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Posts Tagged ‘tutorial’

How to Change Language to English and Install Apps Remotely on Xiaomi Mi Box 3 Enhanced

April 12th, 2016 21 comments

Just like other Xiaomi TV boxes the latest Xiaomi Mi Box 3 Enhanced (aka MiBox 3 Pro) comes with a Chinese only user interface, but a similar method as used for Xiaomi Mi Box Mini to change English and remotely install apps. I’ve gone through this and taken pictures and screenshots to show how to change the language.

I had connected the HDMI cable, a USB hard drive, as well as a USB keyboard and RF dongle for my airmouse and gamepad to the device, and after powering up the device, you are know some text in Chinese, you can press OK, and you’ll soon be presented with a list of WiFi access points.

List_of_Wifi_ESSID_Xiaomi_Box

Select one, and you’ll be asked to input the password for the network. However, in my case I had no connect button, and pressing OK on the remote did not work at all. It turns out connecting a hardware keyboard (or air mouse) will disable the software keyboard and the connection button.Xiaomi_Mi_Box_3_WiFi_Connection_No_Button

But at the time, I simply skipped, and that’s only later, that I discovered that disconnecting hardware input devices would allow to input the password with Xiaomi remote control and a soft keyboard, and connect to the WiFi access point by pressing the large key on the right as shown in the picture below.Xiaomi_Mi_Box_3_WiFi_Connection_Keyboard Anyway, once the boot is complete you’ll get the usual GITV user interface found in all Xiaomi TV boxes with all text in Chinese.

Xiaomi_Mi_Box_3_App_List

I upgrade the firmware via OTA (now MIUI TV 1.4.6) before completing the other steps, but the procedure should be the same if you have the previous version of the firmware. Some of screenshots and photos may just look a little different.

The trick to change the language is to access the Android Settings – not available from GITV interface – by downloading Shafa Market apk, and copying it to a USB flash drive. Now insert the flash drive in the box, and after a few short seconds, a pop-up window should appear. Select the left button, to enter the file manager.

Xiaomi_Mi_Box_3_Pro_USB_Detection

You can see that network shares are also detected, but since I could not find how to start the file manager, I used the USB flash drive as a workaround.

Xiaomi_Mi_Box_3_File_Manager

Navigate to the USB drive and select 0.shafaguanjia_138.apk.

Shafa_Market_Apk

There will be a warning because third party apps installation is disabled by default due to security reasons. Again select the left button.Shafa_Market_Installation_WarningYou’ll be brought to the Android settings, and need to change the settings as shown with the highlighted line.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Now go back, and complete the installation. Select “Open” (right button) to launch Shafa Market.

Shafa_Market_Installation_CompleteSelect 我的应用 (My Apps) on the top menu, and click on the Settings (设置) button.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

You’ll now be in the familiar Android Lollipop settings, albeit in Chinese. Select the language and input menu with a Globe icon.

Xiaomi_Mi_Box_3_Android_Settings_Chinese

Then click on the first item to change the language.Xiaomi_Mi_Box_3_Android_Settings

There are just four languages, three variants of the Chinese language, and English.Xiaomi_Mi_Box_3_Enhanced-Pro_Chinese_EnglishYou may also want to change the “current keyboard” to “English (US) – Android Keyboard (AOSP)” to avoid issues when inputting text later on.

Now if you go back to the launcher, you’ll find most items in English, except the ones that are retrieved from the  network.Xiaomi_Mi_Box_3_Enhanced_English_User_Interface

A reboot might also help making sure, all apps are aware of the change of language. If you want to install apps using apks easily, you may want to go to Shafa Market->Tools->Remote Install.

Shafa_Market_Remote_Install

This will give you an URL to conveniently install Android apps from your web browser’s computer. Simply click on the green button, select an apk, it will be uploaded the box, where you’ll then be prompted to complete the installation.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

I’m usually downloading apk directly from Google Play store using APK downloader add-on for Firefox, but as you can see from the screenshot above I’ve also install Amazon App (Amazon Underground) to more conveniently install apps. You could also copy a bunch of apk files to an USB flash drive, and install them the same way as I did for Shafa Market.

