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Posts Tagged ‘development board’

Banana Pro Allwinner A20 Development Board Looks Similar to Raspberry Pi Model B+

October 30th, 2014 No comments

Banana Pi development board was launched about half year ago with Raspberry Pi model B form factor, but with more powerful Allwinner A20 dual core processor, and extra interfaces such as SATA. A few months later, the Raspberry Pi foundation launched Raspberry Pi Model B+  with pretty much the same specifications, but a different board layout and connector placement, and LeMaker has now designed a new version of the AllWinner A20 development board called “Banana Pro” that’s somewhat similar to R-Pi B+ board layout, with a 40-pin header, and similar connector placement, minus a few differences, such as using two USB ports instead of four, and the addition of a Wi-Fi module.

Raspberry Pi Model B+ vs Banana PRO

Raspberry Pi Model B+ vs Banana PRO

Banana Pro specifications with differences against Banana Pi highlighted in bold:

  • SoC- Allwinner A20 dual core Cortex A7 processor @ 1 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 1 GB DDR3
  • Storage – micro SD card slot, SATA 2.0 connector
  • Video output – HDMI 1.4, 3.5mm jack for composite + stereo audio (AV), and MIPI DSI connector
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, AV jack, and on-board microphone
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (Realtek RTL8211E/D) + 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (Realtek RTL8189ES)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x micro USB OTG, 1x micro USB for power
  • Debugging – 3-pin UART console
  • Expansion – Raspberry Pi B+ compatible headers (40-pin header), Camera connector (CSI), and LCD connector (DSI).
  • Misc – 3x on-board buttons for reset, power, and u-boot (FEL mode), 3x LEDs (power, Ethernet, and user), and IR receiver
  • Power – 5V/2A via micro USB port. AXP209 PMIC.
  • Dimensions – 92 x 60 mm
  • Weight – 45 g

Banana_PROCompared to Banana Pi, Banana pro adds a Wi-Fi module, and a micro USB OTG port, replaces a full size SD card slot with a micro SD card slot, the RCA port and stereo audio port by a single AV port, and the 26-pin header by a 40-pin header compatible with Raspberry Pi Model B+.

The company provides firmware images for various Linux distributions including Lubuntu, Rasbpian, Android Jelly Bean, Bananian, LeMedia (XBMC in Debian), ArchLinux for ARM, Scratch, etc… These are the images for Banana Pi, but they most likely also run on the Banana PRO, although Wi-Fi support is probably not guaranteed (yet) with all of these images, some of which dates from May. Banana PRO BSP can be retrieved from github.

The board can be pre-ordered on Aliexpress for $68.88 including shipping, with actual shipping scheduled within 30 days, or I misunderstood and they expect the parcel to be delivered within 30 days. A few more details can be found on LeMaker homepage, and a forum thread.

Via Banana Pi Google+ Community and Nanik.

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Zero+ IoT Wi-Fi Board is Programmable with Lisp (Crowdfunding)

October 29th, 2014 2 comments

There have been so many low cost Wi-Fi modules and boards with GPIO headers announced this year, especially on crowdfunding sites, and from the hardware point of view, Zero+ (Zero Plus) board looks very much like many other Ralink RT5350 boards such as Vocore or AsiaRF AWM002, but what makes it different is that it can be programmed with Lisp from a web-based IDE.

Zero_Plus_Lisp

But let’s go through Zero+ board specifications first:

  • SoC – Ralink/Mediatek RT5350 MIPS processor @ 360MHz with dual band 802.11n Wi-Fi with data Rate up to 150Mbps
  • System Memory – 32 MB RAM
  • Storage – 8MB to 16 MB SPI Flash (for firmware)
  • Expansions Headers – 2x headers with access to I2C, SPI, USB, 2x UART,  JTAG, and 14x GPIOs
  • USB – 1x USB host port, 1x micro USB for power
  • Misc – 2x buttons
  • Dimensions – 36 x 25mm (possibly module dimensions only, not full board).

I’m quite confident the hardware should be OK, as they are using an existing Wi-Fi module (WL-AM01-5350-V1.2) soldered to a baseboard with USB ports, buttons, and expansion headers.

But as mentioned in the introduction, the interesting part is that it can be programmed and debugged from a WebIDE or a Cloud service using a Lisp programming language called Lambda, and there’s no need to build the code, or load the firmware as the Lisp interpreter will handle your project, a bit like if your programmed with Python or JavaScript.

