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Posts Tagged ‘raspberry pi’

Atomo is a Raspberry Pi Compatible Modular Electronics Prototyping System (Crowdfunding)

March 22nd, 2017 7 comments

Atomo is a modular electronics protyping system comprised of four elements: Control, I/O, Power, and Connector, with the PCBs for each category color-coded with respectively red, blue, green, and black. The connector board connects power, I/O and control(ler) boards together in a way that’s supposed to be neater than most hand made prototypes.

The whole ecosystem includes 15 different boards:

    • Controllers with 26-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header
      • 2 IO Module Controller (CM-M2K22-A) based on NXP Kinetis K22F MCU
      • 4 IO Module Controller (CM-M4K64-A) based on NXP Kinetis K64F MCU
      • 8 IO Module Controller (CM-M8K64-A) based on NXP Kinetis K64F MCU

        2 IO and 8 IO Controller Boards – Click to Enlarge

    • Connectors
      • 8 IO Module Connector (GM_M8P2_A) – Dim: 145mm x 100mm; power up to 40V @ 64A
      • 4 IO Module Connector (GM_M4P1_A) – Dim: 71mm x 100mm; power up to 40V @ 32A
      • 2 IO Module Connector (GM_M2P1_A) – Dim: 71mm x 65mm; power up to 40V @ 16A
      • 2 IO Module Low-Power Connector (GM_M2P0_A) – Dim: 71mm x 65mm; Good for low power 5V/3.3V designs

        8 IO Modules Connector Board

    • IO Boards
      • Single Stepper Driver with Sensing IO Module (IO-001ST1-A)
      • Triple Stepper Driver with Limits IO Module (IO-002ST3-A)
      • Single Stepper and Heater Driver with Limits and Dual Temp (Thermistor + Thermocouple) IO Module (IO-003ST1TC1-A)
      • Single Stepper and Heater Driver with Limits and Dual Temp (2x Thermistor) IO Module (IO-003ST1TH1-A) with ADC, I2C, SPI, PWM

        Atomo IO-003ST1TH1-A – Click to Enlarge

    • Power Boards
      • 1X ATX Power Module (PM-ATX1X-A) for 1 ATX power supply with support for 3.3V, 5V, 12V plus a higher voltage up to 40V @ 32A
      • 2X ATX Power Module (PM-ATX2X-A) for 2 ATX power supply with support for 3.3V, 5V, 12V plus a higher voltage up to 40V @ 64A
      • 10A 5.5mm Barrel Plug Power Module (PM-VIN10A-A) – Input from 15V, 2A up to 24V 10A. Output: 12V, 5V, and 3.3V
      • 13W POE Power Module (PM-POE13W-A) – Output 12V, 5V, and 3.3V; network data passthrough; auxiliary 5.5mm barrel plug 12V output.

        2x ATX Board

They also have one expansion module with USB input & UART headers, a USB port, an Ethernet port, and a 26-pin header, which you can use if you don’t connect the controller board to a Raspberry Pi.

So now, you have to decide about your project’s power and IO requirements, select the boards, and put it all up together.  That’s what it looks like when the Raspberry Pi comes into play together with four IO modules and one ATX power board.

Now you’ll need to program the NXP Kinetis based controller board using  KDS and MCUXpresso, with low-level drivers using DMA provided by the developer, as well as board profiles with standard pin and clock configurations. ARM mbed compatibility, and RTOS integration are also planned for the future.

The video below introduces Atomo ecosystem, and shows a project with four LED strips.

Atomo has recently launched on Indiegogo, and the developer aims to raise at least $5,000 to fund mass production. Rewards start at $19 for the 2 IO controller board, and up to $48 for the 8 IO controller with the expansion board. The IO, power, and connector boards are not offered through Indiegogo – no wonder the campaign has not raised that much so far -,  but a 10% coupon is included with all perks to purchase them on Atomo Systems online shop.

While Atomo Systems is a one person company, but the project has “Arrow Certification” meaning this campaign has a working prototype that has been certified by Arrow Electronics, so hopefully project failure due to technical or manufacturing troubles is less likely. Shipping is free worldwide, and delivery is scheduled for June 2017.

SupTronics X800 2.5″ SATA Drive Expansion Board and Cases for Raspberry Pi 2/3 and ODROID C2 Boards

March 16th, 2017 15 comments

I wrote about SupTronics expansion boards for Raspberry Pi a few year ago. Those add features like WiFi, Bluetooth, RTC, SATA, VGA, S/PDIF, etc… I’ve just stumble upon a new model Suptronics X800 specifically designed for 2.5″ SATA hard drive and SSDs that I found on DealExtreme for $32.73 with a 5V/4A power supply, or $21.43 with just the expansion board and accessories.