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SmartEverything is a Feature-Packed IoT Board with SigFox, Bluetooth LE, NFC and GPS Connectivity, Plenty of Sensors

April 8th, 2016 4 comments

Atmel MCU Madness is an informal competition on Twitter where people vote for their favorite development boards. We are now at the quarter finals, and beside the usual suspects such as Raspberry Pi and ESP8266 boards, I also noticed one board that I had never heard of: AXEL Elettronica’s SmartEverything based on Atmel SAM D21 Cortex M0+ and featuring SigFox, BLE, NFC, and GPS connectivity, as well as various sensors such as humidity and temperature, 9-axis motion sensor, and so on.

SmartEverything_SigFox_Board

SmartEverything board specifications:

  • MCU – Atmel SAM D21 ARM Cortex-M0+ MCU @ 48 MHz with 256KB Flash, 32KB SRAM
  • Connectivity
    • SIGFOX via Telit LE51-868 S SIGFOX 868 MHz Wireless Module with 12 months of network access included
    • Bluetooth 4.0 LE via  TDK SESUB-PAN-T2541 module based on Texas Instruments CC2541
    • NFC via NXP NT3H1101FHK NFC with separate antenna (included)
    • GPS/GNSS via Telit Jupiter SE868-A GPS/GNSS module with integrated antenna. Supports GPS, QZSS, GLONASS and is Galileo ready
  • Sensors
    • 3D accelerometer, 3D Gyroscope and 3D Magnetometer (ST LSM9DS1 iNEMO)
    • Humidity and temperature sensor (ST HTS221)
    • Proximity and ambient light sensor (ST VL6180X)
    • Barometer and altimeter (ST LPS25H MEMS 260-1260 hPa)
  • Security – Atmel ATSHA204A CryptoAuth Chip
  • Expansion Headers – Arduino UNO form factor
  • Debugging & programming – SWD connector for SAM-ICE and ATMEL-ICE
  • Misc – Push buttons, RGB LED
  • Power Supply – 5V via USB, battery or separate power supply
  • Dimensions – 53.34 x 68.58 mm

SmartEverything_Block_Diagram

The board can be programmed with the Arduino IDE with all relevant libraries available on github for both communications modules and sensors, or Atmel Studio 6. It ships with a pre-installed TDK SESUB-PAN-T2541 Bluetooth module and NFC antenna, as well as SMA wireless antenna for the SigFox module.

SmartEveryThing without NFC Antenna

SmartEverything without NFC Antenna

The board has been designed by Arrow Electronics, and is now sold via RS Components for £73.43 ($103.4 US) using MCS7561 as the part number . You can find more details, including the user’s manual on SmartEverything website, or watch the 20+ minute introduction and tutorial with Atmel Studio 6 and Arduino IDE below.

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Stream Live TV to Your Computer or Smartphone with U4 Quad Hybrid Android TV Box, Kodi and TVheadend

March 25th, 2016 21 comments

TVheadend is a streaming server and recorder for Linux, FreeBSD and Android supporting DVB-S, DVB-S2, DVB-C, DVB-T, ATSC, ISDB-T, IPTV, SAT>IP and HDHomeRun as input sources, and while in theory it should be possible to configure any recent Android TV set-top box with digital TV tuners, configuration is complex, and there’s no guarantee the tuner will be recognized. However, the manufacturer of U4 Quad Hybrid has already configured their box to support HTSP clients, so I’ve installed the latest firmware, and given it a try with my Android smartphone running Kodi 15.2 with TVheadend HTSP client, and I could successfully stream live TV (DVB-T2 free-to-air channels) to my smartphone.

