HiSilicon Hi3518 ARM9 processor is mostly being used in IP cameras, but Hicat startup decided to combined the camera processor with an Atmel MCU and a MT7601 WiFi module to create a wireless camera board to be used with OpenCV, and even provide a complete affordable robot kit with the board.
Camera interface with provided 140 deg. camera using Omnivision OV9712 720p (1280×720) sensor
USB – 1x micro USB port for power and programming
Audio – Built-in microphone, speaker header
Sensors – MPU6050 accelerometer and gyro
Expansion – 2x GPIO headers with GPIOs, I2C, SPI, serial, PWM, digital, analog and power signals.
Misc – MCU reset and Linux reset buttons,
Power Supply – 5V via USB or 3.3V LiPo battery
Dimensions – 60 x 42 mm
They’ve also provide a comparison table between HICAT.Livera and two competing platforms, namely openMV and PIXY.
The firmware in the Hisilicon chip is based on Linux, and includes a video and file streaming server, OpenCV support for object tracking, Node.js support. The ARM9 processor and Atmel MCU communicate over a serial port, and an Arduino library is provided. An Android app (iOS coming soon) can also be used to view the live stream, control the robot, and change settings. Some code is available on Github, but not Linux, which may be an issue to due Hisilicon strict NDA requirements. The developer also claims the project will be open source hardware.
Beside Livera kit with the board and camera, a robot kit is also offered with a extension cable for the camera, a motor driver board based on lv8548 H-Bridge, two DC motors, a servo motor, wheels and body, 9V rechargeable battery, and laser beam. The board and robot are demonstrated in the embedded video.
The project has just launched via Kickstarter, where the goal is to raise $5000 ore more to fund mass production. They have not mentioned the manufacturing partner in Kickstarter, but it should be Seeed Studio, since they informed me about the project. Livera board with camera requires a $39 pledge (Early bird), while the complete robot kit is just $69 (Early Bird). Shipping adds $2 to $20 depending on rewards and destination, and delivery is scheduled for (end of) December 2016 or January 2017.
Sonoff are dirt cheap WiFi AC/DC relay systems based on ESP8266 selling for about $5 with board and case. They are made by ITEAD Studio, and the company has now new versions supporting up to 16A @ 250V, and with a 2.5mm connector to connect external temperature and humidity probes.
Two models are available Sonoff-TH10 (10A max) and Sonoff-TH16 (16A max) with the following specifications:
SoC – Espressif ESP8266 Tensila L106 32-bit MCU up to 80/160 MHz with WiFi
Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi with WPA/WPA2 support
Sonoff-TH10 – HK3FF-DC5V-SHG supporting 90 to 250 VAC input, up to 10A (2200 Watts)
Sonoff-TH16 – Hongfa HF152F-T supporting 90 to 250 VAC input, up to 16A (3500 Watts)
Terminals – 6 terminal for mains and load’s ground, live and neutral signals.
Misc – 4-pin 2.5mm jack for external probes, LEDs for power and WiFi status
Dimensions – PCB: 89.1 x 45.0 x 1.2mm
Temperature range – -40 ℃ to 125 ℃
The company also offer two probes to connect the sensor jack: one based on AM2301 sensor for temperature (-40 to +80 °C, +/- 0.5 °C) and humidity (10 to 90%, +/- 3%), and an a waterproof temperature probe based on DS18B20 supporting -55 to 125 °C range.
The wireless relays can be controlled with eWeLink app for Android or iOS, where you can manually turn on and off the load, but also set temperature and/or humidity threshold to start and stop a device. Some technical details, most related to the hardware like PDF schematics, can be found on the Wiki.
ITEAD Studio now have a nice portfolio of inexpensive device for “smart home”. Please note that (AFAIK) none of the items have UL or TUV safety certifications, so use them at your own risks.
Sonoff-TH10/TH16 and sensor probes can be purchased on ITEAD Studio’s Sonoff-TH page with Sonoff-TH10 selling for $7.50, Sonoff-TH16 for $8.60, Sonoff Sensor-AM2301 temperature & humidity sensor for $4.30, and Sonoff Sensor-DS18B20 waterproof temperature probe for $3.50. Shipping is not included but only adds a couple of dollars, if you select the cheapest (and slowest) options.
