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Posts Tagged ‘raspberry pi’

ARDHAT adds Arduino Shield Compatibility, an ISM Band Radio to Raspberry Pi and ODROID-C1 Boards (Crowdfunding)

April 12th, 2015 2 comments

NinjaBlocks created Pi Crust add-ons board adding a 433MHz radio and Arduino compatibility to the Raspberry Pi Model A & B a few years ago, but the product has since been removed from their store. But a startup called ubIQio has now created a similar product compatible with Raspberry Pi Model A+, B+ and B2, as well as ODROID-C1 which also comes with a 40-pin R-Pi header. The ARDHAT board is a HAT compatible add-on board with an Atmel MCU, Arduino headers, as well as an optional long range mesh ISM radio (433, 868 and 915 MHz) and various sensors.

ARDHAT Connected to Raspberry Pi Model A+

ARDHAT Connected to Raspberry Pi Model A+

There are four versions of the board: Basic Ardhat, Ardhat-I, and Ardhat-W and Ultra, which share the following specifications:

  • MCU – Atmel MCU @ 16MHz
  • Headers and I/Os
    • Arduino compatible header accepting 5V Arduino shields
    • 12 ch PWM O/P, 6 ch analog I/P
  • Real-time Clock
  • Programmable Power/Navigation combo switch
  • Programmable wakeup/watchdog
  • ‘Zero CPU’ SmartLED driver
  • Charge status & programmable LEDS
  • Power Supply
    • External 8-28V power input
    • High Power 3A 5V O/P;
    • Full Battery backup/UPS
    • Standard LiPo battery connector
    • Ext and LiPo voltage monitors
    • MPPT solar ready
    • > 1,000 hour sleep mode operation with 1,800 mAh battery
  • Dimensions – 65 x 56.5 mm – RPi HAT standard compliant with EEPROM

Ardhat-I adds a few features to the basic version including a 1,800 mAh battery, support for 9-DOF sensor fusion (MPU9250) with a 3-axis gyroscope, a 3-axis magnetometer (compass), a 3-axis accelerometer, as well as a barometer and thermometer (BMP180). Ardhat-W and Ultra gets all these, plus a long range mesh ISM band radio, respectively HopeRF Electronic RFM69-HCW and RFM69W radio modules.

ardhat_board_descriptionIf you plan to use this board with ODROID-C1 you may need to bend its IR receiver in order to connect Ardhat. The board can be programmed with the Arduino IDE just like any Arduino board, but running on Raspberry Pi or ODROID-C1 board. I’d assume Ardhat might also work with other boards featuring a 40-pin R-Pi header.

The project is now listed on Kickstarter, where ubiQio aims to raise £25,000 or more (~$36,600) . Basic Ardhat goes for £19 (early bird)/ £25 standard ($28/$36), you’ll need to pledge £35/£40 for Arhat-I with the extra sensors and battery, and £45 for Ardhat-W and £55 for Ardhat-U with the company claiming 500 meters range for the former and 15 km range for the latter. All rewards include free shipping to US and Europe, but they won’t ship to the rest of the world at all even for boards without radio modules. Shipping is scheuled for August and September 2015.

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Kodi 14.2 Final and Kodi 15 Alpha 2 Released

April 3rd, 2015 2 comments

Kodi developers have recently announced two release for Kodi: the stable version of Kodi 14.2 Helix, which should be the last Kodi 14 release, and Kodi 15 Alpha 2 Isengard with some interesting new features.

Kodi_14.2Since Kodi 14.2 is a minor release, no new features have been added, but they fixed several bugs:

  • Application stopped responding on Windows
  • Gap-less playback on MP3
  • Playback of rtmp protocol
  • Scanning of newly added episodes
  • Fix multipath source scanning
  • Loading external subtitles in some cases
  • packaging of PIL module on Android. This fixes some script error when using weather add-on
  • Fix video playback on all platform after refresh rate change
  • Various bugs that were present in PVR add-ons.
  • Save weather location
  • Fix filtering of foreign add-ons
  • ftps handling
  • Use LastWrite instead of ChangeTime for file system on Windows

As usual, you can download the release via Kodi download page for Windows, Linux. Mac OS X, Android ARM and x86, iOS, ATV2, and Raspberry Pi.

