The Amazon Dash

October 10, 2016

These little things are sold by Amazon for $4.99 with the idea that you will configure them and then when you want to order another case of soda or soap or whatever, you just press the button and it places an order. Also notice that on your first order, you get the price of the dash rebated to you. A curious idea, not that the world needs such a thing, but the novelty perhaps appeals to people. I don't know, I am interested in them from another angle entirely.

Inside of these things is a microcontroller (a quite capable ARM it turns out), along with some kind of wireless chip, along with a battery and plenty of other components (not least of which is a button). And at the time of this writing, there are two versions: REV-01 (product JK76PL) and REV-02 (product JK29LP).

The older model is better understood and there are a multitude of hacks for it. The newer model has a more exciting controller, but is less well understood.

The old Dash was based on an STM32F205RG6 from ST (an ARM Cortex-M3 running at 120 Mhz) with 1M of flash and 128k of ram, along with a Broadcom wireless chip. Anything Broadcom makes me grimmace since they are stingy and secretive with documentation -- avoid them! This unit also includes a 16 Mbit flash chip, a Micron M25P16.

The new Dash is based on an Atmel AT SAMG55J19A-MU (an ARM Cortex-M4 running at 120 Mhz -- with floating point!!). The new unit has an Atmel ATWINC1500B wireless chip. One has to applaud the departure from Broadcom, but only time will tell how easy this new combination will be to hack. In addition, the new unit has a Bluetooth chip - the Cypress CYBL10563-68FNXI. I haven't seen anything from Cypress in a long time, so this is an interesting turn of things. The new unit has a 32 Mbit flash chip (apparently a Micron N25Q032). This is 4Mbytes of flash, double what was on the previous unit, which is pretty amazing. It does have SWDIO and SWCLK, along with additional debug pins (maybe full up JTAG).


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Tom's Computer Info / tom@mmto.org