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Posts Tagged ‘devkit’

RTL8710 Ameba Arduino Development Board and Ameba Arduino v2.0.0 SDK Released

January 20th, 2017 1 comment

We’ve already seen a NodeMCU lookalike board called RTLDuino based on Realtek RTL8710AF ARM Cortex M3 WiSoC earlier this month, that can be programmed with a community supported Arduino port also called rtlduino via a JLink SWD debugger, but now Realtek has just launched Ameba RTL8710 Arduino board, and released Ameba Arduino v2.0.0 SDK which brings official Arduino support to RTL8710AF platforms.

Click to Enlarge

There appears to be two versions of the development kit: RTLDUINO_PRO_V1.0 and REALTEK-AMEBA_RTL8710_V2.0, but based on the user manual they seem to be identical, and as you can see from the above picture, it includes a baseboard and the aforementioned RTLDuino board.

RTL8710 Ameba Arduino HDK key features:

  • SoC – Realtek RTL8710AF ARM Cortex-M3 MCU @ 83 MHz with 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, hardware SSL engine connected to the baseboard via:
    1. RTLDuino board through female header
    2. B&T RTL-00 module soldered on module footprint
  • USB – 2x micro USB ports, CON2 used for power and Arduino programming, CON1 used for DAP programming (TBC)
  • Expansion – Arduino UNO headers with GPIOs, power signals, 2x UART, SPI, I2C, and 4x PWM
  • Debug Headers – 4-pin Mbed connector, 10-pin Jlink connector, 4-pin for serial console
  • Misc – T/R & n/R buttons maybe to select programming mode?, reset and test buttons

Pinout Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The documentation in English is still work in progress, but Realtek already released a getting started guide to program the board with Arduino IDE 1.6.5 or later. The guide only mentions Windows, so it’s unclear whether Linux is supported for now, but the steps are pretty simple:

  1. Install mbed serial drivers
  2. Install Ameba board packages in Arduino IDE
  3. Connect the board via USB to your computer, and select Ameba RTL8710 board in Arduino IDE
  4. Use Blink program to blink an LED connected to GPIO 13.
  5. Profit!

Ameba RTL8710 & Arduino IDE – Click to Enlarge

I understand you may not even need to use RTL8710 Ameba Arduino SDK for this if you have a board with the latest firmware. If not, you may need to update the firmware, but there’s no documentation about this, and it’s unclear whether this can be done via the RTLDUINO / AMEBA_RTL8710 baseboard, or a separate JLINK SWD debugger is needed.

The SDK has been released on Ameba IoT China website, and will soon be on Ameba IoT (English) website. The hardware development kit can be purchased for NT$ 630.0 in Taiwan, and 150 CNY (~$22) on Taobao. If you live outside of China, you could use a Taobao agent to ship to your country, or probably better, wait until Realtek gets a worldwide distributor.

Raspberry Pi 3 Compute Modules CM3 and CM3L Launched for $30 and $25

January 16th, 2017 14 comments

We all knew Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 were about to be launched soon, as the Raspberry Pi foundation announced a partnership with NEC displays last October, and the datasheet for two version of the Broadcom BCM2837 based system-on-module, CM3 and CM3L (Light), was released shortly after. The good news is that the modules have officially been launched for $30 and $25 for respectively Compute Module 3 with 4GB flash, and Compute Module 3 Light with the SD card signals exposed via the SO-DIMM connector. The foundation has also lowered the original compute module price to $25.

