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Posts Tagged ‘Linux’

$59 RetroEngine Sigma Retro Game Console is Based on Orange Pi Lite Board (Crowdfunding)

December 9th, 2016 7 comments

2016 has been the year of retrogaming comeback with products like PocketCHIP, Nintendo NES Classic, GPD Win and quite a few other projects. There will soon be a new option with RetroEngine Sigma, an inexpensive Linux based retro-gaming console based on Allwinner H3 processor.

retroengine-sigmaRetroEngine Sigma fanless game console hardware specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 @ 1.2 GHz with an ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU up to 600 MHz
  • System Memory – 512 MB DDR3
  • Storage – 16 or 32GB micro SD card
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI port
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Misc – Programmable status LED, 2 user configurable buttons P1 & P2
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via power barrel
  • Dimensions – 110 x 85 x 33.5 mm

The specifications look similar, so I went to my little list of Allwinner H3 boards, found the specs matches closely Orange Pi Lite board, and after checking the video and more picture, the ports also happen to be exactly in the same place… So it’s pretty sure the console is based on Shenzhen Xunlong’s Orange Pi Lite board, which is cool since there’s a good community support.

retrogame-sigma-armbianRetroGame developers leveraged that, and the console supports Atari 2600/7800, Sega Genesis, Nintendo NES / 64, Amstrad, Sega, and many more, and can be used as a mini computer and a media player with Kodi. It seems to have the same features as RetrOrangePi firmware based on Armbian plus Kodi and various game emulator.

The mini console’s Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign has been very successfully so far as they’ve raised closed to $250,000 from over 3,000 backers. All early bird rewards are gone, but you can still pledge $59 for the “Speedy Backer” reward including a mini console with a 16GB micro SD card pre-loaded with the firmware, a power adapter, a dual stick analog controller, a micro USB card reader, and a Xmas voucher. The 32GB micro SD Deluxe version goes for $89, and adds a Bluetooth adapter, a Bluetooth game controller, and a HDMI cable. Shipping adds $7 to the US, and $15 to the rest of the world. Delivery is scheduled for April to June 2017, but you’ll first receive a Christmas Gift voucher.

orange-pi-lite-retro-gaming-console-kit

Qualcomm Starts Sampling of Qualcomm Centriq 2400 ARM Server SoC with Up to 48 ARMv8 Cores

December 8th, 2016 3 comments

Qualcomm has announced commercial sampling of Qualcomm Centriq 2400 series server SoC built with 10nm FinFET process technology and featuring up to 48 Qualcomm Falkor custom ARMv8 CPU cores “highly optimized to both high performance and power efficiency, and designed to tackle the most common datacenter workloads”.

qualcomm-centriq-2400-series-soc

Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies demonstrated the new processor in a Live demo showing Apache, Spark, Java, and Hadoop on Linux running on a SBSA compliant server powered by Qualcomm Centriq 2400 processor, but the company did not provide any further technical details or preliminary benchmark results for the solution.

The Qualcomm Centriq 2400 processor series is now sampling to select customers and is expected to be commercially available in H2 2017. That’s about all we know from the press release. However, Linaro have been working on Qualcomm Technologies QDF2432 based board for several months with support for Debian 8.x ‘Jessie’ and CentOS 7 operating systems, as well as Hadoop and OpenStack. It’s not 100% clear if this is indeed related to Centriq 2400, albeit the name QDF2432 seems to indicate so, and it would probably have started on some FPGA board to simulate Centriq 2400 (32-core?) processor, unless they had engineering samples for nearly a year. There’s also a basically empty page on Centos.org for “Qualcomm QDF2432 Server Dev Platform”. It’s close to impossible to find much details since those things are developed under NDAs.

How to Install ThingSpeak in Ubuntu 16.04

December 7th, 2016 5 comments

Last week-end I installed ESPurna open source firmware with MQTT server on Sonoff POW WiFi switch, and the next step is find a way to draw power consumption charts in some web based interface. We could do this in the IoT cloud with services like Xively or ThingSpeak, but since one of the goals of replacing the default firmware was not to rely on a proprietary cloud based solution, I decided to find a way to draw those chart in a local server, and it so happens that ThingSpeak is also open source with the code available on Github. Hardware platforms like NanoPi NEO / NEO Air, or Orange Pi Zero boards appear to be particularly well suited for the task of running an MQTT broker and Thingspeak, but at first I wanted to install ThingSpeak in my own Ubuntu 16.04 computer to have a try.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

As you can see from the screenshot above I manage to do it, but it requires a bit more efforts than expected, as the project has not been updated since 2015, and does not work out of the box with the latest operating system.

