In some ways, it’s a lot like my ancient Ohio Scientific Superboard II, but way better. Just using regular Debian GNU/Linux is a huge plus. There’s a very gentle learning curve. Bluetooth is interesting. I could replace my ancient keyboard and wireless mouse with that technology immediately. Will I be building kernels on it soon? Not likely but there is a SDK which should permit me to fire up Beast to do that from time to time and a simple process to write the local storage. This thing is a great way to add intelligence to any electronic project. It’s not state of the art but it’s tiny and cheap. I’d bet schools would love this. I would love to use this thing to automate the greenhouse, build some intelligent power supplies, manage solar/wind power, monitor water-levels, control pumps, make time-lapse studies of my plants… It could replace a lot of gadgets with simple relays/solenoid valves and such.

See Get C.H.I.P. – The World’s First Nine Dollar Computer

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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One Response to C.H.I.P. – Not A Replacement For Beast, But A Useful Controller Board

  1. ram says:

    You should look into those “nano-processors” from MicroChip. They don’t have an operating system per-se, but they can do alot of industrial control. Cheap too 🙂

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