Once you’ve scanned the channels using DVB-T2 and/or DVB-S2, there’s no other configuration in U4 Quad Hybrid TV box, but you’ll still need to find out your IP address by going to Setup->Network, and WiFi, Ethernet or 3G depending on your chosen Internet connectivity option. My device is connected to Ethernet, and my IP is 192.168.0.108.

I’m using a smartphone, but you could as well go with any device or computer that support Kodi. Currently the firmware in U4 Quad Hybrid is not compatible with Kodi 16.0, so you’ll need an earlier version, and I installed Kodi 15.2 on my phone. You can download Kodi 15.2 for Windows or Android here.

Once Kodi is installed, you can start it, and go to Settings->Add-ons->My add-ons->PVR clients, and scroll down to select TVheadend HTSP client.
Kodi_TVheadend_HTSP_Client

Click on Configure to enter U4 Quad Hybrid IP address in “Tvheadend hostname or IP address” field, and click OK.
Kodi_HSTP_Client_ConfigurationBy default,the add-on is disabled, so you make sure you select “Enable” too. Now go back, and enter Settings->TV to tick Enabled.Kodi_TV_SettingsConfiguration is now complete, and when you go back to Kodi home screen, you could see a new TV menu with five sub-section: Channels, Guide, Recordings, Timer, and Search.

Kodi_TV_Menu

I’ve just tapped on TV, and got the list of apps from U4 Quad Hybrid set-top box on my smartphone.  The channel information (in Thai language) was not displayed properly for some reasons.

Kodi_Live_TV_channels Now select any channels from the left, and will it start playing in the preview windows, and tap the preview and it will switch to full screen.

Click for Original Size

Click for Original Size

Once the video is playing you can also tap the screen to have access to options, change channels, change audio tracks and so on.

You can watch the video below to see all configuration steps, and a demo starting at 3:15.

If you are interested in U4 Quad Hybrid you can purchased it on Aliexpress for $119.99 (DHL) or $106.69 (China Post). I intend to post a complete review next week.

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Getting Started with Wemos D1 mini ESP8266 Board, DHT & Relay Shields

March 22nd, 2016 6 comments

Wemos D1 mini is an ESP8266 board that’s interesting thanks to its size, its low price ($4), micro USB power, its shields, and a documentation that looks fairly good. The board can be programmed with Arduino or Lua, and supports both serial and OTA programming. I’ve decided to give it a try and bought the board together with two temperature shields, a relay shield, and micro SD shield.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

I got all for $ 14.00 from Wemos Aliexpress shop, and it took about one month for delivery. I can also see they’ve recently released a new OLED shield selling for about $5. All shields were shipped inside their own anti-static bags.

The pins are clearly marked on both side of the board and the shields. One side of the board features ESP8266 module.

WeMos_D1_mini_ESP8266_module

and the other side has CH340 serial to USB chip, and the reset button.

WeMos_D1_mini_CH340

The provided headers make it easy to stack the board with several shields if you wish too. For example I connect Wemos D1 mini to both the relay shield, and DHT Pro shield after soldering some of the headers. The only potential pitfall would be to solder the header on the wrong side, so you just need to make sure the pins (5V, RST,…) are properly aligned.

WeMos_D1_Relay_DHT_Shield

I’ve mostly followed the Getting Started in Arduino guide in Wemos.cc in this tutorial, and people who prefer Lua/NodeMCU will want to check NodeMCU guide instead. There are various ways to configure the Arduino IDE for WeMos D1 mini in the guide, but I’ve only used the recommended way: git.

The first step was to install and run Arduino 1.6.8. Since I’m using a computer running Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit, I downloaded and installed Arduino 1.6.8 64-bit for Linux:

Now get the sketchbook folder by going to File->Preferences

Arduino_Sketchbook_folder

Note this folder as this is where we’ll install the board support, tools and examples, and exit Arduino before starting the installation:

download the binary tools:

and finally install the examples:

Later on, you can update the board support files and the samples by running git pull in the two directories where you ran git clone.