I used various resources on the web including the instructions on Github, as well as this ThingSpeak script for Ubuntu 14.04, and a few other resources.

First we have to make sure Ubuntu 16.04 is fully upgraded:

Ubuntu 16.04 comes with Ruby 2.3, but we need the older Ruby 2.1.0 version for ThingSpeak, so let’s uninstall ruby to avoid conflicts:

Now we can install dependencies, Ruby 2.1.0, and Bundle:

Once this is done, we can get ThingSpeak source code and install it:

This looked successful so I moved on to database configuration:

It’s recommended to change the username and password in config/database.yml for test, development and production databases with your own for security purpose. Once it’s done, let’s try to create the databases:

Sadly it starts with an error:

So I checked mysql2 version and upgraded it to see if it would fix the issue:

The previous error is gone, but only to be replaced by a new one…

Finally, I found out (can’t find where anymore) that I had to edit Gemfile in ThingSpeak directory, and add an older version to mysql2:

Let’s update mysql2, and try to create the databases again:

Damn a permission error. I could not find a proper fix, so at this point the title of the post should possibly become “How NOT to install Thingspeak in Ubuntu 16.04”, as although it will work, the steps below makes the installation insecure since I simply give full databases’ access to thing user. But that will do since I’ll only use it in my LAN, and maybe somebody will point to a secure solution to the issue.

[Update: Thanks to Arthur, I’ve got a more secure solution . I’ve left both insecure and secure workaround for reference, but obviously you should use the secure one, especially it’s not hard]

Insecure (don’t use it, I just left it to show what you should not do):

Secure way (strongly recommended):

This time I can create the databases for Thingspeak:

So now we can go to the next step to load the database with some data required by Thingspeak to work:

Great! Yet another error:

After spending a while for a solution I eventually found it in Rails Github with the reason being that MySQL 5.7 used in Ubuntu 16.04 does ot allows for NULL key.

We’ll need to create config/initializers/abstract_mysql2_adapter.rb file with:

Then we need add the following line at the end of config/environment.db

and run the command again:

Success! Finally…

The final step is to start the server:

Now start your web browser and you can access your local Thingspeak installation @ http://localhost:3000.
I’ll now have to study a little more about Thingspeak, install MQTT, as well as one of the MQTT to Thingspeak bridges available on the web, and see if I can plot power consumption data there.

Hardkernel ODROID-VU8C is 8″ LCD Display and Case Kit for ODROID C1+ and C2 Boards

December 6th, 2016 7 comments

While it’s quite easy to find displays for development boards, they do not always come with a case, so you’d have to make your own. One easier option for the Raspberry Pi boards is the official Raspberry Pi 7″ LCD touch screen Display, plus RS Premium touchscreen case that selling for $132 in total including Raspberry Pi 3 board. But Hardkernel has now launched their own ODROID-VU8C 8″ Touch Display Shell Kit compatible with ODROID-C1+ and ODROID-C2 boards.

odroid-vu8cSpecifications and Kit Contents:

  • 8-inch TFT-LCD with 1024×768 resolution (4:3 ratio)
  • 10 finger capacitive touch input
  • Back-light brightness control with ODROID GPIO PWM
  • Viewing angle : Left 75, Right 75, Up 75, Down 75 degree
  • Screen Dimensions : 189 x 149 x 29 mm
  • Viewable screen size : 162 x121.5 mm (active area)
  • Power Supply – 5V/4A DC to power barrel (powering both the LCD and ODROID ARM Linux board)
  • Power consumption – 700mA/5Volt (Only LCD and display controller)
  • Plastic bottom case
  • DVI to LVDS Converter board
  • HDMI dual gender board
  • 8 x 3.5mm screws; 2port jumper cable
  • Cables – Micro-to-Micro USB Cable (approx. 8cm), Micro-to-TypeA USB Cable (approx. 20cm)

odroid-8-inch-display-assemblyYou’ll have to provide your own ODROID-C1+ or ODROID-C2 board, micro SD card or eMMC module, and assemble the kit. Bear in mind that after assembly, it’s not possible, or rather not convenient, to remove the micro SD card or eMMC module. It works with both Android and Linux operating system, but you’ll have to make sure you use a recent version of the firmware (Linux 3.10.80-128 or higher) and change boot.ini file to 1024×768 (60Hz) resolution (setenv m “1024x768p60hz”) and DVI mode (setenv vout_mode “dvi”). The hardware design is interesting as they’ve used a DVI to RGB converter and a RGB to LVDS converter, instead of just a DVI to LVDS converter, maybe because it’s hard to find?

