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Posts Tagged ‘raspberry pi’

ITEAD Core AW204X AllWinner A20 SoM and Core EVB Baseboard

October 14th, 2014 1 comment

ITEAD Studio has been making systems-on-module based on Allwinner processors for a little while which are found in the company’s IBOX mini PC, MOD Duo guitar pedal, and more. They’ve now launched a new system-on-module with a 204-pin SO-DIMM connector instead of the headers used in the earlier modules.

AW2042_AllWinner_A20_System-on-Module

AW2042 SoM (Click to Enlarge)

ITEAD Core AW2041 / AW2042  SoM specifications:

  • SoC- AllWinner A20 dual core ARM Cortex-A7 @ 1 GHz + ARM Mali 400 MP2
  • System Memory – 1 or 2 GB DDR3 RAM (AW2014: 1GB, AW2042: 2GB).
  • Storage – 4GB NAND Flash, micro SD card slot (on the back), SATA connector.
  • Connector – 204-pin SO-DIMM edge connector with UART, I2C, SPI, LCD, I2S, LVDS, GPIO, etc.. signals
  • Misc – Built-in RTC, reset, FEL and power buttons.
  • Power – 5V supply, 3.3V I/Os. AXP209 PMIC.
  • Dimensions – 67.60 x 48.25 x 1.6 mm
  • Weight – 35 grams
  • Temperature Range – Commercial

To facilitate development, the company is also providing an open source hardware baseboard (Kicad) simply called “EVB Core”.

EVB Core (Click to Enlarge)

EVB Core (Click to Enlarge)

Baseboard specifications:

  • SoC / Memory / Storage – Via AW204x modules.
  • Eternal Storage – SATA port on module, 5V SATA power on EVB, 1x micro SD slot on EVB, 1x micro SD slot on module.
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4, 18/24-bit single or dual channel LVDS
  • Audio – HDMI, optical S/PDIF, 3.5mm audio jack supporting 8 Ohm speakers @ 3W via included amplifier.
  • Connectivity – 10/100/1000M Ethernet
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 OTG ports, 1x USB OTG port (full size)
  • Expansions Headers:
    • 32-pin connector (beige) with access to UART, I2C, SPI, I2S, and GPIO signals, that can be used with some add-on boards made by ITEAD Studio.
    • 40-pin headers compatible with Raspberry Pi Model B+ (UART/I2C/SPI/GPIO)
  • Misc – IR receiver, bicolor LED, power, reset, FEL buttons,
  • Power – 7-23V DC via 2.5mm power jack
  • Power Consumption – 200mA typical, 300mA max. @ 5V? (without devices attached to EVB)
  • Dimensions – 140.2 x 90 mm
  • Weight – 82 grams
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0 to 60℃; storage: -40 to 80℃

The evaluation board can be fitted into IBOX metallic enclosure. The company provide supports for ITEAD OS based on Debian 7.0 (Link to SDK), and Android 4.2 for their modules. Some documentation, mostly the pinout diagrams. can be found on the Wiki for AW204x modules, and EVB Core.

Both the modules and baseboard appear to be available now. AW2041 SoM (1GB RAM) sells for $45, AW2042 (2GB RAM) for $60, and EVB Core for $29.99, so a complete development kit would start at $75.

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CALAO Systems Introduces PInBALL Industrial Board Based on Raspberry Pi Compute Module

October 1st, 2014 No comments

CALAO Systems has just launched an industrial single board computer (SBC) for professional Raspberry Pi developers called PiNBALL or, if you prefer, PAC-1210-S200-B2835-EXX…. The board is powered by the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, features interfaces such as two mini PCIe slots (for USB, I2C, GPIOs,…), fast Ethernet, HDMI, opto-isolated inputs and outputs, etc., +6 to +36V power input, and can operate in -20°C to +70°C temperature range.

