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Posts Tagged ‘raspberry pi’

Raspberry Pi Compute Module is a $30 Raspberry Pi Compatible System-on-Module

April 9th, 2014 No comments

Albeit the initial goal of the Raspberry Pi board was to address computer science education, it has become extremely popular with hobbyists, has made its way in many different kinds of hardware, and is now clearly the number 1 low cost ARM Linux development board. The Raspberry Pi foundation has then decided to design and sell a system-on-module called Raspberry Pi Compute that people can use in actual products.

Raspberry Pi Compute (Left) and Raspberry Pi Board (Right)

Raspberry Pi Compute (Left) and Raspberry Pi Board (Right)

Since the module will be mostly software compatible with the original Raspberry Pi board, the specs are similar:

  • SoC – Broadcom BCM2835 ARM 11 processor @ 700 MHz with Videocore IV GPU
  • System Memory – 512MB RAM
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC Flash
  • SoM Connector – DDR2 200-pins SODIMM
  • Dimensions – 67.6x30mm board which fits into a standard DDR2 SODIMM connector

The main difference is they’ve replaced the SD card slot found in the board, by an eMMC module which is more appropriate, and should provide better performance, for products. The foundation has also made a baseboard called “IO Board” for the Compute Module, in order to kickstart development while your custom PCB is being designed. It includes an HDMI output, a full sized USB port, 2 micro USB ports, some flat headers for camera and LCD displays, and two 2×30 pin headers to easily access the signals available via the SODIMM connectors.

Raspberry Pi IO Board and Compute Module

Raspberry Pi IO Board and Compute Module

The module will most probably support all distributions available for the RPi (Raspbian, Fedora, Arch Linux ARM,  etc..) as source code and tools should be identical too. The IO board will be open source. For now the foundation has only released the schematics of the IO Board and Compute module in PDF format, but more documents will be released soon.

A “Raspberry Pi Compute Module Development Kit” comprised of the Compute Module and IO Board should be available from RS and Element14 in June. The price of the devkit has not been disclosed, but the Compute Module will start selling in the summer for $30 per unit in batches of 100. Individual orders will also be possible at an higher price.

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Low Cost Development Boards Giveaway: Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black, MicroZed, Minnowboard, and more

March 28th, 2014 No comments

OpenSystems Media is organizing a giveaway of some development boards targeting hobbyists. They’ll have a draw for the boards at EELive in San Jose, at their booth #2009 on April 1-2, but if you can’t attend you can also get a change to win online. Debelopment_Board_Giveaway

Here’s the list of board given away

You could also double your chances to win by tweeting the text below:

I just entered to win a #DIY board from @embedded_mag from #EELive.  Click here for your chance to #win http://bit.ly/EElivecontest #embedded

I could not find any terms and conditions, so I’m not sure if the giveaway is international, or only limited to the US.

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$120 Raspberry Pi Bundle with LCD Display, Expansion Boards, Cables, and Accessories

March 12th, 2014 No comments

Yesterday, Element14 has announced Wolfson Audio Card for the Raspberry Pi which adds multiple audio inputs and outputs to the low cost ARM Linux board, as it has been widely reported in the blogosphere.  I’ve just mentioned it in case you missed it, as instead I’m going to write about a bundle with the Raspberry Pi Model B, lots of expansion boards, cables, and accessories  such as a power supply, or a remote control that can be purchased for $120. It may not be useful if you only have a specific project in mind, but if you want to play around and interface with lots of different hardware, or even offer electronics lessons, it could be interesting.