 

Click to Enlarge

SupTronics X800 board features:

  • SATA connector for 2.5″ SATA drivers up to 1TB implemented via GL830 USB to SATA bridge
  • HDMI port – Duplicate Raspberry Pi HDMI output
  • USB – Connects to Raspberry Pi
  • Power Supply
    • 5V via 5.5/2.5 power jack
    • Optional & recommended power supply –  AC 100 – 240V input ~50 / 60Hz, 5V/4A output with US and EU snap plugs
    • Powers the Raspberry Pi, i.e. a USB power supply is not needed
  • Dimensions – 109mm x 85mm
  • Compatibility – Raspberry Pi Model B+, Pi 2 Model B, Pi 3 Model B, and other electrically and mechanically compatible boards like ODROID-C2.

X800 HDD Expansion Board ships with a power connection wire, 4x M2.5 spacers, 4x M3 spacers, 8x M2.5 screws, 8x M3 screws, and 4x M3 screw nuts, as well as an optional 5V/4A power supply. Once you have assembled everything together it looks like the pictures below.

You’ll find the assembly manual on X800 product page.

It’s more compact than a solution using a Raspberry Pi board with an external USB hard drive, but you may prefer getting a case for your Raspberry Pi and its hard drive, and it turns out SupTronics has a bunch of those either for 2.5″ SATA drives, or mSATA drive, with or without stereo to 7.1 audio DACs via their X-Series DIY kits.

The prettiest enclosure comes with their X3000 kits. Made of aluminum allow, it supports mSATA drives up to 1TB, comes with a built-in IR sensor, a touch button for power, a micro USB OTG port to access SATA from a computer, but sadly exposes a mini HDMI instead of a standard HDMI port.

If you prefer a Raspberry Pi case for 2.5″ SATA drives, you’ll have to select a less pretty “black brick” such as their X1000K model.

Click to Enlarge

One interesting features is the port on the rear panel – which looks like a parallel printer port – and can be used to access Raspberry Pi GPIOs signal using an add-on board part of the kit.

SupTronics X3000 launched last year for around $100 with Raspberry Pi, and it may priced itself out, as none of the stores are selling it anymore. X1000K mini PC kit is still for sale for about $80 and up on DealExtreme, Banggood and Aliexpress.

Categories: Hardware Tags: odroid-c2, raspberry pi, sata

Turtle Board is a Raspberry Pi 2 Like FPGA Board for J-Core J2 Open Source SuperH SH2 SoC

March 13th, 2017 8 comments

J-core J2 is an open source processor and SoC design implemented in VHDL, and using  SH2 instruction set found in some Renesas (previously Hitachi) micro-controllers. The code available royalty free under a BSD license, and it’s also patent-free since all SH2 related patents expired expired in October 2014. The developers used to run the code on Xilinx Spartan 6 based Numato Mimas v2 board since it was cheap ($50) and mostly did the job. “Mostly”, because it still lacked Ethernet, capability for SMP and the serial port was slow, so they decided to design their own Turtle Board to address those issues.

Turtle Board preliminary specifications:

  • FPGA – Xilinx Spartan 6 LS25 or LS45 FPGA
  • MCU – 8-bit Atmel MCU for load/update flash at power on.
  • Storage – micro SD slot, 8MB SPI flash
  • System memory – 256 MB RAM
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI and AV jack
  • Connectivity – Ethernet
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 ports
  • Expansion – 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – Raspberry Pi 2/3 form factor

There are very few details about the board, and J-Core Project’s twitter account has not been very active recently. However, they showcased Turtle Board at ELC 2017 last month, so the project is still very alive.

Click to Enlarge

Based on the slide above, the board will start shipping in May 2017, and I could not find a link to pre-order them. They have a dedicated (currently parked) domain @ turtleplatform.com, so it could eventually be announced there, or via a Kickstarter campaign. Patents for newer SH3 and SH4 cores have recently expired too, and J-Core Roadmap includes plans for  J3 (SH3+MMU+FPU) in 2017 and J4 (SH4 64bit – Used in SEGA Dreamcast) in 2018.  If you want to know more about J-Core implementation, you may want to check out ELC 2016 presentation, and/or subscribe to J-Core mailing list.

