Posts Tagged ‘devkit’

MUSES-α & MUSES-β DVB-T/C, ISDB-T, DTMB & ATSC Modulator Boards Review – Part 1: The Hardware

October 19th, 2016 4 comments

V-Bridge Muses digital TV modulator boards launched on Kickstarter earlier this month, with the cheaper $200 MUSES-α board modulating video from a PC, and $600 MUSES-β turnkey solution capable of broadcasting HDMI or AV + stereo input to various digital TV standards including DVB-T/C, ATSC/QAM, DTMB, and ISDB-T/TB without the help of a computer. The company sent me the two hardware kits for evaluation and review on CNX Software, and today I’ll start by showing off the hardware I received.


I got 3 packages and a F-female to F-female cable, which means you can connect the board directly to your TV tuner without having to rely on actual RF signals, and potential legal issues that goes with it.pc-modulator-kit

The first package I open if for the PC modulator kit that include MUSES-α board, an “RF” board, as a USB cable to connect to your computer.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

MUSES-α board features Vatek A1 chip, a USB port, an Ethernet port, a power jack, and  headers for UART, I2C, TS, JTAG, RF board and GPIOs.


The back of the board just has a Winbond flash.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The RF board is based on Texas Instruments TRF372017 IQ modulator PLL/VCO chip, and includes an F-male connector.


To get started you’d have to connect the USB cable, the coax cable to your TV’s tuner, as well as a 5V power supply.

The next package is the STM32 + LCD control board allowing to use MUSES-β board without PC.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

It’s made of off-the-shelf parts including DF Robots LCD keypad shield for Arduino, connected to an STM32 based board via jumper cables + some glue.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The “STM32F4xx” board is also an off-the-shelf STM32F407ZET6 ARM Cortex-M4 board found on Aliexpress for $15.50. So what you are paying for here, is not really hardware, but all the development work required for a niche product.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The third package includes the rest of the turnkey solution with an RF board, MUSES-β board based on Vatek B2 modulator and video encoding chip, and a video & audio input board with HDMI input, and 3 RCA connector for video composite and stereo audio input. All boards are already attached to an acrylic base, and the kit adds the top acrylic cover, some spacers and screws, and a 5V/2A power supply.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The RF board is exactly the same as the one used with MUSES-α board, and the AV input board features Explore Microelectronics EP9555E  for HDMI input and Intersil TW9912 for CVBS input.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

MUSES-β board comes with a USB port, a power jack, headers for the RF and AV input boards, I2C, MCU connect, and a TS port. I must have a received a prototype board, so there’s also some rework that should be gone once the kit ships to backers.

MUSES-β Kit Fully Assembled - Click to Enlarge

MUSES-β Kit Fully Assembled – Click to Enlarge

Assembly is quite straightforward:

  1. Connect the STM32 board to the “MCU connect” header
  2. Optionally add the top acrylic cover
  3. Connect the 5V/2A power supply
  4. Connect the coax cable to your TV, and add video and audio input(s) to the HDMI port or CVBS + stereo audio RCA jacks
  5. Scan the channel on your TV, and enjoy

That’s exactly what I’ll try in the second part of the review, once I receive some documentation from the company.

CHIP Pro is a $16 WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 System-on-Module Powered by a $6 GR8 ARM Cortex A8 SIP

October 12th, 2016 24 comments

Next Thing CHIP board and corresponding PocketCHIP portable Linux computer have been relatively popular due to their inexpensive price for the feature set, as for $9, you’d get an Allwinner R8 ARM Cortex A8 processor, 512MB flash, 4GB NAND flash, WiFi & Bluetooth connectivity, and plenty of I/Os, which made it very attractive for IoT applications compared to other cheap boards such as Raspberry Pi Zero and Orange Pi One. The first board was mostly designed for hobbyists, but  company has now designed a new lower profile system-on-module called CHIP Pro based on Next Thing GR8 SIP combining Allwinner R8 SoC with 256MB DDR3 RAM that can be used for easy integration into your own hardware project.

