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Posts Tagged ‘raspberry pi’

Lemaker.org is Giving Away Banana Pi Development Boards to Developers and Fans

July 26th, 2014 1 comment

Banana Pi is a development board powered by AllWinner A20 dual core SoC with 1GB RAM, and with expansion headers and a form factor very similar to the Raspberry Pi. It can run Debian, Lubuntu, Android 4.2, Arch Linux ARM, Scratch OS, and OpenSuse, but Lemarker.org community would like more educational materials such as open source software or hardware projects, tutorials, etc.., so they’ve launched a program to give away boards to developers and people who can help writing and maintaining documentation.
Banana_Pi_Board

There are three categories of projects:

  • STEAM – “Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics” educational, open source projects running on the the Banana Pi
  • Hardware or Software Project -  Open source projects based on Banana Pi which could be helpful to the community, including open source hardware peripherals projects;
  • Banana Pi Fans – You don’t need to be as technical as for the two others categories, but you must be committed to write tutorials or user guides, participate to the Wiki, upload video guides, etc.., under CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

To apply, you just need to create a poll in the forums in the category that matches your project, describe the project, the licenses used, links to existing documentation if any, etc…Other members of the community can then comment or/and vote for your project for two weeks, and you’ll be send a board if accepted.Current projects include a Self-Managing Uninterruptible Power Supply for Banana Pi, and WTherm web connected thermostat.

Selected applicants will have to bear the cost of shipping via SF-Express, DHL (Priority), UPS, FedEx, or China Post depending on the applicant’s preference.

All details and conditions are available on Apply for Banana Pi page.

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The World’s Cheapest Linux Computer? Pogoplug Mobile Now Sells for $7

July 19th, 2014 10 comments

Somebody asked “Anyone knows a computer cheaper than a Raspberry Pi with a network interface?” on Google+ mini PCs community. Some OpenWRT routers such as TPLink WR703N selling for about $20, or the VoCore Wi-Fi module selling for about the same price (Wi-Fi only) were parts of the answers, and I also mentioned some HDMI TV dongles that now sell for around $35, which is still a little cheaper than the Raspberry Pi model B when one considers shipping. But I found the answer by dhead666 particularly interesting:

Pogoplug Mobile goes for 7$ on Amazon and that includes psu and network cable.
It run Linux great (I’m using Arch) but you will want to have a ttl-usb cable and soldering iron available in case you manage to mess u-boot (go to the doozan’s forums for more info about the u-boot).

Let’s have a look.

PogoplugPogoplug Mobile is not a new device, as I wrote about it as far back as 2011, but it was certainly not selling for $7 at the time.

Pogoplug Mobile has the following specifications:

  • Processor – Marvell Kirkwood 88F6192 ARMv5TE compliant processor @ 800 MHz
  • System Memory – 128 MB RAM
  • Storage – 128 MB NAND + SD card slot
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port

You can find a review of the device, including board and device pictures, on SmallnetBuilder. The product is sold as a backup device connected to a cloud service, but as we’ll see below, you can also install Arch Linux ARM. There are also other Pogoplug models with USB 3.0 and SATA II, but obviously they cost more.

Pogoplug_Mobile_Rear

What about the $7 claim? Pogoplug Mobile can indeed be found on Amazon for about $7, and it’s actually one of the best selling items in the NAS category. I’ve also looked for other models with SATA and USB 3.0, and gotthe following price list

If Amazon US won’t ship to your country, it’s also available on Ebay, but you’ll have to shop around as shipping costs may be prohibitive…

Even at $7, it’s not really a Raspberry Pi killer, as there’s no video output, and it does not seem you have easy access to GPIOs, yet for headless non-embedded applications it looks certainly interesting especially for storage application as it provides Gigabit Ethernet which should be much faster than the 10/100M Ethernet via USB you get with the Raspberry Pi, and it’s a very cheap way to connect any USB hard drive to the network. At this price it’s almost like they sell you the Ethernet cable and power supply, and give you the device for free. The Series 4 are also cost effective if you want SATA, more USB ports, and extra performance with USB 3.0.

To say the least the reviews on Amazon are mixed, with many people saying the device does not work as expected, and they lost their files. Luckily the Pogoplugs are hackable, and instructions to run Arch Linux ARM from SD card are indeed available for Pogoplug Mobile and Pogoplug Series v4, and somebody also managed to boot Debian. There are various instructions from people who played with this extra cheap device on the net.

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Raspberry Pi Model B+ with 4 USB Ports, a micro SD Slot, and More GPIOs Coming Soon

July 13th, 2014 21 comments

With over 3 million boards sold, the Raspberry Pi is by far the most popular ARM Linux board on the market, but people are often asking for hardware upgrades with a faster processor, more RAM and so on. The good news is that a new Raspberry Pi board seems on the way, but since the real competitive of the Raspberry Pi is not the cheap hardware only, but software support and the community around the little ARM board. So instead of designing of completely new board, they’ve kept Broadcom BCM2835 and 512MB RAM, and mostly made some changes to the ports, and form factor.

