Onion Omega

You (probably) saw it here first…  I thought I’d seen it all in the ESP8266 but this is looking impressive already. Yes, that IS a complete WIFI controller with Linux  and plenty of RAM in a matchbox. Early days, I should have one to test in a matter of weeks so be sure to look in here… I’ll likely do a short video on the subject. And yes as best I can tell that is also 0.1” pin centres. With an extension it also handles wired Internet though by the time you start putting extra bits on my guess is it would be competing with the new Raspberry Pi. On it’s own however I think this one might just have wings! More when I get my hands on some hardware.

Onion Omega


19 thoughts on “Onion Omega

  1. Received the Omega yesterday. First thing I discovered is that pin arrangement does not allow it to fit on a standard breadboard. Sigh. Was looking forward to playing with the device, but because of this issue it will probably collect dust. At least I didn’t spend much. Company wants to tie you into the products. Found it a bit humorous they sell standard solderless breadboards.

  2. So, I finally got around to test this.
    I could install Mosquitto and nodejs using the opkg package manager.
    Mosquitto can pub/sub OK.

    nodejs is able to serve the traditional hello world page from a .js.
    It is at version v0.10.5, which dates back to 2013-04-26
    No npm package manager (yet ?).

    So now, I have an alternative IoT hub, a bit cheaper (and less power hungry, 300mA) than a Raspi (although more than a Pi zero whenever these will be available again…)

    Next step will be to see if Node-RED can run on that….

  3. Got my Onion Omega in the mail last friday. It is very tiny, really fits in a small-size standard matchbox.
    The packaging was particularly neat.

    The pitch of the main module is 2mm, not 1/10″.
    The large (regular) dock has a 2-row 1/10″ connector. A bit of an unconvenience because it does not make it directly breadboardable.
    The ‘mini dock’ is also 2mm, but it is built in a way that the pins don’t extend below, so you cannot stack further anyhow. a 1/10″ dock would have been nice, especially as there are extra pins that are not extremely useful IMHO (twice GND, 2V, 2.5V), so they could have kept the form factor even with 1/10″ headers.

    Anyone seen 2mm breadbords? There are 2mm headers for sale on AliExpress, as well as 2mm dupont fly wires, but I could not find a 2mm breadboard yet…

    I’m seeing the Onion as a good way to run a sort of IoT gateway, slightly cheaper than RasPi.
    Power drain comes at about 110mA under USB 5V.
    Now I need to get Mosquittto, Node and Node-RED running there…

  4. does anybody know what and where to install node.js on omega onion?
    opkg, by default, doesn’t “list” anything for node.

  5. I got an MT7681 board on eBay auction for $2.84 mid-january. It’s more difficult to get.
    I have not taken time to try it yet.
    One thing is that MediaTek has started the user community only more recently (their docs are dated Jan 3), while the chip was around at the same time as the ESP in the summer of 2014.
    On paper their SDK looks pretty good. It feels somehow more professional than stuff from Espressif (MediaTek is taiwainese, whereas Espressif is chinese) Mediatek also has an impressive range of ARM-based phone SOCs, so IoT wifi is smaller potatoes for them.

    The specs are very similar to ESP, maybe a bit below, with an AT command set that looks cleaner.

    They have (only?) 5 GPIOs, but no analog input. All pins are clearly documented.

    The mcu is an Andes N9 processor @ 80 MHz with 64KB RAM, which can read a 1MB flash through SPI.
    See http://www.cnx-software.com/2015/01/19/linkit-connect-7681-is-a-wi-fi-iot-board-powered-by-mediatek-mt7681/

  6. Is this module based on RT5350?, I hope not Ralink 5350 is on EOL cycle. ESP-8266 is popular due to cost and does not require factory radio tuning. Many RT5350 migrated to MT7620N for extra $1.5 and better performance. Cost is very critical here, $20 price for Onion Omega is too expensive for IOT devices. ESP cost is $1.25 to $2 on quantity.

  7. That make me think about my 1st hacking in this domain 2 years ago with TPLink WR703N (http://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/tp-link/tl-wr703n).
    A small Wifi router which can be hacked to load OpenWRT including webs server, lua, etc …
    Just lacking usable I/Os, so I was planning to associate it with an Arduino connected through serial port.
    But I found developping for OpenWRT quite painfull.
    WR703N was available between 16..20€ on eBay, port included… Now it seems it’s more 22€

      1. The MediaTech board looks good – but will it have something like embedded Linux – if not – it’s too expensive – if so – will it get any support.

      2. On the other hand…. that board could well be cheap – if you look at the same company – seed you see this UTTER rip-off price for the ESP-01 – in British money nearly a fiver and that does NOT include shipping. I had to look twice to make sure I wasn’t doing them an injustice (like 2 in the pack or something) – but no – they are charging at least twice the going rate or more.


    1. I think they’re looking at $20 a board, not in the same league as $3 for an ESP board – but then the latter doesn’t run Linux.

    2. Like Glenn I was going to mention the Spark Core and Photon. I have a Spark Core now, and a Photon on order.

      I’m spending most of my limited research time with the ESP8266 because
      – it’s tiny and cheap
      – it’s really bleeding edge, so it’s a fun challenge, and the heavy lifting is being done by the community. Great opportunity to watch, learn, and contribute
      – progress has been amazing, as we all know
      – did I mention it’s tiny and cheap?

      I do believe however that successful commercial products will be more complete and robust systems like the Omega or the Photon… or a more muscular and complete solution built around an ESP8266 or it’s successor. Power consumption could be a big factor in the market. We shall see…

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