Now connect Wemos D1 mini to a USB port of your computer with a micro USB to USB cable. In Linux, you should see a new device in the kernel log:

Let’s start Arduino 1.6.8 and select WeMos D1 R2 & mini in Tools->Board.

Arduino_1.6.8_Wemos_D1_miniWe can use the default for the other settings include 80 MHz CPU frequency, 4M flash size, 912600 upload speed, and /dev/ttyUSB0 port.

We can now use the code samples, and to make sure everything works I’ll run the blink project in File->Sketchbooks->D1_mini_Examples->01. Basics->Blink:

Pressing the Upload button will build and upload to code to the board and once this is complete, the build-in Blue LED (D4 / GPIO2) will blink every second. So my board is working.

WeMos_D1_mini_Blink

As you can see I’ve already connected DHT Pro shield to the board, so let’s try the sample for the shield to get the temperature and humidity in File->Sketchbooks->D1_mini_Examples->04. Shield->DHT_Pro_Shield->Simple:

But this time I had an error during compilation, as DHT library is missing:

To fix that error, go to Sketch->Include Library->Manage Libraries, input dht to filter the library, and install DHT sensor library by Adafruit.

Install_DHT_LibraryNow click on the Upload button again, the code will be compiled and uploaded to the board. Now open the serial monitor with Ctrl+Shift M or Tools->Serial Monitor, and you should see the printed values for the humidity in percent as well as the  temperature & heat index in Celcius and Fahrenheit.

Wemos_D1_mini_Temperature_HumidityThe reported temperature matched the temperature reported by my IR thermometer (32.5 C). Pretty good. If you’d like to get results displayed on a web page instead, you may want to modify DHT Shield->SimpleServer sample.

Now I’ll had the relay shield on top, and run another sample (File->Sketchbooks->D1_mini_Examples->04. Shield->Relay_Shield->Blink):
Arduino_Wemos_D1_mini_Relay_sample

The relay blink sample will turn on and off the relay every two seconds. Since the DHT Pro shield uses D4 pin and the Relay shield uses D1 pin both can be used at the same time. I had no problem uploading the sample to the board, and hearing the relay switch on and off every 2 second.

So overall, I’m very pleased with WeMos D1 mini and the shields I tried, as everything pretty much worked out of the box, and I’ve got an ultra-compact WiFi connected system with a 5A/250V relay, and a fairly accurate (+/- 0.5C) temperature and humidity sensor for around $10.

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Orange Pi One Board Quick Start Guide with Armbian Debian based Linux Distribution

March 16th, 2016 27 comments

Orange Pi One board is the most cost-effective development board available on the market today, so I decided to purchase one sample on Aliexpress to try out the firmware, which has not always been perfect simply because Shenzhen Xunlong focuses on hardware design and manufacturing, and spends little time on software development to keep costs low, so the latter mostly relies on the community. Recently, armbian has become popular operating systems for Linux ARM platform in recent months, so I’ve decided to write a getting started guide for Orange Pi One using a Debian Desktop image released by armbian community.

Orange Pi One Unboxing

But let’s start by checking out what I received. The Orange Pi One board is kept in an anti-static bag, and comes with a Regulatory Compliance and Safety Information sheet, but no guide, as instead the company simply asks users to visit www.orangepi.org to access information to use their boards.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The top of the board have the most interesting bits with Ethernet, micro USB and USB ports, HDMI port, micro SD slot, power jack, a power button, the 40-pin “Raspberry Pi” compatible header, Allwinner H3 processor and one Samsung RAM chip. The 3-pin serial console header can be found right next (under in the pic) to the RJ45 jack.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The bottom of the board features another Samsung RAM chip (512MB in total), and the camera interface.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

I’ve also taken a picture to compare Orange Pi One dimensions to the ones of Orange Pi 2 mini, Raspberry Pi 2, and Raspberry Pi Zero.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

By the way, while the official prices for Raspberry Pi ($5), Orange Pi One ($9.99), and C.H.I.P ($9) are a little different, I ended up paying about the same for all three boards once shipping is included: £9.04 (or about $12.77) for Raspberry Pi Zero, $13.38 for Orange Pi One, and $14.22 for C.H.I.P (Cyber Monday deal for “$8”). C.H.I.P computer is not shown in the picture above simply because I have not received it yet. The performance of Orange Pi One will be much greater than the other thanks to its quad core processor as discussed on Raspberry Pi Zero, C.H.I.P and Orange Pi One comparison.