Preliminary Zero+ WebIDE (Click to Enlarge)

Preliminary Zero+ WebIDE (Click to Enlarge)

The board is also a standard router running OpenWRT, so you should also be able to access it, and configure it in a more usual way if you prefer.

SmartMatrix, the company behind the project, is also providing ChipDuino, a tiny Arduino board supporting DIP MCU, to add more I/Os to Zero+, and support for a variety of sensors such as a VGA webcam, temperature and humidity sensors, light sensors, LEDs, gyroscopes, TFT and OLED screens, a PM 2.5 air quality detector, an infrared module and a microphone.

Zero+ board is shown in a few projects including an air cleaner, an electronic lock, and another project where it interfaces with Espruino JavaScript board.

In order to mass manufacture the board, the company has launched a flexible funding Indiegogo campaign planning to raise $25,000 or more. An early bird pledge of $19 can get you a Zero+ board, and after the first 100 boards, pledge will be $25. Many of the perks are kits going from $39 to $69 with sensors, a camera, an LCD display, etc… Albeit, no explicitly written, international shipping is probably included in all perks, and delivery is scheduled for February 2015.

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Nordic Semi Announces nRF51 DK Arduino Compatible Board, and nRF51 Dongle with Bluetooth Smart, ANT, and 2.4GHz Connectivity

October 29th, 2014 No comments

Nordic Semiconductor has introduced two new low cost development boards supporting Bluetooh LE, ANT/ANT+, and proprietary 2.4GHz applications based on their nRF51 series SoCs: nRF51 DK, an Arduino UNO Rev.3 compatible board that can be used for various IoT and wearables applications, and nRF51 Dongle, a USB dongle to connect to a PC or board, which can be useful for packet sniffing and BLE peer connection.

nRF51 DK Development Board

nRF51_DK

Key features listed for the board:

  • SoC – Supports nRF51822 (BT/2.4Ghz) and nRF51422 (BT/ANT) SoCs based on an ARM Cortex M0 processor, with 128kB or 256kB flash memory, and 16kB or 32kB RAM.
  • Connectivity
    • Bluetooth Smart, ANT/ANT+ and 2.4GHz proprietary
    • Integrated PCB antenna
    • Connector for RF measurements
  • Expansions Headers
    • Arduino Uno Rev. 3 compatible connector for use with 3rd party shields
    • All I/O and interfaces available via connectors
  • Debugging
    • Segger J-Link OB and ARM CMSIS-DAP Program/Debug supported
    • Support for Program/Debug of external target boards
    • Pins for power consumption measurements
  • Misc – 4x user LEDs, 4x user buttons, power switch, reset button coin-cell battery holder (back of the board)
  • Power Supply – 3.6v -1.6v, battery and USB, external
  • Dimensions – 101 x 63 mm
nRF51 DK Pinout

nRF51 DK Pinout

nRF51 DK board supports Keil MDK, IAR Workbench, and GCC toolchains, as well as ARM mbed for rapid prototyping and development using mbed’s cloud-based IDE and toolchain. Software architecture is divided into two layers: Application, SoftDevices, the company’s embedded protocol stacks that include Bluetooth Smart peripheral stack, Bluetooth Smart B-link central stack, Bluetooth Smart concurrent central/peripheral/broadcaster/observer stack, ANT/ANT+ 8 link stack, and Bluetooth Smart peripheral/ANT 8-link stack. Documentation and tools including user’s guides, development tools and drivers, hardware reference files, can be downloaded on Nordic website, sometimes publicly, but most of the times after purchasing nRF51 DK kit. The board also supports OTA-DFU (Over The Air Device Firmware Update) for on-field wireless firmware updates.

The kit includes nRF51 DK board, a CR2032 battery, and 5x nRF51 Series SoC samples, and can be purchased for $69 from Nordic Semi’s distributors, such as Digikey or Mouser. More details can be found on Nordic’s nRF51 DK product page.

nRF51 USB Dongle

nRF51_DonglenRF51 Dongle is a tiny USB dongle that can comes with a user button, an RGB LED, a few GPIO headers, and be used for software development on the nRF51 Series SoCs, and is especially useful when used in conjunction with the company’s nRF Sniffer and Master Control Panel (MCP) firmware and software. nRF Sniffer tool capture BLE packets, which can be viewed in the well-known Wireshark network capture and analysis utility.