ODROID-VU8C Block Diagram

ODROID-VU8C Block Diagram

If you still want to access the 40-pin GPIO header in the panel, you can do so easily through the “cutting line ”  on the case.

ODROID-VU8C sells for $90 on Hardkernel website, to which you’d need to add about $32/$40 for ODROID-C1+/C2 board, and shipping. If you’re based in North America, it will be better to purchase the kit from Ameridroid instead, Alternatively the company has other 5″ and 7″ display solutions for their board, but AFAIK there’s no specific case.

Full Specifications for Intel Apollo Lake NUC Mini PC’s NUC6CAYB Board Released

December 5th, 2016 6 comments

Intel unveiled Intel NUC6CAYS & NUC6CAYH NUCs to be powered by Intel Celeron “Apollo Lake” Jxxx processors, but at the time we did not have the full technical specifications. The company has now published a 66-page technical product specification for NUC6CAYB board used in both mini PCs.

intel-apollo-lake-nuc-connectorsIntel NUC Board NUC6CAYB specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Celeron J3455 quad core processor @ 1.5 GHz to 2.3 GHz (burst) with 12EU Intel HD graphics 500 @ 250 to 700 MHz supporting DirectX 9.3/10/11.1/12, OpenCL 1.2, OGLES 3.0, OpenGL 4.3 (10W TDP)
  • System Memory – 2x DDR3L-1600/1833 SO-DIMM supporting up to 8GB DDR3L-1866 in total
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC flash (Sandisk, Hynix or Samsung depending on your luck), 2.5″ SATA3 bay for hard drives up to 9.5mm thick, SDXC slot with UHS-I support
  • Video Output –
    • HDMI 2.0 (4K @ 60 Hz) with HDMI CEC via MegaChips MCDP2800-BCT DisplayPort 1.2a to HDMI 2.0 Level
      Shifter/Protocol Converter
    • VGA via ITE IT6516BFN DisplayPort to VGA bridge
  • Audio – Up to 7.1 channels via HDMI, 3.5mm headset jack, 3.5mm rear speaker/TOSLINK combo jack; digital microphone (DMIC) array; Realtek ALC283 HD Audio codec
  • Video Capabilities
    • Video Decode – H.265/HEVC @ Level 5.1, H.264 @ Level 5.2, MPEG2, MVC, VC-1, WMV9, JPEG, VP8 and VP9 formats
    • Video Encode – H.265/HEVC @ Level 4, H.264 @ Level 5.2, JPEG, MVC, VP8 and VP9 formats
    • Content Protection – High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) 1.4/2.0 and PAVP 2.0.
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (Realtek RTL8111HN), Intel Wireless AC-3168 M.2 module for 802.11ac 1×1 WiFi up to 433 Mbps and Bluetooth 4.2 with internal antennas
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports on the front panel (yellow one for charging other devices even when the NUC is powered off), 2x rear USB 3.0 ports, 2x internal USB 2.0 ports via header; 1x USB port reversed for M.2 2230 type E module
  • Expansion – 1x M.2 Module supporting M.2 2230 cards (key type E) (prepopulated with Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168 module)
  • Misc – Consumer Infrared (CIR), Kensington key lock hole, hardware monitoring subsystem based on ITE IT8987D embedded controller (voltage, temperature, fan control)
  • Power Supply – 12 to 19V DC input
  • Dimensions – Board: 101.6 x 101.6mm; NUC: 151 x 111 x 51 (plastic casing with inner metal structure)
Intle Apollo Lake NUC Block Diagram - Click to Enlarge

Intle Apollo Lake NUC Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The board will be used in NUC6CAYH Kit with power adapter, no memory, no eMMC, no OS, as well as NUC6CAYS Kit with power adapter, preinstalled with 2GB 1600MHz SO-DIMM, and 32GB eMMC with Microsoft Windows 10 Home.