Raspberry_Pi_BundleThe complete kit includes:

  • Raspberry Pi Model B with 512 MB RAM.
  • Acrylic Case for RPi  (not shown above)
  • Expansions boards and modules:
    • DVK511 Expansion Board with headers, jumpers, LEDs, and potentiometer
    • 2.2″ 320×240 Touch LCD
    • CD1602 (3.3V Blue Backlight)
    • AT45DBXX DataFlash Board
    • PCF8563 RTC Board
    • PCF8574 IO Expansion Board (via I2C)
    • 74LVC8T245 Board (8CH bus transceiver)
  • Debug Board – PL2303 USB UART Board (type A)
  • Accessories
    • 8 Push Buttons board
    • 4 x Anti-slip buttons (not shown in the pic above)
    • 2 x Copper heat sinks
    • Infrared Remote Controller (with RC2025 battery)
    • 100~240V power adapter (US plug, 140-cm cable)
  • Cables
    • 26-pin flat ribbon cable (20cm)
    • 2 x 4-pinwires pack
    • 2 x 2-pin wires pack
    • USB cable (150cm)
    • Ethernet cable (150cm)
  • Misc – 1 x DS18B20 Temperature sensor (IC that looks like a transistor), and CD with user’s guide.

The full kit seem to come from a company called Waveshare Electronics. You can find more details, including high resolution pictures, about the modules found in the package / bundle on the company website.

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Categories: Hardware, Linux Tags: hardware, raspberry pi, sensor

Dedicated Hosting Services on ARM Development Boards (Cubieboard2, Raspberry Pi, ODROID…)

March 12th, 2014 11 comments

At least two companies have recently launched hosting services using dedicated ARM servers based on low cost development boards: NanoXion with its NX-BOX service powered by PiBox (Raspberry Pi) and CubieBox (Cubieboard 2) microservers, and miniNodes with servers based on Cubieboard2 first, then ODROID development boards, and possibly AllWinner OptimusBoard once/if it becomes available.

PiBox Dedicated Server

PiBox Dedicated Server

The PiBox will feature a Raspberry Pi Model B with 512 MB RAM, and 16GB Class 10 UHS-1 microSD card by Samsung, and the dual core Cubiebox comes with 1GB RAM and a Crucial M500 SATA III 120GB SSD. Both NX-BOXes run Linux Debian Server NX distribution, support instant remote reboot, with guaranteed 10 Mbps connectivity for IPv4 & IPv6, and unlimited bandwidth. The boards are all hosted in France.

The company expects their ARM servers to be used as private cloud servers, backup servers, private chat servers, web servers, mail servers, DNS Servers, monitoring servers, and well as some other proprietary solutions their customers may come up with.

Pricing starts at 7.19 Euros per month for the PiBox, 11.18 Euros per month for the Cubiebox, including an IPv6 address, and the service requires a commitment of one year.

miniNodes, which is US based, has just started yesterday to offer Cubieboard2 dedicated server for early adopters and enthusiasts. Cubieboard 2 features a dual core AllWinner A20 SoC @1.0 Ghz, 1 GB RAM, and 4 GB NAND that runs Ubuntu Server 13.04. There does not appear to have any external storage in their microservers at this stage, and bandwidth information is not available. The only option is currently hosting costs $19 US per month, but once they officially launch they’ll offer options to purchase clusters with up to 25 Cubieboard2 and more choices for the OS (Ubuntu or Fedora). If everything goes according to plan quad core hardkernel ODROID boards will be added to the line-up soon, and Allwinner Optimus Board powered by AllWinner A80 octa-core processor might also be considered.

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Raspberry Pi Gets Open Source 3D Graphics Drivers and Documentation

March 1st, 2014 2 comments

The Raspberry Pi was launched 2 years ago, and for its birthday, Broadcom decided to release documentation and open source OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0 driver for the Videocore IV GPU.  You may remember the Raspberry Pi Foundation already release an open source GPU driver in 2012, but this was only for the part running on the ARM11 core for Broadcom BCM2835 SoC, which is just a few hundred lines of code long, and communicates with a binary blob which does all the work in the GPU itself. This new release however goes much further with a 111 page document entitled “VideoCore IV 3D Architecture Reference Guide“, and open source driver for the 3D System of the GPU.

