Shabakah 🕸️ شبكة
“Shabakah” translates to “Web” in Arabic. Shabakah was created to utilize the latest Bluetooth technology in various projects, mainly mesh networking capabilities.
Shabakah is built around the EFR32MG21 Wireless Gecko Series 2 SoC by Silicon Labs. The main reason for selecting this SoC is the Bluetooth 5.1 support for playing around with Mesh and LE applications. However, the Zigbee and Thread protocols are also supported.
Shabakah v2 uses completely different components than the previous version. We moved to sourcing all our parts from a different supplier. Other changes include:
✦ Reduced the number of additional buttons to one instead of two
✦ Board supports up to 3A of current via USB-C
✦ Added CH340 IC to allow flashing and uploading code via USB
✦ Removed Accelerometer and Temperature/Humidity sensors
✦ Pin headers were added to allow users to connect their own sensors and actuators
✦ Added 2x 3.2mm M3 mounting screw holes
✦ Added LED lights for the RX and TX lines
✦ General board design and layout changes
Shabakah v2 is just a stepping stone to v3. We are currently working on v3, but we decided to document Shabakah v2 since the PCB schematic and layout were done a long time ago. Plus, we have the parts in stock. So, we thought we might as well build it.
Why are we moving to v3 already? We have two major reasons:
1- Hard to find the desired processor: The processor we used for Shabakah v0.1 and v2 is the same, MGM210PA32JIA by Silicon Labs. Unfortunately, we could not find an easy, affordable way to keep sourcing these Silicon Labs processors. Even though they are powerful and have good documentation around them, getting these processors in our part of the world is just not feasible. Add to that the annoying trade restrictions that sometimes affect shipments coming from the US… We decided it’s best to just move on to a completely different processor. We have one in mind which we think will be an excellent fit for Shabakah moving forward.
2- A more user-friendly experience: We like Shabakah’s MGM210PA32JIA processor. However, a downside to working with it is that it requires users to do a lot of technical reading and write low-level C code, which can be fun! Depending on who you ask, of course. But we want to provide our users with an easy-to-get-into experience by having our boards support the Arduino IDE. We think that would allow users of all levels to get the most out of Remal boards and utilize them as best as they can in many different areas.
This video shows Bluetooth communication between five Shabakah boards. One server and four clients. Accelerometer data from the server is broadcast and sent from the server to the four clients, which in turn change the color of the LED based on the data received. The video shows Shabakah v0.1 but v2 could do the same as they share the same processor.
▶ Powered by Silicon Labs MGM210PA32JIA (3.3V / 32-bit /38.4 MHz)
▶ USB-C for power
▶ Flashing via USB or Simplicity Mini Connector
▶ Supports Bluetooth 5.1, Zigbee and Thread
▶ Can be extremely low power – down to 6.45 uA
▶ Free pins all around the perimeter of the board to connect components as needed
▶ RGB LED
▶ General purpose button