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Posts Tagged ‘development board’

Allwinner H3 Based Orange Pi 2 Board Price Drops to as Low As $25

May 27th, 2015 14 comments

As Raspberry Pi Model B+ price got reduced to $25, some competitors also decided to bring their price down. Shenzhen Xunlong Software, the maker of Orange Pi board, decided to decrease their Orange Pi 2 and Orange Pi 2 Mini boards by $5 to respectively $30 and $25 plus around $2 shipping.

Orange Pi 2 (Click to Enlarge)

Orange Pi 2 (Click to Enlarge)

Both boards are based on the same PCB, but the mini version lacks WiFi. Let’s refresh our memory with the specs:

  • SoC – Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 @ 1.6 GHz with 256KB L1 cache, 1MB L2 cache, and an ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU up to 600 MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – micro SD card slot (up to 64GB)
  • Video Output – HDMI (CEC and HDCP support), AV port
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, AV port, on-board microphone
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (Realtek module, not found on mini version)
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Camera – CSI Interface
  • Expansions – 40-pin Raspberry Pi Model A+/B+ (mostly) compatible header with 28 GPIOs, UART, I2C, SPI, PWM, CAN, I2S, SPDIF, LRADC, ADC, LINE-IN, FM-IN, and HP-IN
  • Debugging – 3-pin UART header for serial console
  • Misc – IR receiver; Power, reset, and u-boot buttons; Power and Ethernet LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via barrel jack (micro USB OTG cannot be used to power the board).
  • Dimensions – 93 x 60 mm
  • Weight – 46 grams
You can currently download Android 4.4.2, Lubuntu, Debian server, and Raspbian images for the boards, as well as Linux and Android SDKs. The board has been launched at the end of March, but I can’t find any independent reviews online yet. Feedback on Aliexpress is however mostly positive. The platform is more powerful than Raspberry Pi 2, so from the hardware point of view it should be a better deal, but as usual they won’t be able to match Raspberry Pi’s software and community support.
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Lemon Pi Board is a $35 Raspberry Pi 2 Alternative Powered by Actions Semi S500 SoC (Crowdfunding)

May 20th, 2015 52 comments

I wrote about ActDuino S500 last month. It’s a development board powered by Actions Semi S500 quad core Cortex A9 processor, but very few details were available, and release date and pricing had not been disclosed. EmbedStudio, a Shenzhen startup, has now launched an Indiegogo campaign (flexible funding) for their Lemon Pi board based on S500 processor.

Lemon_Pi Lemon Pi specifications:

  • SoC – Actions Semi S500 quad core Cortex A9r4 processor with 512KB L2 Cache and a PowerVR SGX544 GPU with OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0, OpenVG 1.0.1, and OpenCL support
  • Memory – 1GB DDR3 RAM (Option: 2GB, not part of crowdfunding rewards)
  • Storage – micro SD slot. Option: Up to 64GB eMMC 4.5 flash, not part of crowdfunding rewards.
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4 with HDCP, 3.5mm jack for CVBS (AV), MIPI DSI
  • Audio – HDMI, AV (Line out / microphone)
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet (RJ45; RTL8201F)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB 3.0 port (OTG)
  • Camera –  MIPI CSI-2 interface
  • Expansion Header – 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header with I2S, PCM, 16 GPIOs, UART, SPI, and I2C.
  • Misc – On/off, reset and ADFU (Actions Device Firmware Update) keys, IR receiver
  • Power Supply – 5V/700mA via micro USB port- ACT260X PMIC and Audio codec chip
  • Dimensions – 85 x 56 mm

Lemon_Pi_Board_BottomThe board is said to run Android 5.0 and Ubuntu 12.04 using Linux 3.10 LTS. 3D hardware acceleration is enabled in Ubuntu too. They claim the source code can be found on github, but I could not find it (yet).

A $25 pledge for “Super Early Bird reward” should get you board, with a standard pledge being $35. Shipping via Hong Kong Post (Tracking not mentioned) is $5 extra to anywhere in the world. Most boards are scheduled to ship on August 2015, but a few beta? boards will ship as early as June.

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Olimex Announces RT5350F-OLinuXino and Evaluation Boards Availability

May 19th, 2015 3 comments

Olimex had been working on a small board with Ralink RT5350F processor for over a year, with delays mostly due to software development and undocumented registers. But RT5350F-OlinuXino is now available together with an evaluation board with tow relays, two Ethernet ports, and expansions headers, as well as a DIN EBV still in development.