Calao Systems PInBall Board with R-Pi Module (Click to Enlarge)

Calao Systems PInBall Board with R-Pi Module (Click to Enlarge)

PInBALL industrial SBC specifications (Items marker with ‘*’ are optional, and depend on model):

  • SoC / Memory / Storage  – Via Raspberry Pi Compute Module – Broadcom BCM2835, 512MB RAM, 4GB eMMC Flash.
  • Other Storage – 1x 2Kb I²C EEPROM with EUI-48 MAC Address & 128 bit Serial Number (AT24MAC402).
  • Video Output – 1x HDMI Out, 1x CVBS Out (BCM2835)
  • Audio Output – 1x HDMI, 2x S/PDIF Out / Optical & RCA (WM8804),
  • Connectivity – 1x Fast Ethernet (LAN9514), 1x Micro-SIM Socket
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 Host (LAN9514), 1x USB Device,
  • Serial Ports – 2x TTL Serial Ports (BCM2835), 2x TTL Serial Ports (MAX3109)*
  • Other I/Os
    • 1x CAN Bus (MCP2515)*
    • 2x MiPi DSI*
    • 2x MiPi CSI*
    • 3x Industrial Inputs (Téléinfo, Interface S0 or Standard Opto-isolated , 24VDC Output)*
    • 3x Industrial Outputs (1x Relay COM / NO or NC, 2x Isolated Outputs, 24VDC Input)*
  • Sensors – 1x Humidity & Temperature Sensor (Si7020)*
  • Expansions
    • 1x Mini PCIe Slot (USB 2.0 only, no PCIe)*
    • 1x Mini PCIe Slot (I2C, SPI, UART, USB & GPIOs)*
    • x KNX BAOS 820 module (KNX/TP1)*
  • Debugging – 1x JTAG port for BCM2835 (ARM11 or VideoCore GPU)
  • Misc – 1x RTC (DS3232) with BR1632A lithium battery, power/reset/user push buttons & LEDs,
  • Power Supply
    • Main: 12VDC / 2A (9-36 VAC/VDC),
    • Auxiliary Power Input: 9-36 VAC/VDC for 2nd power supply or external battery charger system,
  • Temperature Range – -20°C to +70°C
  • Dimensions – 100 x 120 mm
PInBALL SBC Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

PInBALL SBC Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

There will be three solutions/version based on PInBALL board:

  • CoreAccess – For “multipurpose application”, the variant will less options (No MiPi, no industrial I/Os…). Lacks all options marked with *
  • Home and Building Automation (HaBA) – Includes Industrial I/Os and a base of a Scada OPC UA software. All options listed in the specs above are supported
  • Industrial Automation and Robotics (IAaR) – Same as HaBA minus KNX module, and a “Open HAB Smart home” software is provided.

You can check the PInBall Selection Guide (PDF) for a side-by-side comparison of the three boards. Once you choose a board, you can simply order the carrier board only, a “pre-assembled” computer with the carrier board and the compute module, or an “Embedded System” adding a black anodized aluminum enclosure with mounting brackets.

CoreAccess module comes pre-loaded with XBian (XBMC), and the two others with Raspbian, the Debian distribution for the Raspberry Pi. The company also claims to provide an “open source SW package integrating a BSP maintained in main-line, a Linux Kernel, and then depending of the version, a Java virtual machine, OSGI framework, device abstraction, network and connectivity management”. The software Wiki currently makes use of code on Raspberry Pi github account.

CALAO Systems PinBALL will be sold via Element14/Farnell and CALAO on-line shop in Q4 2014, starting at 325 Euros per unit for the CoreAccess version. The company will also showcase their latest solution at Booth 482 at SEMICON Europa, in Grenoble, France on October 7-9, 2014. Further information is available on PInBALLboard.org.

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New Optimized Web Browser Released for the Raspberry Pi

September 2nd, 2014 1 comment

If you’ve ever tried to use a Raspberry Pi to browse the web, you must have noticed how frustrating it can be due to the overall sluggishness of the system. But thanks to work by Collaborra, which optimized Epiphany Web browser for the Raspberry Pi, bringing features such as 720p HTML5 hardware video decoding (no flash support), faster loading and scrolling, etc.., the web browsing experience has much improved, although as you’ll see from the video below, it’s still not quite 100% perfect.