Here are Compute Module 3 specifications as a reminder:

  • SoC – Broadcom BCM2837 quad core Cortex A53 processor @ 1.2 GHz with Videocore IV GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB LPDDR2
  • Storage
    • CM3L – SD card signals through SO-DIMM connector
    • CM3 – 4GB eMMC flash
  • 200-pin edge connector with:
    • 48x GPIO
    • 2x I2C, 2x SPI, 2x UART
    • 2x SD/SDIO, 1x NAND interface (SMI)
    • 1x HDMI 1.3a
    • 1x USB 2.0 HOST/OTG
    • 1x DPI (Parallel RGB Display)
    • 1x 4-lane CSI Camera Interface (up to 1Gbps per lane), 1x 2-lane CSI Camera Interface (up to 1Gbps per lane)
    • 1x 4-lane DSI Display Interface (up to 1Gbps per lane), 1x 2-lane DSI Display Interface (up to 1Gbps per lane)
  • Power Supply – VBAT (2.5V to 5.0V) for BCM2837 processor core, 3.3V for PHYs, UI and eMMC flash, 1.8V for PHYs, IO, and SDRAM, VDAC (2.8V typ.) for video composite DAC, GPIO0-27_VREF & GPIO28-45_VREF (1.8 to 3.3V) for the two GPIO banks.
  • Dimensions – 67.6 x 31 mm; compliant with JEDEC MO-224 mechanical specification used in DDR2 SO-DIMM memory module
  • Temperature Range – -25 to +80 degrees Celsius

The module is mostly electrically & mechanically backward compatible with the original Compute Module, and benefits from the software running on Raspberry Pi 3 board. You’ll find specific documentation here.

In order to get started quickly, a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 devkit is also offered with a CM3 module and a “Compute Module IO V3” baseboard exposing GPIO headers, an HDMI port, a USB port, a micro SD slot, and more.

Raspberry Pi Compute Modules CM3 and CM3L, as well as the development kit (~$150), can be purchased on RS Components and element14.

ESP32-WROVER-KIT Devkit Supports Espressif ESP32 Modules, Includes a 3.2″ LCD Display

December 30th, 2016 4 comments

Yesterday Olimex wrote a blog post informing us that ESP32-CoreBoard was back in stock, one the many ESP32 boards launched late this year, but still hard to get. The company also mentioned they’d have limited quantity of the new ESP32-WROVER with JTAG and LCD display together with the picture below.

esp32-wrover-esp32-lcd-kit

ESP32 is quite more powerful than ESP8266 so it makes sense to have an ESP32 development kit with an LCD display. A quick DuckDuckGo search led me to ESP-WROVER-KIT Getting Started Guide, where we can find more details including the overall specifications:

  • Compatible with ESP-WROOM-32 and ESP32-WROVER modules based on ESP32 dual core Tensilica L108 processor clocked at up to 240 MHz with WiFi and Bluetooth LE connectivity
  • Storage – Micro SD slot
  • Display – 3.2″ LCD display connected via SPI
  • USB – 1x micro USB port
  • Expansion
    • 8-pin UART header
    • 6-pin SPI header
    • 48-pin header for I/Os and camera interface (standard OV7670 camera module supported)
  • Debugging – JTAG through USB interface (FTDI FT2232HL) or 14-pin header
  • Misc – CTS/RTS jumper; power selection (EXT or USB); RGB LED; boot & reset (EN) buttons
  • Power Supply – 5V DC input; 5V to 3.3V LDO chip
  • Dimensions – 85.2 x 79.0 mm
ESP-WROVER-KIT Block Diagram - Click to Enlarge

ESP-WROVER-KIT Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The rest of the getting started guide explains how to configure jumpers to set the power source, serial flow control, and JTAG. It also shows how to access the serial console with a typical 115200 8N1 connection, as well as compile and load a simple hello program with ESP-IDF SDK in Windows and Linux.

Image Source: HackerBoads

Image Source: HackerBoards

Beside the development kit itself, I also discovered the new ESP32-WROVER module with the same feature as ESP-WROOM-32 plus an extra 32Mbit pSRAM chip and an external antenna connector.

esp32-wrover

ESP32-WROVER Photo via ESP32 Twitter Account

The kit should be available in January based on Olimex’ blog post, but we don’t have any pricing info yet.