The specifications mention that Microsoft Windows 10 Home and Microsoft Windows 10 Pro operating systems are supports, and that “other operating system (OS) support may be available”. It’s very likely Linux be supported, and if you plan to run Linux the barebone kit is probably more suitable albeit you’ll lose the eMMC flash, and instead would have to install the OS on a SATA SSD or hard drive.

The other things that’s unclear right now are the price and availability for the new NUCs, but the wait should be almost over.

Via Liliputing and NUC Blog

Firefly-RK3399 Rockchip RK3399 Development Board Launched on Kickstarter for $139 and Up

December 5th, 2016 18 comments

Firefly-RK3399 is the first, and for now the only one, development board equipped with the latest Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core Cortex A72 & A53 processor. It’s just not available yet, but the board has now been launched on Kickstarter where it is offered for $139 to $199 depending on options.

rk3399-development-board

Firefly-RK3399 board specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core big.LITTLE processor with dual core ARM Cortex A72 up to 2.0 GHz and quad core Cortex A53 processor with ARM Mali-T860 MP4 GPU with OpenGL 1.1 to 3.1 support, OpenVG1.1, OpenCL and DX 11 support
  • System Memory
    • Standard – 2 GB DDR3
    • Plus devkit – 4 GB DDR3
  • Storage
    • Standard – 16 GB eMMC flash, micro SD card, M.2 socket
    • Plus devkit – 32 GB eMMC flash, micro SD card, M.2 socket
  • Video Output & Display Interfaces
    • 1x HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60 Hz
    • 1x DisplayPort (DP) 1.2 interface up to 4K @ 60Hz (via USB type C connector)
    • 1x eDP 1.3 (4-lanes @ 10.8 Gbps)
    • 1x MIPI DSI interface up to 2560×1600 @ 60 Hz
  • Video Decode – 4K VP9 and 10-bit H.265 video codec support up to 60 fps
  • Audio
    • Via HDMI or DisplayPort
    • 3.5mm headphone jack with stereo audio output and mic input
    • optical S/PDIF
    • 1x LINE Out and 1x speaker via GPIO header; Speaker: 1.5W or 2.5 W per channel for respectively 8Ω or 4Ω speakers
    • Built-in microphone
    • I2S output and input interface up to 8 channels
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45) port using RTL8211E transceiver, WiFi 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO and Bluetooth 4.1 (AP6354 module)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 3.0 type C port
  • Camera
    • 2x MIPI CSI interfaces up to 13MP or 2x 8MP
    • 1x DVP camera interface up to 5MP
  • Debugging – 3-pin serial header
  • Expansion
    • 42-pin GPIO female header with access to 1x I2S, 2x ADC, 2x I2C, 1x SPI, 2x GPIO, 1x LINEOUT, 1x SPEAKER
    • 1x mini PCIe for LTE, 1x PCIe 2.1 M.2 slot B-key (2x PCIe, SATA, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HSIC, SSIC, Audio, UIM, I2C)
    • SIM card slot
  • Misc – RTC battery header; power & user LEDs; power, reset and recovery buttons; IR receiver
  • Power Supply – 12V/2A DC (5.5×2.1mm barrel connector)
  • Dimensions – 12.4 x 9.3 mm (8-layer PCB)
  • Weight – Board: 89 grams; board + cooling fan and heatsink: 120 grams

The company will provide Android 6.0.1 and Ubuntu 16.04 firmware images for the board, including a dual boot image. There are also work-in-progress documentation and placeholder links to Android SDK and schematics in the product page which will hopefully soon link to the actual documents and files, as well as a work-in-progress Wiki. It may also be worth monitoring the company’s  Github account.

firefly-rk3399-boardThe company aims to raise $50,000 from the crowdfunding campaign, and you’d have to pledge $139 to get “Firefly-RK3399 Development Kit” with 2GB RAM, and 16GB flash together with a 12V/2A power adapter, a USB Type C adapter, a USB to UART serial board, a USB cable, and a a cooling fan (I assume with an heatsink). After the 50 first pieces, the price goes up to $159, and if you want the “Plus development kit” with 4GB RAM and 32GB flash, you’d need to pledge $199 instead. Shipping adds $5 to $30 depending on the destination country, and delivery is planned for March 2017.