Thanks to Leon for the ELC 2017 picture.

How to Control Your Air Conditioner with Raspberry Pi Board and ANAVI Infrared pHAT

March 12th, 2017 6 comments

Leon ANAVI may be a full-time software engineer, but in his spare time he has started to develop open source hardware project with the help of others and by himself. Last year, I got hold of his RabbitMax Flex HAT for Raspberry Pi, and tested it with the provided LCD display, one temperature sensor, and a Raspberry Pi 2 board. The board also featured IR receiver & transmitter, and I tried to use it with my aircon remote control, but at the time I did not find a way to do it easily, and control my TV with LIRC instead. Leon has now made a simpler, smaller, and cheaper add-on board for Raspberry Pi Zero, and other Raspberry Pi boards with a 40-pin header, with 3x I2C headers, two IR transmitters, and one IR receiver. He sent me a sample of “ANAVI Infrared pHAT”, and after quickly describing the board, I’ll show how to I could control my air conditioner with a Raspberry Pi 2 board and his Infrared pHAT.

ANAVI Infrared pHAT

The top of the has the 3x I2C header for 3.3V sensors, a UART header to access to serial console, two x 5mm IR transmitters (IR LEDs), and one IR receiver (IR photo sensor). It also has an EEPROM to store the HAT ID.

Click to Enlarge

The other side comes with the 40-pin female header to connect to your Raspberry Pi board.

The board was designed with KiCAD, and the hardware design files are released under a “Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States” License on github.

ANAVI Infrared pHAT Connection to Raspberry Pi Board

There’s only one step: insert the board on the 40-pin connector of your RPi board. You can only make one mistake, inserting it the wrong way. It has to be connected in away that it covers part of the board.

I’ve connect it with a Raspberry Pi 2 board with a battery kit, but it fits even better on the Raspberry Pi Zero, or newly released Raspberry Pi Zero W.

Setting up Raspberry Pi, and Controlling the Air Conditioner with LIRC

It’s time to start software setup in order to control the Haier air conditioner pictured below.

You’ll need to install Raspbian, and some packages including LIRC, but I’ve already explained how to do that in RabbitMax Flex Getting Started Guide, so I’m not going to repeat those steps here, especially you can find them in ANAVI Infrared pHAT user’s manual too, and I’ll assume you have already setup your board.

The reason why I could record IR commands from my TV remote control, and not my aircon remote control last time around, is because aircon remotes send not only one byte but also status info each time. The trick is to use mode2’s “alternative display mode” to capture pulse/space data as raw config files.

Let’s do that:

Now I faced the IR receiver and pressed the power key on the remote control:

Wow, that’s a whole bunch of numbers, but that’s exactly what we need as those are the duration of the high and low levels of the IR signal. I have repeated the same command, but capturing 4 keys: off, on, up to 29C, and down to 28C.

Then we need to edit our lircd-haier-ac.conf file manually:

Note that you need to delete the first “big number” from each captured command. For example, I had to delete “4989552” from the first capture of the power key. If you want full control, you’ll need to record all keys. You may want to read lircd.conf manual to understand parameters like aep or aeps. I used the default values, but in case it does not work for you, or works unreliably, you may have to adjust them, possibly from data obtained using an oscilloscope. I did not have such problem, and copied the file to /etc/lirc/lircd.conf:

In theory, you can restart lircd from the command line:

but in my case, I always had troubles when running irsend command:

So I had to reboot the board with sudo reboot to enable changes. Later I used the reload command (to take into account the update config) after restart, and I could avoid a reboot:

Once it’s all working, we can list the keys we’ve just defined in lircd.cong:

To turn on the aircon:

Then I was not sure what action would happen when I recorded the up key once setting the temperature. So I first set the temperature to 23C to check whether it would increment the temperature to 24C, or set it to 29C:

And the later happened, which means you need to record all temperatures you want to set, and there’s no such thing as UP and DOWN keys.

You’ll already guessed how to turning off the aircon:

Then I realized that since “29C” and “28C” commands send the temperature, it might also send the power status, and indeed I can turn on the aircon @ 28C directly with with 28C command. So instead of recording keys for your aircon, you are actually recording “scenes” which you could name “night”, “25Cfanlowswingup”, “off”, and so on. I added 25Cfanlowswingup with temperature set to 25C, fan speed set to low, and swing set to up, added it to lircd.conf, and a single command would turn on the aircon and set all those values:

Pretty neat.