JeVois-A33 is a Small Quad Core Linux Camera Designed for Computer Vision Applications (Crowdfunding)

December 27th, 2016 8 comments

JeVois Neuromorphic Embedded Vision Toolkit – developed at iLab at the University of Southern California – is an open source software framework to capture and process images through a machine vision algorithm, primarily designed to run on embedded camera hardware, but also supporting Linux board such as the Raspberry Pi. A compact Allwinner A33 has now been design to run the software and use on robotics and other projects requiring a lightweight and/or battery powered camera with computer vision capabilities.

allwinner-a33-computer-vision-cameraJeVois-A33 camera:

  • SoC – Allwinner A33  quad core ARM Cortex A7 processor @ 1.35GHz with  VFPv4 and NEON, and a dual core Mali-400 GPU supporting OpenGL-ES 2.0.
  • System Memory – 256MB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Storage – micro SD slot for firmware and data
  • 1.3MP camera capable of video capture at
    • SXGA (1280 x 1024) up to 15 fps (frames/second)
    • VGA (640 x 480) up to 30 fps
    • CIF (352 x 288) up to 60 fps
    • QVGA (320 x 240) up to 60 fps
    • QCIF (176 x 144)  up to 120 fps
    • QQVGA (160 x 120) up to 60 fps
    • QQCIF (88 x 72) up to 120 fps
  • USB – 1x mini USB port for power and act as a UVC webcam
  • Serial – 5V or 3.3V (selected through VCC-IO pin) micro serial port connector to communicate with Arduino or other MCU boards.
  • Power – 5V (3.5 Watts) via USB port requires USB 3.0 port or Y-cable to two USB 2.0 ports
  • Misc
    • Integrated cooling fan
    • 1x two-color LED: Green: power is good. Orange: power is good and camera is streaming video frames.
  • Dimensions –  28 cc or 1.7 cubic inches (plastic case included with 4 holes for secure mounting)

jevois-camera-hardwareThe camera runs Linux with the drivers for the camera, JeVois C++17 video capture, processing & streaming framework, OpenCV 3.1, and toolchains. You can either connect it to a host computer’s USB port to check out the camera output (actual image + processed image), or to an MCU board such as Arduino via the serial interface to use machine vision to control robots, drones, or others. Currently three modes of operation are available:

  • Demo/development mode – the camera outputs a demo display over USB that shows the results of its analysis, potentially along with simple data over serial port.
  • Text-only mode – the camera provides no USB output, but only text strings, for example, commands for a pan/tilt controller.
  • Pre-processing mode – The smart camera outputs video that is intended for machine consumption, and potentially processed by a more powerful system.

The smart camera can detect motion, track faces and eyes, detect & decode ArUco makers & QR codes, detect & follow lines for autonomous cars, and more. Since the framework is open source, you’ll also be able to add your own algorithms and modify the firmware. Some documentation has already been posted on the project’s website. The best is to watch the demo video below to see the capacities of the camera and software.

The project launched in Kickstarter a few days ago with the goal of raising $50,000 for the project. A $45 “early backer” pledge should get you a JeVois camera with a micro serial connector with 15cm pigtail leads, while a $55 pledge will add an 8GB micro SD card pre-load with JeVois software, and a 24/28 AWG mini USB Y cable. Shipping is free to the US, but adds $10 to Canada, and $15 to the rest of the work. Delivery is planned for February and March 2017.

SonikTech e-Paper Shield Starter Kit Relies on Teensy LC MCU Board

December 23rd, 2016 2 comments

Soniktek Electronics has designed the “e-Paper Shield Starter Kit” featuring Pervasive Displays’ E2215CS062 e-paper screen, and an adapter board to connect it to Teensy LC (Low Cost) board powered by NXP Kinetis L ARM Cortex M0+ microcontroller @ 48 MHz, or other 3.3V MCU boards supporting SPI.

e-paper-devkitAdapter board & display specifications:

  • Supports Pervasive Displays 2.15″ E2215CS062 e-paper screen with 208 x 112 resolution, no backlight required, fully sunlight-readable
  • Communication protocol – SPI  @ 3.3V
  • Sensor – On-board thermometer with I2C interface
  • Dimensions – Screen: 48 mm x 26 mm; adapter board fits into Teensy-LC module (36x18mm)

The advantages of e-Paper display are that they don’t require power to maintain an image, and they can be read in sunlight, just like actual paper. I can’t remember having seen many – if any – low cost e-Paper development kits so far, and the project is open source hardware with design files and source code available on hackster.io.