NXP Modular IoT Gateway Supports Thread, Zigbee, NFC, Bluetooth and WiFi Connectivity

November 30th, 2016 1 comment

NXP has just announced a modular IoT gateway solution for large node networks (>= 250 nodes) based on Volansys i.MX6UL system-on-module, supporting wireless communications protocols such as Thread, ZigBee, NFC through add-on modules, on top of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1.

nxp-modular-iot-gatewayNXP Modular IoT Gateway specifications:

  • SoM – Volansys i.MX6UL 200-pin SO-DIMM module with:
    • SoC – NXP i.MX 6UL ARM Cortex A7 processor @ 528 MHz
    • System Memory – 256MB to 1GB DDR3L  RAM
    • Storage – 1GB to 4GB NAND flash, optional 4GB to 16GB eMMC flash, EEPROM for device info
    • PMIC, Mbit Ethernet PHY
  • Wireless Connectivity Expansion Modules:
    • PN7120 explorer board for NFC
    • Kinetis KW41 module for Thread support
    • JN5169 module for Zigbee support
    • 2x MikroBUS headers
  • Baseboard connectors / features:
    • Storage – 1x micro SD slot
    • Connectivity – 1x 10/100M Ethernet port, Murata WiFi 802.11 b/g/n & Bluetooth 4.1 + EDR module with external antenna connector
    • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB OTG ports,
    • Debugging – 1x micro-USB port for debugging, JTAG connector
    • Misc – RTC, LEDs, user switch (for power on/off and NFC), and reset pinhole
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A
  • Dimensions & Weight – TBD
  • Certifications – FCC/CE/IC

nxp-iot-gateway-board

So you can select your own i.MX6UL module with the amount of memory and storage needed, and add wireless modules as needed to match your requirements. Volansys is also planning for LoRaWAN and Sigfox modules in the future. Beside the hardware, the gateway and modules all come with various software stack and documentation: A Yocto Linux BSP with drivers, an MQTT client library, a Thread Linux host software SDK, Thread and Zigbee device controller, registration with the cloud, and more. The companies also provide an Android app to manage the gateway, and firmware for Thread Kinetis KW4x end device. Alternative operating systems supported include OpenWRT and Brillo.

nxp-modular-iot-gateway-block-diagram

NXP Modular IoT Gateway is available now for $269 with the default configuration, and you’ll find more details with documentation and datasheets as well as a purchase link on NXP Modular Gateway product page and Volansys website.

Via HackerBoards

LeMaker HiKey 96Boards Board Sells for $29.70 (Promo)

November 29th, 2016 17 comments

[Update: The promo is over back!]

You’d think Cyber Monday should be over by now, but ITEAD Studio still has a clearance with real 70% discount, as 96Boards hardware compliant LeMaker Hikey board is now sold for just $29.70 instead of the usual $99 price.

96boards-discountA quick reminder of the specifications:

  • SoC – HiSilicon Kirin 620 octa core Cortex A53 processor @ 1.2 GHz with ARM Mali-450MP4 GPU
  • System Memory – 2 GB LPDDR3 @ 800 MHz
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC + micro SD slot
  • Video Output / Display – HDMI up to 1080p, MIPI-DSI interface
  • Connectivity – 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 LE (WL1835MOD module)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG
  • Camera – MIPI CSI interface
  • Debugging – UART header), unpopulated 10-pin JTAG header (back)
  • Expansion headers
    • 40-pin LS (Low Speed) Expansion connector – UART, I2C, 12x GPIOs, SPI, PCM, PWM, SYS_DCIN, 1.8V, 5V, and GND,
    • 60-pin HS (High Speed) Expansion connector – SDIO, MIPI_DSI, MIPI_CSI, I2C, USB 2
  • Misc – Power button, jumper for power/boot/user, LEDs for Wi-Fi/Bt, and 4x User LED
  • Power Supply – 8-18V @ 3A as per 96Boards specs via 4.5/1.7mm power jack. Hi6553V100 PMU
  • Dimensions – 85 x 55 mm

You’ll be able to run Android and Debian images provided by Linaro. The board is also one the rare development board to be officially supported by AOSP.

You may also be interested in LeMaker Guitar quad core ARM Cortex A9 board sold for $13.50 with 1GB RAM.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.