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Posts Tagged ‘raspberry pi’

Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board Powered by Amlogic S805 Quad Core Processor

December 10th, 2014 66 comments

Amlogic S805 is a quad core Cortex A5 processor which has found it way into low cost devices such as MK808B Plus TV Stick which can be purchased for as low as $30, or full-sized TV box such as MXQ S85 or MINIX NEO X6. All this low cost devices are nice, but the full source code is not available in your want to adapt them to your need. Luckily, Amlogic releases both an Android SDK, and a buildroot for Linux with GPU and Video Processing Unit (VPU) support, so Hardkernel decided to go ahead, designed a board, and has just launched ODROID-C1 quad core development board for just $35, or the exact price of a Raspberry Pi Model B+, but with much greater specs.

ODROID-C1 Board Description (Click to Enlarge)

ODROID-C1 Board Description (Click to Enlarge)

ODROID-C1 specifications:

  • SoC- Amlogic S805 quad core Cortex-A5 processor with a Mali-450MP2 GPU (2x fragment cores + 2x vertex shader cores)
  • System Memory – 1GBe DDR3 (2x Samsung K4B4G1646D)
  • Storage – eMMC module socket for  8GB/64GB Toshiba eMMC, or 16GB/32GB Sandisk iNAND Extreme, and micro SD slot (UHS-1 SD models supported)
  • Video & Audio Output – micro HDMI port
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (Realtek RTL8211F)
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports (via GENESYS LOGIC GL852G), 1x micro USB OTG port (Cannot be used for power input)
  • Expansion Headers – 40-pin Raspberry Pi (mostly) compatible header with GPIO, I2C, SPI, UART, and ADC.
  • Debugging – Serial console header (3.3V)
  • Misc – 4x Status / Power LEDS, IR receiver, RTC + RTC battery header, solder pads for power switch, boot media selector
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A DC input (2.5/0.8mm barrel). Typical power consumption:  0.5A @ 5V, up to 2A @ 5V with several USB peripherals.
  • Dimensions – 85 x 56mm (Same dimensions as Raspberry Pi Model B+)
  • Weight – 40 gram

It’s the first S805 device I see that actually uses a Gigabit Ethernet port, so that’s good news. You can boot the system from eMMC or micro SD card, using the boot media selector (Open: eMMC, Closed: SD card).

ODROID-C_Board_Bottom

The company will provide images for Ubuntu 14.04 or Android 4.4 KitKat with Linux 3.10. The source code for U-Boot/Linux will be released on December 15, but the Android source code will take a little longer due to license issues, and is expected for February. WiringPi v2 library used to control I/O in the Raspberry Pi with Python or C/C++, has been ported to ODROID-C1. Further information such an expansion header pinout, and instructions to build u-boot can be found on ODROID-C1 Wiki, which is still under construction. The schematics (PDF) and mechanical drawings have also been released.

What makes this platform existing, beside its attractive pricing and source code availability, is Ubuntu support with proper OpenGL ES and video hardware decoding support, which is showcased in the video below in Kodi 14 Helix running in Ubuntu 14.04.

ODROID-C1 is available for pre-order for $35 on Hardkernel website with shipping scheduled for December 16, but if you are based in North America or Europe, you should be better off purchasing from respectively Ameridroid or Pollin Electonic. I also wish they find a distributor for the rest of the world, as shipping is probably $25 (I can’t access the site from Thailand without proxy), which makes the board $60 [Update: Based on comments shipping is only $9 for some, for $25 for most]. You’ll also need to purchase storage for booting either from Hardkernel or its distributors which sells 8, 16, 32 and 64GB eMMC modules, or 8 to 16GB UHS-1 micro SD cards preloaded with Android 4.4 or Ubuntu 14.04, or buy it one locally, just make sure you don’t buy the cheapest micro SD card, get at least a Class 10 or UHS-1 micro SD, or your ODROID-C1 will feel as slow, or even slower, than a Raspberry Pi. Further details can also be found in ODROID magazine December 2014 (PDF) including a performance and specs comparison between ODROID-C1 and Raspberry Pi Model B+.