Installing and Setting Up Armbian on Orange Pi One

While the company claims your can download firmware on Orange Pi Download page, they have not published a firmware image specifically for Orange Pi One, and while you could probably use an Orange Pi PC image (this may mess up with regulator), I’ve never heard anyone ever praise Shenzhen Xunlong for the quality of the images they’ve released, quite the contrary.  While Orange Pi community member Loboris released several images for Allwinner H3 boards, he does not seem to have updated them for Orange Pi One, and I’ve heard a lot about armbian distribution recently based on Debian and targeting ARM Linux boards, so that’s the image I’m going to try.

You can currently download Debian Jessie server or desktop based on Linux 3.4 legacy kernel, but once the Ethernet driver gets into Linux mainline (aka Vanilla), you’ll be able to run the latest Linux mainline on Orange Pi One, at least for headless operation.

First you’ll need to get yourself a 8GB or greater micro SD card preferably with good performance (Class 10 or better), and use a Windows, Mac OS and Linux computer to download and flash the firmware image.

I’ve done so in Ubuntu 14.04. Once you insert the micro SD card into the computer, you may want to located the SD card with lsblk:

I used a 32GB class 10 micro SD card, and in my case the device is /dev/sdb. I’m going to use the command line, but you can use ImageWriter for Ubuntu or Windows, as well as some other tools for Mac OS. Let’s download the firmware, extract it, and flash it to the micro SD card (replace /dev/sdX by your own device):

Now insert the micro SD card into Orange Pi One, and connect all necessary cables and accessories. I connected HDMI and Ethernet cables, a RF dongle for an air mouse, a USB OTG adapter for a USB flash drive, the serial debug board, and the power supply. Please note that the micro USB port cannot be used to power the board, so you’ll either need to purchase the power adapter, or an inexpensive USB to 4.0/1.7mm power jack adapter to use with a 5V/2A USB power adapter.

Orange_Pi_One_Power_Supply_Connections

As you connect the power supply, the red LED should lit, and after a few seconds, you should see the kernel log on the HDMI TV or monitor. I also access the serial console via a UART debug board, but it will only show the very beginning, and once the framebuffer is setup most message are redirected to the monitor. This is what I got for the first boot in the serial console:

But I got many error messages on the TV reading “[cpu_freq] ERR: set cpu frequency top 1296MHz failed!”. Those are actually normal because a single firmware image is used for all Orange Pi Allwinner H3 boards, and they use different regulators. The message will disappear subsequently once the system will have detected an Orange Pi One.

Orange_Pi_One_cpu_freq_Error_MessageYou may have to be patient the first few minutes of the very first boot (2 to 3 minutes) as you see the error messages above looping seemingly forever, as the system is resizing the root file system partition, creating a 128Mb emergency swap area, creating the SSH key, and updating some packages. Once this is all done, the system will reboot, and you’ll be asked to change the root password, create a new user, and adjust the resolution with h3disp utility which will automatically patch script.bin file in the FAT32 boot partition of your micro SD card. The default credentials are root with password 1234.

Welcome screen and new user creation after changing root password

Welcome screen and new account creation after changing root password

H3Disp options

H3disp options

H3disp utility allows you to choosen the resolution and refresh rate of your system, and I select 1080p50, and rebooted the board one last time, and after about 20 seconds, I could get to the Debian XFCE desktop.