While the instructions above will work with any board with IR receiver (for first time setup) and IR transmitter, you may be interested in getting ANAVI Infrared pHAT on Indiegogo for $9 plus shipping ($5 to  $7). There are also other rewards including the pHAT, I2C sensors, and debug tools. The campaign has already surpassed its funding target ($500), and delivery is planned for September 2017.

NComputing RX300 is Raspberry Pi 3 based Thin Client for Windows & Linux

March 2nd, 2017 No comments

NComputing is a company specializing in thin clients, which are low power computers that run code from one or more powerful servers, so for example you could edit photos in Photoshop running in Windows 10 using a Raspberry Pi 3 board connected to an HDMI display. That’s exactly what the company had done with RX300 “cloud-ready” thin client based on the Raspberry Pi 3, and optimized specifically for the company’s vSpace Pro desktop virtualization solution for Linux and Windows.

Ncomputing RX300 hardware specifications:

  • Based on Raspberry Pi 3 model B board powered by Broadcom BCM2837 quad core Cortex A53 processor
  • System Memory – 1GB RAM
  • Storage – 8GB micro SD pre-loaded with software
  • Video Output – 1x HDMI 1.4 port
  • Audio – Via HDMI, 1x speaker jack (16bit/22kHz high quality audio)
  • Connectivity – 10/100 Mbps Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports with full USB redirection support (2 required for mouse and keyboard)
  • Misc – Kensington security port, sleep mode button to disable display output for power saving mode
  • Power Supply – 5.1V via micro USB port

The thin client supports virtual desktops from 9 Windows operating systems: Windows 10 / 8.1 / 7, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 / 2012 R2 U1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, and Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 / 2011. vSpace Pro 10 also supports VMWare & Citrix virtualization, so I assume this is how you could enable access to Linux distributions. Alternatively, the IT admin can also switch to “Raspbian Linux Mode” to use RX300 like any other Raspberry Pi 3 board.

RX300 thin client also supports 1920×1200 full screen video playback thanks to vCAST direct streaming technology, transparent USB redirection – meaning the server can access the local USB ports on RX300 -, and dual display configuration via an optional NComputing USB dongle (VGA or DVI). RX300 can also be mounted on the back of the monitor using a VESA mount kit.

NComputing solution are designed for small & medium businesses, schools and universities with IT admins managing a “fleet” of thin clients. If you want to do something similar at home, you can also use VNC with tools like TightVNC or DirectVNC. Performance may not be quite as optimized however, and you’ll lack all managements tools, which should not be needed at home anyway.

NComputing RX300 will start selling for $99 in March with one-year connection subscription to vSpace Pro 10 and a 6-month trial of vCAST streaming technology. After one year you’ll need to renew the license. Further details can be found on NComputing RX Series product’s page.

Raspberry Pi Zero W Adds WiFi & Bluetooth, Sells for $10

February 28th, 2017 36 comments

The first Raspberry Pi was launched 5 years ago on February 29, 2012, and the Raspberry Pi foundation has made an habit of announcing new products on the anniversary of the board. This year is no exception, as the foundation has just announced Raspberry Pi Zero W, based on the popular Raspberry Pi Zero, but potentially much more useful, as they added a WiFi and Bluetooth LE module to the board.

Raspberry Pi Zero W specifications:

  • SoC – Broadcom BCM2835 ARM11 processor @ 1GHz with VideoCore IV GPU
  • System Memory – 512MB RAM
  • Storage – microSD slot
  • Video Output – mini HDMI port and composite video (via 2 unpopulated  pins)
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 (same Cypress CYW43438 wireless chip as Raspberry Pi 3 Model B)
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port, 1x micro USB port for power only
  • Camera – 1x CSI camera connector
  • Expansion – Unpopulated 40-pin HAT-compatible header
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 65mm x 30mm x 5mm

You’ll get the same operating support as Raspberry Pi Zero, and other Raspberry Pi boards with distributions such as Rasbian.

They’ve also launched a case for RPI 0 / RPi0 W boards with three interchangeable lids:

  • One with an aperture and mounting point for a camera
  • One with an aperture to let you access the GPIOs
  • A blank one


You can purchased Raspberry Pi Zero W (Wireless) for $10 via one of the global distributors (Pimoroni, Adafruit, The Pit Hut, and Canakit), as well as some local distributors. Many are selling starter kits instead of the board only.

Thanks to hmartin for the tip.