Raspberry Pi Model B+ (Click to Enlarge)

Raspberry Pi Model B+ (Click to Enlarge)

Since the board has not been officially announced just yet, the full details are available, but according to various reports, the specs should be as follows:

  • SoC – Broadcom BCM2835 ARM11 processor @ 700MHz with VideoCore IV GPU
  • System Memory – 512 MB SDRAM (PoP)
  • Storage – micro SD card slot (push release type)
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI and AV via 3.5mm jack.
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 ports, 1x micro USB for power
  • Expansion
    • 2×20 pin headerfor GIO
    • Camera header (MIPI CSI?)
    • Display header (MIPI DSI?)
  • Power – 5V via micro USB port.

Raspberry_Pi-Model_B+_Board

The new Raspberry Pi appears to be better suited for enclosure thanks to the placements of the various ports, and four mounting holes. It loses the RCA connector, but the 3.5mm jack appears to combine both audio and video. The SD card is replaced by a micro SD card, and instead of just 2 USB ports, it gets 4 USB ports via Microchip LAN9514 USB to Ethernet chip. There are also report of a better audio codec being used, but it’s nowhere to be seem on the picture, and possibly soldered at the back of the board.

Raspberry Pi Model B+ was first spotted by AppDated on European retail site Reichelt, but the page have now been remove, and it was not clear whether it was an official Raspberry Pi foundation product or made independently by a third party. But I found the first picture above in Google Cache, and it looks pretty official, as it will be apparently sold by Element14, one of the main Raspberry Pi sellers, and there’s a “Raspberry Pi” copyright on the board’s silkscreen.

Since it’s a leak, there’s obviously no availability or pricing information available.

Via Liliputing

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$70 MicroNFCBoard Brings NFC Connectivity to Any Board or Device (Crowdfunding)

July 11th, 2014 No comments

AppNearMe MicroNFCBoard is a development platform for Near Field Communication (NFC) comprised of an NFC transceiver, an NXP MCU, and all software stack and tools you need for development. This board also exposes various I/Os that allows you to connect to external hardware or devices, and it can be used with an Arduino, Raspberry Pi, mbed or PC/Mac.

microNFCBoardLet’s go through the board specifications first:

  • MCU – NXP LPC11U34FHN33/421 Cortex M0 MCU @ 48MHz, with 10KB RAM, 48KB FLASH, 4KB EEPROM
  • NFC
    • Transceiver – NXP PN512. Reader/Writer and card operation modes supporting ISO14443A/Mifare and FeliCa schemes.  NFCIP-1 mode
    • Splittable antenna
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for power and programming
  • I/O – 20x through holes with access to serial (UART), I2C, SPI, 4x ADC inputs, IRQ, Boot and Reset, and power pins. (2x pin header that you can solder are provided)
  • Misc – Reset and bootloader enable push-buttons, 2x LEDs.
  • Power Supply – 5V USB, 3.6-6V or 3.3V supply
  • Dimensions – 35x100mm

The board can be programmed using mbed.org online compiler, high level C/C++ SDK, as well as libraries and projects. I’d like to point out that AppNearMe has been working on NFC and mbed for a while, as I wrote about an mbed platform using their uNFC stack back in 2012.

micronfcboard_smartphone

The three main NFC modes can be handled with the board using the provided API:

  • Tag reading/writing (types 1, 2, 3 and 4) – Used to communicate with passive NFC tags
  • Peer-to-peer (Android Beam/SNEP) – To send and receive messages over NFC.
  • Tag emulation (type 4) – Emulates a NFC tag that you can read with your NFC enabled smartphone for example.

The software also allows you to decode in NDEF (NFC Data Exchange Format) including URL/URI, text, Bluetooth pairing info, and MIME Type + data.

MicroNFCBoard can be used in standalone mode, or can be connected to Arduino via SPI, and other platforms (ARM development boards, PC/Mac) via USB using a Python library for programming. The board will be fully open source with the company releasing the board firmware, and hardware designed files.

Some practical examples include a robot piloted with NFC tags, a Youtube video transferred from an Android phone to a Raspberry Pi via NFC, a mood lamp demo, or light and temperature data in real-time with an Android phone. The video below shows how it’s possible to have different users login to the Raspberry Pi board with their own NFC tag, or their smartphone.

The company has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund mass production of the board with 20,000 GBP. The early bird perk start at 30 GBP (~$51.5) to get MicroNFCBoard, after which it will be 40 GBP (~$68.5). Other perks with NFC tags, sensors, multiple MicroNFCBoards, the mood lamp, etc.. are also available. The boards are expected to ship on October 2014.

Via Intorobotics

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SolidRun HummingBoard Raspberry Pi-Like Board is Now Available for $45 and Up

July 2nd, 2014 2 comments

HummingBoard is a board made by SolidRun that’s mechanically compatible with the Raspberry Pi, and offering the same expansions connectors, and a few extras. The board is comprised of a baseboard and a microSoM powered by Freescale i.MX6 Solo, Dual Lite or Dual. At first it looked like an internal project,  but the board went viral together with the Banana Pi, and the company has now announced availability for the HummingBoard with pricing starting at $45 for the single core version up to $100 for the dual core version with extra options.