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Banana Pi M2 is an Allwinner A31s Quad Core Board with Raspberry Pi Model B+ Form Factor

December 2nd, 2014 6 comments

Banana Pi, and the recently announced Banana Pro, are Android & Linux development boards based on Allwinner A20, with a form factor similar to Raspberry Pi Model B and B+ boards respectively. A new revision of the board is now available with Banana Pi M2 powered by Allwinner A31s quad core processor, and in a form factor similar to R-Pi B+.

Banana_Pi_M2Banana Pi M2 specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner A31s quad core Cortex A7 @ 1.0 GHz with PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage –  Micro SD slot up to 64GB
  • Connectivity – 10/100/1000 Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi  (Realtek)
  • Video Output –  HDMI, CVBS, and LVDS/RGB header
  • Audio Output – HDMI and 3.5mm stereo jack
  • Camera – CSI connector
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports + micro USB port (power only)
  • Debugging – UART pins for serial console
  • Expansion Header – 40-pin R-Pi “somewhat” compatible header with 2×13 UART, I2C bus, SPI bus, CAN bus, ADC, PWM, 3.3V, 5V, ground
  • Misc – IR Receiver, power, reboot and reset buttons.
  • Power Supply – 5V in via MicroUSB (DC in only)
  • Dimensions – 92x60mm (R-Pi B+: 85×56 mm)
  • Weight – 48 grams
  • Temperature Range – -15 to 75 C

Banana_Pi_M2_Realtek_WiFiAlbeit similar, components placement and board dimensions are not exactly the same as on the Raspberry Pi B+, as are mounting holes, so it may not be compatible with Hats expansion boards, and other R-Pi accessories. The board will run Android 4.2, Firefox OS, and Linux distributions, but there isn’t any information yet on bananapi.com, and I got details from G+.

Banana Pi M2 is not yet listed on SinoVoiP Aliexpress store, but one European retailer will set it for 99 Euros excluding VAT (currently out of stock). [ Update: retail price has not been confirmed yet. but volume price should be $50 per unit]

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Semtech LoRa SX1272 RF Module Enables Up to 30 KM Wireless Range for Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Waspmote, and More

November 20th, 2014 No comments

Libelium’s Waspmote is a board based on Atmel ATmega1281 MCU that interfaces with over 80 sensors, and various wireless communication modules, and targets professional wireless sensor network applications such as irrigation systems, smart metering, smart cities, smartphone detection, building automation, and so on. They have some professional kits for over 3,000 Euros including training, but a more affordable Starter Kit is also available for 199 Euros on Cooking Hacks. But I’m not going to cover Waspmote in details today. I just mention it because of an article on embedded.com mentioning compatibility with a Libelium / Semtech LoRa SX1272 RF module delivering up to 30km range in ideal conditions (and usually 22+ km range in LOS), and about 2km range in urban settings. I previously featured XBee-PRO 900HP RF Module with a 45km range, so the Semtech module is just another option, and it works not only with Waspmote, but also the Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and Intel Galileo boards. and possibly as well with boards featuring a Xbee socket. This type of modules are a good alternative to 3G/4G modules, as you don’t need to pay telcos, and these may be one of the only options in remote area without coverage and for high altitude applications.

Liberium SX1272 RF Module

Liberium SX1272 RF Module

Libelium SZ1272 RF module specifications:

  • RF Transceiver – Semtech SX1272 Long Range, Low Power RF Transceiver 860-1000MHz with LoRa.
  • Frequency Band
    • 863-870 MHz (Europe) with 8 channels
    • 902-928 MHz (US) with 13 channels
  • Transmission Power – 25 mW
  • Sensitivity – -134 dBm
  • Range –  LOS: 21km (13.4miles); NLOS: +2km (1.2miles)
  • Data Rate – Programmable bit rate up to 300 kbps

Complete documentation, and results of tests made in Paris and Zaragoza can be found in Waspmote LoRa 868MHz 915MHz SX1272 Networking Guide, and there’s also a tutorial which is especially useful if you want to connect the module to Raspberry Pi, Arduino, or Intel Galileo board.

