The Particle Xenon is a low-cost mesh-enabled development board. With the Nordic nRF52840 SoC you have all the power of an ARM Cortex M4 with OpenThread mesh networking, NFC, plenty of GPIOs, LiPo charging and more. The board is designed to act as a standalone endpoint or repeater in a Particle Mesh network.
The Xenon is also configured in the popular Feather footprint and so is compatible with Feather Shields! That means it includes a JST connector for a Li-po battery as well as charging of the battery over USB. Particle also provides an RGB status LED and a JTAG (SWD) connector for debugging and an onboard PCB antenna for your mesh network.
The Xenon comes with access to the Device Cloud (10 free micro networks available) as well as three free months of device Cloud access using a cellular gateway. The Particle Could has some great features for building connected projects, including over-the-air firmware updates, and easy-to-use REST API, and firmware development supported by web and local IDEs.
If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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I have used several for different BLE / Open thread projects. Great platform for making prototypes and demo units.