Chapter Selector Window in Kodi 15

Chapter Selector Window in Kodi 15

So now all developments effort are focused on Kodi 15 codenamed Isengard, which some of the new features including:

  • Chapter Selector Window – When you first launch a movie and navigate to the Bookmarks icon in the Video GUI, Kodi will automatically populate all the necessary bookmarks with the name and a picture of each chapter. Disabled by default on slower devices like the Raspberry Pi 1, but you can enable in System->Video->File lists->Extract chapter thumbnails.
  • Audio and Subtitle Lists –  Audio and subtitle streams in Blu-rays are now listed as one big list for easier selection.
  • Language Add-ons and an Expansion of International Options – Kodi 15 allows more much precise control over most of the International settings such as temperature, date/time, etc.. All languages won’t be installed by default as in the case in previous Kodi/XBMC versions, but instead your language of choice will be download as needed. This will allow for faster language updates since you won’t need to wait for Kodi releases.
  • Add-on Manager Improvements – The Add-on Manager should become easier to use.
  • Misc improvements – Some code clean-up, removal of AFP file system, Windows DXVA HEVC hardware decoding support, and so on.

You can download Kodi 15 alpha and nightly builds @ http://kodi.tv/download/#alphabuilds.

Thanks to Harley for the tips.

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PiJuice Battery HAT Module for the Raspberry Pi Boards Comes with an Optional Solar Panel (Crowdfunding)

March 27th, 2015 3 comments

The Raspberry Pi is a low power board that can be powered a few hours or a few days with batteries, and the easiest solution is probably to use a USB power bank connected to the micro USB port of the board, but the solution is not really integrated. That’s where PiJuice comes into play. It’s a HAT compatible module that connects nicely to the latest Raspberry Pi boards with 40-pin header (A+, B+ and B2), and include a 1,400 mAh battery that can be used as UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply), an RTC, and more.

PiJuiceKey features of PiJuice HAT:

  • 1400 mAh  Lipo battery, good enough to last up to 24 hrs in constant use. 5,000 mAh batteries are also said to be supported.
  • Full UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) solution
  • Integrated RTC (Real Time Clock)
  • On board intelligent on/off switch
  • Low power deep-sleep state with wake on interrupt/calendar event
  • On board intelligent micro-controller (MCU) with custom firmware
  • Programmable multi-colored RGB LED
  • Raspberry Pi HAT compatible layout, with on board EEPROM for plug-and-plug support
  • Low profile design to fit inside most R-Pi enclosures
  • Optional 6W solar panel

A power management API available in order to let the Raspberry Pi shutdown cleanly when the battery is running low. A desktop GUI will also be developed so that users can choose when to wake/sleep, customize the signals to the on-board multicolored LED and more. You could also use the module with older Raspberry Pi Model A and B, but cables are required, making the solution not quite as neat for those.

The project has four days to go on Kickstarter, and the developers have already raised over £65,000 out of the £10,000 aimed for. The early bird rewards are all gone, but you can still pledge for PiJuice board for £24 (~$35) including the battery, project guides and stickers, and you can go solar with a £60 (~$89) pledge. Shipping is £5 and £10 to most countries for respectively the basic and solar kit, with delivery scheduled for June 2015.

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Experimental Android 5.x Lollipop Port for Raspberry Pi 2?

March 14th, 2015 6 comments

When Raspberry Pi 2 was announced, I was quite hopeful Android would be ported to the board since it now had the processing power and memory requirements to run Android. But members of the Raspberry Pi foundation put a damper on this expectation directly in their Android forums by closing some Android related threads, and stating the mobile operating system does not bring anything to the educational goal of the Raspberry Pi.