VideoCore IV 3D Graphics Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

VideoCore IV 3D System Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

Strangely the release is however not for BCM2835, but instead BCM21553. Broadcom clearly has the source for BCM2835 too, so this must have been made for legal reasons. VideoCoreIV packs a lot of graphics feature 2D and 3D graphics, Video Processing Unit (with video codecs), ISP (Imagine Signal Processor) used by the camera, and probably a few other bits, but only the 3D part has been released, which is already a great achievement. The VPU code will never be released because the MPEG LA would not allow this, as they would like to keep on receiving their codec royalties.

That means the drivers, released under a BSD licence, will need to be ported to BCM2835, something that “should be reasonably straightforward“, but is still hard enough for the Raspberry Pi foundation to offer a $10,000 bounty to the first person that can port Broadcom’s VideoCore drivers to run on the Pi, and demonstrate Quake III running smoothly with the open source drivers. My take is you may even land a job if you manage that. I’ll give you a head start by mentioning you’ll need to change the registers’ base address :p.

VideoCore_IV_GPU_Base_Address

Eben Upton also mention it should be possible to “write general-purpose code leveraging the GPU compute capability on VideoCore devices”.

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Webee Boss is Both an Android TV Box and an Home Automation Gateway (Crowdfunding)

February 13th, 2014 2 comments

Lots of Android TV Boxes and HDMI dongles have hit the market last year, and low cost home automation systems have been launched, or are in development, such as Ninja Sphere. Webee Boss combines both to make your TV and your Home smart, as part of the Webee home automation platform, also composed of “Bees” (Smart Plug, Smart Lamp Holder, Smart Host, Presence Tag, Open/Closed sensors, etc…), Hive m3 development board, and an Android app.

Webee_BossWebee Boss specifications:

  • SoC – ARM Cortex A9 Microprocessor @ 800MHz
  • System Memory – 1 GB RAM
  • Storage – 2 GB NAND Flash, micro SD card slot up to 32GB
  • Connectivity
    • 10/100M Ethernet
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
    • IEEE 802.15.4 – ZigBee. Mesh networking. Home Automation profile.
    • Z-Wave. Mesh networking. Home Automation standards compatible in most countries.
    • Wireless Range – Outdoor: 45 to 90 meters, Indoor 45 – 60 meters
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.3 (up to 1080p)
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Power supply – Input: 100-240V AC 50/60 Hz 0.35A, Output: 5V DC 2.0A
  • Dimensions – 100mm (W) x 100mm (L) x 17mm (H)

This IoT gateway runs Android 4.0, and apparently comes with an RF remote control with a gyroscope based on the video demos. They did not specify exactly the processor used but based on the CPU frequency, and OS supported, it could be AMLogic AML8726-M3 or Freescale i.MX6 Solo. So do not expect performance similar to Rockchip RK3188 or AMLogic AML8726-MX devices.

Webee_BeesThey also have several Bees to make “dumb” objects “smart” and communicate with the Boss via Zigbee:

  • Smart Plug
  • Smart Lamp Holder
  • Smart Station
  • Presence Tag
  • Smart Host
  • Open/Close sensor

Nest thermostat, Phillips Hue light bulbs, your Wi-fi washing machine, and other wireless sensors using Wi-Fi, Zigbee, or Z-wave will also be able to report to the Boss.

You’ll be able to monitor and control your Home via the TV, or with My Webee, an Android app to be installed on your smartphone or tablet. An iOS version is also in the work. The Boss will learn about your habits overtime, don’t they always do?, and become clever as time passes by, scolding at you letting you know if you forgot to turn off the lights at a time when you are not supposed to be at the office for instance.

Independent developers and hobbyists will be able to create their own Bees thanks to Hive M3 development board based on Silicon Labs EM357 ZigBee ARM Cortex M3 IC, which can be interfaced with other hardware such as Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black, etc… via SPI or RS-232 to provide wireless connectivity. There will also be an SDK to create custom Android apps for both the Boss, or your smartphone.