HTML5 Video Playing in Raspberry Pi Optimized Epiphany Web Browser

Embedded HTML5 Video Playing in Raspberry Pi Optimized Epiphany Web Browser

The key modifications brought to Epiphany Web browser are listed below:

  • More responsive UI and scrolling, even while loading a page
  • Progressive tiled rendering for smoother scrolling
  • Startup is three times faster
  • Avoid useless image format conversions
  • Better YouTube support, including on-demand load of embedded YouTube videos to make page load much faster
  • Hardware decoding and scaling of videos (through gst-omx)
  • Reduction of the number of memory copies to play videos
  • Faster fullscreen playback using dispmanx directly (currently a bit buggy)
  • Memory and CPU friendly tab management
  • JavaScript JIT fixes for ARMv6
  • Disk image cache (decoded images are kept in memory mapped files in a cache, saving CPU)
  • Memory pressure handler support

So now time for a little demo…

If you are convinced, and want to try it on your own Raspberry Pi, simply install it from a terminal as follows:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install epiphany-browser

Future version of Raspbian and NOOBS will come with this optimized Epiphany Web browser instead of Midori.

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MIPS Creator CI20 Development Board Formally Announced, Free to Selected Developers

August 28th, 2014 9 comments

Earlier this month, I discovered MIPS Creator CI20 development board based on Ingenic JZ4780 dual core MIPS processor thanks to one of my reader.  Imagination Technologies has now launched the board, which will run Debian 7 first, soon support Android 4.4 and others Linux distributions, and the company places their MIPS board as a competitor to the popular ARM based boards such as the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black. This is the first board part of Prpl initiative for open source Linux and Android software for the MIPS architecture.

MIPS_CI20_Development_BoardAs a reminder, I’ll list the hardware specifications again:

  • SoC – Ingenic JZ4780 dual core MIPS32 processor @ 1.2 GHz with Imagination PowerVR SGX540 GPU. 32kI + 32kD per core, 512K shared L2.
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB NOR flash, 1x SD card slot, 1x SD card slot via expansion
  • Video Output – HDMI up to 1080p
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, Audio In and Out via 3.5mm jack
  • Video Playback – Up to 1080p60
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi + Bt 4.0 module (IW8103)
  • USB – 1x USB OTG, 1x USB 2.0 Host.
  • Expansions Headers – Access to 23x GPIOs, 2x SPI, 1x I2S, 7x ADC on header, including 5-wire touch and battery monitoring function, 1x UART, Transport Stream I/F.
  • Debugging – UART, and 14-pin MIPS EJTAG header
  • Misc – IR receiver, power LED, and button
  • Power Supply – 5V via 4mm/1.7mm barrel connector
  • Dimensions – 90x95mm

One thing I did not mention the last time are the multimedia capabilities of the Ingenic SoC, as it can handle codec such as MPEG-4, H.264, VP8, MPEG-2, and RV9 thanks to the video hardware, “making it ideal for HTPC enthusiasts” according to Imagination. The Linux source code  (3.0.8 and 3.16 kernel) is currently available on github and Imagination plans to up-streamed support to mainline. Graphics support includes Xorg-compliant OpenGL 2.1 and OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 drivers, which means Linux distributions available for the board should have 3D GPU acceleration. The complete documentation is available on eLinux.

MIPS_Creator_CI20_vs_Raspberry_Pi_vs_BeagleBone_BlackBased on the comparison table above, MIPS Creator CI20 are significantly higher than Raspberry Pi, and even BeagleBone Black, and the board size is about double, so it’s unlikely it will compete on price with either, unless it’s sponsored. Its specs are more akin to the Cubietruck (except for 2GB RAM, SATA support, GbE…) which sells for $89, so something between $70 to $80 could be expected.

