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Posts Tagged ‘development board’

Some ESP32 Development Boards to Look Out For: NodeMCU, Widora-air, Nano32, Noduino Quantum, and Wemos

September 24th, 2016 8 comments

Espressif ESP32 WiFi + BLE SoC launched at the very beginning of the month, shortly followed by ESP3212 module, and while Adafruit sold a few breadboard-friendly ESP32 development boards to developers for $15 a few days ago, stock was limited, and it’s not possible to easily purchase ESP32 boards today, and that’s OK because firmware and software support is still in progress. Several companies are working on such ESP32 boards however, and they tend to show the development progress on social networks, so I thought it would be fun to look at what’s coming…

Amica (NodeMCU) ESP32 Board

The current NodeMCU board is one of the most popular ESP8266 development platform, and that’s not surprising they are working on an ESP32 version. I don’t have pictures nor full  specs of the board yet, but the company showcased their early work on ESP32 last June.

Widora-air

I only discovered Widora recently via their NEO WiFi board running OpenWrt, but they are also working on Widora-air ESP32 board.

widora-air

There’s no product page yet, but we can see the board is powered through a micro USB port, comes with reset and user buttons, a PCB antenna, and two 20-pin headers for IOs.

Gravitech / MakerAsia Nano32

Nano32 clearly wins the best picture award of this post… It’s made by South East Asia based Gravitech, and combines ESP32 with an FTDI chip for USB to serial programming through the micro USB port. It also includes two buttons, and breadboard-friendly headers.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

A chip antenna can be found on the top left of the picture. You can follow their progress on Twitter.

Noduino Quantum Board

Noduino Quantum has a different form factor from the other boards in this list, as they’ve built an Arduino compatible ESP32 board, meaning compatible with Arduino shields.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

ESP32 can be programmed through the micro USB port (Silicon Labs CP2102 chip), the board can also be powered via a power jack, and includes a PCB antenna. The company had also made an ESP8266 board called Noduino Falcon with the same design. More details can be found on Noduino.org.

Wemos ESP32 Board

Wemos has made both an Arduino compatible D1 board and a tiny D1 mini board based on ESP8266 in the past, and according to a forum post, the company is working on one or more ESP32 boards:

WeMos have confirmed an ESP32 board is in development.
Now whether it has a D1 form factor, D1 mini, or something new is still unknown.

If you are aware of other interesting ESP32 development board in development, feel free to let everybody know in the comments section.

Marvell ESPRESSOBin Board with Gigabit Ethernet, SATA, mini PCIe, and USB 3.0 To Launch for $39 and Up (Crowdfunding)

September 23rd, 2016 31 comments

I can often read people hoping for an inexpensive community board for network, storage and connectivity applications with high speed interface like SATA, multiple Gigabit Ethernet port, USB 3.0 and/or mini PCIe, and that’s exactly what Globalscale Technologies is about to offer with their Marvell ARMADA 3700 based ESPRESSOBin development board to go for $39 and up via Kickstarter.

espressobinMarvell ESPRESSOBin board specifications:

  • SoC – Marvell Armada 3700LP (88F3720) dual core ARM Cortex A53 processor up to 1.2GHz
  • System Memory – 512MB DDR3 or optional 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 1x SATA interface, 1x micro SD card slot with footprint for an optional 4GB EMMC
  • Network Connectivity
    • 1x Topaz Networking Switch
    • 2x GbE Ethernet LAN
    • 1x  Ethernet WAN
    • 1x MiniPCIe slot for Wireless/BLE periphereals
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, 1x micro USB port
  • Expansion – 2x 46-pin GPIO headers for accessories and shields with I2C, GPIOs, PWM, UART, SPI, MMC, etc…
  • Misc – Reset button, JTAG interface
  • Power Supply – 12V DC jack or 5V via micro USB port
  • Power Consumption – Less than 1W thermal dissipation at 1 GHz
marvell-armada-3700-block-diagram

Marvell ARMADA 3700 Block Diagram

The board will run mainline Linux & U-boot, and the company will release Ubuntu, ArchLinux ARM, Debian, and OpenWrt firmware, with support for the Yocto Project as well. Some documentation and source code can be found on the Wiki in Github.