The project was successfully funded on Crowdsupply last month, but you can now pre-order directly on the platform, starting at $25 for the adapter only if you already have an MCU board and the e-Paper display, $50 for the adapter board, and display, and $75 for a full kit with Teensy LC board, the adapter board, and the e-Paper Display. Shipping is free to the US, and $5 to the rest of the world.

If you are interested in e-Paper display development kits, I’ve noticed there are a dozen listed on Pervasive Display e-Ink development kits page, including e-Paper HATs boards for Raspberry Pi Zero, and other Raspberry Pi boards, and e-Paper shields for Arduino.

Via Softei.com

NXP LPC Microcontrollers Roadmap for 2017 – LPC800 and LPC54000 Series

December 17th, 2016 No comments

With the acquisition of Freescale, NXP now has both Kinetis and LPC ARM Cortex M micro-controller families. The company has kept selling both so far, but it’s unclear whether they’ll keep developing new Kinetis MCU family in the future. There’s no such doubt about LPC family with the company having published a 2017 roadmap for ARM Cortex M0+ based LPC 800 series, and ARM Cortex M4 based LPC54000 series.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

LPC800 series MCUs are promoted as 8-bit MCU alternatives, and three new models are expected next year:

  • LPC84x ARM Cortex M0+ @ 30 MHz with 64KB flash, 8 to 16KB RAM available in QFN and LQFP packages.
  • LPC802 ARM Cortex M0+ @ 15 MHz with 16KB flash, 2KB RAM available in TSSOP packages
  • LPC804 ARM Cortex M0+ @ 15 MHz with 32KB flash, 4KB RAM available in QFN or TSSOP packages

There will be new models of the more powerful LPC54000 series:

  • LPC546xx ARM Cortex-M4 @ 180 MHz with 256 to 512KB flash, 16KB EEPROM, 136 to 200KB RAM available in LQFP and TBGA packages
  • LPC546xx “Flashless” ARM Cortex-M4 @ 180 MHz with 360 KB RAM available in LQFP and TBGA packages

lpcxpresso54608-board

NXP will also soon launch LPC54608 development board (OM13092) to let people evaluate the new LPC546xx MCUs.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

$24 Winkel Arduino Compatible Board Includes WiFi, Bluetooth, 2.4 GHz RF, and an RTC (Crowdfunding)

December 13th, 2016 3 comments

There are plenty of Arduino compatible boards with WiFi based on ESP8266 WiSoC going for around $5 to $10, and with ESP32 processor, we are starting to have $15 to $20 boards with both WiFi and Bluetooth, but while ESP-IDF SDK has been progressing nicely, some parts of Bluetooth functionality are still not implemented. Winkel board offers an interesting alternative by offering WiFi, Bluetooth, 2.4GHz ISM, and an RTC for $24.

winkelWinkel board specifications:

  • MCU – Microchip/Atmel ATmega128 MCU @ 16 MHz with 128KB flash memory, 4KB SRAM, 4KB EEPROM
  • Connectivity
    • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n via ESP12E module based on ESP8266
    • Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR via HC-05 module
    • RF Radio – NRF24l01 2.4 GHz ISM radio. (Note: It might be possible to use it for Bluetooth LE connection, see here and there).
  • I/Os (through both Atmel MCU and ESP8266)
    • 38x Digital I/Os
    • 7x PWM Digital I/Os
    • 8x Analog Inputs
  • USB – micro USB port for programming and power
  • Misc – DS3231 Real-Time Clock + CR2032 battery slot, a few LEDS, reset button, jumper for OTA mode, ISP header, optional MPU-6050 Gyro+accelerometer mount
  • Power Supply – 5 V
  • Dimensions – TBD
Click to Enlarge