LoRa_Raspberry_Pi_Arduino_Intel_Galileo

The module can be purchased for 45 Euros with a 4.5 dBi antenna either at 868 MHz or 915 MHz frequency. A shorter 0 dBi antenna is available for “smart parking” applications. But for the Raspberry Pi, you’d better purchase SX1272 LoRa Shield for Raspberry Pi for 85 Euros which includes all hardware needed, and for Arduino (compatible) boards, you’ll need to add the Multiprotocol Radio Shield for 33 Euros to the module. All these are available on Cooking Hacks website. If you want to try Lora with Waspmote instead, the complete kit sells for 147 Euros. It’s important to always use the antenna, or the module could be destroyed due to RF reflections, “said” the networking guide.

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Suptronics X200 Raspberry Pi Model B+ Expansion Board Adds Wi-Fi, RTC, VGA, optical S/PDIF, USB ports, Servo Support, and More

November 12th, 2014 2 comments

The Raspberry Pi is a nice little board, but in some cases you may want to add some extra ports. Suptronics released the X100 expansion board for Raspberry Pi Model B last year, and they’ve now come up with a little monster called X200 expansion board for Raspberry Pi Model B+ which adds Wi-Fi, a real-time clock + battery, a VGA port, optical S/PDIF output, 3.5 mm mic and audio jack, servo support (ULN2803), and a few USB ports to the low cost board.

X200 Add-on Board Connected to Raspberry Pi Model B+

X200 Add-on Board Connected to Raspberry Pi Model B+

Key features of X200 expansion board:

  • Input Voltage – 6V to 21Vdc converted to 5V, 3A via step-down DC/DC converter to power the Raspberry Pi.
  • VGA output – HDMI to VGA converter supporting up to UXGA (1600×1200) and 1080p with 10-bit DAC
  • Audio – 3.5mm MIC in jack, 3.5mm stereo audio jack, S/PDIF output, audio I/O connector (Microphone input and stereo audio amplifier 3.3Wx2)
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11b/g/n with antenna
  • USB – Self-powered USB hub with 4 ports (3 usable)
  • Servo support – 8-channel Darlington driver chip (ULN2803) allowing to control electronic circuits which require more current.
  • I/Os – 40-pin Raspberry Pi header (male and female),  CSI header for camera
  • Misc – IR sensor (38KHz), RTC based on DS3231SN with included CR2032 battery, DIP switch to remove connection from RPi’s pin header
  • Power – 5V DC jack
  • Dimensions – 85 x 56mm (Same size as Raspberry Pi)
X200 Block Diagram

X200 Block Diagram

The expansion board is directly connected on top of the Raspberry Pi using the board 40-pin GPIO header pins. X200 is compatible with Raspberry Pi Model B+, but you may also be able to use it with the recently released Raspberry Pi Model A+ by using a short USB cable if you want to make use of the extra USB ports. You can find more information, including instructions to build the RTC drivers and control the servo with WiringPi, on the company’s X200 product page.

Suuptronics X100 and X200 are not the only two add-ons board of the company, as X300 can add SATA to R0Pi among other things, and they are also working on X400 and X500 baseboards for Raspberry Pi Compute Module.

KEY FEATURES X100
Available
X105
Coming soon
X200
Available
X300
Available
X305
Coming soon
X500
Coming soon
X505
Coming soon
   Designed for Raspberry Pi Model B Model B+ Compute Module
  Supported operating system RASPBIAN (Debian Wheezy)
  Wide input voltage 6~23Vdc 6~23Vdc 6~21Vdc 6~21Vdc 6~21Vdc 6~21Vdc 6~21Vdc
  Self-power USB port 3 3 3 3 3 8 4
  Duplicated the RPi pin header - -
  VGA output
  Real-time clock (RTC)
  Servo support -(ULN2803)
  IR receiver (38KHz)
  RS232 DB9 connector
  WIFI (IEEE 802.11b/g/n)
  Bluetooth V2.1+ EDR
  3.5mm MIC in jack
  3.5mm stereo audio jack
  Audio IO connector
  SPDIF output
  Stereo audio amplifier 3.3W x2
  SATA port
  Power output connector
  Micro-SD card socket
  Reset switch for RPi reset
  DIP switch to remove connection
from RPi’s pin header
- -
  HDMI output - - - - -
  GPIO bank x2 - - - - -
  DSI display connector x2 - - - - -
  CSI camera connector x2 - - - - -
  DDR2 SODIMM module socket - - - - -
  10/100 Ethernet RJ45 jack - - - - -
  Micro USB data port - - - - -