Typical applications include NAS, video camera monitor, plex media server, IoT gateway with wireless module and/or dongle with Zigbee, Bluetooth, , Zwave…. The board was first showcased at Computex 2016.

ESPRESSOBin will be launched on Kickstarter in the next few days. Keep in mind that the page is still in draft mode, so information is subject to change, but based on the details currently available, they plan to raise at least $25,000, and a $39 early bird pledge will be asked for the first boards (with 512MB RAM), with the price going up to $49 after (with 1GB RAM). There’s also a model with a wireless module and 12V power supply for $69, and “cluster” rewards with multiple boards. Delivery is scheduled for December 2016 for early bird rewards, and February 2017 for others. If you are interested in the board, and want to make sure you don’t miss out on the early bird pledge, you can register to be notified when the project launched in the KS page.

Thanks to Ray for the tip.

HICAT.Livera Machine Vision Board and Robot Kit Feature HiSilicon Hi3518 SoC (Crowdfunding)

September 21st, 2016 3 comments

HiSilicon Hi3518 ARM9 processor is mostly being used in IP cameras, but Hicat startup decided to combined the camera processor with an Atmel MCU and a MT7601 WiFi module to create a wireless camera board to be used with OpenCV, and even provide a complete affordable robot kit with the board.

livera-boardHicat.livera board specifications:

  • Vision Core – Hisilicon Hi3518 ARM9 processor @ 440 MHz
  • Storage – 16MB flash + micro SD card
  • MCU – Atmel ATmega32U4 AVR micro-controller
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi via Mediatek MT7601 module + u.FL antenna connector
  • Camera interface with provided 140 deg. camera using Omnivision OV9712 720p (1280×720) sensor
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for power and programming
  • Audio – Built-in microphone, speaker header
  • Sensors – MPU6050 accelerometer and gyro
  • Expansion – 2x GPIO headers with GPIOs, I2C, SPI, serial, PWM, digital, analog and power signals.
  • Misc – MCU reset and Linux reset buttons,
  • Power Supply – 5V via USB or 3.3V LiPo battery
  • Dimensions – 60 x 42 mm

They’ve also provide a comparison table between HICAT.Livera and two competing platforms, namely openMV and PIXY.

hicat-livera-openmv-pixy

The firmware in the Hisilicon chip is based on Linux, and includes a video and file streaming server, OpenCV support for object tracking, Node.js support. The ARM9 processor and Atmel MCU communicate over a serial port, and an Arduino library is provided. An Android app (iOS coming soon) can also be used to view the live stream, control the robot, and change settings. Some code is available on Github, but not Linux, which may be an issue to due Hisilicon strict NDA requirements. The developer also claims the project will be open source hardware.

computer-vision-robot-kit

Beside Livera kit with the board and camera, a robot kit is also offered with a extension cable for the camera, a motor driver board based on lv8548 H-Bridge, two DC motors, a servo motor, wheels and body, 9V rechargeable battery, and laser beam. The board and robot are demonstrated in the embedded video.

The project has just launched via Kickstarter, where the goal is to raise $5000 ore more to fund mass production. They have not mentioned the manufacturing partner in Kickstarter, but it should be Seeed Studio, since they informed me about the project. Livera board with camera requires a $39 pledge (Early bird), while the complete robot kit is just $69 (Early Bird). Shipping adds $2 to $20 depending on rewards and destination, and delivery is scheduled for (end of) December 2016 or January 2017.

Orange Pi One Development Board Sells for $3.69 Shipped (Promo)

September 19th, 2016 48 comments

[Update: Sorry the promo is over, and price is back at $13.79]

Last time, we had a promo for Orange Pi PC for $8.57 on GearBest, and it was legit, but quantity limited, so not so easy to get. There’s now another promo from the same parent company, as Orange Pi One is sold for $3.69 including shipping on Everbuying with 289 pieces and about 8 days left.

orange-pi-one-promo

In case you can’t recall Orange Pi One specs, it’s a development board based on Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 SoC, with 512 MB RAM, micro SD card for storage, 10/100M Ethernet,  a USB ports, and HDMI output. The best Linux OS for the board is probably Armbian. The normal price is around $13 to $14 shipped.