Winkel Pinout Diagram – Click to Enlarge

Winkel board can be programmed with the Arduino IDE via a micro USB cable, but you could also program the Atmel MCU over Bluetooth, and ESP12 module over WiFi without any cable required, a must if you want to update your firmware while the board is already in a case or hard to access. Thanks to the company’s “Smart Opt system” individual components can be power on and off individually, so that unused module don’t draw power. Source code for the firmware and code samples can be found on github.

arduino-esp8266-rtc-hc05

Rishi Hegde of Mintbox Technologies informed me that the board has now been launched on CrowdSupply with the company aiming to raise at least $1080. A $21 early bird pledge should get you the board will all modules (the price will be $24 after the first 50 boards are gone), but if you only want the core boards, and add your own modules, you could also pledge $12 to get the board with Atmel ATMega128 MCU and a micro USB port only. Shipping is free to India and the US, but adds $9 to the rest of the world, with delivery expected in March 2017. More details may be available in Mintbox Technologies’ Winkel product page.

STMicro SensorTile is a Tiny STM32 Module with Bluetooth 4.1 LE and Four Sensor Chips

December 8th, 2016 No comments

STMicroelectronics SensorTile is a 13.5 x 13.5mm sensor board based on STM32L4 ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller, a MEMS accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, pressure sensor, a MEMS microphone, as well as a 2.4Ghz radio chip for Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy connectivity for wearables, smart home, and IoT projects.

stmicro-sensortile

SensorTile hardware specifications:

  • MCU – STMicro STM32L476 ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller@ up to 80 MHz with 128 KB RAM, 1MB flash
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.1 Smart/LE via BlueNRG-MS network processor with integrated 2.4GHz radio compliant with
  • Sensors
    • LSM6DSM 3D accelerometer + 3D gyroscope
    • LSM303AGR 3D Magnetometer + 3D accelerometer
    • LPS22HB pressure sensor/barometer
    • MP34DT04 digital MEMS microphone
  • I/Os – 2x 9 half holes with access to UART, SPI, SAI (Serial Audio Interface), I2C, DFSDM, USB, OTG, ADC, and GPIOs signals
  • Debugging – SWD interface (multiplexed with GPIOs)
  • Power Supply Range – 2V to 5.5 V
  • Dimensions – 13.5 x 13.5 mm
SensorTile's Functional Block Diagram - Click to Enlarge

SensorTile’s Functional Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

Software development can be done through a sets of APIs based on the STM32Cube Hardware Abstraction Layer and middleware components, including the STM32 Open Development Environment. The module is supported by Open Software eXpansion Libraries, namely Open.MEMS, Open.RF, and Open.AUDIO, with various example programs allowing you to get started. Several third-party embedded sensing and voice-processing projects also support the module. The module also comes pre-loaded with BLUEMICROSYSTEM2 firmware, and can be controlled with “ST BlueMS” app found on Apple Store and Google Play.

sensortile-kit

But the best way to get started is with SensorTile kit including SensorTile core module and:

  • STLCR01V1 cradle board with a footprint for SensorTile core board, HTS221 humidity and temperature sensor, a micro-SD card socket, a micro USB port, a lithium-polymer battery (LiPo) charger, and a SWD header.
  • A LiPo rechargeable battery and a plastic case for the cradle board, SensorTile module, and battery
  • STLCX01V1 Arduino UNO R3 compatible cradle expansion board with analog stereo audio output, a micro-USB connector for power and communication, a reset button and a SWD header.
  • A programming cable

I could not find a price for SensorTile core module, but STEVAL-STLKT01V1 SensorTile kit can be purchased for $80.85 directly on STMicro website or their distributors. Visit SensorTile kit’s product page for further information include hardware design files, quick start guide, software and firmware downloads, purchase links, and more.