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Teensy 3.5 & 3.6 Review

Teensy 3.6 board angledWhen Teensy was first released, it was a revelation to the maker community. It brought together the power of ARM processors and the simplicity that is the Arduino IDE. Building upon that platform, Paul Stoffregen, the man behind PJRC continued to innovate on the Teensy platform with USB device profiles and extra features/peripherals. But if you want to read more about the Teensy platform in general, take a look at our other Teensy tutorials, as today we’ll be taking a look at the two new kids on the block; the Teensy 3.5 and 3.6.

Released mid-2016, the Teensy 3.5 and 3.6 added to the Teensy 3.x line by expanding the number of pins, peripherals, and power. The 3.5 and 3.6 brought 120MHz and 180MHz clock speeds, along with advanced features such as dedicated floating point units, native SD card support, Ethernet, and oodles of other awesome stuff. We’ve put together a comparison of the four current revision Teensy boards over in our Teensy Boards Compared tutorial, so check that out, but let’s look at whether your project warrants the upgrade, or why you’d pick Teensy over other Arduino compatible platforms.

Tech Specs

In case you missed it, here is a quicker overview of the main tech specs of the Teensy 3.5 and 3.6 models. The 3.5 and 3.6 both have the same form-factor, number of pins, and much of the same peripherals and performance specs, however, the 3.6 is a much more powerful board as shown below:

 

Teensy 3.5

Teensy 3.6

Clock Speed

120MHz

180MHz

RAM

192K

256K

Flash

512K

1M

I/O Pins

62 (42 on headers)

62 (42 on headers)

Pin Voltage

3.3V (5V tolerant)

3.3V

EEPROM

4K

4K

Connectivity

USB, CAN, I2C, SPI, Ethernet, SD, I2S

USB (High Speed), CAN, I2C, SPI, Ethernet, SD, I2S

Timers

14

14

PWM Outputs

20

20

Analog Inputs

25

25

Why Teensy 3.5/3.6?

Teensy 3.6 board flat

So what makes the Teensy a worthwhile upgrade? Well, it depends on what you want to use it for. If your project calls for a lot of I/O pins then the 3.5/3.6 is going to deliver above and beyond, and you can always use the ridiculous number of serial ports to implement port expansion for even more I/O for the most demanding requirement.

Because the extra processing grunt they carry, real-time 2-channel audio is possible with the new models, and the SD card and Ethernet compatibility are a huge bonus. Both models also have an extra USB port which you can use for whatever you want, with the 3.6 featuring High-Speed support.

Now even the 120MHz clock speed of the 3.5 is amazingly fast, and 180MHz is even quicker, and with the 32-bit ARM Cortex architecture, you’ll struggle to reach the limits of what these boards are capable of, short of implementing a full blown RTOS (Real Time Operating System) with all the bells and whistles.

Perhaps one consideration to be made if you’re choosing the 3.5/3.6 over the 3.2 or LC, along with the processing power, is whether you need the bigger form factor, or whether the 3.2 is going to do the job and save that space for something else. The 3.5 and 3.6 boards also retain a backward compatible form-factor to the 3.2 which means that existing add-on boards (dare we call them ‘shields’) you might have for the 3.2, will work on the new models too.

Teensy 3.6 pinout

Now, if you’re comparing the Teensy boards to other Arduino compatible boards, deciding which one is going to be best for your project, when you look at the cost of the Teensy boards, and the fact that even the Teensy LC has more processing power the almost every Arduino board, Teensy is going to be a fantastic fit for your project unless you require compatibility with shields and other Arduino specific form-factor requirements.

The Teensy 3.5 and 3.6 boards don’t represent a completely new platform, but rather an extension to an already fantastic platform. So if you’re already using Teensy in your projects, then you’re going to love the 3.5 and 3.6 Teensy’s, and if you’re just starting out, then they will blow you away. We’d love to see what you guys are making with the Teensy platform, so get the conversation started in the comments below!

When Teensy was first released, it was a revelation to the maker community. It brought together the power of ARM processors a...

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