Thanks to Theguyuk for the tip.

Android 7.0, Android TV 7.0, and Yocto Project Ported to Pine A64 Boards

September 19th, 2016 3 comments

A few weeks ago, Raspberry Pi 3 got an Android 7.0 Nougat port, and it’s usable for some app even simple games like Angry Bird, but there are still problems with 3D graphics, and hardware video decoding. But thanks to Pine64 forum’s member Ayufan, we now have Android 7.0 and Android TV 7.0 for Pine A64 boards with 1GB or more memory with 3D graphics, and hardware video acceleration for most apps.

pine-a64-android-7-0-nougat-yocto-project

Everything is said to pretty much work, but there are some known issues, such as camera support (being worked on now), touchscreen support (not tested), YouTube is limited to 360p/480p as it does not support hardware video decoding, and Widevine DRM is not supported. Android 7.0 has also been shown to be about 10 to 15% faster than Android 5.1.1 in GeekBench.

Ronnie Bailey has shot a video showing Pine A64 running Android TV 7.0 Nougat.

If you want to try yourself, prepare a 4GB or greater micro SD card, and flash one of the two images with Win32DiskImager or dd after downloading the latest version on the release page.

If you find any issues you can report them on Github issue tracker, and if you’d like to get involved you’ll find instructions to build Android 7.0.

Beside Raspberry Pi 3 and Pine A64 boards, if you are interested in running Android 7.0 in a development board, 96Boards Hikey could be the best solution since it is officially supported in AOSP.

Android Nougat is not the only new operating system being supported by Pine A64 boards, as Montez Claros published Pine A64 meta layer for the Yocto Project, which itself is not an operating system, but will allow you to build you own minimal or custom Linux distribution for the board.

Nextcloud Box is a $80 Private Cloud Server with 1TB HDD for Development Boards

September 17th, 2016 28 comments

While there are plenty of cloud services provided by companies such as Dropbox or Google, you may want to manage you own private cloud server instead for performance and/or privacy reasons. One typical way to do this is to install Owncloud or Nextcloud (a fork of Owncloud), on a Linux computer or board such as Raspberry Pi 3. The former is usually a little expensive for just this task, the latter often results in cable mess, and in both case, some people may not be comfortable with setting it all up. Nextcloud, Western Digital, and Canonical seems to have addressed most of those issues with Nextcloud Box including a 1TB USB 3.0 WDLabs harddrive, Nextcloud case with space for the drive and small ARM or x86 Linux development boards, and a micro USB power supply.

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Click to Enlarge

The kit also include a micro SD card pre-loaded with Snappy Ubuntu Core, Apache, MySQL and Nextcloud 10 for the Raspberry Pi 2. They are also working on SD card images for ODROID-C2 and Raspberry Pi 3 boards, but readers of this blog should also be able to use the kit on any ARM or x86 Linux development boards that fit in the case, as all you need to do is install you favorite Linux distribution, and install & configure Nextcloud.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Some more information and links to purchase can be found on Nexcloud Box product page. Price is $79.99 in the US, 70 Euros in Europe including VAT, and 60 GBP in the United Kingdom. The kit is not available in the rest of the world for now. Remember than you’ll need to add your board, and with a Raspberry Pi 3 the total cost would end up being around $120, but with cheaper boards you should be able to keep the total price below $100 even once shipping is taken into account.

A.I. Thinker A20 Plus ESP8266 WiFi Board Includes GPRS Support and a VGA Camera

September 15th, 2016 18 comments

A.I. Thinker, a company known for its ESP8266 module, has designed a new intriguing product with A20Plus board powered by Espressif ESP8266 (or ESP8285) WiFi SoC, that also features GPRS connectivity, and a 0.3MP camera.

a20plus-board-wifi-gprs-cameraThere’s basically no info on the “English Internet”, but Raymond Tunning found lots of info in Chinese, and posted information and links on his blog.