RT5350F-OLinuXinoRT5350F-OlinuXino specifications:

  • SoC – Ralink / Mediatek RT5350F MIPS24KEc CPU @ 360 MHz
  • System Memory – 32MB SDRAM
  • Storage – 8MB SPI NAND Flash
  • 3x headers with access to
    • USB 2.0 HOST/Device
    • 5x 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port
    • GPIOs, SPI, I2C
    • I2S, PCM
    • UART
    • JTAG
  • Power – 3x external DCDC power converters releasing internal RT5350F vreg and preventing common problem with overheating with this chip.
  • Dimensions – N/A
  • Operating Temperature Range – -10 to +55C

The board is pre-loaded OpenWRT with Linux 3.18.11. You can find builds instructions and other documentation in the Wiki, as well as github.

RT5350F-OlinuXino_EVB

Baseboard for RT5350F-OlinuXino module

The company jointly launch the module with RT5350F-OlinuXino-EVB evaluation board with the following technical specifications:

  • Module – RT5350F-OlinuXino with RT5350F processor, 32MB RAM and 8MB flash
  • Connectivity
    • WIFI 801.11n 150Mb
    • 2x 10/100 Mbps Ethernet ports (RJ45)
  • 2x Relays 15A/240VAC
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port
  • Expansion headers:
    • UEXT connector (I2C, SPI, RS232) for Olimex modules
    • EXT header with 3 remaining Ethernet signals, GPIOs, I2S/PCM, JTAG…
  • Misc – Button
  • Power Supply – 5V DC via power barrel
  • Dimensions – N/A
  • Temperature Range – -10 to +55C

Documentation is available on the same Wiki and Github account as for the module.

RT5350F_DIN_EnclosureOlimex is working is also working an an other EVB with a single Ethernet port, and an LED display that can fit into a DIN enclosure which should be useful for home automation.

It will cost about 35 Euros once it is available in June or a little later. RT5350F-OlinuXino can be purchased now for 15 Euros in single quantities, while RT5350F-OLinuXino-EVB goes for 24 Euros including the module, and you can purchase both directly on Olimex website.

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Faytech FTA20 Allwinner A20 Industrial SBC Works with Touch Panels

May 17th, 2015 No comments

Faytech is a company specializing in touch monitors and touch pc, but recently they started to develop embedded boards, and their latest FTA20 single board computer is powered by Allwinner A20 SoC, and offer various optional wireless options like Bluetooth, WiFi, 3G, and GPS. The board also supports the company’s 9.7”, 10.1”, 15” and 21.5” capacitive displays.

FTA20_BoardFTA20 Specifications (to be confirmed):

  • SoC – Allwinner A20 dua lcore Cortex A7 processor @ 1GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU @ 500MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB NAND Flash, 1x SD card slot, 1x SATA port (via headers)
  • Video Output – 1x HDMI, 1x VGA, 18/24Bit LVDS
  • Audio – Audio-Chip Integrated HI-FI 100dB Audio Codec, 2x3W amplifier; 5.1 Channel High Definition Audio Codec; 1x Line-In, 1x Line-Out
  • Connectivity
    • 1x 10/100/1000Mbit RJ45 Ports with connector for POE
    • WiFi
    • Optional Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS
    • 1x SIM-card (to be used with mPCIe modem???)
  • USB –  2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB OTG port, 2x USB 2.0 via headers
  • Other I/Os – 2x serial, 4x TTL UART, 24x GPIO
  • Expansion – Mini PCIe slot
  • Misc – Watchdog Timer (1~255 steps by software program); Wake On LAN/PCE; RTC with battery
  • Power Supply – 12V; external connectors 8-18V DC-IN, screwable; PoE
  • Power consumption – 8 ~ 18W
  • Dimensions – 17.8 x 8 cm
  • Operating temperature – -20 ~ +70 °C

The board is said to ship with a DVD including drivers, as well as a short installation manual. The company provide support for Linux and Android 4.2, but overall at least with the info available on their website, they make an dismal job at providing information for their board, as zero documentation is available.