chip-proWhile the original CHIP board exposed full USB ports and interface for video signal, the new CHIP Pro is specifically designed for IoT with the following specs:

  • SIP – Allwinner R8 ARM Cortex A8 processor @ up to 1.0 GHz with Mali-400 GPU + 256MB DDR3 RAM (14×14 mm package)
  • Storage – 512MB SLC NAND flash, 1x micro SD port
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi + Bluetooth 4.2 with chip antenna and u.FL antenna connector
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for power and serial console access
  • Expansion – 2x 16-pin with 2x UART, parallel camera interface, I2C, SPI, 2x PWM, USB 2.0 OTG, USB 2.0 host, 2x microphone, 1x headphone
  • Power Supply – AXP209 PMU supporting USB power, Charge in, and 2.9 to 4.2V LiPo battery
  • Dimensions – 45 x 30 mm
  • Certifications – CE and FCC part 15
Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The module is pre-loaded with the company’s Linux based GadgetOS operating system, but custom firmware flashing is available for orders of 1,000 modules or more. Potential applications include physical computing, voice recognition, smart consumer devices, portable audio devices and so on. Software support should be identical to what you already get in CHIP board, and you can already find some hardware design files specific to CHIP Pro on Github including datasheets for the system-on-module and Allwinner GR8 SIP.

chip-pro-devkitIn order to help you getting started as fast as possible, a development kit is also available with a baseboard and two CHIP Pro modules. The baseboard include a 5V-23V power jack, a 3.5mm audio jack, a micro USB port, a USB host port, some LEDs, a power button, and female headers for easy access to all I/Os.

CHIP Pro SoM will start selling for $16 in December of this year without minimum order quantity, and no volume discount, e.g. if you buy 1 million SoMs, you’d have to pay 16 million dollars. One issue with CHIP board is that if you asked Allwinner for a quote for module used in the board, it would cost more or about the same as the board itself. Allwinner/Next Thing GR8 is completely different, as you can actually buy it for $6 (including AXP-209 PMIC) to integrate into your own project. The development kit is available now for $49. More technical details and purchase links can be found on the product page.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

V-Bridge Muses Digital TV Modulator Boards Let You Broadcast Your Own TV Channel for $199 and Up (Crowdfunding)

October 5th, 2016 11 comments

I wrote about VATek VMB8202D Enmoder SoC handling both DVB, ATSC, DTMB and ISDB modulation and H.264 hardware encoding earlier this summer, and at the time, the company also planned to launch a crowdfunding campaign for two open source hardware DTV modulation boards in a couple of weeks. Weeks turned into months, but finally V-Bridge Muses boards and video input & RF daughterboards have now launched on Kickstarter where you can get your own live video broadcasting board for $199 and up.

MUSES-α board


Muses Alpha Board

MUSES-α board is the cheapest of the two boards, and features a header for the RF daughter board, and a USB port to connect to a computer.
MUSES-α board specifications:

  • SoC – VATek A1 32-bit RISC modulator chip
  • Storage – SPI flash (unclear whether it can be accessed/modified by user)
  • Modulation – DVB-T/C, ATSC/QAM, DTMB; RF header
  • Video Encoding – N/A (handled by PC via USB or another board via TS header)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Expansion – UART header, Master I2C header, TS header, GPIO header
  • Debugging – JTAG pin
  • Misc – License MCU
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via power barrel

MUSES-α board is sold with the RF board, and allows you to broadcast video over your chosen modulation scheme, through a GUI and video encoded on your PC via the USB interface. Alternatively, you should also be able to input the video signal via the TS serial/parallel header with video encoded by your own board.