A20 Plus board specifications:

  • Wireless Module – A.I. Thinker A20 module with GPRS and WiFi (ESP8266 or ESP8285), two antennas connector
  • Camera – VGA camera interface (up to 640×480 resolution) compatible with OV7670, GC0308, GC0328, & GC0309 sensors.
  • Expansion – 2x headers with GPIO, ADC, power signals…
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for power and programming
  • Misc – Reset and user button, two LEDs (for flash?)
  • Dimensions – TBC

An Android app (binary + source code) is provide to retrieve pictures (apparently no video for now) over WiFi or GPRS.

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Click to Enlarge

Some other documentation in Chinese to use and program the app in Android Studio can also been found here (password: 123456), and more info about the module is available on A.I Thinker forums, where we’ll also find they have a few other modules to offer.

a6-a6c-a7-a20-module-wifi-gprs-gps-cameraA6 module only support GSM/GPRS, A6C module supports GPRS and camera (but no WiFi), and A7 module supports GPRS and GPS. Hopefully, they’ll have a 3G module soon enough, since I’m not sure GPRS is available everywhere anymore.

A20 Plus board is listed on Taobao for $49RMB (~$7.4), but shown as out of stock for now.

Via Bird on SMEoT Facebook Group

Widora-NEO OpenWrt WiFi IoT & Audio Board is Based on Mediatek MT7688 SoC, WM8960 Audio DAC

September 14th, 2016 10 comments

A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed ReSpeaker board combining MediaTek MT7688 WiFi SoC with WM8960 audio DAC, running OpenWrt, and allowing you to perform tasks using text-to-speech and speech-to-text thanks to the built-in microphone (or optional microphone array), and a 3.5mm audio jack to connect speakers, as well as several I/O pins. It turns out there’s been board with similar features, minus the built-in microphone, available in China for a while. Meet Widora-NEO.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Widora-NEO board specifications:

  • SoC – Mediatek MT7688AN MIPS SoC @ 580 MHz with built-in WiFi
  • System Memory – 128 MB RAM
  • Storage – 16MB SPI flash, micro SD card
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi 1T1R up to 150 Mbps with PCB antenna, or IPEX connector
  • Audio – 3.5mm jack for stereo headphone and mono microphone, WM8960G audio codec
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for programming via CP2104 chip, 1x micro USB host (or is it OTG?) port.
  • Expansion headers
    • 19-pin P1 header with UART, GPIO, WPS, Ethernet LINK, I2S, GND, and 3.3V signals
    • 28-pin P2 header with SPI, GPIO, PWM, UART, SDIO, GND, 3.3V, and 5V signals
  • Misc – Reset and WPS buttons, some LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V DC via micro USB port or header.
  • Dimensions – 76.20 x 35.56 mm

widora-open-source-hardwareThe board is running OpenWrt Chaos Calmer R4937 with Mediatek official closed-source drivers, support for AP and STA (APCLI0) modes.  I could also find some references to Node.JS in the pictures, and spotted some commits credited to bug fixes made on ReSpeaker OpenWrt. The back of the board features an “Open Source hardware” logo,  and while I could find OpenWrt and U-boot on their Github account, I was unable to find any hardware files. They also have a dedicated website with forums, but all information is only in Chinese at the time.

Block Diagram - Click to Enlarge

Widora-NEO Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The board will be much harder to play with compared to ReSpeaker for people who can’t read Chinese, but at the same time, it’s quite cheaper, as it sells for 99.00 RMB ($14.86), 106 RMB ($15.91) with OTG (cable?), or 140 RMB ($21) with a camera on Taobao. Widora-NEO is also listed on Aliexpress, but for $200 they probably don’t plan to sell it, still you will some more Google translated details on that page. The main developer also has a Twitter account, where he mentions an upcoming Widora-AIR based on Espressif ESP32.