With regards to availability there are good and bad news. The bad news is that you can’t buy it right now, and they haven’t announced the price yet. The good news is that if you are involved in an open source project, you may be able to get it for free by requesting one. Eventually MIPS Creator CI20 should sell via Imagination Technologies e-Store.

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RPiSoC Development Board Based on Cypress PSoC 5LP Features Pmod, Raspberry Pi, and Arduino Headers (Crowdfunding)

August 25th, 2014 No comments

Embedit Electronics, a startup founded by two recent graduates of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA, has designed a board powered by Cypress Semiconductor PSoC 5LP ARM Cortex M3 system-on-chip with programmable digital and analog I/Os. The board can interface with all Raspberry Pi models, Digilent Pmod peripheral modules, and supports Arduino shields.

RPiSoCRPiSoC specifications:

  • SoC – Cypress PSoC 5 with ARM Cortex M3 core at 67MHz , 256 KB Flash Program Memory, with user configurable write protection, and 64KB SRAM
  • Expansions and I/Os:
    • Arduino shield and ICSP compatible headers.
    • 2x Digilent Pmod compatible headers
    • 58 reconfigurable GPIO pins
    • 26-pin ribbon cable connector for use with the Raspberry Pi
    • 8 SIO (Special Input/Output) pins with higher current sink
    • 5-pin MiniProg3 header for programming via MiniProg3 hardware.
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for power, communication and programming.
  • Misc – Reset push button, User accessible LED, Programming switch
  • Power – 5V via micro USB port

You don’t need a Raspberry Pi to use the board, as it can be used in standalone mode, but RPiSoC provides better mode I/O options to the Raspberry Pi. MiniPro3 flash programming hardware is not necessary to program the board, as you can also do so via USB through the Bootloader Host Tool in PSoC Creator, but it could facilitate debugging. Cypress PSoC Creator IDE is only available for Windows, so users of Linux and Mac OS X may need to use a Virtual Machine, or find a Windows machine to program the board.

The project is open source hardware with the schematics, PCB Layout (Eagle) and gerber files available on Github, together with the bootloader code, and the Python API to communicate with the Raspberry Pi.

The promo video below introduces the board, and shows an interesting demo with RpiSoC and the Raspberry Pi working together to control a face tracking motorized webcam, as well as another demo showing RPiSoC being used standalone as an oscilloscope, and more.

RPiSoC board is now featured on Kickstarter, where the developers aim to raise at least $20,000. There are still a few early bid “seats” where you can get the board for $39, after which it will go for $44. If you own a Raspberry Pi Model B+, you may want to add $5 to get a 26- to 40-pin cable. Shipping is included to the US, and $15 to the rest of the world, with delivery scheduled for January 2015. If you like the face tracker demo shown in the video, a $199 perk is also available with a complete kit including a RPiSoC board, a RPi model B+, a micro SD card with face tracking software pre-loaded, power & ribbon Cables, a Raspberry Pi camera modules, the servo motors and mount, and battery pack.

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Raspberry Pi Based Slice, and EzeeCube Quad Media Players Support Internal Hard Drives (Crowdfunding)

August 20th, 2014 6 comments

Slice is a media player based on Raspberry Pi Compute Module, and EzeeCube Quad is media hub powered by Freescale i.MX6 Quad, and an upgrade to EzeeCube based on i.MX6 dual, which was successfully funded. The underlying hardware between Slice and EzeeCube is much different, but both devices have a lot in common. They are both media players currently being crowd-funded respectively in Kickstarter and Indiegogo, both comes with an internal hard drive, run XBMC, targets typical end-users (rather than tinkerers) and are somewhat pricey.

Slice Media Player

When I first saw Slice, all I could see was an Raspberry Pi module, put in a case with an internal hard drive bay, and lots of pretty RGB LEDs, and with an air mouse sold for an inflated price of 114 GBP ($190 US) without hard drive or 179 GBP ($300 US) with a 1TB drive, with admittedly some cheaper early bird pledges, and I did not think many people would be ready to pay a premium price for a device powered by a low-end processor, and decided to skip it. But I was wrong to underestimate to power of the Raspberry Pi brand (R-Pi and Pimoroni members are part of the team), and they’ve already fully funded, after raising over 104,000 GBP (~$173,000 US), and the first stretch goal (Free Wi-Fi!) has been reached.