MUSES-β board

Muses Beta Board

Muses Beta Board

MUSES-β board combined with the RF daughterboard, video input board, and an optional STM32 kits with display and buttons, is a standalone solution taking video composite + stereo audio (RCA connectors) or HDMI input, encoding the video to MPEG2 or H.264, and broadcasting using your selected modulation scheme.

MUSES-β board specifications:

  • SoC – VATek B2 Enmoder 32-bit RISC chip
  • Storage – SPI flash (unclear whether it can be accessed/modified by user)
  • Modulation – DVB-T/C, ATSC/QAM, DTMB, ISDB-T/TB; RF header
  • Video Encoding – MPEG-2 in full HD resolution, H.264 in SD resolution
  • Video/Audio Input – 2x BT 601/605 header, 1x TS header, video input daughterboard header
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Expansion – UART header, Master I2C header, GPIO header, Ethernet module header, MCU connect header
  • Misc – License MCU, audio switch MCU, reset and rescue buttons
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via power barrel

You can also connected to a PC via the USB port to do the same task as you would with Muses-α board. You can more control with the more complete board, as it can be programmed via an host MCU if needed.

Video Input Board (Left) & RF module (Right) - Click to Enlarge

Video Input Board (Left) & RF module (Right) – Click to Enlarge


You’ll be given STM32 sample code, an MCU Porting Guide, operating tools, PCB layout & schematic, and a user’s manual  once the boards are shipping.

Three kits are available on Kickstarter:

  1. $199 Basic Package –  MUSES-α Board, RF Board, Power supply (Design complete)
  2. $399 Standard Package –  MUSES-β Board, Video Board, RF Board, Power supply (Work in progress)
  3. $559 (Early bird)/$599 Turnkey Package –  MUSES-β Board, Video Board, RF Board, STM32F4 MCU Board, Panel & Button, Power supply (Design complete)

While you’ll be paying $169 to $200 for a MCU board with LCD display with buttons for the turnkey package, it should be the easiest way to get started with MUSES-β board. The standard package requires you to connect and program your own MCU board to control the system. The basic package should also be straightforward to use then it just relies on the GUI program (no detailed info yet).

Shipping adds $25 (Taiwan) to $70 depending on the destination country, and delivery is scheduled for January 2017. You may also be able to get some more details on V-Bridge Tech website.

Intel Unveils Joule Compute Module and Devkit for IoT based on Atom T5500 & T5700 Processors

August 17th, 2016 8 comments

As the Intel Developer Forum 2016 is now taking place in San Francisco, Intel has unveiled the Joule Compute Module and development kit targeting IoT applications. The module is not for low cost and low power sensor nodes however, as it features a powerful quad core Atom processor running at 1.5+ GHz, so it more suited to IoT gateways, or other application requiring lots of processing power to handle sensor data.

Intel-JouleTwo models of the Joule module have been introduced:

  • Intel Joule 570x platform
    • SoC – Intel Atom T5700 64-bit quad-core processor @ 1.7 GHz / 2.4 GHz (Burst frequency) with Intel HD Graphics with 4K video capture and display
    • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
    • Storage – 16GB eMMC memory
    • Connectivity – 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO and Bluetooth 4.1
    • Other interfaces –  USB 3.0, MPI CSI and DSI interfaces, and multiple GPIO, I2C, UART interfaces
  • Intel Joule 550x platform
    • SoC – Intel Atom T5500 64-bit quad-core processor @ 1.5 GHz with Intel HD Graphics with 4K video capture and display
    • System Memory – 3GB LPDDR4 RAM
    • Storage – 8GB eMMC memory
    • Connectivity – 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO and Bluetooth 4.1
    • Other interfaces –  USB 3.0, MPI CSI and DSI interfaces, and multiple GPIO, I2C, UART interfaces

Both modules run Ostro Linux-based OS – built with the Yocto Project – tailored for IoT and smart devices, and support Intel RealSense cameras and libraries. Intel also mentions that “Developers can choose to develop on Ubuntu/Ubuntu Core (Snappy) or Microsoft Windows 10 IoT Core”.