The company offers two models: FTA201G8GW with WiFi, and FTA201G8GWBG adding Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS to the previous model. You won’t find much more information on the product page, but you could contact the company there if you are interested.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

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FireWRT is an OpenWRT 802.11ac Board Powered by Mediatek MT7621A Processor

May 14th, 2015 10 comments

There are plenty of low cost 802.11n routers or boards supporting OpenWRT, even starting at $10 or less such as A5-V11 mini router, but if you’re looking for something a bit more powerful with 802.11ac connectivity, options are much more limited, especially if you need something at a lower cost. One option is Xiaomi MiWiFi router based on Mediatek MT7620A with 64MB RAM, and T-Firefly team is now working on FireWRT board based on the more powerful MT7621A processor coupled with 512 MB RAM, and 16 MB SPI flash.

FireWRTFireWRT specifications:

  • Wi-Fi SoC – Mediatek MT7621A dual core MIPS 1004Kc processor @ 880MHz
  • System Memory – 512 MB DDR3 (Beta version: 256 MB)
  • Storage – 16 MB SPI flash memory, 2x SATA 3.0 ports, micro SD card slot
  • Wi-Fi
    • 802.11 b/g/n @ 2.4GHz up to 300Mbps
    • 802.11 a/n/ac @ 5 GHz, up to 867Mbps (AC1200 class router)
    • External High-Gain Antennas – 2x for 2.4GHz, 2x for 5GHz
  • Ethernet – 2x LAN (Gigabit Ethernet), 1x WAN (Gigabit Ethernet)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x USB 3.0 port
  • Expansion
    • mini PCIe slot (multiplexed with SATA), on the back of the board
    • 2x 32-pin headers with GPIO, I2C, I2S, UART, NFC, JTAG, RGMII, 12V, 5V, 3.3V, GND
  • Misc – Power, WPS and reset keys. LEDs for Ethernet, WiFi, SATA, and power
  • Power – 12V/2A
  • Dimensions – 125 x 93.5 mm

OpenWRT_SATA_USB_3_PCIeThe boar runs OpenWRT, and the company has already released binary images, source code (U-boot, OpenWRT SDK), schematics (PDF), and mechanical files on the project’s download page, as well as some WIP documentation on the Wiki.

You can’t purchase the board directly on Aliexpress yet, but the company launched a beta program to allow developers to purchase a $69 kit including FireWRT board, a 12V/2A power adapter, an acrylic enclosure, a SATA cable, an heatsink, and a USB TO TTL UART Module. Please note that this beta board only has 256 MB RAM instead of 512 MB for the final version.

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Samsung Artik is a Family of Arduino Compatible Boards for IoT Applications

May 13th, 2015 10 comments

There was a time when development boards were only reserved to companies, then boards like Arduino or Beagleboard made these available and affordable to consumers, and with the introduction of the Raspberry Pi, the maker movement grew even more rapidly, and many low cost boards started to be designed and manufactured mostly my smallest companies. But now larger companies like Intel or Qualcomm have jumped on the makers’ bandwagon, and the latest entry is Samsung with their Artik platform currently comprised of three boards that are programmable with the Arduino IDE.
Samsung_Artik
Let’s go through specifications for the three boards:

  • Artik 1
    • SoC – Dual Core MIPS32 processor @ 250MHz (microAptiv UP) and 80MHz (microAptiv UC) without GPU
    • Memory – 1MB RAM on-chip
    • Storage – 4MB SPI flash
    • Display – Up to WVGA (800×480)
    • Connectivity – Bluetooth Low Energy with chip antenna
    • Security – Secure element
    • Sensor – 9-axis motion sensor with gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer
    • Dimensions – 12×12 mm
  • Artik 5
    • SoC – Dual core ARM processor @ 1GHz with ARM Mali 400 MP2 GPU
    • Memory – 512 LPDDR3 (on-chip)
    • Storage – 4GB eMMC (on-chip)
    • Display – TBD
    • Video Decode/Encode – H.263/H264/MPEG-4/VP8 (720p)@30fps and decoding of MPEG-2/VC1/Xvid
    • Connectivity – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy, Zigbee/Thread
    • Security – Secure element, TEE (Trustzone)
    • Expansion – 60-pin and 40-pin headers for USB, MIPI, I2S, I2C, SPI, UART, Analog inputs, etc…
    • Sensor – N/A
    • Dimensions – 29x25mm
  • Artik 10
    • SoC – Octa core processor with 4x ARM Cortex A15 @ 1.3GHz, 4x ARM Cortex A7 @ 1.0 GHz, and ARM Mali-T628 GPU
    • Memory – 2GB LPDDR3 (on-chip)
    • Storage – 16GB eMMC
    • Display – TBD
    • Video Encode/Decode – 1080p@120fps H.263/H.264/ MPEG-4/VP8 + MPEG-2/VC1 decoding
    • Audio – HW 5.1 Channel I2S + TDM up to 8 Channels + HW mixer 
    • Connectivity – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy, Zigbee/Thread
    • Security – Secure element, TEE (Trustzone)
    • Sensor – N/A
    • Expansion – 80-pin and 40-pin headers for USB 2.0/3.0, MIPI, I2S, I2C, SPI, UART, Analog inputs, etc…
    • Dimensions – 39×29 mm
Artik 10 Block Diagram