Suptronics X200 module can be purchased on DealExtreme for $55.10, or as part of a kit with a “connection” board, a ribbon cable, and a power cable for $65.73. Subptronics X300 add-on board goes for $56.99 including shipping.

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Raspberry Pi Model A+ Board Features a 40-pin GPIO Connector, a micro SD slot, and Improved Power Management

November 8th, 2014 8 comments

After the Raspberry Pi foundation officially announced Raspberry Pi Model B+ board, it was natural to expect a Model A+ to come soon after. Based on a webpage on Element14 (now down), an update of the cheapest version of the Raspberry Pi could get announced very soon, maybe as soon as Monday. It has specifications very similar to Model A, but replaces the 26-pin GPIO connector, by a 40-pin connector, a micro SD slot takes the place of a full-sized SD slot, and power management has been improved so that it’s more efficient, and can support “power hungry” USB devices. [Update: It’s now officially announced as planned]

Raspberry Pi Model A+

Raspberry Pi Model A+

I’ve drawn a comparison table between the latest two boards: Model B+ vs Model A+.

Raspberry Pi
Model B+

Raspberry Pi
Model A+

SoC Broadcom BCM2835 ARM11 processor @ 700MHz with VideoCore IV GPU
System Memory 512 MB (PoP)  256 MB (PoP)
Storage micro SD card slot
AV Output HDMI and 3.5 mm AV jack
Connectivity 10/100M Ethernet  N/A
USB 4x USB 2.0 host port +
micro USB port
1x USB 2.0 host port +
micro USB port
Expansion 40-pin header for GPIO
CSI interface
DSI interface
Power 5V via micro USB port
Power Consumption 600 mA to 1.8 A @ 5V TBD but lower
Dimensions 85 x 56 mm 65 x 56 mm
Price $35 $20

Beside the price Model A+ should also have lower power consumption, but Element14 simply mentions “A+ board now uses less power (600mA) than the Model A Board (750mA) when running.”, but this conflicts with R-Pi B+ page listed Model B+ drawing 600 mA, against Model B 750 mA, and model A drawing the same 600 mA.  So it’s either a mistake, or a different power measurement scenario. Model A+ board is also smaller than Model B+, and based on a different PCB.

Price has not been announced yet, but I fully expect it to still cost $25 but some now deleted pages listed it for $20. We should know more in the next few days.
Raspberry Pi Model A+ can be purchased for $20 on MCM Electronics or Farnell/element14/Newark.

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Connect Objects Wirelessly, and Create User Interfaces Easily With Xped DeB for Arduino (Crowdfunding)

November 6th, 2014 No comments

Xped, an australian startup, has designed an ecosystem comprised of an Arduino shield with NFC and 802.15.4 connectivity, a Raspberry Pi Model B+ based gateway, and DeB browser that generates a user interface in Android, iOS, or Linux based on an XML file stored in an Arduino board. This allows to connect various objects wirelessly, with reduced power consumption thanks to 802.15.4, and to create user interfaces easily with a text file located in your Arduino board.

ADRC_Shield

ADRC Shield Connected to Arduino UNO

ADRC stands for Auto-Discovery Remote Control, and that’s what Xped ADRC Shield allows thanks to the following hardware specifications:

  • MCU – RM Cortex M3 32-bit microcontroller with 256 KB of FLASH memory.
  • NFC – NDEF Type-2 Tag with bi-directional communications capability.
  • NFP proximity communications technology which is similar to NFC but was developed by Xped to use less than 1,000th of the power and provide faster speeds than NFC. It is mainly used for battery powered devices such as sensors.
  • 802.15.4 MAC layer communications protocol.
  • Compatible with Arduino UNO, Zero, or DUE

NFC is used for easy pairing with your smartphone, but it’s optional. ADRC library for Arduino will be provided.