Qintaix Q912 is one of the many octa-core Android boxes based on Amlogic S912 processor. I’ve already shown photos of the device and its internal design in the first part of Qintaix Q912 review, so today I’ll report the results of my testing with Android firmware, video & audio capabilities in Kodi 17 Alpha 3 (pre-installed), features supports, benchmarks, and other comment. I will also be interesting to find out how it compares to M12N TV box, also based on Amlogic S912 processor.
First Boot, Settings, and First Impressions
I’ve connected all necessary cables including HDMI and Ethernet, added some USB devices including two 2.4 GHZ USB dongles for my air moues and wireless gamepad, a USB keyboard to take screenshots, and a USB 3.0 hard drive to the USB 2.0 ports of the device. Once you apply power, the LED is turn red, and you need to press the power button on the unit ot the remote control to start the TV box. The front panel display will show “Boot”, and within a typical 40 seconds you should be to the launcher, after which the display will show the current time.
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It’s your typical TV launcher with large icon links to common apps or folders of apps (not customizable), and shortcut row will smaller icons that can be added or removed as you wish.
The Settings app is different from M12N. but basically the same as other Amlogic TV boxes.
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The most relevant / notable settings include:
Network – WiFi, Ethernet, and VPN
Screen resolution: Auto switch on/off, deep color mode on/off, 1080p24/50/60, 720p50/60, 4k2k 24/25/30/50/60/SMPTE, 576p50, 480p60, 1080i50/60
Screen position, Day Dream, HDR (Auto, On, Off)
Sound -> Digital Sounds -> Auto detection, PCM, HDMI, SPDIF
Power key definition – Suspend and resume, shutdown
More settings – Access to Android Marshmallow settings
By default, the box will select the high possible resolution on your TV, and for mine to was 4K2K SMPTE (4096×2160 @ 24 Hz), but I switched back to 4K2K-60Hz (3840×2160) for testing. Like with most Amlogic TV box, Qintaix Q912 has problems to remember my settings, and will often revert to 1080p60. One possible reason is that it is connected to an Onkyo A/V receiver before being connected to the TV, and sometimes the receiver is turned on, and other time turned off. Once the receiver is turned on, I can’t turn it off anymore using either its remote control or the power button on the unit, as the box will always turn it back on. That’s a very annoying issue that’s been happening with all recent (Android 6.0) Amlogic TV boxes. This is some HDMI CEC issue, as if I disable HDMI CEC (RIHD) in the receiver the problem goes away. That however means I can’t control the TV over CEC using the receiver’s remote control anymore…
As mentioned in the list of “Notable settings”, we can access Android 6.0 settings through More settings icon, and configure other aspect of the device such as portable hotpost, printer, developer options, accessibility, printing, Languages and Input, etc…
A single 11.49 GB internal partition is used for apps and data, a capacity that should be plenty enough for most people. Just like M12N, Qintaix Q912 is running Android 6.0.1 on top of Linux 3.14.29 as per About Mediabox section. The firmware is rooted. OTA firmware update is currently not supported, but I could install the latest firmware (dated 06 September 2016) via UPDATE&BACKUP app using a USB flash drive. The company also informed me that network firmware updates will be enabled later on.
The included infrared remote control works fine, and I could use it up to 10 meters, where I started getting some misses (maybe 1 out of 10). The IR learning function worked too, as I tested it with the power and volume keys of my TV remote control. I still used MINIX NEO A2 Lite air mouse for the review, since it’s just much more convenient to use that the IR remote control.
The Google Play store worked better than on other box, especially since I could also installed Bluetooth LE apps such as Mi Fit or Smart Movement. I also installed Amazon Underground to play the free version of Riptide GP2 game.
