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Getting to know Teensy 4.1 and Its PCBA Projects

Teensy 4.1
PCBONLINE Team Fri, Jun 14, 2024
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Teensy 4.1

Teensy 4.1 is a high-performance development board. It boasts:

  • a powerful ARM Cortex-M7 processor operating at 600MHz,
  • a Float point math unit (64 & 32 bits),
  • 7936K Flash,
  • 1024K RAM,
  • 4K of emulated EEPROM,
  • 55 digital input/output pins,
  • 3 SPI busses,
  • 3 I2C ports,
  • SD Card slot,
  • port Ethernet 10/100 Mbit,
  • RTC for date/time,
  • Cryptographic Acceleration & Random Number Generator.

What projects use Teensy 4.1? This blog showcases the features and projects that benefit from utilizing Teensy 4.1.

Features of Teensy 4.1

The Teensy 4.1 is equipped with lots of advanced and handy features that are out-of-the-box. Here are some features of Teensy 4.1.

Dual-issue superscalar architecture

The Cortex-M7 is a dual-issue superscalar processor capable of executing two instructions per clock cycle at 600 MHz!

Digital signal processing

The Teensy 4.1 is equipped with Digital Signal Processing (DSP) extension instructions that accelerate signal processing, various filters, and Fourier transforms. The Teensy Audio library automatically utilizes these DSP instructions.

Slew rate limiting

This optional feature significantly reduces high-frequency noise when long wires are connected to digital output pins.

Variable drive strength

The output impedance of each digital output pin can be controlled in seven steps, ranging from 150 ohms (weakest) to approximately 21 ohms (strongest).

USB host

The Teensy 4.1 can work in a USB Host mode, allowing the developer to connect USB devices directly to it and communicate with them simultaneously while the Teensy communicates with the computer via the main USB device port. The USB hubs can be used to connect multiple devices.

Program memory protection

Code security protects the program code from unauthorized access and copying. During compilation, the program is encrypted. When executed, the IMXRT Bus Encryption Engine provides on-the-fly decryption as the program runs.

Even if an attacker dumps the Flash memory from Teensy 4.1, captures the USB communication from the Teensy Loader, or copies the EHEX file opened by the Teensy Loader, they will only obtain an encrypted copy of the program.

An image demonstrating the basic function of this feature is shown below.

Teensy 4.1 Program memory protection

Secure firmware update

Customers can be provided with an EHEX file and Teensy Loader to securely update commercial products or secure applications. This method allows updates for devices that embed a Lockable Teensy. The process ensures security by preventing access to the original program code.

PCBA Integration with Teensy 4.1

Instead of being used as a development board, the Teensy 4.1 can be placed directly onto the PCB. Doing so would allow you to build a more reliable embedded system. The PCBA is resistant to the oxidation of electrical contacts, external vibrations, and other factors that can degrade the system's performance or even cause its failure.

Here are the two examples of the printed circuit board assemblies accommodating the MIMXRT1062 chip used as a core by both Teensy 4.0 and Teensy 4.1. They're custom PCBAs made as an alternative to the stock Teensy 4.1.

The first one is designed by Jens Chr Brynildsen. It has USB-C connectors for the device and host, as well as extra pins routed to test pins.

Teensy 4.1 PCBA 1

The second one is designed by Dogbone06. It's a version of Teensy 4.1 with extra SDRAM and access to all FlexIO pins.

Teensy 4.1 PCBA 2

Teensy 4.1 Projects

The ability of the Teesny 4.1 to function as a USB host out-of-the-box is definitely an advantage that makes it stand out. Let's look at the projects by other authors!

Juno-106 Synth Clone

Juno-106 Synth Clone

The author of this project wanted to own the Juno 106 synthesizer for a long time but found it too expensive. So, he decided to build his own cost-effective alternative to the expensive Juno 106 synthesizer.

The core of this project is the Teensy 4.1 microcontroller board. It was chosen because of its high performance-to-price ratio and the availability of the TNT audio library, which simplifies audio programming on the Teensy.

This project aims to recreate the functionality of the Juno 106 synthesizer by building a custom hardware controller and programming the synthesizer's sound generation and processing algorithms on the Teensy 4.1 microcontroller.

Midbar (Teensy 4.1 Version) V2.0

Midbar (Teensy 4.1 Version) V2.0

Midbar (Teensy 4.1 Version) V2.0 is an advanced hardware data vault. This project utilizes the Teensy 4.1, RFID card reader, ILI9341-controlled LCD, as well as the USB keyboard, rotary encoder, and two buttons as the input devices.

Midbar (Teensy 4.1 Version) V2.0 greatly enhances data security by using advanced cryptographic features and operating entirely offline. It significantly increases the difficulty and cost of unauthorized access to the user's data. Users can store an unlimited number of login credentials, credit card details, phone numbers, and notes on an SD card connected to the Teensy as long as there is available space. In addition, it can function as a USB keyboard.