Click for Original Size

Click for Original Size

The resolution of the desktop is indeed 1920×1080, Ethernet is working, but my keyboard layout does not match as the default layout is for Slovenian language. I went to Settings->Keyboard to change that.

Orange_Pi_One_layout

And it seemed to work randomly as I sometimes got a QWERTY keyboard, but other times it would revert to a QWERTZ keyboard, and I’m not sure why. Following the instructions on armbian documentation using:

did not completely solve my issue either at first, but it seems to be fine now…

I’ve also noticed some permissions issues starting with the network which requires sudo for ping and iperf, and likely to CONFIG_ANDROID_PARANOID setting in the kernel configuration. My USB flash drive was also not automatically mounted, and I had to use the sudo to mount the drive manually too.

Most people will also likely need to change the timezone with:

Orange_Pi_One_Terminal

Let’s check some parameters with the command line:

The system is running sunxi Linux 3.4.110 kernel, and Debian 8. The processor max frequency is set to 1.2 GHz as it should be, the GPIOs appear to be supported just like in Orange Pi 2 mini (but less I/Os are shown), total RAM is 494MB, and 2.1GB is used out of the 29GB root partition in the micro SD card. I know some ARM boards can’t be powered off properly, but it’s not the case with Orange Pi One as I could turn it off cleanly with the power LED turning off at the end of the shutdown process.

That’s all for this guide, and I’ll showcase 3D graphics and video hardware decoding in a separate post. You can get further by checking out Armbian Orange Pi One page, following the instructions to build your own Armbian image, and browsing Orange Pi One thread in armbian forums.

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Cleo35 Touchscreen Display for Arduino UNO Comes with Tutorials and Example Projects (Crowdfunding)

March 15th, 2016 No comments

There are already various options to add a (touscheen) display to Arduino board with software support including TFTLibrary for Arduino,  and recently I tried Nextion serial touchscreen displays that are supported by a WYSIWYG editor, but the latter is only supported in Windows and not exactly user-friendly, and I found the few provided tutorials would only work with a specific resolution incompatible with the displays I had been sent. So I gave up on the idea of interfacing the display with Arduino or ESP8266 as it would be too time-consuming. FTDI CleO project might be faster and easier to get started, as their CleO35 touchscreen display for Arduino UNO will come with a 20 chapter tutorial covering over 80 topics, and 20 projects to get started.

Cleo35_TFT_DisplaySome of the key features and specs of Cleo35 display include:

  • MCU – FTDI FT903 32-bit FT32 core @ 100MHz with 256kB on-chip Flash memory, 256kB on-chip shadow program memory, and 64kB on-chip data memory
  • Display and Touch Controller – FTDI FT810 IC with 18-bit RGB, resistive touch support
  • Storage – 8MB E-Flash, micro SD slot. Fast direct file transfers between micro-SD/eFlash and the Graphics subsystem without using Arduino UNO resources.
  • DisplayArduino_TFT_Display
    • 3.5″ resistive touch HVGA (480×320) TFT display
    • Anti-Aliased graphics
    • Smooth animations at up to 60 frames/second.
    • Portrait and Landscape modes supported
  • Audio – Audio amplifier, built-in PWM audio, and speaker out/Line In interface
  • USB – micro USB DFU (Device Firmware Upgrade) socket
  • Expansion
    • Camera interface
    • I/O expander interface with SPI, UART, I2C and GPIOs
    • Arduino UNO headers
  • Misc – Configuration jumpers
  • Power – 5V from Arduino headers
  • Dimensions – 101.4 x 73.0 mm including bezels; Screen only: 75.4 x 51 mm

The display board is connected to Arduino UNO using SPI, one interrupt pin (INT0 or INT1), one Slave Select pin (D10, D6 or D7), 5V, IOREF and RESET and GND. If you are going to use Arduino shields or the camera module, you may need an Arduino UNO clone with a power-efficient regulator as used in the FTDI NeRO board, or some Arduino compatible boards made by Olimex. The design of NerO board (header with long pins) allows to connect it with the TFT display board, and still access Arduino headers.