The modules are already used to develop several products and demos including PivotHead smart glasses used by Airbus for quality control, Vstone bartending robot featuring a RealSense camera to track a person’s face, Eyelights highway patrol motorcycle helmet display used to read license plates, Microsoft Bamboo robotic companion to help parents of children with diabetes, Canonical robots to demonstrate Ubuntu Core and the Robot Operating System (ROS), as well as Gumstix custom carrier boards for Joule Compute Module.


Intel will offer a developer kit for each version of the Joule module, but currently on Joule 570x developer kit can be purchased through partners such as Mouser and Newegg for $370, and Joule 550x devkit will be launched on Q4 2016.

Joule 570x devkit specifications:

  • Joule module based on Intel Atom T5700 processor with 4GB RAM (PoP), 16GB storage, 2x 100-pin connectors
  • Storage – micro SD slot
  • Video Output – micro HDMI port
  • USB – 1 x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 3.0 type C OTG port
  • Camera – 2x 4-Lane MIPI CSI Connectors
  • Expansion – 2x 40 pin females header with 3.3V (5V tolerant) signals for I2S, digital microphone, PCIe, I2C, RTC, SPI, SDIO, UART, PWM, GPIOs, MIPI DSI…
  • Debugging – 1x micro USB port for serial console
  • Power – 12V via Power barrel
  • Dimensions – Joule module: 48 x 24mm

Beside the board and module, the kit includes a micro-SD card, a type-A to type-C micro USB cable, two Wi-Fi antennas, and a heatsink and fastener. The board will run Ostro OS with Linux 4.4 and application framework for Node.js, Python, and C/C++ applications. The “BIOS” will be an open source UEFI implementation. Software development tools include Intel XDK IoT Edition and Intel System Studio IoT Edition, Intel RealSense API support, and Intel IoT Developer Kit.

While you can get the devkit right now, Intel Joule 570x and 550x platforms will only become broadly available in Q4 2016 at an undisclosed price. They will be available is over 100 countries by the end of Q4 including the United States, Canada, Japan and most of Europe. More details can be found on Intel Joule IDF page.

Infineon Showcases the Radar Board used in Google’s Project Soli, and Sense2Go Development Kit (Video)

June 30th, 2016 2 comments

Google’s Project Soli sensing technology uses a miniature radar to detect touchless gesture interactions, so that you can control devices such as wearables using gestures without having to physical touch the product. The 60 GHz radar technology used in the project has been developed by Infineon, and the company was recently interviewed by Arrow Electronics where they showcased Soli board, as well as another 24 GHz radar development kit called Sense2Go.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The Soli board called BGT60TR24 features Infineon XMC4500 ARM Cortex M4 MCU, and a 60 GHz “CRIS20” radar chip designed specially for Project Soli by Infineon, and allowing 20mm resolution, falling to less than one millimeter with Google’s algorithms. The micro USB port will be used for power and programming. This board should be the one included in Project Soli development kit to be shipped to developers this fall.

Infineon also have a Sense2Go 24GHz sensor development kit that can detect motion, speed, and direction of movement in applications such as indoor/outdoor smart lighting, intruder alarm, motion detectors, intelligent door openers, and more.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Sense2Go board specifications:

  • MCU – Infineon XMC 4200 ARM Cortex M4 MCU @ 80 MHz with 256 KB flash, 40 KB RAM
  • Radar – BGT24MTR11 24 Ghz radar transmitter and receiver IC
  • USB – 1x micro USB port
  • Debugging – Cortex debug connector
  • Misc – 2x User LEDs, 2x 10-pin headers
  • Power – 5V via micro USB port or header
  • Dimensions – 4 x 3.5 cm

The CPU is already preprogrammed using Infineon’s DAVE development tool, and the module comes bundled with a standalone firmware for movement detection without the aid of a PC. It samples up to 2 IF channels of the transceiver chipset and communicates via USB interface to a connected PC, and provided PC application GUI (Windows XP/Vista/7/8) can be used to display and analyze acquired data in time and frequency domain.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The kit also includes a User’s Manual, schematic and Bill-of-Materials of the module, and a micro USB-to-USB cable. Sense2Go can be purchased from various distributors using part number, including Future Electronics ($244) and Avnet.