Android_Raspberry_Pi_2

But yesterday, I’ve been informed that there was an experimental Android 5.1 port for ODROID-C1 and another Android 5.x port for Raspberry Pi 2. One of the key challenges to port Android to Broadcom BCM2836 is allegedly the large number of changes required for VideoCore 4 GPU’s buffer management, which was done by Broadcom internally for BCM2835, but never ported to the Raspberry Pi. So it does not quite seem an easy task.

The README on github describes how to build and install the Android image to an SD card bootable on the Raspberry Pi 2. The steps involve building the kernel, then android, and preparing an SD card with 4 partitions:

  • Partition 1 (FAT32) – 512MB for the bootloader, the kernel (zImage) and initramfs (ramdisk.img), just like for other R-Pi images.
  • Partition 2 (EXT-4) – 512 MB for /system (system.img)
  • Partition 3 (EXT-4) – 512 MB for /cache
  • Partition 4 (EXT-4) – Remaining of SD card for /data

But does the code actually boot? Answer: not yet, and the developer has stopped working on it:

I was trying to enable vc4 with github.com/anholt kernel.
But it was not working.
vc4 branch of device_brcm_rpi2 & external_mesa3d are history of above trial.
Currently no activity on my side. Will check anholt’s update later.
Or someone interested can study it.

So to answer the question raised in the title. Yes, there’s an experimental port of Android Lollipop for the Raspberry Pi 2, but no, it does not work yet, and development activity seems to have stopped for now.

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Calaos is an Open Source Home Automation Suite for Raspberry Pi, Allwinner A10/A20 and x86 Platforms

March 9th, 2015 No comments

Calaos is a Linux based home automation software released under GPLv3 license that works on Raspberry Pi, some Allwinner platforms like Cubiebaord 1/2, Mele A1000(G)/A2000, as well as x86 / amd64 hardware platforms that allows you control switches & lights in the rooms of your home or office, control your music, and manage security cameras.. The developers have recently released Calaos v2.0, the first stable release, so it’s a good time to have a look.

Calaos WebApp

Calaos WebApp

The software stack is comprised of 6 main components:

  • Calaos Server – Daemon that exports the state of the house via a JSON protocol. It can currently manage the following hardware components and protocols:
    Calaos Mobile

    Calaos Mobile

    • Wago’s PLC, with digital or analog I/O, DALI or DMX light bus
    • IPX800 web relay board
    • GCE Electronics Eco Devices used to monitor power consumption.
    • Web API
    • 1-Wire, X10
    • Zibase I/O
    • GPIO (Linux based GPIO, for direct use of RaspberryPI GPIO header) ;
    • Squeezebox
    • Nabaztag (Karotz). That’s a connected Wi-Fi enabled rabbit :)
    • CCTV IP (Axis, Mjpeg…)
  • Calaos Home –  Touchscreen interface to control the home, developed with EFL.
  • Calaos WebApp –  Web based interface implemented in HTML5 and using Angular JS and Bootstrap. Shown in screenshot above.
  • Calaos OS –  Linux distribution based on Openembedded pre-loaded with Calaos Server, Calaos Home and Calaos WebApp and relevant tools. That’s what you’ll need to get started easily, as you just need to download the image for your hardware.
  • Calaos Mobile – Qt5/QML app for Android and iOS tablet and smartphones that allows you to control Calaos remotely. However, only a subset of functions are available compared to Calaos Home.
  • Calaos Installer – Contrary to what the name implies, this Qt5 app does not install Calaos, but allows you to configure Calaos Server remotely, by adding, removing or modifying inputs/outputs on your PC, instead of editing configuration files manually. It also supports LUA scripts
Calaos Installer

Calaos Installer

You can have a better look at the user interface in the video section of the website, and I’ve also included a short video showing the Raspberry Pi connected to a 10″ touchscreen LCD  running Calaos Home.

You can find more details, and documentation on Calaos website, including a Quick Start Guide for the Raspberry Pi. The source code is available on Calaos github account.