HummingBoard-i2

HummingBoard-i2

There are currently three models:

  • HummingBoard-i1 ($44.90) – Freescale i.MX6 Solo with GC880 GPU, 512 MB RAM, 10/100M Ethernet
  • HummingBoard-i2 ($74.99) – Freescale i.MX6 Dual Lite with GC880 GPU, 1GB RAM, 10/100M Ethernet
  • HummingBoard-i2ex ($99.99) – Freescale i.MX6 Dual with GC2000 GPU, 1GB RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, LVDS output, mSATA II interface, PCI Express Gen 2 slot, RTC with baterry backup, and IR receiver

All three boards also come with an HDMI video output, two powered USB ports, a 2-Lane CSI-2 camera interface, a microSD interface, a coaxial S/PDIF output, and the same GPIO header as the Raspberry Pi. They sell with options such as 110V or 220V power adapters, or a micro SD card.Just like the Raspberry Pi, there’s no internal storage (NAND or eMMC), and instead the board boots from a micro SD card with operating systems such as Android, Ubuntu, and Debian, and it’s also likely there will be an XBMC port. The company also has Micro-SOM i4Pro with Freescale i.MX6 Quad but for some reasons (thermal dissipation?) it is not included in a HummingBoard-i4, but it can be found in Cubox-i4Pro.

HummingBoard Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

HummingBoard Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

The company has uploaded a promo video comparing their HummingBoard to the Raspberry Pi.

It offers a more powerful hardware with faster processing power and better peripherals, more operating systems choices including Ubuntu and Android which are not available for the Raspberry Pi, but you can’t expect the same level of software support and community as the original Raspberry Pi, and although some Raspberry Pi accessories (enclosures and expansion board) will work on the HummingBoard, you can’t expect them to all work at least without some serious software work.

You can find more information and/or purchase a board on SolidRun’s HummingBoard product page.

Thanks to dhead666 for the tip.

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Raspberry Pi Compute Module Development Kit Is Now Available for $200

June 24th, 2014 2 comments

The Raspberry Pi foundation announced a computer-on-module which they called the (Raspberry Pi) Compute Module that will be mostly software compatible with the Raspberry Pi board, and sell for $30 in quantities. They have now announced the availability of the development kit that includes a baseboard (called Compute IO board), display & camera adapter boards, as well as a 5V power adapter, jumper wires, and a USB cable.

Raspberry_Pi_Compute_Module_Devkit_640px

Raspberry Pi Compute Module Development Kit (Click to Enlarge)

As a reminder the Compute Module has the following hardware specifications:

  • 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 Compute IO Board come with two micro USB connectors (one reserved for power), a USB 2.0 host port, two DSI ports for display, two CSI ports for a camera, a full size HDMI port, headers for various IOs, and a SO-DIMM socket to insert the Compute Module. Both the Compute Module and IO board are FCC certified, but apparently no CE (yet?), which will allow them to be included in products to be sold in the US.

Raspberry_Pi_Compute_Module_IO_BoardThe schematics are provided in PDF format for all three boards: compute module, IO board, and camera and display adapter, as well as a hardware design guide, and instructions to flash the board’s eMMC and play with the Raspberry Pi camera module can be downloaded from Raspberry Pi Compute Module documentation page. It seems a little odd they did not release the IO board schematics in the original to let developer modify to their needs.

Currently, the Compute Module only supports Raspbian for now, and anything that can be done on the Raspberry Pi should also be achievable with the CoM, but new capabilities like dual displays or dual cameras won’t work out of the box right now.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module has been designed for people wanting to make products, so low price has not been a focus for the development kit, which can be purchased for about $200 via RS Component or Element14.

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Maynard is a Wayland based Lightweight Desktop Environment Designed for the Raspberry Pi and Lower-end Hardware

June 17th, 2014 No comments

With 3 millions board already sold, the Raspberry Pi board is clearly the most popular ARM Linux development board, and must be one of the most successful Linux device that’s designed to run a Desktop environment. However, the Broadcom BCM2835 processor and lowly 512MB makes it hard to run fully fledge desktop environment such as KDE and Gnome, so most people run LXDE via Raspbian operating systems, and it is much more manageable. However LXDE does not support Wayland, which is supposed to replace the X windows system, and it may not look as nice as it could. So the Raspberry Pi foundation and Collaborra have worked together on a new desktop environment called Maynard that leverages Wayland, and is supposed to be “functional, light and pretty”.

Maynard Desktop

Maynard Desktop

This Wayland implementation is based on Weston + GTK, and is using the hardware video scaler (HVS) found in Broadcom BCM2835 to make everything nice and smooth. Although this is still work in progress, you can to try it on your Raspberry Pi by following the instructions below:

wget http://raspberrypi.collabora.co.uk/setup-maynard.sh
bash ./setup-maynard.sh
maynard

Maynard command will start the environment, the first two commands are only used for the installation procedure. This is what Maynard currently looks like in a Raspberry Pi.

But Maynard is not only for the Raspberry Pi, and you can install it in any Linux computer as well, although this will require you to build the code from source (github).

Via OMG Ubuntu

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