Get an Early ESP32 Board by Contributing to Luanode for ESP8266 & ESP32 Project (Crowdfunding)

June 22nd, 2016 5 comments

Development boards and module based on Espressif ESP32 dual core processor with WiFi and Bluetooth LE connectivity are due for Q3 or Q4 2016, but you could get an early sample as early as July if you contribute to Jimmy Wu’s (of crowdfunding campaign to develop Luanode (Lua SDK) for ESP8266 and ESP32 processors, as ESP32 boards are part of the rewards.


Luanode is a Lua SDK for ESP32 and ESP8266 that supports multi-tasking through FreeRTOS, and includes support for peripherals. The source code and documentation can be already be found on Github, and the main differences against something like NodeMCU appear to be multi-tasking and (for now) ESP32 support. Interestingly the SDK contains a tools called WiFi-Killer uses for Denial of Service (DoS) attacks using ESP8266 or ESP32 modules…


One hardware project is called WiFi tank comprised of one T300 Tank Chassis, ESP8266 Development Kit, 720p HD Camera, WR703N Wireless Router, and controlled by an Android or iOS smartphone. The company behind the project is DOIT (Doctors of Intelligence and Technology) and the funds would be used for hardware, software, and documentation.

With less than 3 days to go, the campaign has not reached its goal yet however. ESP32 development kit rewards is $19, while a pack with 6 ESP32 devkit only costs $39 (maybe baseboard + 6 modules?), and the WiFi tank “video car” is also offered for $219. Shipping appears to be included, and delivery is scheduled for July 2016 for all three rewards.

Thanks to Harley for the tip.

Marvell IAP220 “IoT” Processor Targets Low Power Touchscreen Enabled Appliances

June 14th, 2016 No comments

After IAP140 quad core Cortex A53 processor found in Brillo compatible AndroMeda Box Edge, Marvell has recently introduced another IAP processor for the Internet of Things with IAP220 dual core Cortex A7 processor targeting “low power cost sensitive home automation, industrial, security, and wearable applications”.

IAP220_Block_DiagramIAP220 SoC specifications:

  • Processor – Dual ARM Cortex-A7 core up to 1.0 GHz
  • GPU – 3D GPU with OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 support
  • MCU – ARM Cortex M4F
  • Memory I/F – LP-DDR2/3, DDR3
  • Storage – eMMC and SDIO interfaces
  • Display – MIPI video and command mode; LCD display
  • Video – Full HD encode and decode with H.264, MPEG-4, H.263, MJPEG and more
  • Camera – Digital video camera interface, 2x, 2-lane CSI
  • Audio – I2S, TDM; support for multiple PDM (pulse-density modulation) microphones and speakers
  • Sensor hub • Low power sensor processing
  • Management I/O – SPI, GPIO, PWM? (the product brief says PWD instead), UART, 1-wire, I2C
  • Security – Secure boot, secure provisioning
  • Package –  ePOP and discrete


The IAP220 can also be paired with Marvell WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS chips, and the company supports Android, Linux or Brillo operating systems for the processor. Development and evaluation can be done on WiFI and Bluetooth enabled development boards based on IAP220 or IAP140 including a generic Linux board with or without Kinoma IoT application development framework, an Android board, as well as a Marvell sensor board, but clear details about the hardware have not been presented, except for IAP140 based AndroMeda Box.

Marvell IAP220 is currently sampling to customers. More information can be found on Marvell’s application processors page.