Key features listed for nRF51 Dongle:

  • Connectivity – Bluetooth Smart, ANT and 2.4GHz
  • Supports Master Emulator – Bluetooth Smart Peer connection firmware
  • Debugging:
    • Virtual COM port interface through UART
    • Segger J-Link OB and ARM CMSIS-DAP Program/Debug supported
  • Misc – User-programmable RGB LED and button, 6x solder pads for GPIO/interface connections
  • Dimensions – 16 x 28 mm

Development is done very much the same way as with nRF51 DK, including the same toolchains from Keil, IAR, GCC. and ARM (mbed), SoftDevices stacks, and it also support OTA-DFU.

Documentation and tools can be downloaded from nRF51 Dongle page, and the board is available for $49 from various distributors such as Mouser or Digikey.

Via Embedded.com

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Boardcon Compact 31S is an Allwinner A31s based Development Board with HDMI, VGA, and LCD Interfaces

October 25th, 2014 4 comments

Boardcon Embedded Design, an ODM providing industrial Computer-on-Module, and board, announced Compact A31S powered by Allwinner A31s quad core Cortex A7 processor, with 2GB RAM, 4GB eMMC, HDMI, LCD and VGA video outputs, and various other ports.

Boardcon_Compact_A31sBoardcon Compact A31s hardware specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner A31s quad core ARM Cortex-A7 @ 1 GHz with 256 KB L1 cache, 1MB L2 cache, and PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU compliant with OpenGL ES 2.0, OpenCL 1.x, DX 9_3
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3 @ 1866MHz
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC Flash + micro SD slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4, VGA (up to 1280×800), and 40-pin FPC connector for LCD with capacitive touch screen support
  • Audio Output – HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Connectivity – 10/100M/1000M Ethernet, Wi-Fi
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x USB 2.0 OTG port
  • Camera – CMOS Camera interface
  • Expansion – 1x 20-pin expansion connector for GPIOs
  • Misc – Real Time Clock, powered by external lithium battery, IrDA, 3x User buttons, for Volume +/-, menu
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A, external battery support
  • Dimensions – 92 x 65mm

The company provides an Android 4.2.2/4.4 SDK with uboot 2011.09, Linux 3.3, various drivers, gcc toolchain, as well as the tools for development including SecureCRT.exe, Ubuntu 12.04-64bit (VM?), and PhoenixSuit.

Boardcon did not reply to my email request for availability and pricing information. More details may be found on Broadcon Compact A31S product page.

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Radxa Rock Pro / Lite Development Boards are Now Open Source Hardware

October 24th, 2014 17 comments

Many projects claim to be “open source hardware” (OSHW) after they’ve released the schematics in PDF format, and source code. But the definition of OSHW has a few more requirements, which is practise means you’ve got to release schematics and PCB layout in the native format, not only in PDF, as well as the gerber files, and the bills of materials. Open Source Hardware can also truly be useful, if you can source the components. and for example, Broadcom BCM2835 processor might be impossible to procure, especially in small quantities, and that makes the Raspberry Pi unsuitable as an open source hardware platform. Existing companies / associations dedicated to OSHW include Arduino, Beagleboard.org, Olimex, etc.., and today Radxa has joined the club by releasing all hardware designs files for Rockchip RK3188 based Radxa Rock Pro and Lite development boards (2014 version) under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This could be the very first Chinese company to do so, at least for ARM development boards.

Radxa_Rock_Schematics

You can get the hardware design files on Radxa’s oshw repository in github. Let’s see what’s they’ve released:

  1. Schematics in Orcad 16.5 and PDF formats
  2. PCB layout (.dsn) to be open with PADS 9.5
  3. Manufacturing files including the Gerber files, Bill of material (BOM), components placement, etc…
  4. Mechanical drawings in DXF format

It looks good to me, did they forget anything?

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AllWinner A80 based Cubieboard4 Development Board is Now Available for $100 (in China)

October 21st, 2014 24 comments

Allwinner and Cubietech announced they were working on Cubieboard8 in May, before we got to see some pictures of the first engineering samples. Cubieboard8 has now been renamed to Cubieboard4, also known as CC-A80 (CubieTech single board Computer A80), and the company has listed the board on Taobao for 620 RMB (~$102), with shipping scheduled for October 30.