NerO Arduino Board and Cleo Display

NerO Arduino Board and Cleo Display

There’s very little information explaining how the user interface is created however, although the company claims that “CleO comes complete with a set of professional utility widgets” such as a color picker, set DateTime , AlphaNumeric Keyboard Input, Numeric KeyPad Input, and Sketch Pad Input. I assume there’s no WYSIWYG drag and drop UI editor like for Nextion display , and that you may have to code the user interface manually. Some of the examples are showcased in the promo video (You can turn off audio if the music annoys you, as there aren’t any explanations…)

FTDI launched the project on Indiegogo, and they’ve reached the funding target ($7,000) with 6 days to go. You’ll need to pledge $49 for Cleo35, $63 for a NerO + Cleo35 bundle, or $97 for a bundle adding a camera module, a speaker and a 9V power supply. Shipping is not included, and adds $10 to $14 worldwide, with delivery scheduled on May 2016.

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How to Configure DVB-S2 and DVB-T2 Tuners in K1 Plus Android DTV Receiver

February 22nd, 2016 22 comments

I have previously reviewed VideoStrong K1 Plus Android TV box, but the company also has another model with the exact same name “K1 Plus” that includes a combo DVB-S2 & DVB-T2 tuner. That’s rather confusing, but nevertheless, since I now have the tuner version of the device, I’ve installed the latest firmware, started to play with it, and today I’ll explain how to configure DTV app for both satellite and terrestrial digital TV reception.

Hardware Setup and DTV App

The first step is to connect both your satellite dish and indoor or outdoor TV antenna to the device, as well as all necesarry cables, and possibly a USB hard drive if you want to use PVR function.

K1_Plus_DVB-T2_S2_Connections

Now go to the list of apps start DTV app, or press the DTV button on the remote control.

Android_DTV_app

Each time the app starts you’ll be asked to select DVBT2 or DVBS2, and if you want to switch between one or the other, you’ll either need to exit the app and restart it, or press the DTV button.

K1_Plus_DVB-T2_DVB-S2

DVB-T2 Configuration

I’ll start with DVB-T2. The first time, you’ll be ask whether you want to scan for channels, to which you’ll likely answer yes, and be presented with the installation menu.

K1_Plus_DVB-T2_Installation

Now select “Auto Search”, and the scan should start.

K1_Plus_DVB-T2_Scan

I got 22 channels and no radio station. It’s done, and that part was easy.

K1_Plus_Thai_TV

However, if you are missing some channels, you may need to change the country/area because by default it is set to Europe. Press the remote control’s Menu key, select DTV preference->General settings->Area Setting.

K1_Plus_DVB-T2_Area_SelectionAnd select your Area or country from the list that includes Europe, Singapore, Colombia, Russian (sic.), Thailand, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Holland, England, Australia, New Zealand, and Taiwan. You’d have to repeat the scan if you change the country. I’ve done so with Thailand, and I got 30 channels instead of 22 channels, so you may to set your area before running the scan, unless “Europe” is what you need.

DVB-S2 Configuration

Satellite digital TV configuration starts the same way, except the installation menu is a little different.

K1_Plus_DVB-S2_InstallationEnter into Satellite List to select your satellite, in my case Thaicom 2.

K1_Plus_Satellite_ListYou can select multiple satellites if you wish, or/and your satellite dish is motorized. You can find the full list of pre-defined satellites in the video embedded at the end of this tutorial. You can also add your own, edit and delete pre-existing ones with the color button of the remote control. Now go back, select Multi Scan, make sure a green tick is shown on the line of your selected satellite(s), and press the Blue button on the remote control.

K1_Plus_DVB-S2_Blind_Scan_FTAChange Scan Type to Blind Scan, select FTA only (Free-to-Air) Channel Type, and All, TV or Radio for Service Type, and press OK to start the scan.