Power handling has been well implemented. The TV box will go into standby after a short press on the power button of the remote control, and into power off mode with a long press. As seen above, you can also configure the short press to go directly into power off mode. You can also turn the TV box back on using the remote control or the power button on the unit
Power consumption figures are also pretty good, since my power meter did not detect any power draw in power off mode, but standby mode appears to be pretty much useless:
Power off – 0.0 watt
Standby – 3.1 watts
Idle – 3.1 watts
Power off + USB HDD – 0.0 watt
Standby + USB HDD – 5.1 watts
Idle + USB HDD – 5.1 watts
As we’ve seen with the teardown, Qintaix Q912 comes with a heatsink on top of Amlogic S912 processor, as well as a metallic enclosure, but the board is not in contact with the case at all. Still, during use the case feels fairly hot, and actually feeling hotter at the touch that what my IR thermometer is reporting with top and bottom temperatures of 40 and 44 °C max after Antutu 6.2, and about 43°C and 46°C respectively after playing Riptide GP2 for 15 minutes.
I did not find any major issues with Qintaix Q912 firmware, which I found fast and very stable, although I still got a couple of “Unresponsive app”. I also like that they kept the notification bar, albeit removed the status bar, and they still have that annoying HDMI CEC bug preventing me to turn on my A/V receiver. The device also have the exact some IPTV apps, namely FilmOn, Modbro, and Showbox, that I covered in MXQ Plus M12 TV box review.
Video and Audio Playback with Kodi 17, Antutu Video Tester, and DRM info
Contrary to most other TV boxes I’ve reviewed which come with the stable version of Kodi, currently Kodi 16.1, or somethimes a fork, Qintaix Q912 is pre-loaded with Kodi 17.0 Alpha 3 built on July 31st.
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And like many TV box, they’ve also installed piracy add-ons, many of which are not working…
Anyway, I’m only testing local video playback in Kodi, and I’m done so from a SAMBA share using the Gigabit Ethernet connection.
Most Big Buck Bunny videos from Linaro media samples and Elecard are playing just fine:
Ducks Take Off [2160p a 243 Mbps].mkv (4K H.264 @ 30 fps; 243 Mbps; no audio) – Not smooth at all from either HDD or network
tara-no9-vp9.webm (4K VP9 YouTube video) – OK, except for one massive slowdown for 2 to 3 seconds.
The.Curvature.of.Earth.4K.60FPS-YT-UceRgEyfSsc.VP9.3840×2160.OPUS.160K.webm (4K VP9 @ 60 fps + opus audio) – OK most of the time, but I can see some frame drops from time to time
The video above were tested using 4K60Hz (3840×2160), and the video show properly, but I previously also tested 4KSMPTE (4096×2160 @ 24 Hz) and some black bands showed on the left and right edges of the TV. You can watch Kodi 17.0 setup and video playback in Qintaix Q912 below.
Blur-ray videos (Sintek-4k.iso & amat.iso) and two MPEG2 1080i videos could play fine. I basically had the same results as on M12N for 10-bit H.264 videos with a 720p sample playing fine, but a 1080p sample not being smooth enough. Kodi 16.1 would enable subtitles by default in those two videos, but Kodi 17.0 Alpha 3 requires the user to manually enable subtitles.
LG 42UB820T Ultra HD television does not support 3D videos, but my Onkyo TX-NR636 A/V receiver does, and could detect 3D content (3D icon on) for MVC videos as shown in Zidoo X1 II review, and for others it’s still interesting to see if the box can decode them:
bbb_sunflower_1080p_60fps_stereo_abl.mp4 (1080p Over/Under) – OK
bbb_sunflower_2160p_60fps_stereo_abl.mp4 (2160p Over/Under) – Won’t play at all
Turbo_Film-DreamWorks_trailer_VO_3D.mp4 (1080p SBS) – OK
3D-full-MVC.mkv (Full-frame packed MVC 3D MKV) – 2D only, 3D icon not shown on AV receiver
ISO-full3D-sample.iso (Full-frame packed MVC 3D ISO) – 2D only, 3D icon not shown on AV receiver
I also played one complete 1080p H.264 video for 2 hours without issues through the network (SAMBA share), and I completed Kodi 17 testing by check out various video from my library with IFO, MKV, AVI, MP4, XViD/DViX, and MKV 720p and 1080p videos. Most could play just fine, but I noticed some FLV video had no audio, and IFO/VOB files would not play smoothly at all.