Quantum Jungle

Quantum Jungle

The Quantum Jungle is an advanced interactive art installation project that benefits from several Teensy 4.1 and Espressif boards, as well as the TriantaduoWS2811 library and other advanced software. It features 12,000 LEDs visualizing concepts from quantum physics like Schrödinger's equation.

FloydTheRobot's Dual Arm Controller

FloydTheRobot's Dual Arm Controller

FloydTheRobot's Dual Arm Controller is a robotics project that continues to evolve with new capabilities added over time. The latest major addition is a pair of highly versatile robotic arms powered by Teensy 4.1 microcontroller boards.

The arm controller design incorporates four TI DRV8874 H-bridge motor drivers to control the arm movements. It also has four ports to connect Hiwonder HX-35HM serial bus servos, two of which are used for pan/tilt control of an onboard camera.

An integrated fan system helps keep the servos cool during operation.

The arms are controlled using the ROS (Robot Operating System) MoveIt motion planning framework, which allows complex arm motions and trajectories to be programmed and executed.

Hybrid MIDI Grand Piano

Hybrid MIDI Grand Piano

Hybrid MIDI Grand Piano is a project that enhances the traditional piano with MIDI capabilities, allowing pianists to experience the best of both worlds. At the core of the project are two Teensy 4.1 microcontroller boards, which are used to translate the mechanical key presses from a Kawai grand piano action into MIDI data.

Laser Tag Upgrade for Halo Style Game Play

Laser Tag Upgrade for Halo Style Game Play

Laser Tag's infrared gun system was a popular toy in the 1980s. It has been improved over the years, including the "Laser Tag Upgrade for Halo Style Game Play." An upgraded infrared gun inspired by the Halo series is built on a Teensy 4.1 development board.

The device uses a rechargeable LiPo battery and charging system, replacing the original non-rechargeable AA batteries. It also features an ST7789-controlled LCD, which upgrades the original monochrome display to a more advanced color display.

Additionally, it includes a class-D amplifier and vibration motors for audio and haptic feedback. An RFM69 radio enables communication, while NeoPixels provide indicators for team alliance, player number, and damage level.

Luma-1: An Enhanced LM-1 Drum Machine

Luma-1: An Enhanced LM-1 Drum Machine

Luma-1 is an enhanced version of the LM-1. The original hardware design is enhanced with RAM-based samples instead of ROM, allowing the selection of different sounds. The original front panel switches are replaced with potentiometers that enable panning or pitch control.

Spectrum Analyzer and VU Meter

Spectrum Analyzer and VU Meter

Spectrum Analyzer and VU Meter is a Teensy 4.1-based project VU meter and spectrum analyzer under one hood.

This project incorporates a custom PCB that houses a Teensy 4.1 (with PSRAM), an Audio Adaptor board, and two ILI9341 displays.

Commander Keen Game Emulator

Commander Keen Game Emulator

By utilizing the Omnispeak C clone, Teensy 4.1 can run a game from the "Commander Keen in Goodbye Galaxy!" series, showcasing its capabilities. The player can also benefit from using the Xbox 360 controller connected to the Teensy's USB port.

PCB Assembly Manufacturer for Teensy 4.1 Projects

PCBONLINE is a one-stop PCB assembly manufacturer that can manufacture your Teensy 4.1 projects from prototypes to bulk production.

Teensy 4.1 project PCBA manufacturer

Founded in 1999, PCBONLINE has two large advanced PCB manufacturing bases, one PCB assembly factory, stable supply chains, and an R&D team to provide turnkey electronics manufacturing for your Teensy 4.1 project. If your Teensy 4.1 PCBA project is for business or research purposes, you will find PCBONLINE appropriate as your PCBA supplier.

Advantages of working with PCBONLINE for Teensy 4.1 projects

You can enjoy one-stop PCBA manufacturing for your Teensy 4.1 project, including R&D, PCB fabrication, component sourcing, PCB assembly, IC programming, conformal coating, enclosures, and box-build assembly.

Affordable PCBA services as PCBONLINE is a source factory manufacturer. Also, relying on its EMS PCB assembly factory, PCBONLINE can source components, including Teensy 4.1, at lower costs.

Traceable manufacturing and high-quality. The PCB and PCBA are certified with ISO 9001:2015, IATF 16949:2016, RoHS, REACH, UL, and IPC-A-610 Class 2/3.

For bulk production, PCBONLINE offers free R&D, product samples, and PCBA functional testing.

No matter what quantity of your Teensy 4.1 PCBA is, we offer DFM (design for manufacturing) to ensure the success of your project and one-on-one engineering support all the way.

PCBONLINE's target clients are OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), business makers, and research institutes. If you are one of them and want to have your PCBA project with Teensy 4.1 manufactured, don't hesitate to work with PCBONLINE and email info@pcbonline.com to get a quote.

Conclusion

The Teensy 4.1 is a powerful and versatile development board. This blog showcases many Teensy 4.1 projects, ranging from simple game consoles to art installations utilizing thousands of addressable LEDs. However, most of the above projects are DIY projects. Teensy 4.1 can be used for more business-purpose projects.


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