Artik 10 Block Diagram

Artix 1 runs Nucleus OS, and can be programmed with Arduino IDE, and/or Samsung SDK with C/C++ language. Artix 5 and 10 run a Fedora distribution built with Yocto 1.6, and on top of tools and languages supported by Artix 1, they can also be programmed in Java or Groovy.

The boards are not available yet, and pricing has not been announced either, but Samsung invites developers to register for an alpha kit by May 31, 2015.

Via Make

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Orange Pi Plus (Allwinner H3) Firmware Images and Linux SDK Released

May 12th, 2015 12 comments

Orange Pi Plus is a development board based on the new Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 processor that supports 4K video output and decoding. The boards comes with 1GB RAM, 8GB eMMC, HDMI output, Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi, SATA and more, and sells for $49 on Aliexpress. When I first covered the board in February, it was already listed on Aliexpress, but I could not find any firmware image, or source code, but this has now changed.

Orange Pi 2 (Click to Enlarge)

Orange Pi Plus (Click to Enlarge)

There are now four firmware files:

  • Lubuntu_1404_For_OrangePiplus_v0_8_0_.img.xz – Lubuntu 14.04 image
  • Raspbian_For_OrangePiplus_v0_8_0.img.xz – Raspbian for Allwinner H3
  • orangepi-plus-debian-server-card-v0.9.img.xz – A Debian server image
  • sun8iw7p1_android_orangepi-plus_uart0.rar – Android 4.4.2 image that needs to be flash with PhoenixCard in Windows (Linux tools are not working yet)

Beside the firmware images, the company also releases a Linux SDK (h3-lichee-1.0.tar.gz) with Linux 3.4 kernel source code, u-boot, and relevant tools.

I assume these should also work on Orange Pi 2, the low cost version of the board without internal flash, nor SATA, and Fast Ethernet instead of Gigabit Ethernet, which goes for $35 on Aliexpress.

Thanks to Jerome for the tip.

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CHIP is a $9 Linux Development Board Powered by Allwinner R8 (Crowdfunding)

May 8th, 2015 45 comments

It’s quite common to find MCU board for less than $10, but if you want to run Linux, you’ll need to spend a bit more, unlessit’s sponsored, and today, the cheapest you can get is probably the $20 Raspberry Pi Model A+, unless you go with some OpenWRT compatible routers. But there’s now a new board in development, called CHIP, with Allwinner R8 Cortex A8 processor, 512MB RAM, and 4GB NAND flash, as well as wireless connectivity, that will bring cost even lower, as you can pledge $9 on Kickstarter to fund its development.

CHIP_Allwinner_R8

C.H.I.P specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner R8 Cortex A8 processor @ 1 GHz with Mali-400 GPU (Compatible with Allwinner A13)
  • System Memory – 512 MB RAM
  • Storage – 4GB NAND flash
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0
  • Video Output – 3.5mm jack for composite video and audio (HDMI and VGA available via adapters)
  • USB – 1x USB host port, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Two expansion headers
  • Power – 5V via micro USB OTG or battery
  • Dimensions – 60 x 40 mm

The board is said to run a Linux distribution featuring the mainline kernel. There’s also some sort of portable gamedpad called Pocket C.H.I.P that integrates the board and that you can get for $49. The board should ship in December 2015, and Pocket C.H.I.P in May 2016….

The project looks exciting, but when you look at the details, it’s not quite as ground breaking as it may first seem. Shipping is $20, unless you live in the US ($5), so you’d buy a $29 board, which brings it very close to competitors. The internal flash, WiFi and Bluetooth are clear winners in this price range, but I assume few people will use composite output, so you’ll need to spend a few more bucks ($10 to $15) on adapters, and if you need these, you won’t get the board before May 2016… What do you think?

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