MXQ Plus M12 previously achieved 865 points in Antutu Video Tester 3.0 benchmark, and Qintaix Q912 got a slightly lower score with 849 points.The three “partially support” videos could not play smoothly enough.
Qintaix Q912 has a dual band WiFi module (AP6330), and I could connect to both 2.4 and 5.0 GHz access point, but no support for 802.11ac, so I only tested performance of 802.11n @ 2.4 GHz by copying a 278MB file between a SAMBA share and the internal storage several times in either direction. The result is disappointing since the transfers averaged 1.69 MB/s, one of the poorest results among the devices I’ve tested. At least, even if the performance is far from outstanding, WiFi is very stable.
Throughput in MB/s
There’s also some asymmetry between download and upload speeds, with the former reaching about 2 MB/s. You may have noticed two external antennas on Qintaix Q912, but one of them is not connected to anything, and is only there to make the box prettier.
I found Gigabit Ethernet to be working well, and tested full duplex performance with “iperf -t 60 -c server_ip -d” command line:
It’s not exactly reaching 1 Gbps, but in a TV box it should not matter than much, especially the device/SoC only support USB 2.0 ports.
I could easily pair Vernee Apollo Lite smartphone to the box, and transfer a few pictures over Bluetooth, however I was not so lucky with my Bluetooth 3.0 headet (Sport-S9) which was not detected at all, and a Bluetooth 4.0 LE fitness tracker that was detected, but the TV box asked me for a pin number, which usually is not the case for this device, and pairing failed. I tried a few times and different pin code, and after pressing Cancel, the device (SH09) was shown to be paired… Sadly Smart Movement app used with the tracker would not find the device at all.
I used a 1TB Seagate USB hard drive set-up with 4 partitions, and a FAT32 micro SD card to test file system support.
I also use A1SD bench app to test the two partitions on the USB hard drive (NTFS & exFAT), and read speed was OK for both (NTFS: 34.88 MB/s; exFAT: 39.88 MB/s), but write speed is better on NTFS: 16.08 MB/s vs 4.83 MB/s. I had to test exFAT on two different days. The first day I only got R: 4.83 MB/s; W: 0.97 MB/s, after running the benchmark twice on the partition, maybe because another process was busy going through the file system…
I ran A1SD bench again to evaluate internal storage performance, and sequential read and write speeds were decent at 40.36 MB/s and 12.94 MB/s respectively.
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I’ve detailed gaming on Amlogic S912 using M12N TV box, and last time I could clearly see a different in performance between Amlogic S905 and Amlogic S912, although games like Riptide GP2 were still not clearly as fluid as on Xiaomi Mi Box 3 Enhanced. So I expected the same results on Qintaix Q912, but I have to say performance feel just like on Amlogic S905 here: Candy Crush Saga and Beach Buggy Racing are both very smooth, but Riptide GP2 using max resolution settings had a lower framerate closer to Amlogic S905. Still performance was stable throughout my 15 minutes playing the game.
The device’s board is q6330, an information that can be useful if you want to try alternative firmware. Resolution is 1920×1080, total RAM 1775 MB as some is used by the GPU and/or GPU, and internal storage has a 11.49 GB capacity as reported above.
I was disappointed by Amlogic S912 benchmarks in M12N TV box, so I was expecting a little more in Qintaix Q912, but on the contrary the score was even lower at 35,966 points in Antutu 6.2.
Scores in Vellamo were also lower for Metal (787 vs 1,052)and Browser (2,336 vs 2,758), but better for multicore (1,422 vs 1,130) likely because Qintaix Q912 passed all tests, but M12N failed one.
3Dmark Ice Storm Extreme confirmed the lower performance in benchmark with 4,713 points against 5,752 points in MXQ Plus M12N.
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That may explain why gaming did not feel thtat good. For reference, Amlogic S905 TV boxes typically achieve about 4,300 points.