K1_Plus_DVB-S2_ScanOnce this is all done, you should a bunch a TV channels and radio stations. I eventually got 55 TV channels and 5 radio stations using Thaicom 2 satellite. Some of the TV stations have no video, maybe because the signal is weak as I have quite a long cable to bring DVB-S2 to my office, or some other issues as I have no trouble getting some HD channels.

The 5-minute video below shows the steps I went through for both DVB-T2 and DVB-2 configuration as explained in this post.

Videostrong K1 Plus with DVB-T2/DVB-S2 combo tuner is only listed on Alibaba for now, and not available for retail. But a salesperson from GearBest told me they should have it later this week. FWIW, the version without tuner us currently on sale for $36.89.

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Getting Started with NavSpark mini GPS Module

January 20th, 2016 5 comments

I noticed NavSpark mini GPS module a couple of weeks ago, and since it was free, not including $10 for shipping, I went ahead and ordered. Since the freebie got popular, SkyTraq took some time to ship it, and when they did they provide a “not trackable” tracking number, which I’m not sure what that mean as I could track the parcel from Taiwan to Thailand using 17track website without issues.

The packages included NavSpark mini and a USB to TTL module as described, so I insert both and connect VCC ,GND, and UART as shown on the pictures on the product page.

Click to Enlarge

NavSpark mini (Left) and USB to TTL board (Right) Connected to Breadboard – Click to Enlarge

I also connected the GPS antenna from LinkIt ONE development kit to the uFL connector on NavSpark mini, as well as a micro USB to USB cable to my computer. If you don’t have such antenna, you’ll need to add the $9 GPS/GLONASS antenna on NavSpark website to your order.

The easiest way to get started, and make sure the board works is to use GNSS Viewer program. The downside for a Ubuntu guy like me is that it only runs on Windows. But no problem, I started my  Windows 7 virtual machine in Virtual, enable the USB to TTL port with Devices->USB menu, and installed Prolific drivers. However, I never managed to make the driver works, with Windows 7 complaining that:

Windows cannot verify the digital signature for the drivers required for this device. A recent hardware or software change might have installed a file that is signed incorrectly or damaged, or that might be malicious software from an unknown source. (Code 52)

I did not want to mess with Windows in the evening, so I simply started an old Acer netbook with Windows XP. No problems with drivers, but GNSS Viewer did not like my netbook resolution (1024×600), and the program is poorly written as it does not allow you to resize the window.

So I decided to just use the Arduino IDE in Ubuntu by following the instructions in the User’s guide:

  1. I already had Arduino 1.6.6 installed from https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software
  2. You’ll also need the LEON3 sparc toolchain to be install in /opt:
  3. You are also asked to install the 3-bit version of openJDK:
  4. Finally, you have to install NavSpark board manager (http://navspark.mybigcommerce.com/content/package_navspark_index.json) and configure the Arduino IDE to use NavSpark mini.
    NavSpark_mini_Arduino
    This looks good, except for the Invalid library found message…
  5. The next step is to find some hello work app to check GPS connectivity, and this is where I stopped, simply because there aren’t any available samples according to the user’s manual, except demo_hello_world_nmea.
    NavSpark_mini_code_sampleBut when you download the samples, they are all there, except the working one :)…

I’ve ask what need to be modified for partially compatible samples on the forums.

Finally, I remembered I still had a Windows 10 TV stick, I tried GNSS Viewer yet again in MeLE PCG01, and I was happy that after 3 hours of messing around, I finally managed to get a signal, and could make sure the board was indeed working.

GNSS_Viewer_NavSpark_mini

Click to Enlarge

All I had to do was to select the COM port for Prolific, and click on Scan All which connect the COM port @ 115,200, and got a very fast fix indoor.

If you are interested in such GPS module, the “freebie” is still available, and you just need to pay for $10 for shipping, and remember to add a u.FL GPS antenna if you don’t have one.

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