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DonglePi is a USB Dongle with a Raspberry Pi Header for your PC

March 5th, 2015 5 comments

While the newer Raspberry Pi A+, B+ and B2 boards feature the new 40-pin connector, the Raspberry Pi boards Model A and B have a 26-pin expansion header, but both are use to access GPIOs, UART, SPI, I2C and interface with external hardware, and many add-ons boards have been developed for the Raspberry Pi. But what if you’d like to use R-Pi add-ons board on your PC, or instead you are developing your own add-on board, but would like to do so directly on your PC for convenience? DonglePi is the answer.
DonglePiIt’s a small USB dongle with Atmel SAMD21 MCU and a 26-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header, that you could use connect to your Android/Linux/Windows PC to play with GPIO, I2C, SPI, Serial, PWM just like on a Raspberry Pi, and using RPi/GPIO or smbus Python libraries for programming.

The project is still in development, and so far most interfaces are working except PWM which needs to be worked on. The whole software and hardware (Eagle Schematics & PCB) are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC 4.0 license.

The hardware can not be purchased (yet), but you could also make a prototype with a breadboard, an Atmel SAMD21 development board, and Pi Cobler kit just like the developer (gbin) started with as shown below.

Atmel_SAMD21_Cobbler_Pi_BreadboardAll connections, hardware and software are documented on github.

Thanks to Zoobab for the tip.

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Raspbian Image with Docker 1.5.0 Released for Raspberry Pi Boards

March 4th, 2015 7 comments

DockerI’ve read quite a few articles mentioning Docker recently, but never really looked into it. So what is Docker? The developers describe it as:

Docker is an open platform for developers and sysadmins to build, ship, and run distributed applications. Consisting of Docker Engine, a portable, lightweight runtime and packaging tool, and Docker Hub, a cloud service for sharing applications and automating workflows, Docker enables apps to be quickly assembled from components and eliminates the friction between development, QA, and production environments. As a result, IT can ship faster and run the same app, unchanged, on laptops, data center VMs, and any cloud.

In practice, it looks like a lightweight virtualization solution that facilitates apps distribution to different operating systems and hardware platforms. For example, if your development machine is running Ubuntu 14.04 and you’ve developed an app requiring Python 3.0, Docker should make it a breeze to it on a Red Hat server running Python 2.6 using a pre-built Linux container.

A good way to get started is probably to go through the 10-minute tutorial on Docker website, and another is to checkout the Docker articles on ODROID Magazine January and February 2015 editions explaining how to install and get started with docker (Jan), and how to install pre-built images such as Ubuntu, Arch Linux ARM, Debian, etc.. and configure DLNA, CUPS (printer), and so on.

Raspberry_Pi_DockerThat’s it for a short introduction about docker. Hypriot, a small team of ARM developers, has released a modified Raspbian image with Docker 1.5 which adds  support for IPv6, read-only containers and advanced statistics. The image includes the following key features:

  • Compatible with all Raspberry Pi B, Pi B+, Pi 2
  • Based upon Raspberry Wheezy
  • Latest Linux kernel 3.18.8configured for optimal Docker use
  • Support for BTRF and Overlay filesystems
  • Includes Docker 1.5.0 (with activated high speed OverlayFS)
  • 347MB download sise
  • Works with 1GB or greater SD card with automatic partition resize on first boot
  • Some ARM Docker Base Images for the RPi (Node.js, io.js, Python, Java) are available on DockerHub and all source code is available on GitHub (OpenSource with MIT license)

You can download the Docker-Pi Image (hypriot-rpi-20150301-140537.img.zip), and flash it to a SD card just like any other OS for the R-Pi boards with Win32DiskImager, dd, or other tools. The default username/password are  pi/raspberry and root/hypriot.

If you don’t have a Raspberry Pi, the instructions provided in ODROID magazine could certainly be adapted to other boards, but in case you own a BeagleBone Black, there’s also a short Docker tutorial on Element14.

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Build a Raspberry Pi 2 Minimal Image with The Yocto Project

February 27th, 2015 12 comments

The Yocto Project is a build system that allows developers to make custom Linux distributions matching their exact needs. I’ve already shown how to build a 12MB Compressed image for the Raspberry Pi with Yocto, but the Raspberry Pi 2 has recently been added to the project, so I’ve tried to build it too in a machine running Ubuntu 14.04.