ADRC Hub

ADRC Hub

Since phone do not support 802.15.4 communication, ADRC Hub based on Raspberry Pi Model B+ acts as a gateway between the Arduino board, and the browsing device be it a smartphone or a computer. ADRC Hub needs to be connected to your Wi-Fi router via Ethernet, as it does not provide Ethernet connectivity.

Some of ADRC Hub hardware and software specifications:

  • Raspberry Pi Model B+ with 8GB micro SD card
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.15.4 radio, and NFC for touch to devices and phone
  • Software – TCP networking adaptor, ADRC device server
  • Hub services
    • RCP.host protocol via TCP adaptor for network clients, and via D-Bus for local clients
    • RCP.wire protocol via PAN interface
  • Logging –  Raw device event logs in compressed CSV text files
  • Security –  Internet connection using SSL or TLS (development in progress), PAN connection using individual AES-128 point to point encrypted links

That’s all for the hardware. DeB App for Android and Linux will allow you to browse connected ADRC devices, and load user interfaces such as the one below:

DeB_Temperature_SensorAll you need to do is to rreate an XML file based on Resource Modelling Language (RML), and store it the shield. Code for the temperature sensor above:

DeB_Temperature_Sensor_CodeYou can also make more complex user interface such as the one below to control an LED strip, still using an RML text file. Multiple “pages” are also supported, and they’ve also showed a guitar pedal interface spread over three pages.

DeB_LED_Strip

The kit will let you create projects using both Arduino and Raspberry Pi boards, turn your home into a smart home relatively easily for example by having a unified remote control (your smartphone) to control your TV, DVD, Blu-Ray players, air con thanks to an Infrared blaster, or monitoring and controlling appliances like lamps, coffee machines, fans, headers, etc. via smart plugs.

The company has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for mass production, and with 13 days to go the project has already reached its funding target ($18,000). An early bird pledge of $99 AUD ($85 US) will get your an ADRC Shield and Hub kit. There are currently over 60 left, after which the pledge will be $139 AUD. There are various other perks with more ADRC shields, and class room perks for 15 kits. Shipping is included to Australia, but they did not mention the shipping costs to the rest of the world and $15.00 AUD to the rest of the world. Delivery is scheduled for April 2015.

More information can also be found in Xped website.

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Rubix A10 is an Arduino Shield Running Linux Powered by Allwinner A10 Processor

November 4th, 2014 2 comments

There are plenty of ARM Linux boards featuring Arduino compatible headers such as UDOO, PcDuino, ATSAMA5D3 Xplained, etc…, and Rubix A10 looks like one of these boards, as it comes with an Allwinner A10 processor, boast Arduino compatible header, and runs Linux or Android, but instead of simply accepting Arduino shields, Rubix A10 can be used as a shield itself for Arduino (UNO?)boards. Rubix_A10Rubix A10 specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner A10 ARM Cortex A8 processor @ 1.0 Ghz with Mali-400 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage –  4 to 8 GB MLC 64-bit ECC NAND Flash, micro SD slot up to 128 GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4 up to 1080p60
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, 3.5 mm jack for MIC + headphone.
  • Connectivity – 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi up to 150Mbps,
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host interfaces, 1x mini USB OTG 2.0 port
  • Expansions Headers
    • Arduino compatible headers
    • 26-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header with RS232 UART port, GPIO pins, I2C, PWM, SPI
  • Misc – IR receiver, power button, recovery button (designed for Android)
  • Power Supply – 12V/1.5-2.0A AC-DC adapter, or 5V via mini USB OTG port

The board can boot various Linux desktop operating systems, as well as Android from the NAND flash or a micro SD card. The Linux distribution is pre-loaded with the Arduino IDE so that you can program your Arduino board directly from the board itself.

The company is apparently looking for more distributors, but the board has been spotted at Fry’s Electronics, and the electronics store also sell it online for $89.99. A few more details can be found on Rubix website which is still very much under construction. There may also be a a crowdfunding campaign launched soon.

Thanks to Bill for the tip.

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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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