Qintaix Q912 TV box works reasonably well overall, but they’ve decided to use Kodi 17.0 Alpha 3 which does not bring much compare to Kodi 16.1, and does not perform as well with all video. Once we dig into benchmarks and play game, we also quickly realize the TV box has about the same performance as Amlogic S905 devices, meaning you pay a premium without any obvious benefits.
Recent Android 6.0 firmware that is both responsive and stable, and includes a slightly different launcher
Mostly fine 4K video support for VP9, H.265 and H.264 codecs in Kodi 17
HDMI audio pass-through for Dolby 5.1, DTS 5.1, and TrueHD 5.1 and 7.1 in Video MoviePlayer
Proper power handling, and low power off & idle power consumption
exFAT, NTFS, and FAT32 file system support for external storage
IR remote control working up to at least 10 meters
Google Play Store support better than some other device (e.g. for Bluetooth LE app)
Bluetooth file transfer and Sixaxis controller (PS3 gamepad) working
Metal case with front panel display showing time
HDMI audio pass-through and automatic frame rate switching not working properly in Kodi, and DTS-HD even lead to black videos with no audio at all. Dolby Atmos and DTS-HD 7.1 not supported in other apps
Kodi 17.0 Alpha 3 used in the firmware does not handle video playback of all videos as well as Kodi 16.1 (stable version): e.g. issues with VOB, no audio in FLV, etc…
Performance equivalent to quad core Amlogic S905 TV boxes according to benchmarks and gaming experience
HDMI output mode is often falling back to 1080p60, even when manually set to 4K 60Hz. (The system may be confused when I turn on the TV or AV receiver on and off).
WiFi: Mediocre yet stable (e.g. no stall) WiFi performance. Only one external antenna used out of the two external antennas.
HDMI CEC not disabled by default and no CEC option. HDMI CEC bug keeping my A/V receiver on.
Bluetooth: BT 3.0 audio headset not found at all, Bluetooth LE fitness tracker detected, but pairing fails, and app can’t sync.
DRM: Only supports Widevine Level 3
Dolby & DTS licenses not included (Only a problem for apps other than Kodi, for people not using HDMI or S/PDIF audio pass-through). This would require Amlogic S912-H processor.
A.I. Thinker, a company known for its ESP8266 module, has designed a new intriguing product with A20Plus board powered by Espressif ESP8266 (or ESP8285) WiFi SoC, that also features GPRS connectivity, and a 0.3MP camera.
There’s basically no info on the “English Internet”, but Raymond Tunning found lots of info in Chinese, and posted information and links on his blog.
Camera – VGA camera interface (up to 640×480 resolution) compatible with OV7670, GC0308, GC0328, & GC0309 sensors.
Expansion – 2x headers with GPIO, ADC, power signals…
USB – 1x micro USB port for power and programming
Misc – Reset and user button, two LEDs (for flash?)
Dimensions – TBC
An Android app (binary + source code) is provide to retrieve pictures (apparently no video for now) over WiFi or GPRS.
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Some other documentation in Chinese to use and program the app in Android Studio can also been found here (password: 123456), and more info about the module is available on A.I Thinker forums, where we’ll also find they have a few other modules to offer.
A6 module only support GSM/GPRS, A6C module supports GPRS and camera (but no WiFi), and A7 module supports GPRS and GPS. Hopefully, they’ll have a 3G module soon enough, since I’m not sure GPRS is available everywhere anymore.
A20 Plus board is listed on Taobao for $49RMB (~$7.4), but shown as out of stock for now.
Broadlink MP1 is an inexpensive ($20) power strip with four international sockets that can be controlled over WiFi. Since I was interested in finding out how the power strip was designed internally, I asked GearBest whether they could send a sample for evaluation, which they did, and I got it today. So I’ll first check the device, and hardware design, before trying it with the Android app.
Broadlink MP1 Unboxing
I don’t have much to say about the package, it’s just a bland white box with Broadlink logo.
The bottom of the package is useful however, as it contains a sort of user guide in Chinese together with the specifications. I could not find any mentions of CE/FCC/CCC (for WiFi) or UL/TUV (safety) certifications on the package.