Raspberry_Pi_2_Yocto_ProjectI’ll use poky since it’s the default, but you could also build the system for Angstrom or without distributions (OpenEmbedded Core only). The steps to get the code is just the same as for the Raspberry Pi:

mkdir yocto
cd yocto
git clone git://git.yoctoproject.org/poky.git
cd poky
git clone git://git.yoctoproject.org/meta-raspberrypi
You just need to checkout master, and not any branch (like dizzy) since R-Pi 2 is not yet supported in any release. Initialize some environment variables and the build directory:
. oe-init-build-env build

Now edit conf/local.conf with vim or nano to set the machine to raspberrypi2 instead of qemux86:

MACHINE ??= "raspberrypi2"
GPU_MEM = "16"

There are more Raspberry Pi specific option in the README for setting the GPU memory, overclocking, adding VC-1 or/and MPEG-2 licenses, and so on.

You also need to add the path to meta-raspberrypi in conf/bblayers file, so that it looks like:

BBLAYERS ?= " \
  /home/jaufranc/edev/rpi/yocto/poky/meta \
  /home/jaufranc/edev/rpi/yocto/poky/meta-yocto \
  /home/jaufranc/edev/rpi/yocto/poky/meta-yocto-bsp \
  /home/jaufranc/edev/rpi/yocto/poky/meta-raspberrypi \
  "

Two minimal images are available: rpi-basic-image and rpi-hwup-image. I’ve built rpi-basic-image, which adds ssh-server-dropbear (for ssh server support) and splash (for the splash screen).

bitbake rpi-basic-image

This will take a while, possibly over one or more hours, and upon completion the log shown in the terminal windows should look similar to:

bitbake rpi-basic-image
Loading cache: 100% |###########################################| ETA:  00:00:00
Loaded 1310 entries from dependency cache.
NOTE: Resolving any missing task queue dependencies

Build Configuration:
BB_VERSION        = “1.25.0”
BUILD_SYS         = “x86_64-linux”
NATIVELSBSTRING   = “Ubuntu-14.04″
TARGET_SYS        = “arm-poky-linux-gnueabi”
MACHINE           = “raspberrypi2″
DISTRO            = “poky”
DISTRO_VERSION    = “1.7”
TUNE_FEATURES     = “arm armv7a vfp thumb neon callconvention-hard vfpv4 cortexa7″
TARGET_FPU        = “vfp-vfpv4-neon”
meta
meta-yocto
meta-yocto-bsp    = “master:6d7cf8e9dd00bdff882311fecbadfadc46e9cc03″
meta-raspberrypi  = “master:d8bf60ce6c4a6c6371527c6df2e3243d2771c0cc”

NOTE: Preparing RunQueue
NOTE: Executing SetScene Tasks
NOTE: Executing RunQueue Tasks
NOTE: Tasks Summary: Attempted 1984 tasks of which 1968 didn’t need to be rerun and all succeeded.

The step “0: bcm2835-bootfiles-20150206-r3 do_fetch (pid 25484)” may take a long time as it’s cloning a few gigabytes of data for the firmware stored  github. Just be patient, this step took several hours on my machine.

You can now flash the image to a micro SD card with:

sudo dd if=tmp/deploy/images/raspberrypi2/rpi-basic-image-raspberrypi2.rpi-sdimg | pv | sudo dd of=/dev/sdX bs=16M

Where you need to replace X with the letter of your SD card, which you can check with lsblk. Alternatively, you could also flash the image with Win32DiskImager in Windows. Here’s the compiled image for your reference: rpi-basic-image-raspberrypi2-20150227091441.rootfs.rpi-sdimg (104 MB). You’ll also need to use tools like gparted to expand the ext-4 partition to make use of all the space on your micro SD card.

You’d then just have to insert the micro SD card into your Raspberry Pi 2, boot, and login as root without password. I have not tried, since I don’t have a Raspberry Pi 2 yet.

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