Slice_Media_Player

Slice technical specifications:

  • SoC- Broadcom BCM2835 ARM11 CPU @ 700MHz + VideoCore IV GPU
  • System Memory – 512MB RAM
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC Flash for the OS,  2.5″ SATA hard disk for media files
  • Video Output – HDMI port with 5.1 audio pass through and CEC support
  • Audio – HDMI, 3.5mm jack for stereo audio (up to 192KHz 24-bit) or optical output
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet port + Wi-Fi via included USB dongle
  • USB – 2x USB2 ports , 1x micro USB device port to use Slice as mass storage device from your PC or program the flash.
  • Misc –  IR Sensor,  Real time clock with backup battery, 25 programmable RGB LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A (barrel type)
  • Enclosure – Aluminum case with REG LED string (Knight Rider style but multi-color, and customizable)

Slide_Raspberry_Pi_Compute_Module_Baseboard_LEDThe box runs XBMC with a skin that simplifies user experience, and with different color themes and backgrounds. Video files and other media can be loaded to the Slice simply by connecting it your computer via USB and copy/paste files as if it was a simple USB flash drive. You can have a better grasp about the user interface in the video embedded below.

The company, FiveNinjas Ltd, launched a Kickstarter campaign for the project. As mentioned in the introduction, it is already successful with 36 days to go and close to 800 backers, and you can now pledge for one for as “low” as 114 GBP (~$190) without hard drive, and 169 GBP (~$280) with a 1TB hard drive. The perks include the media player, a remote control with a USB RF dongle, a power supply with multiple connectors, an HDMI cable, a USB cable, a n instruction manual, a protective carry bag, and depending on the perk, a 2.5″ 1TB  hard drive. Shipping is free worldwide with delivery scheduled for November 2014 to December 2015 depending on the chosen option.

 EzeeCube Quad

EzeeCube is a much more powerful quad core device, and features stackable layers (EzeeStacks) allowing for a Blu-Ray player, and a total of 10 TB storage.

Rear Panel of EzeeCube Media Hub

Rear Panel of EzeeCube Media Hub

EzeeCube Quad specifications:

  • SoC – Freescale i.MX6 Quad with four ARM Cortex A9 cores @ 1 GHz and Vivante GC2000 3D GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB 64-bit DDR3 @ 1066MHz
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC,  2TB 2.5″ hard drive @ 5400rpm, and SD/SDXC card slot
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (limited to 470Mbps), 802.11n Wi-Fi (2.4GHz), and Bluetooth 3.0
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4 with CEC support
  • Audio Output – HDMI and optical S/PDIF
  • Video Containers – AVI, MPEG, WMV, ASF, FLV, MKV/MKA, QuickTime, MP4, M4A, AAC, NUT, OGG, RealMedia RAM/RM/RV/RA/RMV8, OGM, 3gp, VIVO, PVA, NUV, NSV, NSA, FLI, FLC, DVR-MS and WTV
  • Video Codecs – H.264 (AVC BP/MP/HP), MPEG4 (AP/ASP), H.263, VC1, MPEG-2 (MP/HP), DivX/Xvid, and VP8
  • Audio Formats – MIDI, AIFF, WAV/WAVE, AIFF, MP2, MP3, AAC, AAC+, Vorbis, AC3, DTS, ALAC, AMR, FLAC, Monkey’s Audio (APE), RealAudio, SHN, WavePack, MPC, Speex, WMA, ADPCM, CDDA and more
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB OTG
  • Misc – Reset Button, EzeeStack connector for add-ons
  • Power – 5V power adapter
  • Dimensions – 14 x 14 x 4.5 cm
  • Weight – ~700 grams

The device runs embedded Linux built with Yocto, and a custom version of XBMC.