Webee_Hive_M3

Unpopulated Webee Hive M3 Board

The company behind the project has launched a flexible Indiegogo campaign which has already reached its $50,000 funding target. You can pledge $109 to get Webee Boss, but it’s probably more useful and fun to go with a kit with a few Bees such as the $259 “PLUG and PLUG OFFER” that adds two smart plugs, a smart lamp holder, and one open/closed sensor. The development kit with Webee Box and three Hive M3 is available for $149. You’ll need to add $30 if you live outside of the US. Perks are expected to ship in April 2014. Access to Webee Cloud will always be free to backers.

There are very few technical details on the Indiegogo campaign page, and you’d better check out Webee product page.

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Cheap Accessories for Raspberry Pi – Camera, microSD adapter, Debug Board, Heatsink and Enclosure

January 26th, 2014 14 comments

The Raspberry Pi just a great low cost ARM Linux board that costs $25 (Model A) to $35 (Model B), but once you start to add accessories the total cost of ownership may creep up quickly, and in some cases accessories may be more expensive than the board itself. I’ll list some alternative accessories that can be purchased online for a fraction of the cost of the more famous one.

$18 Raspberry Pi Camera

Raspberry_Pi_Camera_CloneThe official Raspberry Pi camera costs $25 + shipping and tax, but you can get a similar 5MP CSI camera for just $18.13 including shipping on Banggood.com. This camera clone should be software compatible with the original one according to the listed features:

  • Plugs directly into the CSI connector on the Raspberry Pi
  • 5MP resolution image (2592 x 1944), or 1080p HD video recording at 30fps
  • 5MP (2592 x 1944 pixels) Omnivision 5647 sensor in a fixed focus module
  • 15 pin Ribbon cable to the dedicated 15-pin MIPI camera serial interface (CSI) included
  • The camera is supported in the latest version of Raspbian
  • Dimensions – 25 x 24 x 9mm

It appears to have similar specifications as the original camera up to to sensor, so I’d guess the image quality should just be the same, but this would probably have to be tested and and compared it to the original R-Pi camera. The Raspberry Pi foundation is most likely getting some funds from your purchase via RS components or Farnell as well, which is not the case with the clone.

$1.62 microSD card adapter

The Raspberry Pi comes with a full sized SD card slot, and when you insert the SD card in the board over half of the card is outside the board, which is not always looking nice, and in some applications may be an issue due to lack of space. To solve this problem, there are a few microSD card adapters from Adafruit ($6) and Pimoroni (about $10) among others, but you could save quite a lot by purchasing a microSD card adapter with the same functionality for $1.62 including shipping from BuyinCoins.

$1.45 USB To TTL debug board

usb_tll_adapterIf you want to see what’s going on at boot time in the bootloader and the linux kernel, you need to connect a USB to TTL to the UART pins of your Raspberry Pi in order to get the boot log in putty, minicom (Linux) or hyperterminal (Windows). Adafruit sells one for $9.95, but you can also buy a cheaper one which should work just as well for $2.19, and yes, it includes shipping, from BuyinCoins. [Update: the previous product uses +5V, so using another one supporting +3.3V won't damaged the R-Pi, and is even cheaper: $1.45]

$1.26 Heat sink set for the Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi should not need heat sinks, but if your board is an environment where proper ventilation is not possible, and/or you overclock your Raspberry Pi to 1GHz or more, hits may be useful, a heat sink kits with 3 heat sinks for Broadcom BCM2835 SoC, LAN9512 Ethernet chip, and the voltage regulator are sold, and made of different materials such as ABS, aluminum and copper. Banggood is probably selling one of the cheapest aluminum kit for $1.26 including shipping. If you want a copper heatsink just for the SoC, there’s one for $1.19.

$3.52 Raspberry Pi Case

Pimoroni Pibow case is one of the most commonly used case for the Raspberry Pi, and it looks very nice, but costs a little over $20. There are many cases for a cheaper price, but this transparent Raspberry Pi case may be one of the cheapest ones for $3.52 including shipping.

Do you know any other cheap accessories for the Raspberry Pi? If so, let us know in the comments.

Thanks to onebir for the links.

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