LibreELEC v8.0.0 Released with Kodi 17.0 (Krypton)

February 26th, 2017 5 comments

LibreELEC is a JeOS (Just enough Operating System) based on Linux that creates a media center appliance platform for Kodi (formelly XBMC), and a fork of OpenELEC. The developers have now released LibreELEC v8.0.0 with the latest Kodi 17.0 “Krypton”.

Beside the update to Kodi 17, some of the changes since the last stable version (v7.95.3) include:

  • Fix for TVheadend issues in the WeTek Play 2 DVB driver
  • Fix for interactive governor causing slowdown issues on the WeTek Core
  • Fix for missing Bluetooth “connect and trust” option when pairing
  • Fix for missing ir-keytable streamzap support after recent changes
  • Updates to refine lirc repeat timing changes
  • Update WeTek Play 2 remote keymap to expose more buttons
  • Updates to linux-amlogic 3.10 (arm) and 3.14 (aarch64) kernels
  • Add hexdump busybox applet needed for Odroid_C2 overclocking

The full list of changes can be found on github.

While it’s possible to update from an existing installation, there are a few potential issues if you were running a mixed-arch build ( 32-/64-bit) for Amlogic devices, or enabled “Sync Playback to Display” with audio pass-through. If you update, and get stuck in Kodi 17 splash screen, you may want to delete /storage/.kodi/userdata/Databases/Addons27.db. While some workarounds are explained in the release blog post (linked in the introduction), you may prefer installing from scratch using LibreELEC SD creator with images available for the following platforms:

  • Generic x86_64 – Note: I tested a community/beta version of LibreELEC 8.0 for Apollo Lake last month.
  • Raspberry Pi & Pi Zero, Raspberry Pi 2 & Pi 3 boards
  • Freescale/NXP i.MX6 hardware
  • ODROID-C2 Development board
  • WeTek Play, Wetek Core, WeTek Hub, WeTek Play 2

Those are the officially supported hardware platforms, but if your device is not listed, there could be community support firmware images for your device. You’ll have to check out the forums to find out. Some work also also started to run LibreELEC 8.0 on Rockchip RK3288 processor.

Thanks to Harley for the tip.

Janz Tec emPC-A/RPI3 is an Industrial Embedded Controller Based on Raspberry Pi 3 Board

February 15th, 2017 No comments

We see more and more industrial devices making use of Raspberry Pi boards, after Kunbus RevolutionPi RevPi Core industrial computer based on Raspberry Pi Computer Module, and RailPi 2.0 embedded computer equipped with a Raspberry Pi 3 (or ODROID-C2) board, Janz Tec is now offering another option with emPC-A/RPI3 industrial embedded controller featuring Raspberry Pi 3 board, and supporting variable DC power input, 24V digital inputs and outputs, and interfaces such as CAN, RS485…

Janztec emPC-A/RPI3 specifications:

  • SoC – Broadcom BCM2837  quad core ARM Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.2 GHz (but limited to 4x 600 MHz on purpose to avoid overheating) and VideoCore IV GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • Storage – externally accessible micro SD slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4 port
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet port, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth LE (BCM43143)
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 ports
  • Debugging – 1x 9-pin D-SUB connector for serial debug console (RS232 only with RxD and TxD)
  • I/O connector with:
    • 1x CAN (ISO/DIS 11989-2, opto-isolated, term. settings via jumper, SocketCAN supported)
    • 1x RS232 (Rx, Tx, RTS, CTS) or switchable to RS485 (half duplex; term. settings via jumper)
    • 4x digital inputs (24V DC)
    • 4x digital outputs (24V DC)
  • Misc – Real-time clock, battery buffered
  • Power Supply – 9 … 32 V DC
  • Dimensions – 99.8 x 96.7 x 30.0 mm
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0 °C … 35/40°C; storage: -20 °C … 75 °C
  • Humidity – 5 % ~ 95 %, non-condensing

The enclosure supports desktop, wall or DIN rail mounting. While customers can boot the operating system of their choice from micro SD card, the company offers support for Raspbian JESSIE Lite operating system, and can also provide – at extra cost – CODESYS V3 runtime environment, Oracle Java Embedded, and CANopen protocol stack and tools.


As with all other industrial solutions, the added features come at a costs, as Janz Tec emPC-A/RPI3 pricing starts at 250 Euros without micro SD card, power supply, nor any optional software options. The embedded computer can be purchased on Saelig website, and you may want to visit the product page for more information.

Via LinuxGizmos