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There’s no more information inside the box, except what looks like a warranty card in Chinese.
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The power strip itself has four multi-standard sockets, a power button, and a 1.5 meter lead with a Australian 3-prong plug. Spacing between each socket is a good 5 cm as advertised.
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The bottom on the power strip includes some information including the model number (MP1-1K4S), maximum current and voltage (10A/250V), and a QR core linking to a QQ page redirecting to WeChat app in Google Play Store, so I did not try further…. The device is made by Hangzhou GuBei Electronics Technology.
Broadlink MP1 Teardown
We can open the device by removing the four rubber pad, and loosening 4 screws, as well as an extra screw placed right on the QR code.
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I’m not the best person to evaluate the design of this type of product, but I can see three wires including the ground are connected, the parts carrying the mains appear to be large enough, but I don’t see any type of fuses, which might be suitable in that sort of thing. You may want to check out the comment section, as hopefully more knowledgeable people may give their input. The long board is the really board, and the square board is the brain of the design with the WiFi module.
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Four JQF-3FF 12V relays supporting 10A @ 277VAC / 12A @ 125VAC are used to control the sockets. A cable with 4 GPIOs (R1 to R4), GND, and 12V signals is connected between the relay board and WiFi board.
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The board (PCCII-U1-2) includes a Broadlink WiFi module, the power button, two LEDs, and an unpopulated “GSRV” header to connect an ISP programmer. The small chip on the bottom of the pic is XLSemi XL1509 DC-DC converter.
I can’t find specific information about W1SBS03L WiFi module, except through its CMIIT ID, a product ID assigned by the China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to identify wireless products in the Chinese market. The aforelinked website indicates the module operated in 2400-2483.5MHz frequency range, emits less than 20dBm (EIRP), occupies less than 40MHz bandwidth, and its emissions are inferior than -30 dBm. What I could not find it which chip that module is using.
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The bottom of the board has two more small ICs: STMicro STM8S003F3P6 8-bit MCU, and MP157 regulator.
Broadlink MP1 Power Strip Review
I’ve also tried the power strip. The first step is to scan the QR core on the package, to install the same e-Control app used on Broadlink SP2, or other Broadlink WiFi devices for home automation.
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After the welcome screen, you’ll be asked to register or sign-in, but simply select Skip on the top right. If you want to control the plug over Internet, instead of just your local network, you may have to register however. You’d then have to tap on the three blue bars icon to bring the left menu, and select Add device.
At this stage I also connect the power strip, and the power button LEDs will start blinking regularly meaning the strip is ready for configuration.
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You’ll be presented with a first window asking you to enter your WiFi password, but when I tried to do this it failed each time. Instead tap on the top right Setup button and switch to AP mode. Click OK in the the second screen shown above, select your access point, enter your password, and you should be able to find the power strip pre-named with a name in Chinese (4-socket power strip).
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You’ll be able to turn on or off individual sockets, set timers to turn on or off specific a socket, control all sockets with a single button, or go to settings to change the power strip name, lock the device so that only your device can control the socket, or update the firmware. If you don’t have your smartphone with you, it’s also possible to turn on or off all sockets by pressing the power button on the unit.
I’ve scanned the power strip for both UDP and TCP port with nmap, which reports all TCP ports are closed, and all UDP ports are open|unfiltered.
I’d like to thank GearBest for sending Broadlink MP1 for review, and if you’re interested you could consider buying the device from them for $22.39 shipped. Banggood used to have a promo selling it for just under $20, but the price is now $22.79. You’ll also find Broadlink WiFi power strip on Aliexpress, but the prices are normally around $25 or greater.
SoC – Realtek RTL8710AF ARM Cortex-M3 @ 83 MHz with 1MB ROM, 512KB RAM, and 1MB flash
Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi @ 2.4 GHz – 2.5 GHz (2400 MHz – 2483.5 MHz) with PCB antenna; Station / SoftAP / SoftAP + Station modes;
Expansion headers – 22 half-holes with
Up to 1x SPI @ 41.5 Mbps max
Up to 3x UART with 2x up to 4Mbps, 1x @ 38400 bps
Up to 4x PWM
Up to 1x I2C @ 3.4 Mbps max
Up to 19 GPIOs including 10 supporting interrupts
Power Supply – 3.0 to 3.6V (3.3V recommended)
Power Consumption – 87 mA typ. @ 3.3V using 802.11b 11 Mbps, +17 dBm; 0.9 mA light sleep; 10 uA deep sleep; More details on Section 6 of the datasheet.