Via HackerBoards

STMicro Unveils Two Low Cost STM32F7 ARM Cortex M7 Development Boards

June 1st, 2016 1 comment

STMicroelectronics introduiced its STM32F7 ARM Cortex M7 micro-controller family in 2014, and they released a $49 STM32F746G discovery board later in 2015. The company has now launched two new low cost development boards with the $23 STM32 Nucleo-144 board based on STM32F767 MCU, and a $79 Discovery Kit powered by STM32F746 MCU with TFT-LCD and MIPI-DSI support.

STM32 Nucleo-144 development board

STM32_Nucleo-144Key feature of NUCLEO-F767ZI board:

  • MCU – STMicro STM32F767ZI ARM Cortex M7 microcontroller @ 216 MHz with FPU, DSP, MMU, 2MB flash, 512 KB SRAM, 16 KB instruction TCM RAM (for critical real-time routines), and 4 KB backup SRAM
  • Connectivity – IEEE-802.3-2002 compliant Ethernet connector
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG or full speed device
  •  Extension:
    • ST Zio connector including support for Arduino UNO v3 connectivity, and additional signals (A6 to A8, D16 to D72)
    • ST morpho extension pin header footprints for full access to all STM32 I/Os
  • On-board ST-LINK/V2-1 debugger/programmer with SWD connector
  • Misc – 3x user LEDs; USER & RESET push-buttons; 32.768 KHz crystal oscillator
  • Power supply
    • 5V from ST-LINK/V2-1 USB VBUS
    • External power sources: 3.3 V and 7 – 12 V on ST Zio or ST morpho connectors, 5 V on ST morpho connector

The board is ARM mbed enabled, the company provides free software HAL library & software examples, and the development board is  also supported by tools such as IAR, Keil, and GCC-based IDEs.

Hardware and software documentation, as well as links to distributors can be found on the product page.



Key features of STM32F769I-DISCO board:

  • MCU – STMicro STM32F769NIH6 ARM Cortex-M7 microcontroller @ 216 MHz with FPU, DSP, MMU,  2MB Flash, 512 KB SRAM, 16 KB instruction TCM RAM (for critical real-time routines), and 4 KB backup SRAM
  • External Memory – 128-Mbit SDRAM
  • External Storage – micro SD slot, 512-Mbit Quad-SPI Flash memory
  • Display – 4″ capacitive touch LCD display with MIPI DSI connector
  • Connectivity – Ethernet connector compliant with IEEE-802.3-2002, WI-FI or Ext-EEP daughterboard connector
  • Audio
    • SAI audio codec
    • 2x audio line jacks, one for input and one for output
    • Stereo speaker outputs
    • 4x ST MEMS microphones on DFSDM inputs
    • 2x S/PDIF RCA input and output connectors
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port
  • On-board ST-LINK/V2-1 supporting USB reenumeration capability
  • Expansion – Arduino UNO v3 headers
  • Misc – 2x push buttons (user and reset)
  • Power supply:
    • ST LINK/V2-1
    • USB HS connector
    • 5 V from RJ45 (Power Over Ethernet)
    • 5 V from Arduino or external connector
    • USB charger
    • Power Over Ethernet based on IEEE 802.3af (Powered Device, 48V to 5V, 3W)
    • Power supply output for external applications: 3.3 V or 5 V
Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The company provide libraries and examples part of the STM32Cube package, and the board is also supported by various integrated development environments: Keil MDK-ARM, IAR EWARM, and GCC-based IDEs (free AC6: SW4STM32, Atollic TrueSTUDIO, …) allowing  development in Linux or Windows operating systems. Like other STMicro boards, STM32F769I-DISCO board is open source hardware, and you can find the hardware design files, as well as software document on the product page, where you’ll also find links to purchase the board.

The company also announced two higher end STM32F7 boards selling for $360: STM32F769I-EVAL & STM32F779I-EVAL.