Since the company has already raised close to $150,000 from their previous campaign for the dual core version, they already have the funds for production, which explains why the new Indiegogo campaign only has a $500 funding target… EzeeCube Quad is available for $349 including a 2TB internal hard drive. Shipping is $15 outside of Hong Kong, and delivery is expected for March 2015. There’s also a $49 “EzeeTuner” a USB tuner to watch and record TV on the internal storage (but no mention if it is DVB, ASTC,… or analog TV [Update: I asked and: "Right now only off the air all standard, after we finish testing, we will also support dvb c"]), a $49 Retrogame EzeeStack for Nintendo and Sega game cartridges, and Blu-Ray and 2TB hard drive EzeeStack expansions for respectively $99 and $149. If you had pledge for a dual core version in the previous campaign, and wish to upgrade to a quad core version with 2GB RAM, 2TB HDD, you can do so for $99.

If you had to chose, what would you prefer? The Raspberry Pi powered Slice, the quad core EzeeCube, or none of the above?

Thanks to Harley (again) for the tip.

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Waveshare DVK512 Kits For Raspberry Pi Model B+ Include RTC, Sensors, LCD Display, and More

August 14th, 2014 10 comments

Beaglebone (Black) expansion boards are called capes, Minnowboard ones are lures, and Raspberry Pi model B+ add-on boards can be HATs (HArdware on Top). When I found a kit for the Raspberry Pi model B+ on DealExtreme, based on Waveshare DVK512 add-ons board I thought it might have found a Chinese HAT, but unfortunately it is not compliant with HAT board specifications as it misses an EEPROM,and the dimensions are not the correct one either. Nevertheless, the kit, as well as extra accessories such as a 3.2″ LCD display, can still be interesting.

DVK512 Board with LCD1602 Display

DVK512 Board with LCD1602 Display

The kit on DX comes with the following items:

  • DVK512 expansion board that connects to the 40-pin Raspberry Pi B+ header and features PCF8563 RTC chip with battery, an on-board USB to TTL chip for debugging via micro USB, a character LCD interface, connectors for modules connected via UART, SPIO, I2C or GPIO, various jumpers and user LEDs and buttons.
  • LCD1602 display module as shown above (3.3V)
  • MIX Board to connect to the “GPIO” connector on DVK512, featuring a joystick, a buzzer, a temperature sensor (DS18B20), and an IR receiver, as well as jumpers for configuration.
  • A small “CAR/MP3″ IR remote control with one CR2035 battery (included)

But other add-on board such as a 3.2″ resistive touch screen, a camera module, motion sensor module, ADC and DAC module, 3D accelerometer and modules, etc.. are also available.

Top to Bottom, Left to Right: 3.2" Toucjscreen, DVK512 board, Mix Board, R-Pi B+, and

Top to Bottom, Left to Right: 3.2″ Touchcreen, motion sensor, no idea, DVK512 board, Mix Board, R-Pi B+, and A/D & D/A converter

As usual there’s no information about documentation and software on DX, but waveshare mentions a CD is provided and includes a user’s manual, the schematics (PDF), examples in C (Linux API source code), development documentations (Raspbian configuration, C library installation), and Raspbian images supporting the company’s accessories. C Examples include LED/GPIOs, Logic Level Converter, joystick and keys controlled via GPIOs, LCD1602 display, PWM (Buzzer), RTC, AD/DA, I2C & SPI example controlling the sensor modules, GPS (UART), and more. Unfortunately none of these are available online, so it’s not something you can evaluate before making a purchase.

DVK512 3.2" Display Running Raspbian (Click to Enlarge)

DVK512 and 3.2″ Display Connected to Raspberry Pi B+ Running Raspbian  (Click to Enlarge)

You can find more about Waveshare Raspberry Pi B+ modules and displays on the company’s “development board” page where they sell accessories kit for $40 or $60. I previously wrote about the company’s Raspberry Pi Model B Kit (DVK511) , and although the main expansion board DVK512 has been changed to deal with the 40-pin header, most other modules are the same, except the 3.2″ screen which appears to be relatively new.

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