Dimensions – 24 x 16 mm
Temperature range – -20 ℃ ~ 85 ℃
If the hardware looks familiar, it’s because it also most the same as B&T RTL-00 module. However, I’ve been told it might not be 100% compatible, so mixing firmware for different modules may potentially brick them. The module can be programmed and debugged using IAR, openOCD, and/or J-Link, and it supports firmware updates via UART, OTA, and JTAG. Currently, the company provides a download link to Ameba Standard SDK based on FreeRTOS and LWIP, but ARM mbed 5.0 support is planned in the coming months. [Update:Ameba RTL8710AF SDK ver v3.5a GCC ver 1.0.0- without NDA has been uploaded recently] Configuration can be done through AT Commands, Cloud Server, or Android / iOS mobile app.
PADI IoT Stamp Pinout Diagram – Click to Enlarge
You’ll find documentation in English and tools on PADI IoT Stamp product page, including the datasheet, a guide start guide with AT commands, Ameba SDK 3.4b3, and some tools and drivers for the serial console. The module will officially launch on September 14th, and you’ll be able to purchase it for $1.99 plus shipping. The company is also working on a breadboard-friendly NodeMCU like board featuring PADI IoT Stamp, but I don’t have further info about this board at this stage.
In somewhat other news, some people submitted both RTL8710AF and RTL8711AF processors to a X-Ray machine, and while the latter has more features such as NFC support, it appears both SoCs look exactly the same under X-Ray, so RTL8710AF might actually have the exact same features, but they are just disabled.
After the official launch of ESP32 processor for less than $3, it did not take long before ESP32 modules hit the market, and Seeed Studio has already listed ESP3212, one of the first modules based on Espressif ESP32 Bluetooth LE + WiFi SoC, for $6.95 with shipping scheduled to start on September 23, 2016.
ESP3212 module specifications:
SoC – Espressif ESP32 dual core Xtensa LX6 processor @ up to 240 MHz with 448 KB flash, 520 KB SRAM, 16 KB SRAM in RTC, WiFi and Bluetooth LE connectivity
Storage – 4MB Winbond SPI flash
802.11 b/g/n/e/i WiFi (HT40) up to 150 Mbps
Bluetooth 4.2 BR/EDR and BLE
3 dBi PCB antenna
Headers – 22x GPIOs (multiplexed with ADC, Touch, DAC, SPI, UART, CAN, ETH, IR, PWM, and I2S), 1x UART, Sense VP/Sense VN, EN pin. 3.3V and GND
Power Supply – 3.0 – 3.6V
Dimensions – 24 x 16 x 3 mm
The exact pinout of the module can be found on Taobao, section “3.2 接口定义”.
Espressif ESP32 is one of the most awaited chip for IoT applications as it combines a dual core processor, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and various I/Os. The good news is that you can now purchase ESP32 for 19 RMB ($2.85) on Taobao, or if you are not based in China, contact Espressif by email at sales [at] espressif.com.
Availability is however limited, and the maximum order is now 5 pieces. ESP32 modules and boards, as opposed to just the SoC, are not quite ready right now, but should become available in a few weeks. ESP-WROOM-32 is the ESP32 module developed by Espressif, and NodeMCU is also working on an ESP32 board, so we’ll get more good news very soon.
ESP32 Demo Board V2 with ESP-WROOM-32 Module
You can also find documentation, hardware and software resources on a Espressif ESP32 page , including a getting started guide, ESP32 SDK, ESP32 reference manual, ESP-WROOM-32 datasheet, and more.
If you are unsure whether your project would benefit from ESP32 over the cheaper ESP8266, I found an interesting table in Espressif Introduction document, showing how the processors are used in different applications.