M5Stack Atom S3: Small in Size, Big on Performance

Source: Svet Kompjutera (World of Computers)

Author: Dejan Petrovic


Translate: M5Stack

Last December, we covered some new products from M5Stack, one of which is the Atom S3. We got our hands on this compact device from M5Stack, and now let's write a few sentences about its introduction. In our article about M5Stack Core2, we mentioned that M5Stack's concept is to combine different microcontrollers, screens, sensors, and actuators through stacking to create a variety of completely different devices. Atom S3 also follows this principle.

esp32 device

This is an incredibly small device, measuring 24×24×13 mm and weighing only about 6.8 g. Without requiring any additional components, it can be used as a stand-alone unit (node) or as part of a larger system to perform various tasks. In fact, Atom S3 provides almost all the necessary functions to act as a control device. The core of this tiny Atom S3 is the ESP32-S3FN8 microcontroller from Espressif. We have previously written about the ESP32-S3, which features a dual-core Xtensa 32-bit LX7 processor with a clock frequency of 240 MHz, 384 kilobytes of ROM, 512 kilobytes of SRAM, and 16 kilobytes of RTC SRAM. Atom S3 sacrifices additional flash memory storage due to its size. With a 3D metal antenna, the Atom S3 can connect to a 2.4 GHz local area network, supporting the 802.11b/g/n standard with data transfer rates of up to 150 Mbps, and supports Station, SoftAP and Station+SoftAP modes.. The Bluetooth version of ESP32S3 chip is 5.0 and it also supports Bluetooth Mesh, making it convenient to communicate with other devices in the network. The data transfer rate of Bluetooth is also noteworthy, reaching up to 24 Mbps per second.

Despite its small size, Atom S3 offers quite a few peripheral devices. The first thing that catches the eye is a compact 0.85-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 128×128 pixels, which is connected to the ESP32-S3 via the SPI interface. The model of this screen is N085-1212TBWIG06-C08. We don't have much data about it, but we can confirm that the display quality is excellent. In fact, ATOM S3 consists of two PCB boards, forming a sandwich structure, with the smaller PCB located below the screen, carrying the MPU6886, which is a high-performance six-axis MEMS motion tracking device and a 6DOF (Six Degrees of Freedom) device. The MPU6886 combines a three-axis accelerometer and gyroscope with high precision and sensitivity. It is connected to the ESP32-S3 via I2C. Previously, we obtained a small add-on board called M5GOBottom2 with an MPU6886 together with the M5Stack Core2 kit. Inside ATOM S3, there is also a green LED (WS2812 RGB LED) and an IR LED (infrared emitter/transmitter).

Atom S3 can be connected to a computer using a USB-C connector, and it's worth noting that the ESP32-S3 has a direct USB port (CDC function) for programming through that port. AtomS3 is usually powered via USB-C (but can also be powered through the header connector), and the voltage regulation is handled by SY8089, which is a step-down regulator that allows an input voltage range of 3.3V to 5V and provides a maximum current output of 500mA.

In the Atom series of products, the bottom-exposed pins can be defined for functions such as I2C, SPI, UART, GPIO, and ADC. There is an expansion header connector called ATOM-MATE, which allows users to connect to other sensors, actuators, or external devices to expand the usage range by accessing the pins on the bottom of Atom. Additionally, Atom S3 has a programmable button and a programmable RGB LED that can be used for user interaction and status indication.

esp32s3 UIFlow

Atom S3 supports Arduino IDE, MicroPython, and UIFlow, which allows developers to write applications using familiar development environments and languages and leverage rich libraries and resources. M5Stack provides extensive documentation, sample code, and tutorials to help users get started and develop their own projects.


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