Cubieboard_CC-A80_Board

Cubietech CC-A80 board specifications, which have changed since the first pictures were released in July:

  • SoC – AllWinner A80 octa core 4x Cortex A15 @ 2.0GHz,  4x Cortex A7 @ 1.3GHz, and Imagination PowerVR G6200 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC (25MB/s read and write speed), micro SD Card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4, and VGA
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, 2x 3.5mm audio jacks for audio output and microphone
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n up to 300 Mbps + Bluetooth 4.0 (AP6330 module)
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x Micro-B USB 3.0 port
  • Debugging – UART and JTAG (4 pins on top left of battery slot)
  • Expansion Header – 20-pin header with 2x UART, 3x I2C, GND, and VCC (5V)
  • Misc – IR receiver, RTC + battery slot, 2x user LEDs, 1x power LED, 3 push buttons for power, reset, and reboot (FEL).
  • Power – 5V/2.5A, USB 3.0, or 3.7V LiPo battery
  • Dimensions – 146x142mm
Lubuntu running on CC-A80 Board

Lubuntu running on CC-A80 Board

The board is clearly called CC-A80 V1.1 on the PCB, but it will also be referred to as Cubieboard 4. Since the board still have about 10 days before shipping, CC-A80 Wiki is far from being complete (understatement of the month), but you  can find some resources on their FTP server including schematics (PDF), datasheets for A80T, AC100, AXP809 PMIC…, and Lubuntu rootfs. Most directory are currently empty, and there are more details on Baidu including Lubuntu (eMMC and SD card) and Android 4.4 (eMMC) firmware images, as well as instructions to use CC-A80 Linux SDK. There are also some images on http://dl.cubieboard.org/software/a80/, but these may not be up-to-date, or even for Cubieboard 4.

Beside Taobao, I also found it for pre-order on a UK site for 110.79 GBP excluding VAT (about $180), with delivery expected for November 3, 2014. The price delta versus Taobao is a bit excessive, so it may pay to wait a couple of weeks to get a better deal.

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Lark Board Powered by Altera Cyclone V SX ARM Cortex A9 + FPGA SoC

October 16th, 2014 4 comments

Farnell/Element14 has quietly announced Lark Board from their subsidiary Embest Technology in September. The board is powered by an Altera Cyclone V ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core + FPGA processor with high speed transceivers, runs Debian 7.4, and targets medical instruments, video surveillance and industrial control applications.
Lark_Board
Lark board specifications:

  • SoC – Altera Cyclone V SX (5CSXFC6D6F31I7N) with a dual core Cortex A9 processor (HPS – Hard Processor System) @ 800 MHz, FPGA fabric including up to 110K logic cells (LE), and high speed transceivers (2 PCIe hard IPs and 9 3Gbps transceivers)
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3 SDRAM for HPS, 1GB DDR3 SDRAM for FPGA
  • Storage –  4GB eMMC Flash + micro SD card slot
  • Audio/Video Interfaces – HDMI, VGA, and 24-bit LCD interface supporting 4-wire touch screen
  • Data Transfer Interfaces:
    • High-resolution serial digital interface (SDI) that supports SMD standard interface and provides a SDI TX and a SDI RX
    • 12-bit digital camera input
    • 2x 12-bit high-speed ADC interfaces that support SMA input
    • PCIe x4 interface for PCIe x4, PCIe x2 and PCIe x1 adapter cards
    • RJ45 interface that supports RGMII gigabit Ethernet
    • 4x high-speed USB2.0 Host interfaces
    • 40-pin FPGA expansion interface for LVDS, RSDS, SLVS, mini-LVDS signals
    • 40-pin HPS expansion IO for I2C, SPI, QSPI, UART, GPIO signals
  • Debugging Interfaces
    • On-board USB Blaster II (Mini USB Type B)
    • 10-pin JTAG interface can be used to connect an external USB Blaster
  • Misc – Reset button and 5 user-defined buttons, RTC
  • Power – 12V~30V round DC power jack and ATX 4-pin standard power connector
  • Dimensions – 180 mm x 120 mm (10-layer PCB)
  • Temperature Range – 0~70°C (operating)

The company provides a binary image and source code based on Debian 7.4 with u-boot 2013.01.01, and Linux 3.10. The board can boot from either a micro SD card or the eMMC. Documentation includes a user’s manual, a quick start guide, schematics (PDF), sample applications, as well as datasheets for the SoC and other components.

Lark_Board_Block_Diagram

Block Diagram

Lark board is available now for $799 on Embest website where you can also find documentation, the OS image and source code. It’s also listed on Newark/Element14 and Aliexpress for around $900.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

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